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Anatomy of an RJ45 Connector

Author:danny / time:2018-04-11 / The number of clicks:2914

We access the Internet almost all the time, with practically every waking moment of our lives dependent on it. We do our research online, communicate to friends and family via social networking sites, purchase items online, engage in different forms of entertainment, and follow our favorite celebrities by the minute. We consume and pass on data from the Net, but we do not really understand how information can travel from one huge data depository—the World Wide Web—down to our computer screens. To help us understand the process behind this data transfer, it pays to take a look at an unassuming piece of physical connector—the RJ45 connector.

 

Male” and “female”

The RJ45 is a standard type of physical connector used to connect one computer to another computer, or a computer to a network. “RJ” stands for “registered jack,” while “45” represents the number of the interface standard.

 

The “plug” or the “male” component of the connector is used to terminate cables. The “jack” or “socket” is, on the other, hand, the “female” component of the connector. It is used for fixed locations on equipment, panels, wall surfaces, and the like. Both the “male” and “female” parts of the RJ45 connector play important roles in transmitting data.

 

Solid and striped

The RJ45 connector is comprised of eight pins. This means that there are eight separate wires inside an RJ45 connector. Each wire is of a different color. Four of these wires are solid colors, while the rest are striped.

 

These wires are crimped into a plastic head using a crimping tool. Crimping is the process of attaching a connector to the end of a cable.

 

Latching tab

To ensure that the cable is secure in the socket, the connector features a bendable, spring-loaded latching tab. Also referred to as the “retention clip,” this tab makes a clicking sound when the cable is plugged into the socket. This signals that the plug is secure in place. To remove the cable, the latching tab must be depressed. Simply pulling out the cable from the socket without depressing the latching tab might damage the connector and even cause the cable to break.

 

However, because the latching tab is made of plastic material, it is prone to damage. It can easily break from overuse or misuse, which may cause random and sudden disconnections.

 

Protective boot

To address this, some manufacturers use a rubber connector boot.

 

A broken latching tab will cause the connector to break off, compromising connection and interrupting transmission of data. Using a connector boot will ensure connectivity by protecting the latching tab from breaking, especially as a result of sudden cable pulls.

 

Another purpose of a connector boot is to protect the user’s nails. Because of its size and design, the latching tab can easily slip under one’s nails during installation or removal of the RJ45 connector. The connector booth thus prevents this from happening by creating a stopper.

 

Boot types

Connector boots come in different types:

 

Standard. The standard boot, the most common type, is semi-circular in shape, providing protection all around the latching tab. This is commonly used in walls and floors.

 

Snagless. The snagless boot features a tiny flap to protect the latching tab of the RJ45 connector. This is commonly used in applications where plugging in and out is done frequently. It is also the preferred boot type for connections in easily accessible areas.

 

Molded. The molded boot is easy to plug in and out. Because of this, it is the preferred boot type for connections in spaces that hard to access or where plugging in and out is not done frequently.

 

Slim. Smaller than the snagless boot, the slim boot is easy to plug and unplug and offers limited protection compared to the other types.

 

Summary

Often overlooked, the RJ45 connector plays a significant role in hooking up our computers to the Internet, and allowing our computers to connect to a network. Understanding how the RJ45 connector works will help us take better care of our computers and maximize the connections that we use at home and at work.

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