Things to Know Before Buying a Bulk Cable
By Anne Ahira
There are a lot of different types of cables being sold in hardware and computer stores. Some of the cables being sold can have massive lengths just by looking at the way it is coiled and how big the coiled cable is.
If each end of the cable has 4 twisted pair wires in the jacket, the cable is most likely a Cat 5 (Category 5) or Cat 5e bulk cable. Consider this small checklist before proceeding to buy a bulk cable especially if it’s online like in Amazon.com.
Understand its Uses
Cat 5 and Cat 5e cables look alike in screenshots so be sure to differentiate the two and ultimately know their primary uses. Cat 5 cables are primarily used for 100 Mbit/s networks like the 100BASE-TX Ethernet.
Cat 5e cables are the enhanced version of the Cat 5 and are absolutely better with no known drawbacks when compared to the Cat 5. What is even better is that the prices of the cables are similar, so go for the Cat 5e especially if the type of network is a Gigabit network to enjoy the 1000 Mbit/s and for protection from far end crosstalk.
See if it is Worth the Installation
Many Amazon customers place a bulk cable, crimping tool, and a pack of Cat 5e RJ45 modular connectors in their shopping cart as these are the materials needed to create a standard Ethernet cable.
It is a must to understand how to use the crimping tool to properly setup an Ethernet cable. There are several online tutorials that provide decent explanations on how to use them.
The Network Cable Installation Crimping Tool Kit found in Amazon is also good for starters as it includes a wire cutter and stripper as well. If the process of crimping proves to be too much, getting a standard Ethernet cable on Amazon is more reasonable.
Know the Advantages over Purchasing Standard Ethernet Cables
Buying a bulk cable is much cheaper than buying individual Ethernet cables that total the same length. Bulk cables can be as long as 1000 ft which should be more than enough to make dozens of cables that will be used to link a network of dozens of computers. The RJ45 jacks can be purchased at low prices as well.
Since the bulk cable will be safely stored after all the crimping, there is no need to buy additional Ethernet cables until the bulk cable is depleted. This means that it isn’t a good idea to buy a long bulk cable just for a small home-sized network to be interconnected.
Always remember that the Ethernet cable is limited to a maximum of 328 ft or 100 m. It is a good habit to go under that limit (usually 90 m) for patch cable. Once the crimping is mastered, bulk cables are the way to go for setting up large wired networks.