One of the slightly more obscure tasks that our electricians can perform – and do so on a regular basis – is laying down network cable. It’s still not standard for homes to come fitted with network cable, so this is something people often want to get sorted if using wi-fi isn’t an option.
But what if you want to do it yourself? Well, with the right tools it’s not actually that hard. Here are some basic tips for laying down cables within your property.
1. Buy a cable tacker
When laying cables in your property, you will want to keep them neat, so purchasing a cable tacker will let you staple the cable neatly to the skirting boards. You can purchase one of these here.
2. Look for existing spaces to run cable
If you have any ventilation ducts, or any existing gaps to run cables through then try to use them when possible. To really do the job neatly you’ll probably have to do some drilling, so utilising any existing gaps.
3. Plan your cable route
After scouting out for existing cabling gaps, carefully plan the route of the cables throughout your home. You might want to keep it to the skirting boards as much as possible, as this will look much nicer. Once you’ve got an idea where you’re going to run the cables, proceed to the next step…
3. Create your own cables
With network cables, it will be cheaper to buy a larger reel of cable and create the cables yourself. Buying set lengths and pre-constructed cables from high street retailers is expensive and as the connectors are already fitted – running the cables through small spaces will be tricky.
How do I make a network cable?
It’s actually quite easy. Firstly you will need to buy a length of Ethernet Category 5 cable – more commonly known as Cat5 cable. Always buy more than you need. You can see that screw fix sell 50 metres of it for just over £20.
Once you’ve got the network cable laid in place, you will need to attach the connectors to either end of the cable.
For this, you’ll need an RJ45 connector, and the tool to fit them. These are all relatively inexpensive.
But first, you’ll need to strip the ends of the cat5 cable. You can do this with either a knife, pliers or a wire stripper tool. By removing the other rubber tubing, you’ll expose 8 coloured smaller wires. You should be careful to not accidentally cut these!
Once the the cable has been stripped, you’ll notice that the smaller coloured wires are wrapped into couples. Unwrap these and arrange them in the following order from left to right (this follows the 568B wiring specification):
white orange - orange - white green - blue - white blue - green - white brown - brown
Next, get the RJ45 connector and slip the coloured cables into the connector. Following this, you’ll need to secure the cables within the connector. So this is where you’ll need the next tool, an RJ45 crimper.
Insert the connector into the crimper – making sure the small coloured cables are flat and press firmly. Do this both ends of the cable and you’re done!
A little stuck? Well this video explains everything clearly: