Whether my church needs a new cable run or I’m working on setting up my house to have easy access to wired internet, these are the tools I have found useful to make the process of running cables easier.
|Price I paid*
|Why it’s useful
|Ethernet cable tester + identifier + tone generator (VDV501-851)
|This cable tester allows me to put the node in one room and go to another to validate that both sides are punched correctly. This model will show me which pairs are swapped if incorrect, but also has the ability to send out a tone signal on several different pairs (which I’ve used to check whether an old punch was A or B).
|Basic Ethernet cable tester
|A much more affordable option that only tests the cable by progressing through each channel in order. I picked up this option to have a second tester handy when working with a helper without paying quite as much as buying two of the VDV501-851.
|Ethernet crimping tool with rachet
|I chose this for my crimping tool because I prefer ratcheting crimpers and already had the VDV501-851 (see first line) and I could get a carrying case that fit these two + a few more tools.
|Universal cutter/stripper for Ethernet cables
|I set the blade on this to just score the sheeting on my cables -> I find this is the easiest way to strip them when preparing to punch/crimp an end on
|This can pair with any tone generator to make finding un-terminated cables easier (useful for when doing a bunch -> crimp one end, then tone it and use this tool to find it on the other end). This particular model also has a pair of contacts at the base with an LED -> if a toned pair of stripped wires is inserted, the light turns on. I’ve use this feature to combined with my VDV501-851 to test if the other end was punched as A or as B.
|Punch down tool
|I use this to punch down the female (style 110) Ethernet keystone jacks I use. I chose this model because it went with my tester and crimping and tone detector and I could get one carrying case for all of them.
|Carrying case for all my Ethernet tools
|I like to have my tools organized and portable.
|Magnet system for pulling cables through walls/insulation
|This makes guiding the wire from a drop through a wall (insulated or not) to my exit hole much easier. In theory, this could be done with just a really strong magnet and a washer tied to the cable, but I didn’t have a strong enough magnet when I started working on an insulated wall and chose to just buy the tool and later come back and do that drop much more easily.
|Square cutter for low-voltage old-work frame
|Combining this with an oscillating multi-tool (I just bought a wired one from the box store), this makes cutting the hole to mount an old-work low-voltage frame in the wall (which I then mount the Ethernet jack to via a keystone plate) take only about 30 seconds.
*All items listed in this document were purchased with my own money
Most of these tools have great user manuals of their own, but I’ll also link these three YouTube videos that helped me learn about them and about crimping Ethernet cables:
PlatinumTools’ video on crimping CAT6A (which adds a straightener and a grounding jacket when compared to CAT 5/5E/6)
TampaTec’s video on how to run wires in various wall situations (Not ethernet specific) This was where I learned about the magnetic pull system.