A Better Way of Flush Cutting Ethernet Cable Conductors
Written by Don Schultz, trueCABLE Network Expert, BICSI INST1, INSTC, Fluke Networks CCTT
Whenever there’s a better way to terminate Ethernet cables, I am all ears. After all, something that makes life easier is quite welcome!
During the process of putting on RJ45 connectors (8P8C), especially pass-through style, some people prefer to cut the conductors straight across, and others prefer to cut them at an angle prior to insertion. Please note there is no definitive way (either straight across or angled cut) spelled out by BICSI or any other industry organization, so this is coming down to the “tips and tricks” category.
Normally, I demonstrate and actively use the “straight across” method. I think this is the prevailing method, but that is just an educated guess. What about an angled cut? Does this make the insertion of the conductors into your RJ45 plug easier? Some people swear by it.
As it turns out, the answer is a bit more complicated than it appears. This video demonstrates the two methods and my thoughts on the subject.
Does it Matter?
In the final analysis, any flush cut that allows you to get the conductors into the RJ45 plug successfully is a “good” flush cut. Sort of like any landing in an airplane you walk away from is a good landing…
Based on my limited test, there is no real difference between the two. I felt slightly less resistance when angle cutting. Go figure, there is less conductor being pushed through the front holes of the plug, but it did not ward off the dreaded kinked or “hung up” conductor situation that can occur from time to time.
Successful terminations come down to a number of factors, not just one like an angled or straight flush cut. Things like:
- Removing all kinks to the maximum extent possible from the conductors
- Minimal conductor cross-over at the cable jacket end
- Getting the conductors all lined up nice and neat, and picking a good spot to flush cut where the conductors perfectly lined up
Assuming all of those factors are met above, I did not notice a significant difference. That all said, we all do things differently and it is quite possible that some people have more success with one cut type versus another. Minor hand movements, insertion angle, and many other factors that are never really talked about come into play. I say use whatever works best for you.
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