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How to Punch Down a Cat5E Keystone Jack
So you want to learn how to punch down a Cat5E Keystone Jack? Wiring your own keystone jacks can save a lot of money and hassle for your install. It's a great skill to have! But, how do you make sense of all those wires?

Get the Right Tools for the Job

It’s important to know the kind of tools you need before you start the process. A pair of electrician’s scissors will suffice if you don’t have a wire stripper. For the purpose of this demonstration, we are using 110-Type keystone jacks and an impact punchdown tool. Now that all tools are in place, make sure to follow the step-by-step instructions below to so as to correctly punch down your Cat5E keystone jack. Scroll down to view our instructional video for a demonstration.

How to Punch Down a Cat5E Keystone Jack

Wire Stripper

Step 1: Strip the Jacket

Position the wire stripper properly on the cable. Adjust the stripper so that it only scores the jacket. This prevents it from scratching the twisted cables underneath and makes it easier to remove the jacket. Carefully strip off a length of jacket approximately one inch from the end of the jacket. Before you continue with the next step, check all wires to ensure they are not damaged as this might ultimately cause a break in the connection.

Step 2: Straighten and Untwist the Pairs

Completely untwist and straighten out each pair so you have eight separate wires exposed.

Step 3: Consult the Diagram

The keystone jack will most likely have both T568A and T568B color codes illustrated on the jack. They are very similar, but the most used color code combination is T568B. The keystone jack is made up of blades devised for solid cable. Lay out the wires separately and align them with the correct color-coded blades. Once you have laid out all wires, your keystone jack should resemble the color code combination on the wiring diagram.

Step 4: Punch Down the Wires

Before you use the punch tool to push down the cables, check that your tool is positioned with the cutting blade on the outside or you will end up cutting the wires off on the inside and they will fail to reach the jack blades. If you have a keystone jack punch down stand, place your keystone jack on top of it. If you don’t have this tool, you can place your keystone jack on a desk or stable flat surface. Do not use your palm to support the keystone jack in case the jack slips. You could end up cutting yourself with the tool. Position the punch down tool over your first wire, in between the blades of the keystone jack. Push down firmly until you hear a slight pop-like sound. The wire should now be cut off. Continue with the rest of the wires until you have completed the keystone jack. If you trimmed the jacket by one inch, by now the jacket should be close to the jack.

Step 5: Cover it Up

If your keystone jack has a dust cover, press it onto the rear compartment of your jack. The process is complete!
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