What is an Ethernet coupler?

Ethernet cables connect computers, routers, modems, and peripherals such as printers to Ethernet networks and communication cards. Cables carry signals that allow data transfer over a local or wide area network. Ethernet couplers are plastic or metal connectors placed between two Ethernets. The coupler allows you to join cables together and make a longer cable. This computer accessory makes it unnecessary to open an Ethernet cable and expose the wiring so it can be spliced ​​into a second cable.

Cat 5 cable with RJ45 plug.

A standard Ethernet coupler is a small rectangular box open at both ends. The design allows the signal from the cable that plugs into each end to travel to the cable that plugs into the opposite side. Inside each open side of the Ethernet coupler are the appropriate wires that match those on the cable.

Ethernet cables are often used to establish physical connections to routers.

An Ethernet coupler has color-coded wires inside the open end of the coupler box. When someone correctly inserts the end of an Ethernet cable that has connectors covered in a plastic sheath, the cable can make contact with the wires inside the coupler box. A coupler box also has a notch that corresponds to a flexible guide in the cable sheath. This notch allows you to secure the cable and avoids inserting the cable incorrectly. To complete the coupling, insert the second Ethernet cable into the opposite end of the coupler box.

Before purchasing an Ethernet coupler, you need to determine the type of Ethernet cable it will connect with. The most common classes of Ethernet cables used by consumers are Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6 and Cat 6a. Each of these cables has a different data transmission rate. These cables typically have their rating printed on their protective outer jacket.

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Cat 6 cables are backwards compatible with Cat 5 cables, but ideally one should match cable types and couplers when connecting Ethernet cables. Ethernet coupler retailers have specifications that match Cat 5 or Cat 6 cables. Using an Ethernet coupler with an incorrect rating can result in loss of data transmission signal or failure between the network card and the device to which it is connected.

The maximum length, including any Ethernet couplers used in the configuration, is different for each cable class. The upper limit for Cat 5 cables is 328 feet (100 meters). For Cat 6 cables, the maximum recommended cable length is the same; in mixed network cabling configurations, however, the recommended length drops to 180 feet (55 meters).

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