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We're doing a rewiring project at my work (server room is a mess of cables) and we've decided to go the route of cutting each cable to length and terminating them ourselves. In the past, I've used used plugs that had holes in the end that allowed the wires all the way through and then you just trim the excess (versus trimming all the wires to the same size first and then inserting them into the plug). I've found these plugs to be a lot easier to work with. Now that I'm ready to purchase some, I can't seem to find any that specifically say whether they have the holes in the end or not and googling "RJ45 plug with holes in the end" didn't really give me worthwhile results.

Does anyone know if there is a differentiating name for this type of plug? Or does anyone have a brand/part# of plugs like this?

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Those ends actually sound amazing. I'm interested now, too. –  Shane Madden Aug 10 '11 at 17:22
    
@Shane - they're a pain. Read why in my answer below. –  EEAA Aug 10 '11 at 17:23
    
@ErikA Ahh, too bad. –  Shane Madden Aug 10 '11 at 17:25
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@Shane - I saw these initially in Home Depot I believe and thought "Holy crap those are awesome". It only took using them a handful of times, though, to give them up completely. –  EEAA Aug 10 '11 at 17:28
    
I got a bag of them here and hate them with a passion. Buy me some single-piece plugs and I'll trade you. –  Scott Aug 10 '11 at 21:15

3 Answers 3

up vote 16 down vote accepted

They're generally called "EZ-RJ45" ends. I find them to be a pain in the rear. They require a special crimper that cuts off the excess, and even when brand new and sharp, these crimpers do an inadequate job, requiring me to use an angle cutter to snip off the remaining pairs one-by-one, thereby negating any time saved by not needing to worry about cutting the pairs to the correct length.

Figuring out how to crimp RJ45/cat5e jacks the real way is not difficult. Do five or six of them and you'll have a good feel for how much length you need to leave to get good conductivity to the pins as well as allowing the sleeve to extend under the plastic crimp in the jack.

I need to say, though, that this is a classic case of being penny wise, but pound foolish. You're asking for trouble by making these yourself. You'll likely be using solid-core Cat5e (or Cat6, whatever). This type of cable is not meant to be used for anything but wiring patch panel to patch panel. When used in any situation where the cable will get moved, brushed up against, etc., you will have cable failure, and it will be very annoying to troubleshoot. Additionally these cables will not have anti-snag boots.

Just purchase a good variety of lengths of pre-made patch cables with anti-snag boots. You'll thank yourself for making this decision.

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+1 - Crimping your own cables is a great way to get unreliable cable. –  Evan Anderson Aug 10 '11 at 17:45
    
Agreed. Factory manufactured cables are so inexpensive these days that I can't see the justification for spending the time, effort, and money to make them yourself and then dealing with the inevitable bad cable(s) that you're going to wind up with. I'm sure it's more cost effective in the long run to buy cables in the length you need and be done with it. –  joeqwerty Aug 10 '11 at 18:00
    
Thanks for the input, all of you. So if we don't cut them to size, what would you recommend? Right now we have a 2 post rack with 4 patch panels, 4 switches, and one big mess. We figured creating our own cable to the needed length would be the easiest to keep it clean and neat. Aside from just using velcro ties, what else would you recommend to help keep things tidy? –  Safado Aug 10 '11 at 18:51
    
Between judicious use of velcro ties, cables of appropriate length, and good cable management, you should be able to wire things up in a relatively neat manner. Don't skimp on in-rack cable management, especially vertical cable management. I know a lot of people who foolishly think that their wiring can fit into a 3" wide vertical cable management system, when in fact they need a 6" or 8" one instead, to give themselves enough room to re-work things as needed. –  EEAA Aug 10 '11 at 18:55
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For patch panel to switch cable management have a look at NEAT-PATCH (neatpatch.com). These things are mind-numbingly simple and look great in a rack. –  Evan Anderson Aug 10 '11 at 19:11

Sounds like a whole lot more work than it'll ever be worth. It's common to just use one or two length cables in each rack to run back to an in-rack switch (we use 3 and 7 foot cables; switches are in the center). The in-rack switch then trunks back to core switches (or whatever the situation is). Use hook-n-loop tape to bundle the cables up and keep everything tidy. Also, label both ends of every cable with a unique number or similar.

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What do you guys do with all the excess cable? Tuck it to side and wrap it in velcro ties? –  Safado Aug 10 '11 at 18:53
    
Yep. All Ethernet cables run on one side of the rack; they go past the server they're connected to, come back and plugged in, then Velcro tied in place. –  Chris S Aug 10 '11 at 19:07

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