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LAN & WAN Basics

Jack Termination

When Doug returned, he started on the second floor and worked his way down to the basement one plate at a time. Since all of the carriers for the plates were already installed, all that needed to be done was to connect the wires to each jack and then snap the jacks into the plates. At the same time, we also placed the labels in the label holders, which identified each jack number.

Finished wall plate

Finished wall plate

Wall plate with labeling covered

Wall plate with labeling covered

The most important thing about terminating the Ethernet jacks as well as the phone jacks is selecting which wiring pattern/ standard you are going to use, and then sticking to it. While this may seem like a pain, each jack has to be wired correctly in order to "pass" when it is tested.

While you might not have access to a tester if you choose to do the installation yourself, there are a variety of devices available for this task. Although these testers are not as sophisticated as the one that Newcome uses, they are good timesaving tools. Since this was a CAT 6 installation, we had to pay very special attention to the bend of the cable coming into the plates. The CAT 6 specification is very specific about the amount of bend each cable can have at the termination points.

568A wiring standard pin out for termination

568A wiring standard pin out for termination

Once we had all of the jacks connected and snapped into the plates, we then started the screws to secure the plates to the carriers on the wall. During this process, Doug used a torpedo level to make sure that the plates looked straight and level. As we explained earlier in the article, the carriers allow for a little movement in each direction, so you are able to get the plates reasonably straight as long as the hold that you cut for the plates are within reason.

Nothing is more unsightly in an installation than a plate that is not straight and level. It will stick out like a sore thumb if you don't have anything in front of the plate, particularly if there is an outlet close by that is correctly straight and level. Speaking of the electrical outlets, it is recommended that you place your networking plates at the same height as the outlets. Again, use a tape measure and take those measurements before you do the cutting, or you might be doing some drywall patching.

Cabling waiting termination

Cabling waiting termination

One by one, room by room, the process of connecting the jacks to the waiting cables was completed. Slowly but surely we began to get an idea of what the final results were going to look like. We were a little surprised with the number of plates behind our TV in the family room. Including the plates to the rear surround speakers, the 3Com NJ100 and the electrical outlet, we had a row of five plates.

While we could have combined the two Type Two AV plates into one, we opted to go with two plates to allow better access to the jacks on each plate. Looking back on it now, we still believe that was the better decision for the best access, but we do admit that five plates in a row does look a little ugly. We have the TV and audio rack in front of the plates so it isn't noticeable but is still accessible and convenient, which were the overriding factors here.

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