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Crossover Ethernet Cable - How to Make a Crossover Ethernet Cable - Equipment Needed to Make a Crossover Ethernet Cable

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If you are new to computer networking, it seems it should be a simple task to connect two computers directly through their Ethernet ports without having to use a hub or router. What many people don’t understand is that Ethernet cables are not specifically made for direct connections. Standard Ethernet cables are known as “straight through” cables, and they can only be used to make a network connection between a computer or workstation through a hub or router. Connecting two computers without a hub or router requires a different type of Ethernet cable called a crossover Ethernet cable.

The reason why a crossover Ethernet cable is required for a direct computer network is because the wires of which the cable is composed are dedicated to either transmitting or receiving, not both. If you connect a straight through cable from one computer to another, information transmitted from the first computer can’t get through to the second computer because it is still traversing the “transmit only” line while the “receive only” lines go unused. The reason why hubs and routers are usually used is because they act as switches that move the data packets from the transmit line of one computer to the receive line of the other computer.

With straight through cables, both ends are interchangeable. With a crossover Ethernet cable, the wire schematic crosses the transmit lines into the receive connectors and vice versa so that transmitted information flows smoothly to the receiving connectors.

If you go to a specialty computer store, you can find a crossover Ethernet cable ready-to-buy. They are not as common as straight-through connectors, so they can be difficult to find. If you are in desperate need or if you just want to save a little money on the more expensive crossover cable, you can easily make your own with just basic wiring skills.

Equipment Needed to Make a Crossover Ethernet Cable

You only need some basic equipment to make your own crossover Ethernet cable.
• Wire cutters – Ideally, the cutters should be able to handle multiple wires so they can all be cut to the same length simultaneously. If you have single wire cutters, take care that the internal wires are all the same length.
• Wire strippers – These are used to remove the wire jacket from the end of the wires so they can be inserted into the connectors.
• Crimpers – A modular crimping tool is used to close the connector over the wires.
• Cable – You will need CAT 5 cable of the length you require. Alternatively, you can buy a standard straight through Ethernet cable and simply rewire one of the connectors.
• Connectors – The connectors you need for Ethernet cable are called CAT 5 RJ-45 modular plugs. They look like wider telephone connectors because they have eight contacts instead of four.

Wiring a Crossover Ethernet Cable

They steps to making a crossover Ethernet cable are simple. If you have basic hand-eye coordination and are not color-blind, you can wire the cable easily.

1. Strip off a couple of inches from one end of the outer CAT 5 jacket. Be sure you do not cut into the internal wires.

2. Separate the internal wires and untwist them, but be sure they stay twisted throughout the jacketed part of the cable.

3. Arrange the wires of the standard end into the proper order. From left to right, the standard end is 1-white/green; 2-green; 3-white/orange; 4-blue; 5-white/blue; 6-orange; 7-white/brown; 8-brown.

4. Arrange the wires of the crossover end into the proper order. From left to right, the crossover end is 1-white/orange; 2-orange; 3-white/green; 4-blue; 5-white/blue; 6-green; 7-white/brown; 8-brown.

5. Cut the wires straight across on each end so that only a 1/2-inch of the wires is outside the jacket.

6. Holding the RJ-45 connector away from you, slide the wires into place until the CAT 5 jacket reaches the stop plug.

7. Making sure the wires are all flat inside the connector, crimp the connector together securely.

Your crossover Ethernet cable is now ready to use.

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