ethernet cable type

Considering we constantly have issues with tether cables going “bad” i was thinking of ordering a custom tether cable. I have some questions about it.
Should it be a “straight through” or “cross over” cable?
Is there a disadvantage to using a “stranded” vs “solid” cable? Thinking the solid cables are the primary reason for the cables going “bad”.
Should it be CAT5, CAT5E or CAT6?

For the distances and speed, you’ll be fine with any Cat5 cable or better (5e, 6, 6a) etc. Make sure they have some strain relief at the connectors to alleviate the twisting/pulling where the cable goes into the connector.

You should be getting stranded cable, not solid. Solid is generally used in buildings to go from wiring closet to the jacks in offices/cubes/walls. It’s more unwieldy than the stranded too. If you’re going to make your own cables, make sure you get the right connectors for the type of cable you’re buying.

Finally, almost all equipment can auto-sense if it needs to be a crossover cable or not (MDI or MDI-X). I would probably NOT buy crossover cables. You can always put in a small DLink/Linksys/Netgear switch between your devices and then you won’t have to worry about the crossover cable.

If you’re using the cable for router and router, router and pc, etc. use cross over
If you’re using it for devices like router and switch, pc and switch, so on use straight

It don’t see any disadvantages between standard vs solid cables, the only really difference is the type of connector used.

For the type of cable depends on what types of speeds you want. A CAT-5 cable will most likely only get 10-100 Mbps as a CAT-6 can reach up to 10 Gbps.

So in general get a cable that fits your needs to it. Looking at speed and use

I have a 500ft spool of cat 5e cable and can make you a nice cable. Just give me a size and send me some money to ship it.

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This is probably the most important item. I’m not generally a fan of the plastic boots on the ends of the cables, but if they help provide some modicum of strain relief I would use them here as well.

You want straight through cables. Rarely have I ever needed a crossover cable.

You want stranded cable. Solid cable is good when the wire NEVER moves. Stranded is good for wire that has to flex. With flexing, the solid cable will break (internally) a lot sooner.

Solid wire is one thick piece of wire. Stranded is lots of thin wire wound together. Solid has less “resistance”, but because of its thickness, it breaks easily if it is flexed too much. Thin wire has a lot more “give”, and can survive a lot of flexing. Also, if one strand breaks, the other intact strands can spread the load across the gap. Not so with a solid wire.

The consensus here is right, you want stranded non-crossover. Most important with the driver laptop is to make sure the plugs themselves have solid clips and good strain relief. That’s the primary point of failure in my/my team’s experience.

Agreed. Stranded cable, any CAT5/5e/6 designation is fine (we’re not pushing huge amounts of data down these cables).

Strain relief, and those plastic “hoods”, are good. We keep breaking the little tabs off our (non-hooded) cables. It’s easy to do when the cables snag on things, or when tethered at a practice field and you don’t quite give it enough slack.

I own an RJ45 crimping tool so I think we’ll just cut the broken ends off the cables and make new ones. This could be a worthy investment if you find yourself replacing cables a lot.

Finally, I like to buy from Great prices.

Thank you all very much
Have any of your ordered from

Never heard of them before. Generally if build quality is of paramount importance then I buy in person to gauge quality myself.

Some teams remove the clip on both ends of the tether on purpose, to save the more expensive equipment it’s attached to.

be careful with the difference between solid and stranded, solid wires are usually used inside walls as they do not need to bend as much, if they are bent back and forth the copper will metal fatigue and break but the stranded wires have much more flexibility and don’t break as easily and are there for used between the wall and the application. the reason different connectors are used for solid or stranded is because the wires need to make good contact with the pins, so for stranded the crimp that makes contact with the wire is a little different than the solid wire crimp.

Why order something custom when standard long Ethernet cables are so inexpensive? E.g. you can buy a 100 foot Cat5e Ethernet cable from Amazon for $12.99 with free Prime shipping. It’s inexpensive enough that you can buy a couple extras for what a custom cable probably costs.

This is probably the best option, it is not a critical application. If you find that the tether no longer works, you can just change it out for another.
Our Sponsor School, replaced their entire school network with CAT6, so we got about 50kg of CAT5/5E ethernet cables. We donated the long ones to teams at the Australia Regional who did not have any cables. We also removed the inner wire cores from some, while they are too fragile for use in some applications, they are good for making jumpers on circuit boards among a few other uses.

We had no problems with using a long solid core ethernet cable as a tether, but I would have a spare or two on hand.

Disposable cables are OK, but I’d rather have something that works and not worry about it.

I buy all my cables from They have stranded cable that is pretty robust. Have them put the extra long ends on them (extra strain relief). The cable comes in a number of colors, so you may find one that matches your team colors.

You’ll need to talk to their sales department, since the online order is for solid conductor patch cables.

Also, if you’re making your own cables, make sure you have the wires in the correct order. Follow the order specified in TIA568-A or -B. Pick one of those standards and stick with it. A crossover cable is really 568-A on one side and 568-B on the other.

Finally, make sure you have a cable tester if you are making your own. Bad crimps and kinked cable can cause all sorts of intermittent, maddening problems.

A cable tester is probably a good investment even if you don’t make your own cables, especially for the kind of “mission critical” environment our cables will often see.

If you don’t have a crimper to make/fix cables, then plan to keep a few spares, and if a cable starts acting up (and you can confirm the cable is bad), toss it in the garbage.

I’d recommend getting a cable tester and a bunch of LONG (50ft+) pre-made ethernet cables from Monoprice. Moulded cables, in my experience, last significantly longer than any cable I’ve made myself, especially given the abuse they receive from a team.