While preparing computer networking cables for creating networks such as LANs (Local Area Networks), one has to be very careful and precise. One has to use a variety of wire connector assembly and installation tools to assemble and install such connectors to each other.
These tools include a variety of cable tie guns, crimpers, cutters, pliers, punch down tools, screwdrivers, splicers, strippers, and cable pulling grips. These can be collectively addressed as crimping device tools. They all have their uses during the process of computer networking.
Cable tie guns are used to tie a bundle of wires together so as to keep them in one place and not create a mess of wires. Cutters are used to cut the cable. Pliers are used to grip and connect wires and connectors.
There are a variety of pliers available in the market: circular ring pliers, soft jaw adjustable pliers, and connector holding pliers. Splicers are used to join wires or cables to each other. Strippers are used to remove the cover or insulation from the cables.
A punch down tool is used to push wires into a chosen slot. Screwdrivers are used to loosen, tighten, insert, and remove screws from electrical connectors and assemblies.
There are a variety of connector types available for different applications and assemblies. However, for computer network cable work, the Registered Jack (RJ) connectors are used. The common types in use are RJ-45 or RJ-11.
Crimping device tools
Cable Tie Tools
These are used to tighten the ties around bundles of cables and wires. They use a tension control lever to provide precise tightening, while another lever cuts off the ties so that no loose ends are visible.
RJ-45 Crimp Tools
These are used to crimp and cut the wires of an RJ-45 connector. These tools will also work on RJ-11 connectors as well. This tool consists of a built in cable stripper and a wire cutter. Thus, it cuts the wire in one go.
Hand Crimp Tools
These are used where there are certain restrictions to using mechanized crimp tools, especially with regards to size, weight, and maneuverability. These tools can be either manual or powered.
A hand crimp tool consists of a ratchet mechanism hand tool and a pair of jaws. These jaws are crimp dies. The cable can then be correctly crimped. These tools provide a means for correctly placing, supporting, and holding a cable in place during the crimping process.
Compression Crimp Tools
These are used to terminate a variety of wires, compression connectors, twisted pair modular plugs, and jacks. These also have connector shut heights that are precisely engineered for specific connector requirements.
A typical computer networking cable has 8 color coded wires, which are twisted into 4 pairs. Each pair has a common color theme. These combinations or pairs typically are:
- Blue and Blue / White
- Brown and Brown / White
- Green and Green / White
- Orange and Orange / White
The RJ-45 is an 8 position modular connector which looks like a large phone plug. While purchasing the connector, one must pay attention to whether the connector is made for braided or solid wire.
When the connector is made for braided wires, it has contacts which actually pierce the wire. When the connector is made for solid wire, it has fingers which pierce the insulation and make a connection with the wire by grasping it from both sides.
To make a connection for a LAN cable, one has to use the cable stripper to remove at least 2 inches of the cable insulation sheath. Then the colored wires have to be untwisted and arranged according to a pre-determined system and trimmed to the same length after about half or three-fourths of an inch after the cut from the insulation.
Then the wires are inserted into the RJ-45 end by about half an inch and are held in place by the crimp. Then the RJ-45 end is crimped with the crimper tool. Ensure that the wires have ended up in the right order and extend to the front of the RJ-45 end and make good contact with the metal contacts in the RJ-45 end.
A cable tester can also be used to ensure proper connectivity for the cable. Crimping device tools and cable stripping devices help properly crimp and strip different types of wires, such as solid wire, standard wire, Teflon, PVC, neoprene, rubber, nylon, and so on.
Apart from being one of the computer networking tools, these network cable crimping tools have various applications in different industries, such as electronics, data, voice, video, and signal industries.