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If you’ve been running Ethernet cable or making patch cables for any length of time, you now have an assortment of RJ45 connectors and cable types representing the evolution of your network. You may be tempted to use what you have on hand to do your work, mixing and matching a bit. Visions haunt you of hunting through the cable jungle only to find that it was one of your cables that came loose, cable from connector, or even worse — looks just fine, but really isn’t making reliable contact. But is that just unnecessary worry?

It Just Might (Reliably) Work!

If you’re using Cat5e cable and all you have is newer Cat6 connectors, you may be all right. Generally, connectors may be backwards compatible with cable from older standards, but the reverse is not true — if you’re pulling Cat6 cable, time to update your Cat5e and older connector collection! There are some things to consider in proving that you’re using a workable combination of cable and connector, including a simple friction pull-test, cable and connector measurements, conductor fit and contact quality. There’s also the question of whether you’re already playing the odds with your cable quality.

Does It Hold Securely?

This is a simple test that determines whether the diameter of the cable is in the range which works with the Cat6 connector. This test ensures that the primary latch takes the strain of cable pull, rather than the conductors. Some Cat5e cables won’t be big enough for the latch to grab.

  1. Cut a 4 inch piece of cable
  2. Insert it into the connector
  3. Crimp the connector
  4. Tug and test the strain relief from the crimped cable

Do the Numbers Match?

Cat6 connectors are designed to accommodate much larger cable diameters than Cat5e, so most cables should fit — but check the numbers. For example, Cat6 EZ-RJ45 connectors from Platinum Tools use 0.275 inches as a maximum cable OD, which is plenty for a typical 0.205 diameter Cat5e cable. For these EZ-RJ45 connectors, individual insulated conductors must also be 0.041 inches or less to fit through the connector. Cat6 connectors are designed for 24 and 23 AWG conductor wire sizes, and less can be problematic. Most 24 AWG Cat5e cable should measure up, but depending on the source it sometimes it doesn’t, as mentioned below.

Will the Connections Work?

Conductor size determines whether the connection is going to be reliable or not. Although Cat6 solid conductor cables usually contain 23 AWG wire, Cat5e cables with 24 AWG conductors should seat and connect properly in the Cat6 connector. Conductors on the small side which worked for Cat5e may float or shift in the connector channels. This can cause problems ranging from an obvious open circuit to failure during certification. Ongoing issues from unreliable and incomplete surface contact may also occur.

Where Did You Get That Cable?

The volume of cable that installations use can tempt the use of questionable cable, often unknowingly. Purchasing can find a great price that appears to meet specs, but fails in the field. Cable such as “offshore deals” (some have other, more colorful names for it) can have marginal performance and quality. Marginal wire sizes, in particular, can produce intermittent or failed conductivity in Cat6 connectors, and PoE heat problems.

Once you do your homework, using those spools of Cat5e cable with new Cat6 connectors is a pretty safe way to keep moving forward with your network installations. Remember to check that the strain relief is from crimping the cable jacket, protecting the conductors, and that your conductors are seating securely in their channels for reliable connections at any speed, and in any rated conditions!

Check out the tutorial video below

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How To Identify, Verify, and Test an RJ45 Pinout

Ethernet cables, the 8-pin variety which are terminated by an RJ45-style connector, can come in just enough varieties to spread confusion. There are four basic types:

  • Rollover type which only looks like an Ethernet cable, but can be useful with Cisco equipment consoles. Usually light blue, sometimes with a 9-pin RS-232 connector on one end.
  • Straight through type, connecting to networking equipment such as routers, hubs, and switches, which is the predominant cable type now.
  • Crossover type which was necessary to connect computer to computer without any intervening network equipment. Becoming unnecessary.
  • A fourth type, which has to be mentioned — home made cables with nonstandard pinouts, often non-Ethernet. Hopefully, someone labeled them and identified their use.

Sorting Spares

The first place where you’ll have to figure out which cable is which is when you’re retrieving spare premade cables from your extras box. You should only save known good cables, but you can use a basic cable tester with remote to check out continuity and wiring. The Platinum Tools Lanseeker does an excellent job at this.

Common Cable Arrangements — TIA-568A/B

Look at the RJ45 connector on a cable, holding the flat underside toward you. On the left is pin 1. For Ethernet use, the straight through configuration is what you’re likely to see, in TIA-568B arrangement:

  1. Orange stripe
  2. Orange
  3. Green stripe
  4. Blue
  5. Blue stripe
  6. Green
  7. Brown stripe
  8. Brown

For the less common TIA-568A arrangement, pins one and two are Green stripe and Green, and 3 and 6 are Orange stripe and Orange. The connections are the same, but the colors are swapped. You can identify them that way, and suspect which one you have just by the pin 1 color.

Standard, Crossover, and Rollover

Computer equipment sends data using pins 1 and 2, and receives using 3 and 6. This is part of a convention which is used when these connectors and cables are used for Ethernet. For shorthand, you can call this MDI, or the Medium-Dependent Interface.

In the past, computer-to-computer “crossover” cables were needed when bypassing network equipment. As a variation, they were called MDI-X, for Medium-Dependent Interface Crossover. Network interfaces have advanced enough to detect cabling and switch pin usage as needed, so crossover cables are rarely used.

Crossovers not only exchange pins 1 and 3, 2 and 6 to exchange data and transmit, but also 4 and 5 cross and connect to 7 and 8, exchanging blue and brown pairs. Testers such as the Platinum Tools VDV MapMaster 3.0 can check all of the exchanges in a crossover cable quickly and simply, and identify common wiring problems in the cable such as miswires and split pairs. Of course, it can’t detect wrong wire colors!

For completeness, the rollover cable reverses every pin: 1 to 8, 2 to 7, etc., as if the wires were part of a ribbon cable which was reversed. If you have Cisco networking equipment nearby, you may have a few console cables in your cable box which are wired this way — beware!

Verification and Testing

Testing devices such as the Platinum Tools VDV MapMaster 3.0 can verify cable wiring, check for shorts and opens, and verify more exotic cable configurations such as mixed data and video. They can also map cabling using the remote module.

Cable Tester Comparison Chart

Links to Product Information:


MapMaster 3.0

Net Prowler 


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CYP 6×8 HDBaseT Matrix Units – Now Shipping

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We’re excited to announce that the long awaited CYP 6×8 HDBaseT Matrices are in stock and available for immediate shipping. CYP’s latest offering comprises of a Full HDBaseT Matrix capable of delivering 4K Video, HD Audio, PoH (Power over HDBaseT), LAN, and OAR (Optical Audio Return) up to 100m via CAT6 cable, whilst their PUV-662PL-4K22 HDBaseT LITE version delivers the same functionality (excluding LAN), but via a maximum of 60m of CAT6 cabling.

With on-board Audio matrix functions, including audio de-embedding for each HDBaseT zone, and routing of audio from any source to any output, these new CYP matrices offer the installer incredible flexibility when integrating into a multi-room installation.

Control is via manual selection buttons, IR, RS-232, Telnet or Web GUI. CYP provide FREE control drivers for all the major control systems.

To learn more and check the full matrix specifications, click HERE to be directed to the product information on our website.

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HOT OFF THE PRESS!! – Our NEW 2017/2018 Catalogue is Available Now

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We are very proud to announce the arrival of our NEW 2017/2018 Catalogue. The presses have been running furiously on the weeks running up to the annual ISE Show pilgrimage to Amsterdam and it’s now here ready for dispatch direct to your door!

This years’ catalogue brings a wealth of new solutions sourced using feedback from all of our valued customers, enabling us to focus our product offering specifically for your installation projects. We are excited to share the latest and greatest custom AV products with you.

New additions include an expanded range of 19″ Rack Solutions including a new Acoustic Rack Cabinet range, along with new Wall Mounted Rack Cabinets and Custom Shelves for Apple TV, Sonos, and SKY Q.

Our range of Triax solutions has also been expanded to include new Quad and Octo LNB’s, Multiswitches, and new additions to the range of Triax CCTV Equipment.

As demand for the latest 4K UHD video resolutions continue, we understand the importance of ensuring that the technology must be capable of delivering the highest level of performance whilst being robust enough to meet the demands of modern multi-room environments. CYP is a brand that have been at the forefront of this technology and have further expanded their product range with a selection of new Video Matrices, Audio Breakout devices, Scalers, Switchers, and Extenders.

One last highlight to mention is a completely new range of Fibre Optic solutions which incorporates bulk cable from Tru Cables, Fibre Patch Leads, Patch Panels, Breakout Boxes, Fast Fibre Terminations, and a full compliment of tools and cleaning products.

If you would like us to send you a hard copy of our NEW Catalogue, please email your contact information and company details to or call us on 01256 397 770, and we will send one to you without delay!

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CYP 4K HDBaseT LITE Matrix Kits in stock – Order today for next day shipping

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The NEW PUV-44XPL-4K22-KIT HDBaseT Matrix Kits from CYP are in stock and shipping for next day delivery. This matrix kit comprises four HDMI inputs to four HDBaseT Lite (60m) outputs, plus two independent HDMI outputs, and is supplied with four PUV-1210PL-RX Receivers.
With 4K, HDMI2.0, HDCP2.2 and HDR compatibility, this matrix kit provides installers with everything required to create a stunning 4K six zone multi-room system.

In addition, the PUV-44XPL-4K22-KIT enables audio signal management via the on-board audio matrix which allows users to de-embed audio from any source any HDBaseT zone.

Click HERE for product information or to order online, or call our friendly sales team on 01256 397 770 for further advice.

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NEW Bluetooth In-Line Wireless Audio Receiver from Switchcraft



The 318BT is a small, in-line wireless audio receiver that utilises Bluetooth 4.0 technology to stream audio from any Bluetooth enabled device. This AudioStix is phantom powered or via micro USB and features Switchcraft’s Balanced XLR Connector. This plug and play device is ideal for presentations, music rehearsals, Houses of Worship, providing XLR mixer consoles with Bluetooth connectivity.

Click HERE to learn more.

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HDBaseT Certified CAT6 Cable Now in Stock


With HDBaseT firmly established as the ‘go to’ technology for distributing AV, Control, Power (PoH), and LAN signals over CAT cable infrastructure, we are now offering a HDBaseT tested, approved, and certified CAT cable range to suit every installation environment. Choose from Samson CAT6 Solid Copper LSOH, Samson CAT6 Solid U/UTP External Grade, or TruHD CAT6 UTP LSHF. Click on the links above to find out more.

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TDI Group announce partnership with Sanus

We’re proud to announce the introduction of Sanus screen mounting solutions to our product range. Get the most out of your flat-panel TV by mounting it on the wall for optimal performance. SANUS wall mounts can extend, tilt and swivel, making it easy to find the best viewing angle and reduce glare from lights or windows.


For further information, please click the image above.