Top 5 Ethernet Crossover Cables

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Ethernet crossover cables make it possible to configure a secure small computer network without spending money on routing equipment. The network manager can simply  connect computers directly via their LAN ports using crossover cables without establishing an external network hub. The computers can directly share data or files. Crossover cables are wired differently from standard Ethernet cables. A crossover cable transmits and receives within a single cable, using the wiring in the RJ45 telephone jack-type connection to keep the signals straight. The best cable for a particular application depends on the data speed and volume typically carried.
1 Cat 5 simple crossover cables
Cat 5 simple crossover cables

Crossover cables use a pair of twisted wires to send from each computer and a pair to receive from each computer, so that requires four pair of wires total to form each Ethernet cable. The RJ45 telephone-style jack that connects the cable to each computer keeps the sending and receiving signals properly aligned. Some special applications use a "no boot" connector without the snap tab that locks the connector in place; sometimes a "snagless" connector with a plastic coating is available. Cat 5 cable is made from four twisted pairs of 24- to 26-gauge wire encased in PVC plastic. It is less frequently used than some other kinds of crossover cable because it carries less data and is less well shielded. Still, it supplanted Cat 3 cables because it could carry 100 Mbps over as much as 100m.

2 Cat 5e crossover cables
Cat 5e crossover cables

Cat 5e crosscables, the next step up, carry ten times as much data more than three times as far without significant signal degradation. These cables may be used to carry up to 1,000 Mbps over up to 350m. Cat 5e crosscables may be shielded. If so, they probably have T1 "gold" clad pins, which are wrapped in an engineered composite metal designed to maintain high conductivity while increasing EMI protection. These cables have a code stamped on their outer coating to show that they meet a specific performance standard of the Electronic Industries Alliance and the Telecommunications Industries Association: EIA/TIA 568A-5.

3 Cat 6 crossover cables
Cat 6 crossover cables

Since every step up has to be at least an order of magnitude faster, Cat 6 crosscables must, by definition, carry at least 10 times as much data as Cat 5e cables. And of course they do. This is the world of the  Fast Ethernet and 10-Gigabit Ethernet systems, where a crossover cable can carry 10,000 Mbps, or 10 billion bytes per second, of movies, games, photos, music, and anything else. Aside from that remarkable achievement, the Cat 6 cross cable also uses dividers to separate each of the twisted pairs. This further shields the twisted pairs from "crosstalk" interference within the cable. Many Cat 6 cables are slightly heavier than Cat 5 cable, using in some cases 20- or 22-gauge wire for the twisted pairs.

4 Cat 5e or 6 crossover cable packages
Cat 5e or 6 crossover cable packages

It is often easy to find these popular crossover cables in lots that include more than one cable in the same or different lengths. Obtaining multiples at one time increases the odds of having the right cable on hand the next time a cable is needed. Crossover cable kits may include finished cables or may include hundreds of meters of cable and RJ45 connectors for attachment at exactly the desired length. Select these kits on the basis of the cable type desired, in particular the level of shielding expected. Cat 6 cables have higher data capacity and more shielding than Cat 5e cable, but Cat 5e may be sufficient for the intended use.

5 Cat 5e or 6 coloured crossover cable systems

Coloured crossover cable systems offer two advantages to the network administrator. First, the multi-colour end connectors make it easier to define which cable is designated to a specific devise or peripheral. More important, a system package may include connectors and switches for long runs. Switches can assist in reducing interference and other signal degradation where crossover cables must be run over relatively long distances. Typically, cables are rated for speed achieved over distances up to 100m. Where longer distances are required, inserting an Ethernet switch boosts the signal and helps to prevent packet loss.

How to Buy Ethernet Crossover Cables

Select Ethernet crossover cable first and foremost for the data speed and volume required and the distances over which it must travel. Consider as well any appropriate shielding. It's always worth checking the Daily Deals on eBay for Tech Deals that might include the right cables or some other great technology treasure. After that, a search for the kind of cable desired at the lengths needed should turn up many options. If your system has an existing colour code schema, keep that in mind to choose cables that fit in. Buying crossover cables in kits, lots, or systems that include switches can be economical for a system administrator. Whether purchasing one or two cables for a home network or organising an office, the Ethernet cables you need are available on eBay.
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