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Last updated: 5/20/02

1.  Pull the cable off the reel to the desired length and cut.  I have a box of cable at one end of my shop and a mark on the floor 10' away.  For cable lengths which are a fraction of  ten feet, I eye-ball the length as  I  pull the cable out of the box (also, my feet are about one foot long).  For longer cables, I pull it out to the ten foot mark and go back to the box and pull the remaining fraction or another ten feet.  If you are pulling cables through walls, a hole in the floor, etc., it easier to attach the RJ-45 plugs after the cable is pulled.  The total length of wire segments between a PC and a hub or between two PC's cannot exceed 100 Meters (328 feet or about the length of a football field) for 100BASE-TX (and 10BASE-T).

2.  Strip one end of the cable with the stripper or a knife and diags.  If you are using the stripper, place the cable in the groove on the blade (left) side of the stripper and align the end of the cable with the right side of the stripper.  This is about right to strip a little over 1/2" of the jacket off the cable.  Turn the stripper about one turn or so.  If you turn it much more, you will probably nick the wires.  The idea is to score the outer jacket, but not go all the way through.  Once scored, you should be able to twist the end of the jacket loose and pull it off with one hand while holding the rest of the cable with the other.  If you are using a knife and diags, carefully slit the cable for about an inch or so and neatly trim around the circumference of the cable with the diags to remove the jacket.

3.  Inspect the wires for nicks.   Cut off the end and start over if you see any.  You may have to adjust the blade with the screw at the front stripper.  Cable diameters and jacket thicknesses vary.

4.  Spread and arrange the pairs roughly in the order of the desired cable end.

5.  Untwist the pairs and arrange the wires in the order of the desired cable end.  Flatten the end between your thumb and forefinger. Trim the ends of the wires so they are even with one another.  It is very important that the unstripped (untwisted) end be slightly less than 1/2" long.   If  it is longer than 1/2" it will be out-of-spec and susceptible to crosstalk.  If it less than slightly less than 1/2" it will not be properly clinched when RJ-45 plug is crimped on..  Flatten again.  There should be little or no space between the wires.

6.  Hold the RJ-45 plug with the clip facing down or away from you.  Push the wire firmly into the plug.  Now, inspect the darn thing... before crimping and wasting the plug!  Looking through the bottom of the plug, the wire on the far left side will have a white background.  The wires should alternate light and dark from left to right.  The furthest right wire is brown.  The wires should all end evenly at the front of the plug.  The jacket should end just about where you see it in the diagram--right on the line.  Aren't you glad you didn't crimp the plug?

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