Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/177781/why-do-some-network-plugs-have-covers-and-some-are-naked/
Hang around an office long enough and you’ll see a distinct trend in network cabling. Some cables have a covered plug and some cables are naked. What’s the purpose of the little plug cover?
The only problem with those little boots is that they can make the locking clip hard to depress, so I sometimes end up cutting them back a little... but yes - those are a VERY nice feature of better quality network cables.
Who asked this? Did someone think there was some functional difference?
Weird. I never saw a cable like that. I always end up breaking the little bit of securing plastic, so it sounds pretty nice.
I've always been taught to run long distances to punch down blocks and short cables from the punch down blocks to the switches. Short cables are less likely to snag and you don't really pull them; so boots are not necessary. On the other end we make custom length cables to the equipment from the wall plates. We head them ourselves. Pulling cables headless is the easy way. With the custom length cables it is a lot less mess and we seldom run into pulling cables through a mess of other cables. If a clip gets broken we clip it and re-head it. Learning how to properly head cables and buying the tools has saved so much headache. I went from "one call a week" to "one call every 6 months" for bad cables in eleven stores I deal with. I use the TIA/EIA 568 B standard for punching all of my heads. A cable tester is a must. About the only problem I have with cables now is they get twisted until they break/pulled out of a loosened head, from the credit card terminals getting turned around so much. Once every 6 months for eleven stores is negligible.
You have no idea how many times I've had to help people who punched their own cables and ran them 11223344, rather than 33211244. Sometimes it works (short cables have no problems), but when you run 100 feet and don't pair up #2 properly, you end up with a cable that looks good on a simple tester but doesn't actually work when you actually plug it in to a computer and network switch.
What I never understood was why Ethernet uses the pins 3 and 6, rather than using pins 7 and 8. Keeping the center two pairs for telephone lines would have made it dead-simple to use the same jack for both purposes. My office, for example, has 3 identical 8-pin jacks under each desk. One is used for the telephone system, and the other two are used for PC's. The context of each jack is based on where the wire goes at the patch panel in the equipment room.
I've seen people rip these boots off... or scoff at the price difference in stores.
Personally, I've ruined far more than my fair share of Ethernet cables because of the lack of boots, so I am never again buying "unbooted" cables.
That is why a cable tester is necessary. Your right 7 and 8 would have made more sense.
Ugh just thought about your 11223344 scenario that would cause major slow down for long distances as the pair that goes across 2 and 3 outside would be effectively untwisted.
Depending on the quality of the material used in making the boot, the boot may stiffen over time, making pressing down the tab to release the cable extremely difficult. Not fun.
I've never heard of running cable with a pre-crimped end. I've always ran naked cable from a spool with a little extra length for the rare occasion that I may mess up on my first crimp attempt. I have almost always found the boots more annoying than useful. I can understand using boots for ends that standard computer users might have access to or heavy traffic areas, but nothing else makes sense. Anyone want to enlighten me?
Agreed. Yeah, the boots can be frustrating on the occasion I need to remove the cable, but more frustrating is the broken clip on the occasions that I don't want the cable removed. This shouldn't be that big a deal, but inevitably I will need to fish around in a mess of cables behind desks and entertainment centers and knock a broken ethernet cable loose. Still a first world problem, but an annoyance none the less.
Well, not all of us are equipped with the tools necessary to terminate a "naked" cable with the correct connectors, so we buy pre-configured cables and then run them through walls or floors as necessary. That's when the boots come in handy, keeping the connectors from snagging on stuff.
The boot serves the dual function of protecting the locking clip from snagging, and secondly, strain relief, which is more important than many realize. The first problem is the release clip's propensity to snag on other cables when you are trying to pull them through a tangle. If the clip breaks off, you've got to replace it with a new patch cable, (the best thing) or break out your tools and manually reterminate the cable and test it. Even if you're tooled up and love doing it, your cost per hour is 'way more than cost of a new cable. The second issue, strain relief, is more than just the protection of the connections within the plug. Bend radius of the cable itself is of significant importance in performance, since tightly pulled angles which bring the bend radius to smaller than the specified 2" / 5cm. will change the impedance at that point. Localized changes in impedance are like changes in refractive index in a light path -- they cause reflectance and distortion of the signal. Picky, picky, picky...yes. When it's an issue on a bad connection though, troubleshooting is a bear if you're not watching out for it. Buy good patch cords, keep the boots on if you can, and keep the bend radius to greater than 5cm.
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