Tag Archives: rj45 connectors

Snagless RJ45 connectors – How To Make Network Cables Snagless

Patch Panel

Snagless RJ45 Connectors – the Odd Request

Snagless RJ45 connectors are that odd request that my department makes from time to time. Why do you need RJ45 connectors anyway, it’s the invariable answer from supervisors, and the typical reminder: “You have all sorts of patchcords, all dimensions…” Well, first of all, we sysadmins never have all the patchcords dimensions available. The IT racks should be something that should be kept as tidy as possible, and one way is to have custom length of the patchcords.

Depending on your infrastructure, you might want or might not want to use handmade patchcords in your racks; however, in many cases this is totally acceptable. You can probably make a Cat 5 patchcord, but you won’t be able to make a Cat 6 one. In other words your hand made patchcords will be able to run at Gigabit speeds, but not at 10 Gigabit speeds, even with the proper connectors and cables. Having said that, most of the equipment in a business server room is connected into a Gigabit switch or at lower speeds, so this would not be a problem.

Custom Patchcords – Always Broken Lokcing Tabs

The major problem with all the handmade Ethernet patchcords and cables is that the locking tab is breaking. I probably don’t have to explain why broken tabs are bad; they will not be secured into the equipment’s jack, resulting in intermittent data loss, or even disconnection.

There are two reasons for the locking tabs breaking so often. Firstly, the little locking tab is very fragile, and we can’t change that, it is fragile to keep the costs down. The other reason is the design, the locking tab sticks out, and it is very easy to get snagged and broken off. All store-bought cables come with a snagless boot; it’s the standard these days. All the cables with broken locking tabs don’t have the boots, because they are terminated in place, by either a datacom tech, or an admin.

These plugs from Panduit are the best snagless RJ45 connectors.

The connectors are meant for patch cords, and they are rated as providing Category 5e performance.

The patented tangle-free plug latch prevents snags, hence breaking.

They are easy release, unlike some snagless boots, and they save time on frequent moves, adds, and changes.

The design facilitates easy insertion and termination of wires

What Is the Solution for Broken RJ45 Connectors

One of the solutions to fix the snagging network cables is to install a "snagless" boot over the cable, before crimping the connector. After crimping, just push the boot over the connector and the boot will protect the little tab.

My preferred way to fix this is to use snagless RJ45 connectors, and a boot. This ensures the plug will not break ever, unless you purposely do it. You can also use just the snagless connectors, they are very good, and I do it very often, but if I have both the snagless connectors and the snagless boots, I will use both for optimization. The snagless plugs are slightly more expensive than the regular ones, but when you draw the line, and consider the troubleshooting needed on the long term, and the fact that sooner or later those RJ45 connectors will break and will need to be replaced, the additional cost is worth paying.

Like I already mentioned before, with the low prices for commercial made patchcords, and the quality ensured by a machine made ethernet cable, there is no need to make your own, it's just not practical.

This cables are made in a commercial facility, they are tested, and they come in a variety of lengths, just choose the one that is right for you. You can even get  to choose the color, so you can color code your patch panel connections, so everything looks tidy, and easy to follow.

Computer Network – RJ45 Crimper

Crimper Pro RJ45
Good Quality Crimper RJ45

Crimping tool

The crimper is very often the cause of bad connections. Buy a good quality crimper even if you use it for a few cables. Here are some problems associated with cheap crimpers:

  • Uneven force applied on the pins because of the angled compression.
  • Uneven wearing of the teeth and general faster wearing of the teeth.
  • The poor design of the crimper presses on the locking tabs and it reduces its flexibility to almost breaking them.
  • You need to apply two-three times more force when using a cheap crimper. You don’t have a ratchet system to guarantee a fully closed crimp and a release mechanism upon a complete crimp.

A good quality crimper will avoid all of the above and it will greatly improve your productivity; your RJ45 connectors will operate as expected for longer time; A good crimping tool costs 4 – 6 times more than the cheap ones. A good quality RJ45 crimper applies the force at the same time on all of the teeth, has a ratchet system and a release mechanism.

Crimper RJ45
Crimper RJ45

Cheap Crimping Tool
Cheap Crimping Tool

Professional Crimper RJ45
Professional Crimper RJ45
 

Computer Network – RJ45 Connectors

RJ45 Crimped
RJ45 Crimped

RJ-45 connectors

RJ45 is a type of registered jack. The registered jack specifies the physical male and female connectors as well as the pin assignments. RJ45 features 8 pins and is the standard connector for Ethernet based networks. We can also find it on ISDN, and T1 connections. Ethernet is the standard media for the VOIP phones so we can find it used with modern digital phone systems. The RJ11 male connector, (standard telephone connector), fits perfectly into an RJ45 female connector being a little narrower, which is why many companies have deployed data networks only. The middle pair only is used for the telephone connection. There are different RJ45 male connectors for various cables.

  The male RJ45 are very cheap but they are prone to various problems.
Shielded RJ45
Shielded RJ45
The locking tab is prone to breaking. Here are some tricks to avoid this: buy the connectors with the locking tab curved down so it avoids the snagging. If you can’t find the cleverly designed connectors use boots to avoid snapping the tabs.
Snagless RJ45
Snagless RJ45

Snagless RJ45
Snagless RJ45

Snagless RJ45
Snagless RJ45

Snagless Shielded RJ45 Male
Snagless RJ45 Sheilded


There are RJ45 specially designed for solid cable, for stranded cable, for STP cable.
Rj45 Male Compare Rj45 Male Compare Use only the appropriate connector for the cable you install. Using an RJ45 for solid wire with stranded wires, or the other way around, will cause poor contacts, hence a bad connection.
Use a good quality crimper that doesn’t press on the tab when you crimp the connector.
Crimping a male RJ45 is not easy. The operation requires dexterity attention and training. If you want to make your life easier, you can use wire guides that come with some packages. Practice a lot and you won’t need the guides.
Check the “How to make a patch cord” post, for a detailed, step by step article with pictures. (coming soon)