How to wire an Ethernet plug

Updated July 19, 2017

Although wired networks lack the convenience of a wireless connection, there’s certainly something to be said for their security and speed. Wired connections are fully secure because no access is possible without a physical connection to the network’s Ethernet switch. Additionally, they handle file transfers from one computer to another much faster than a wireless connection. The advantage of wiring the plugs of your own Ethernet cables is twofold: it’s usually much cheaper, and, if you’re planning on drilling holes to wire your house, it means you only need to drill holes small enough for the cable to pass through -- about 6 mm (1/4 inch).

Put a boot over the cable (optional).

Strip the cable’s outer coating from the end where you’d like to install the plug. You should see four unshielded twisted pairs (UTP) of wires, coloured blue and blue/white, brown and brown/white, green and green/white and orange and orange/white. Some cables may not colour the striped wires, instead leaving them white; if this is the case, you’ll need to keep track of the colour to which the white wires were twisted.

Unwind the twisted pairs so that you have eight separate wires.

Organise the wires in order according to the cable type you’d like to produce. For a standard straight-through Ethernet cable, pins 1 through 8 should be as follows: green/white, green, orange/white, blue, blue/white, orange, brown/white and brown.

Pinch the wires together between your thumb and forefinger so that they make a flat array, each cable touching the next with no space in between.

Cut the wires with the sharp part of a RJ45 crimper tool neatly about the length of the Ethernet plug away from the cable’s outer coating.

Find pin 1 on the Ethernet plug by holding the plug so that the tab is facing the floor and the cable end is facing you. The leftmost pin is pin 1.

Insert the organised wires into the RJ45 plug gently, with the pins and wire array matched up correctly.

Double-check that the wires stayed in the correct positions after being inserted into the plug.

Use the crimping tool over the plug to pinch the wires down onto the plug’s pins.

Repeat the process for the other end of the cable, cutting the cable from a spool if necessary.


Know the type of cable you would like to produce. Straight-through cables are matched up to the plugs identically on both ends of the cable, but crossover cables are wired to the plug differently on each end. Minimising cable length minimises data travel time, thus speeding up a wired network. Try to at least keep each cable shorter than 100 meters (about 328 feet). Boots are not required, but they do help prevent the tab from catching and breaking when tangled with other wires.


Make sure to buy the appropriate cable type. Cat (shortened from category) 5 cable is rated for 10/100BaseT functionality, and category 5e (the e stands for enhanced) is rated for 1000BaseT (commonly called gigabit Ethernet) functionality. Category 6 or later will provide compatibility with future standards. Two colour code standards for Ethernet wiring exist: T568A and T568B. Both work identically, but aren’t entirely compatible with one another, so make sure you stay consistent with the colour code standard you use (unless you’re making a crossover cable). T568A is the preferred and most common colour code used.

Things You'll Need

  • RJ45 boots (optional)
  • Solid-core UTP cable
  • RJ45 crimper tool
  • RJ45 plugs
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About the Author

Michael Hintz is a technically inclined individual with a penchant for the English language. Having recently graduated from Eastern Michigan University, where he wrote for the school's newspaper, he is now looking for full-time writing and editing work while building his online writing portfolio at sites like eHow and Answerbag.