Looking for a custom ethernet cable? What you need to know

We have come a long way in telecommunications technology over just a handful of decades, so much so that in our new ‘hyperconnected’ world, very, very few individuals or businesses can operate adequately without computer network connections. At the centre of all of this interconnectedness, acting as the conduit through which the vast volumes of data we now rely on is transferred, is the humble (but ingenious) ethernet cable.


In the early 1970s, when ethernet cables were being developed by engineers Robert Metcalfe and David Boggs at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC) in the US, we relied on what today we’d call “snail mail” and telephones to reach colleagues, customers and friends in far-flung places. Today, many would find it impossible to function – even within the same building - without email, messaging apps, video teleconferencing solutions and the unprecedented exchange of information and data the internet era has facilitated.


In that time, of course, ethernet cables have evolved in sophistication, as emerging technology (and its burgeoning uptake by ordinary consumers and businesses alike) has vastly expanded the speed and volume of data needed for today’s high-velocity interconnected environment.


Ethernet cables are now in their fifth and sixth incarnations: CAT-5E (for ‘CAT-5 Enhanced’) and CAT-6. And new generation CAT-6A and CAT-7 are already here in anticipation of the vast expansion of computer networks and exploding demand for fast data transmission that’s already in the offing.


A relatively new entrant in this market is the emerging range of custom ethernet cables. While the data transmission capabilities of today’s ethernet cables are standardised, this standardisation can now be married with bespoke features such as different functionalities and lengths.


You can now buy ethernet cables customised to blank out some of the pins so that only four conductors are used – perfect if you need to pass low voltage power and data.


If your business (or your domestic arrangement) needs your ethernet cable to run from one building to another, it might have to cross terrain exposed to the weather. Custom ethernet cables can supply the necessary weatherproof protection with a variety of mouldings guaranteeing ingress protection to the connected space.


All custom ethernet cables can be fitted with standard, low-cost RJ45 plugs to enable easy connection to network interface cards, patch panels, switches, routers and hubs. Typically, available in CAT-5E and CAT-6, with either straight or crossover wiring (crucial for connecting one PC to another or a PC to a hub, respectively), custom ethernet cables come in a range of lengths depending on customer requirements.


You can also relieve mechanical stress on lengthy stretches of these cables (and prolong their lives) by choosing to have them fitted with plastic strain relief “boots” at the end of the lead where it enters the jack. These boots help prevent excess tension being applied to this crucial junction (they also help protect the plastic ethernet clip and prevent the cables snagging with other leads).


Reputable vendors such as Euronetwork have a broad range of custom ethernet options available (CAT-5E, Cat-6 and CAT-6E), all of premium quality. They can be manufactured to order to match customers’ precise requirements, whether you need them to run beneath floors, within wall ducts and within networking rooms – all to your exact length specifications.

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