I have run into a small issue when upgrading my home network's central hub with a larger switch and a patch panel.
While I was able to patch down most of the cables with no issues, one of the cables was refusing to work consistently. I tested it multiple times, patching and repatching it down, and each time I would get a few pairs to work and a few that failed. I tried it in multiple ports with no luck.
I took a closer look at the wire and realized that the gauge of the colored wires was actually a bit smaller than other wires I had (the other wires came off a spool which I ran myself, this one already existed in the house, both CAT6).
I came on here wondering if anyone had any advice on a method to patch this pesky cable down or whether I would just be better off terminating it with a jack and calling it a day.

  • 4
    A bit unclear exactly what you mean by "patch down". Normally I understand that to mean punching down a cable onto a patch panel which is really very much the same as terminating it with a jack - i.e., the same type of connectors. Some questions: 1 - Are you using a punch tool? 2 - Can you post a picture of where you are trying to "patch down"? 3 - Can you post pictures of (a) the ends of both types of cable and (b) the printing on the "problem" cable? Jul 27 '18 at 1:28

If the cable won't terminate securely in the patch panel, it's either the cable or the patch panel that's out of spec.

If you're absolutely certain the cable and patch panel are Cat 6, Cat 6 may be made with either 23 gauge or 24 gauge conductors. A good Cat 6 patch panel will accommodate either. In fact even Cat 5 or Cat 3 cable will be made with 24 gauge conductors and will terminate securely in a Cat 6 panel, although it won't perform to Cat 6 levels. Even quad or some thermostat wire would terminate securely since the gauge is in the working range.

A Cat 5 panel will typically handle Cat 6 made with 24 gauge wire without a problem, but you may ruin the jack punching down 23 gauge conductors.

There's lots of sub-standard cable out there. A number of big online sellers were selling Chinese manufactured cable with counterfeit UL stamps etc. Some was even copper coated aluminum or tin rather than plain copper conductors. Maybe you got some of that. There's also lots of low quality Cat 6 terminating hardware out there.

I'd try reterminating this cable in a surface mount box and jack from a good quality manufacturer - Leviton, Hubbell, Panduit, Siemon, etc. - try a Cat 6 jack first, then a Cat 5 jack.

If that doesn't work, replace the cable, but I'd test it in your panel before I ran it.


Best would be to find RJ45 connectors that fit the cable. You might cut a cm or two from the end to bring to an electrical supply store to find the right size.

You could use an RJ45 connector with screw terminals, though this would cause an impedance discontinuity in the line that might cause reflections, raising error rates and slowing transmission speed.

You could also splice some of the new cable onto the end of the old, carefully keeping the wires separated by about the same distance in the splice as in the cable (or at least making a smooth transition) and insulating the connection by dipping in a "varnish", e.g. Plasti-dip or GLPT Varnish, and then tape. Properly done, this would make for a smoother transition with less reflection than screw terminals, but still is not ideal.

  • 2
    These are great ideas for serial ports & telephone wiring. But as the Amazon review on the RJ45 connector with screw terminals says great for breaking out RJ45 ethernet for use other than networking. I wouldn't attempt to use this for CAT 5 or above networking. The same goes for manually splicing the cable. Jul 27 '18 at 6:07
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    Don't use the screw connectors! You're adding a bunch of capacitance to the lines when you do this; it's like adding little tanks that must fill up with electric charge on each wire, which slows down the rise time on your data bits... It will drastically diminish your Ethernet speed.
    – Bort
    Jul 27 '18 at 15:21
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    In reality, Ethernet is pretty forgiving. See this demonstration using barbed wire to carry messages! sigcon.com/Pubs/edn/SoGoodBarbedWire.htm. That said, discontinuities might affect throughput, but it's up to @Nate to determine if it meets his needs. Jul 27 '18 at 15:22
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    You are increasing capacitance where it matters. Between-wire capacitance (spaced-out wires) is not that important here, and presumably in a electromagnetically clean environment, spaced-out wires would work. However, there is series capacitance and resistance added where the screw terminals, wires, etc., meet. At low Ethernet speeds, this might be no issue, but at modern speeds, you will drop lots of data.
    – Bort
    Jul 27 '18 at 16:32
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    You're so far off you're not even wrong. I don't even know where to begin.
    – Bort
    Jul 27 '18 at 17:37

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