28 July 2008

Home networking basic tools - part 1

I want to show you how easy it is to set up your own home networking, you don't need an expert to do this work.

First let me show you all the basic tools needed to do this.

Cables and crimping tools

 From left to right, you can see in the picture:

UTP Cable

UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) is the widely used cable for networking,  you can use other cables though but UTP and the networking cards are easier to get and configure.

UTP is basically 4 pairs of cables (8 cables) with different colors to identify them, twisted together to prevent the crosstalk or interference when transmitting signals.

The picture is the type of cable if you buy in bulk, it contains 305m or 1000feet of cable, you can also buy them per meter.

Currently there are Cat5, Cat5e, and Cat6 cables. What differentiate them are the bandwidth that they can deliver.

Typical cat5 cable can deliver about 100mbps.

The Cat5e is an enhanced version of the cat5 cable, they can deliver up to 1000mbps, but most I've seen can't reach 1000mbps speed, the cables cost less than US$85.

Cat6 cable able to deliver 1000mbps and up, these are new cables and cost more than US$100 per box (305m).

The networking people (EIA/TIA) are now designing for the Cat6a and Cat7 cables but they won't release it in the near future.

I would recommend using the Cat5e but if you can afford it, use the Cat6 cable.


This is the connector that you put on the ends of the cable, there are 8 pins each connected to each cable in the UTP.

There is a standard that you must apply for terminating the UTP cable to RJ45. I'll post later for how to work this out.

You can buy a pack of them, 50 pieces with about $15 or less.

Crimping Tool

With this tool you can crimp - this is the term for terminating - the UTP cable to RJ45 connector. Usually they provide the stripping tool along or built-in the crimping tool. Stripping tool allow you to strip the cable's jacket. They cost about US$30 or less, but you can find the cheaper one only for US$10.

I want to include NIC or Network Interface Card in this list but nowadays the pcs or laptops usually have built-in NIC or even wireless card. The NIC is where you connect the UTP cable (which has been crimped with RJ45) from the computer to switch/router.

Hope this is useful for you, thank you.