How to trace network cabling

Written by jedadiah casey
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How to trace network cabling
Use a cable toner / tracker to verify cable connectivity. (network cable mess image by willem169 from

In an ideal setting, all network cables are routed nicely and each cable is clearly labelled at both ends so there is no confusion as to which cable is which and where each cable goes. Unfortunately, often times local area networks are assembled quickly to meet deadlines and neatness becomes an afterthought. This becomes a problem when the network needs troubleshooting at the physical layer. Tracing the network cables to find out where each one goes is an important part of the process.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cable toner / tracker

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  1. 1

    Connect the voltage-generating end of the cable toner / tracker to one end of the cable. This is done by placing a metal clip directly on the copper wires or by inserting a cable into a network jack.

  2. 2

    Power on the voltage-generating end.

  3. 3

    Power on the tone-generating end of the toner / tracker.

  4. 4

    Run the tone-generating end of the toner / tracker over the other end of the collection of cables. When a tone is generated, the other end of the cable is located.

Tips and warnings

  • Once the cables have been determined end to end, it is recommended to label each cable to prevent needing to perform these steps a second time.

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