The Ethernet network cable is the form of Internet connection that best uses all the bandwidth of our connection. In physical and online stores we can find a wide variety of cables already manufactured of different categories and sizes. However, we have users who prefer to make their own network cables to suit their needs, and also in some cases save money. All they need are the Ethernet cable, RJ45 connectors, a crimper and follow a color scheme for everything to work properly. What happens is that sometimes, the network cable we have falls short and we have to find solutions. In this tutorial we are going to talk about how to splice a network cable with the least possible loss of performance.
The first thing we are going to see is a series of questions about the network cable and what they can influence when making the connection between these two cables. Then we will see if we should splice a network cable by joining its two ends. Finally, we will also see another series of solutions that can facilitate the splicing of a network cable with another in a very simple way.
Things to consider before splicing a network cable
Network cables are not all the same, although their elements seem the same as the RJ45 connector and the cable itself. Those who make their own Ethernet network cables know that there are many differences that set them apart. One of the things that determine network cables is their category, since the maximum speed they can reach is established based on it. This would be a table with the categories of the most commonly used Ethernet cables today.
In addition, depending on their category, they will come with more or less shielding, which can protect you from noise and interference. Nowadays, whether you plan to make your Ethernet network cable or buy one, the ideal is that at least it has category 6. On the other hand, if the price does not rise much and thinking about the future, perhaps you might be interested in category 7 since we have more and more routers and network cards that support Multigigabit connectivity and even 10GBASE-T.
Another thing to know before splicing a network cable is to identify the category to which it belongs. It is usually screen-printed on the cable itself and they are easy to distinguish. This would be an example of a Category 5E network cable.
This is a very important factor, because when splicing a network cable, if one of them is of a lower category, it can end up losing speed. Therefore, before you start, it is advisable to find out the category that both cables have.
Is it worth splicing a network cable while keeping the two RJ45 connectors?
In the hypothetical case that we need a 12-meter network cable and we have a 7-meter cable and a 5-meter cable, we could have the idea of joining them in a single cable. Despite the fact that some users cut the ends of the two cables and splice them, it is a practice that we should never do. The reason why we should not do it is because in many of the cases it will not work, but if at some point it does, we have a good chance of having speed, latency or stability problems.
In summary, the ideal is that a network cable is continuous, that is, it does not have cuts or splices, nor anything that can interfere from each of the RJ-45 plugs located at each end of the cable. Therefore, any cut, splice or short circuit in the cable will lead to large speed losses and even connection cuts.
So we have two correct ways to act. One would be to choose to buy a new one of the size we need, or also to make it ourselves if we have the right tools and material. The other way to splice a network cable and take advantage of those that we already have, without the need to make splices, would be to use adapters or other equipment as we will see below.
Methods to splice an Ethernet network cable and not lose signal
Currently there are several tools and devices that we can use to “splice” an Ethernet network cable without losing signal or performance, we must remember that it is not recommended to “splice” the different wires within a network cable, as we have explained previously. If you want to “splice” several segments of Ethernet network cables with its RJ-45 connector, it is best to buy the following adapters and devices.
Female-female adapter: the cheapest way to splice a cable
The simplest and most efficient way to splice a network cable is by using female-female adapters, which can also be called couplers. This device comes with two female RJ-45 plugs connected to each other, in such a way that we can connect two network cables to each end. In this way, it will operate as one. Here’s an example of a coupler:
It should also be noted that these adapters are completely passive and do not require any power or influence the connection. It should also be noted that if we use a good quality device the loss will be very small. They can also have a metallic shield inside that allows them to minimize electromagnetic interference and thus avoid signal loss to offer a more stable network environment.
These couplers can be found on Amazon from about € 5. However, sometimes due to the low price difference, it is more worth buying a kit to have one in reserve for the future. An example of this type, of good quality and compatible with categories 5, 6 and 7 would be this one from UGREEN:
This is the cheapest way to “splice” a network cable, and the easiest to do, but we have other options as well.
The switch as the best way to extend a network cable
A coupler is the fastest and cheapest way of splicing a network cable without loss, although it must be recognized that there are better alternatives that offer more. In the case of needing to join two network cables, especially if they are quite long, the best option is to use additional network equipment such as a Switch.
This type of device makes it possible to “regenerate” the signal from the cable itself, reaching a much greater distance without loss of signal. We must remember that in the Ethernet standard, it is not allowed to have cables of more than 100 meters in length, but using a normal switch, we could have two segments of 100 meters without any problem. The disadvantage they have is that they depend on the power supply, but nowadays they incorporate energy saving functions so they do not consume much. This type of equipment offers us greater reliability in the connection.
An example of a switch that we could use is the D-Link DGS-105 , with it we can perfectly extend two network cables and improve the connection.
Of course, if you need to interconnect different computers that already have a network cable in the local network, with a switch you can do it easily and quickly without having to buy additional equipment.
Using an old router to splice a network cable
Another device that we could use to splice a network cable can be an old router that we have stored in a box. One of the disadvantages that it may have is that if it is too old, it will not be Gigabit Ethernet and we will not be able to exceed speeds higher than 100 Mbps. Another aspect that we must take into account is that that old router, it may need to do some configurations, such as For example, put it within the same current network range and assign it a local fixed IP. Therefore, the switch mentioned above may be an easier option to implement as it requires no configuration.
The positive part of an old router that we are no longer using is that it is totally free because we already have it in our home, and we can give it a second life to extend an Ethernet network cable. In this type of device, the signal will also be regenerated, as occurs in the switch.
As you have seen, we have different ways of splicing a network cable, the cheapest and fastest is to use a female-female RJ-45 adapter, it does not need any type of power supply and we can join two network cables easily and quickly . The other ways using a switch or an old router has its advantages, such as the regeneration of the signal and that we can go further, however, they need power, and in the case of the router we must make a specific configuration so that it works properly.