How to Connect Two Cat 5E Cables

by Ma Wen Jie

Cat 5e cables are similar to Cat 5 cables, but have lower levels or far-end crosstalk on the twisted pair. Cat 5e cables are designed for connecting computers and network equipment using gigabit Ethernet networking. Some Cat 5e cables have external shielding to prevent electrical interference that could have a negative effect on modern gigabit Ethernet networks. Cat 5 and Cat 5e networks both have the same cable length limitation of 100 meters. Connections over 100 meters will need to be bridged with a switch or hub.

Connect the first network cable to the computer, switch, or network device. Until this cable is connected to the second cable, the link light, if one exists, on the card or device will remain dark.

Connect the second cable to the destination network device, switch or router. Until this cable is connected to the second cable, the link light, if one exists, on the card or device will remain dark.

Connect the other end of the first cable to one side of a dual female RJ-45 adapter if you are using this type of adapter. These adapters are designed to connect two network cables without external power. The combined length of the two cables have to be less than a total of 100 meters. If you are using a network hub or router to connect the two cables, plug both cables into a port on the hub or router. If the hub is a powered hub, each cable in this configuration can be 100 meters.

Test the network connection. Using the Windows, Unix or Linux "ping" command is a good way to test network connectivity. If you aren't sure of the destination device's IP address, another test is to check the "link" light on the network adapters on both network adapters.


  • check Using a dual-female RJ-45 adapter is the easiest way to connect two cables. Given a choice between a hub and a switch, use a switch. Switches are generally faster than hubs.


  • close Check that both cables are Cat 5e--if one is a Cat 5 cable, the entire cable run will effectively operate at Cat 5 speed instead of Cat 5e; the overall throughput of a combined cable run is effectively limited by the throughput of the slowest cable. Keep cable run angles smooth and wide, sharp bends can cause a degradation in network performance.

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About the Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.

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