Terminating bonded utp pairs

Q: I am wondering about installing connectors on some of the newer brands of Category 5 unshielded twisted-pair cable on the market. Some of the ones I`ve seen have their individual pairs fused together by the colored insulators. Do most installers split these conductors apart before attaching the ends? If so, how should this be done? Do most installers connect all eight conductors or just 1, 2, 3, and 6?

Q: I am wondering about installing connectors on some of the newer brands of Category 5 unshielded twisted-pair cable on the market. Some of the ones I`ve seen have their individual pairs fused together by the colored insulators. Do most installers split these conductors apart before attaching the ends? If so, how should this be done? Do most installers connect all eight conductors or just 1, 2, 3, and 6?

Brad MacQuarrie

ISolutions Corp.

Kilmarnock, VA

A: When terminating cables that have bonded pairs, you should use a tool designed specifically for separating the bonded conductors. And yes, you should always terminate all four pairs at both ends. While 10Base-T works fine on pins 1, 2, 3, and 6, the cabling industry has been working diligently toward generic cabling systems, and the applications designers have been working on new ways to use all four pairs--from 100Base-VG to 1000Base-T.

Did you ever wonder why manufacturers bond the conductors? It is to improve performance by reducing impedance variations. By bonding together the two insulated conductors of the pair, the spacing between them is very consistent, which reduces variations in impedance, which in turn, reduces structural return loss in the cable.

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