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How to Punch Down a Cat Cable into a Patch Panel

Punching-down a cat cable into a patch panel may seem like tricky business, but once you’ve got the basics down it becomes as easy as the proverbial pie. This high-level guide is here to help.

Punching Down Cat Cable

What You'll Need

  1. CAT Cables (Ethernet Cable)
  2. Patch Panels
  3. Punch Down Tool
  4. Cable Strippers
  5. Screw Driver

 


 

Step 1: Prepare the Cat Cable

Stripped CableTo start off with you will want to begin with preparing the cat cables you intend to punch into the patch panels. You with do so by removing the outer jacket with the cable stripper. If you do not have a cable stripper handy it can also be done with a sharp knife, but please be careful as this method result in both injury to yourself and damage to the inner copper cables.

Ideally you should remove approximately 1 inch (25mm) of the outer jacket, this ensures a nice clean fit into the patch panel without the risk of exposing too much cable and damaging it. Once the outer jacket has been removed you will notice 4 pairs of copper cables, making up a total of 8 cables. In order to successfully punch down the cables into the patch panel you will need to gently untwist the pairs so that the 8 cables can be individually worked work with.

 


 

Step 2: Prepare the Patch Panel

Patch PanelIn most cases full patch panels are made up various parts. That being said, it can prove very useful in most situations to break apart the patch panel into it’s small components. This allows for you to work with only the required parts of the panel and makes the entire project simpler to handle on the whole.

Take the screwdriver and begin by unscrewing the section of the panel you are going to work with and place the remainder to the side. While doing so take note of the label on the inside of the panel with the color code printed on to it. This will be explained in the next step

 


 

Step 3: Put Cat Cable into Patch Panel

Patch PanelIn order to correctly insert the Cat cable wires into the patch panel you will need to take a close look at the color code that is printed on the label adhered to the panel.Let’s take a closer look.

First off you will notice that there are in fact 2 pin-out types, these are typically labelled A and B respectively. Generally most installations would use pin-out B, but please be sure to check which one is right for your specific application.

Once you have selected a pin-out type you will see that each one has it’s own color code, with 4 solid colors and 4 stripes. Simply match the solid colored wires to the solid color slots and do the same with the stripes. Inserting the wires into the slots requires nothing more than gently pushing them in. Once all the wires have been correctly inserted it is time to being with the actual punching down.

 


 

Step 4: Punching Down

Punching DownFirst off you will notice that there are in fact 2 pin-out types, these are typically labelled A and B respectively. Generally most installations would use pin-out B, but please be sure to check which one is right for your specific application.

Once you have selected a pin-out type you will see that each one has it’s own color code, with 4 solid colors and 4 stripes. Simply match the solid colored wires to the solid color slots and do the same with the stripes. Inserting the wires into the slots requires nothing more than gently pushing them in. Once all the wires have been correctly inserted it is time to being with the actual punching down.

Patch Panel

In order to correctly punch down the wires into the patch panel you will need to make use of a Punch Down Tool. The tool itself is fairly simple in that it has a pointed side and a flat size. The pointed side is the side that will trim the ends of the wires to leave a clean cut.

Begin by positioning the tool over the wire you intend to punch down and then using as much force as required push down on the handle of the tool. This will both push the wire firmly into place and trim the ends at the same time., continue doing this for all the remaining wires. You may also notice that occasionally some of the wire ends remain, you can usually fix this by gently removing them by hand as the tool may not have cleaved all the way through the wires on the initial punch down.

 


 

Want to watch it done? Check out the video below for a short tutorial which outline most of what we have discussed in this guide.

How to Fusion Splice Fiber Optic Cable

Fusion Splicing is simply joining two optical fibers together by making use of heat. The two optical fibers should be fused in such as way as to allow light to be passed through them without scattering or reflecting light back at the point of the splice.

Cable Stripping

 

The heat used to fuse the two fibers together is usually in the form of an electric arc, however it can also be achieved using a laser or even gas flame, but these methods are considered dated and inferior . This very simple Fusion Splicing guide should help to explain the process without getting too technical.

What You'll Need

  1. Fiber Strippers
  2. Kevlar Cutter
  3. Splice Sleeves
  4. Alcohol Wipes
  5. Fiber Optic Cleaver
  6. Microscope (Not mandatory, but very useful for checking fiber ends)
  7. Fusion Splicer

 


 

Step 1: Stripping the Fibers 

Stripping FiberIt sounds simple enough right? Unfortunately this is not quite as simple as stripping the simple coating of your average house-hold copper cable. In this case you will first be removing the polymer coating by making use of Fiber Strippers, which are specially designed for stripping the coating off the fiber. Ideally 1 and half inches (40 mm) should be removed from each end of the fiber you are joining. This should be done incrementally and gently while ensuring the stripper is held at a slight angle during the process.

With the coating stripped from the fibers it is now time to simply clip away any excess, exposed Kevlar with your Kevlar cutter. Once completed slide one of your Splice Sleeves onto one of your fiber, you may not be able to do this once you have spliced the two fibers together so it is best to do it now.

 


 

Step 2: Clean, Cleave and Clean Again 

Cleave CableKeeping the fibers clean is of the utmost importance when it comes to fusion splicing. It cannot be repeated enough, ensure that the fibers you are working with are cleaned after every major interaction with them. You do this by gently wiping them down with Alcohol Wipes.

Once clean it is time to cleave the fibers. The fiber should ideally be cleaved using what is know as the score-and -break method, this is done to ensure that the end face is perfectly flat and perpendicular to the axis of the fiber. This is best done by making use of a quality Fiber Optic Cleaver. The closer the cleave angle is to 90 degrees on both fibers the better, this will result in less optical loss from the splice. After cleaving both fibers it is time to once again clean the ends with the Alcohol Wipes.

 


 

Step 3: Fusion Splicing 

Fusion SplicingIt is now time to make use of your Fusion Splicer, begin by placing each fiber into the guides on the Fusion Splicer and clamp them into places securely. Close the lid of the splicer and be sure to select the correct settings on the monitor and program in the correct fiber types into the Fusion Splicer. The fiber ends will be automatically moved into position, at this point a profuse cycle will begin and any remaining dirt on the fiber ends will be removed as preheating begins. Next the fusion splicer will attempt to align the two fibers by inspecting the cleaves, bad cleaves will result in misalignment and will be rejected. If the cleaves are good the fibers will be fused by an automatic arc cycle that heats the ends and feeds the fibers together at a controlled rate.

Once fusion has been completed the Fusion Splicer will inspect the splice and estimate the total optical loss of the splice. Should it need to be remade it will inform you. If all goes according to plan it is now time to remove the fibers from the guides and move the splice protector over the splice and shrink it to fit (Most splicing machines have a heating device for heat shrinking protective sleeves).

 


 

As previously mentioned, this is a very simple guide. There are many variables that must be taken into account when you are splicing different types of fiber. So while it is difficult to get down to specifics hopefully this guide should give you a good idea of the process as a whole and get you started. Just remember to take your time while splicing in order ensure a good clean splice, it will save time in the long run.

Need a Fusion Splicer? Check out the FS-8993 Core Alignment Fusion Splicer Kit.