Network splicing.

So, this week I have had hectic days pulling all my desks and entertainment system apart, ostensibly to clear up some old cables and create new electrical outlets. It seems that with each passing year, we need more sockets to use.

It’s hardly surprising though.Just looking at my TV unit I seem to have a Telly, 2 XBOX consoles, a blu-ray player, an amplifier, an android box and an iptv box… So that’s already seven plugs, and of course, seven network cables required as well.

On to the nearby speaker on the right, and we have the wifi router from the telecoms company, as well as a network switch and a cordless phone. Moving on, we find the computer system which utilises 5 plugs… the PC itself, the monitor, speakers, printer, and now, the LED lighting system.

Add a couple of mobile phone chargers, and you might soon realize what an amount of power we use. (I forgot to add the AC!!!)

The sad thing is that these things grow ‘organically’, and while starting out initially well sorted out, the sheer amount of cabling simply loses any semblance of elegance as they degenerate into a tangle of spaghetti behind that unit. It simply happens and there’s sod all one can do.

But I decided to tackle it anyway. The first thing was to plan things out. With that sorted, I had to get past the not inconsiderable problem of increasing my outlets from the wall. This would separate my ‘gadgets’ into four distinct layers.

  1. Computer System
  2. Air Conditioning
  3. Communications
  4. Entertainment Unit

There is a reason for these layers and that is to have easy autonomy for each. While not subscribing to the thought of switching everything off just to save a few measly cents per year, I am more concerned about the longevity of the electronics.

patch_cables_184602817-56a1ada45f9b58b7d0c1a16a

So, with just one outlet with one double pole socket, it was obvious I needed to expand on this 3X3. The solution was an elegant one. At Big-Mat in TaQali I saw this 4gang in 1 adapter. Truly excellent, and for twelve Euros, a definite steal. This thingy had the ability to fit OVER a 3X3 hole socket in the wall, with just two screws. Something similar below, yes I know, it is 3-gang, but I got the last 4 switched one.

plug

Re-routing everything took me ages, many hours. But it was finally done. I applied the last bits of LEDs to my monitor and desk and it looks absolutely stonking. At night, it even looks better!

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Inevitably, the hardest part was sorting out the network cables. There are too many cables. No wonder we tend to go to wifi. Anyway, finally getting round to the real reason for writing this.

After re-routing these pesky network cables, I was left with the unenviable task of trimming down my Solar Panel network cable. It was waay too long, and I don’t mean a metre or two extra, noooo… I had about an extra eight metres to get rid of.

And I was down to my last RJ45 plug. AARGH! I connected it, and for some reason, I neglected to check the right page on my solar panel page to see if the data was being received. Since it was night by then, I assumed, obviously wrongly, that the connector was spliced incorrectly.

Now, sadly, I am a statistic fan, so having my panels and not having a monitoring system was scandalous… and I thought.. WHY do network cables need to be on a plug perforce?

So I did something I never imagined I would do. I cut two extra cables with crimped ends AFTER I did some experimental speed measurement on them.

I then stripped the twisted pairs, twisted one end to another cable, and finally taped over them.

cat5e

Once again, I tested the ‘lengthened’ cable, and expecting it to fail, was surprised to see that there was no packet data being lost at all. How could that be? All my life I have been taught that nothing worse than a ‘patched’ patch lead could exist in a network.

But it very obviously worked. I was still getting my 30MBPs speed from my provider.

ping

So I thought, why not try it on my longer run of cable from the solar panels to the network switch?

Well, I did, and the damn thing actually worked again. And so, I’m thinking, why all this fuss with balanced plugs, joiners, booties, and expensive crimping tools? It is obviously the way to go, but in a pinch, can be used easily without any significant loss of data.

Don’t get me wrong, being neat, tidy, organized and well connected is the only way I could accept my network to be, but again, on a cold, dark, wet Saturday night, it is not the end of the world either.

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