Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How To Punch Down Cat5e/Cat6 Keystone Jacks

How to punch down a Cat5e/Cat6 keystone jack, step-by-step instructions. I took a bunch of pictures along the way to better explain the process, and to let you see just what it should look like. If you want to see the process of punching down a Cat5e or Cat6 jack on video, scroll to the bottom of this post. To get started, let's take a look at what tools you will need:

Electricians Scissors (regular household scissors will work also)

Wire Stripper (you can use electricians scissors if you don't have any wire strippers)



Now that we have all the tools, let's punch down some keystone jacks.

First, strip off at least 1 inch of jacket on your Cat5e/Cat6 cable. Make sure not to cut into the wires. If you do, you'll need to start over. This picture shows what the two cables look like side by side. The Cat6 cable is larger (bottom) due to the separator between the pairs.

Cut off the ripcord

If you using Cat6 cable, it should have a separator. Cut that off as well. Simply pull the 4 pairs of wire back and cut it off

Now were ready to lace up the wires on the keystone jack. This style of jack is very user friendly and great for beginners or professional installers. You can see 110s are in a single row and that they are pointed, making it easier to lace the wires down

Let's go ahead and wire these keystone jacks following the 568b Wiring Diagram

You can see the keystone jack has the color code for 568A and 568B on the jack. They are very similar, but 568B is most commonly used nowadays.

Once all the wires are laid down, your keystone jack should look like this. Notice how I left the pairs of wire twisted. I was able to do this because of the pointed ridges on the jack, making it much easier to set the wires in. Many other styles of jacks out there have a flat surface, requiring you to untwist all 4 pairs of wire down to the jacket. Also notice how the jacket of the cable is right up against the keystone jack. You don't want any more than 1/2" of the wires exposed.

Once you have the wires laced in correctly, set your keystone jack in a jack palm tool. If you don't have one of these available, you can punch the jack down on the ground or a desk, but I suggest putting a piece of cardboard down to prevent the jack from slipping out when you punch them down. I would strongly suggest AGAINST using your hand to punch down jacks without the use of this tool. The jack can slip out and the tool will cut right through your hand. Not a pretty site

Now, take your punch tool and find the side that says "CUT". You want to make sure the tool faces the correct way, or you'll cut the wrong side of the wires off. This is how your tool should look when punching down the jack. Notice the pointy tip on the left side of the 110s

 A close up view of the 110 blade shows this better

Once the punch down tool is positioned correctly, push down firmly until you feel it pop. You should see the wire cut off. If it doesn't, you may need to do it once more. Here you can see I terminated the brown pair

Repeat with the other 3 pairs of wires and you have a completed keystone jack. It will look like this. Note how the jacket is very close to the jack. You want to make sure you keep it as close as possible.

Here is a picture or the WRONG way. The cable jacket is stripped too far back, exposing more than 1/2" of the wires

Lastly, press the clear dust cover on your jack and your DONE

Now let's watch it on video

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