Things to know about Cat 5:
  • Category 5 is a type of wire known as twisted pair so called because it contains a set of wires inside (in the case of Cat 5, 8 wires or 4 pairs) seperated into pairs each of which is twisted about itself. (Incidentally, cat3 is the same idea except is only "spec"ed for 10mbps instead of 100. Telephone cabling uses the same idea as well, except telephones only require 1 pair.).
  • Each pair is associated with a color. One of orange, blue, green and brown. Each pair has one wire which is mostly the pair color with specks of white and one wire which is mostly white with specks of the pair color. This is, obviously, used to check which wire you're putting in which pin when crimping cable.
  • The category 5 standard states that twists in the pairs must occur at least every 1/2 inches but in normal cables the twist occurs much more often. One half inch is generally how far back you can untwist the pairs in order to crimp them at the ends.
  • Even though it doesn't matter what order you crimp down the pair wires, as long as its the same on both ends of the cable, there do exist two standard pin arrangements known as 568A and 568B. They're both described on the Crimping Cat-5 node. Its best to choose one of them and stick to it throughout one networking job, just in the interest of uniformity. It'll make the job much easier.
  • Category 5 cabling does have a limit on the degree of turns that it can take. Although its not nearly as drastic as the limit on fiber, anything sharper than the circumfrnce of a silver dollar should be avoided if possible.
  • Although I'm not sure about this, I seem to remember the reason behind the twisted part being that twisting the wires helped insulate the data travelling on the wire from EM radiation that might otherwise disrupt traffic.