Copper is not supposed to care about color.

cable So I had to make some new network cables for my house.  I understand the concept of how to make cable, and I have made several cables in the past.  I even have my own crimper and connectors.   I have even taught many folks on how to make CAT5 cable, and even told them about the standard colors and how to use the cable pairs.  Heck I even showed them how to create cross over cables.  I even taught back that color really does not matter, as long as both ends of the connectors match, after all:

Copper is copper right?

So time to make cable get my connectors, crimper and cable.  I cut the cable to length, trim the cable and match both ends of the cable.  I then crimp them and plug them in, and whola a working cable.  I got a whopping 100MBS over my gigabit network.  

Hey wait a second, I have gig NICs, gig switch, I should have gig speeds.  Where did all the speed go?  Well apparently copper can tell the order and color of the wires, so color does matter.  So as it turns out I had to cut the end off my newly created cables and went back to the standard order:

  • color Orange White
  • Orange
  • Green White
  • Blue
  • Blue White
  • Green
  • Brown White
  • Brown

After going through the stripping, untwisting, ordering, crimping and plugging the cable back in, I got the magic the gigabit speed.  While copper is copper in the cable, order and color does matter if you want gigabit speeds for your network.  So if you make your own cable and wonder where the speed has gone.  Make sure you follow the proper order and you will be fine.

I know I am not the only one to ever do this, I may be the only one to admit, have a great weekend!

Comments (5)

  1. MOW says:

    So now you know why it is called twisted PAIR 😉

    Greetings MOW

  2. Matt Hester says:

    LOL, w00t how are MOW?  How is PowerShell?

  3. Peter says:

    I also found out the hard way that you need to crimp all 8 cables.  Sometimes when I was feeling lazy I would only crimp 2 pairs since we are 100 Mbit only.  Then I got my first Gigabit adapters and wondered why I was only getting 100 Mbit.  Turns out Gigabit uses all 8 cables.

  4. Tim Carney says:

    Copper doesn’t care about color but it does care about twists and the different color pairs are twisted differently. Copper also needs to keep its twist going as long as possible into the plug.


  5. Jonathan says:

    Just to be clear, it’s not the colors that it cares about — just that in addition to each wire on each end going to the same pin in the plug, certain ones have to be a part of the same pair (ie. green + green/white) — 1/2, 3/6, 4/5, 7/8.

    You should be able to change the colors being used, so long as you don’t cross pairs.

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