The Disconnect: Cat-X Cables Outpace Connectors

March 13, 2017

It should be no surprise to home technology professionals if and when a client asks for a 10 Gigabit network—or, more accurately, something that requires such a network.

In response to the demand for more powerful high-speed networking, cable manufacturers are upping the ante with beefier cables. Depending on the firm, this means more copper, more insulation, and more spacing to varying degrees, but the end result overall is more meat to the cable. This allows for a faster transmission speed with a more reliable signal, but there’s a catch: the connectors are still the same size.

The RJ45 (or 8P8C if you’re a stickler) connector isn’t designed for the cable diameter that some manufacturers are starting to put out, and as a result some funky things are bound to happen. Since the RJ45 is only designed to take AWG 23, thicker wires can’t make it into the terminals with the plastic jacket on. This has led to rumors of rookies and rushed techs stripping off the jacket, leaving connections with no strain relief. One good yank and you’re getting a service call at 1 a.m. In other cases the thicker cable is forced into the punch-down terminals, resulting in sprung out boards that need replacing.

In some cases, individual conductors are too thick to fit through the holes into the punch-down box. If one were particularly foolish, it might seem tempting to strip the insulation and run the bare wire through to the terminals.

This frustrating industry kerfuffle has led one manufacturer to develop an interim solution: the ezEX-RJ45. Created by Platinum Tools, the ezEX-RJ45 termination system allows the greater diameter of newer cables to be terminated into legacy RJ45 ports. For more information on the ezEX-RJ45 and how it works as a solution, click here and read the full white paper. 


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