When you plug a network device into a local area network, or LAN, it is highly likely that you will be doing so with an RJ45 jack. Although some networks rely on other types of connectors, such as BNC, RJ45s are now the norm in the majority of Australian offices and homes. One of the chief advantages of an RJ45 connector is that it is easy to plug in and remove with no specialist IT skills being required. A clip or lug on the back of the jack simply folds down when the connection is made and then sits up holding the jack firmly in place. Conversely, when an RJ45 jack needs to be removed all you need to do is to push the lug down and the entire connector will slide out easily. This approach in the design of an RJ45 makes them extremely versatile. They can be plugged in multiple times without degradation making them ideal for both patch bays and structured data cabling environments. What are their other benefits in an increasingly wireless world?
Although RJ45 jacks were originally designed to offer a great deal of functionality for all sorts of purposes, they are now most commonly used for 10/100 Ethernet connections. Faster than Wi-Fi, nearly all modern Ethernet-enabled computing equipment made today has an RJ45 port in it. The network interface card of a tower PC will provide one or more of them. They are often integrated into the motherboard of smaller devices, such as laptop computers. Because peripheral devices, like scanners and printers, can also be plugged into a LAN using the same connection type, the use of patch cables with RJ45 jacks at either end becomes incredibly convenient. This is simply due to the fact that every device has the same compatibility.
Extra Protection Unlike other connector systems, RJ45 jacks can be offered additional protection which makes the system good even in harsh environments. Where a network is required in an industrial rather than an office setting, RJ45s with tension-resisting boots can be used, protecting the pins of the jack from stress. These reinforced RJ45s also often come with plastic hoods which protect the lug – ideal where cables need to be patched, removed and re-patched on multiple occasions.
Telephony and Data Communications
In places where a LAN is running alongside a telephone system, structured cabling that uses RJ45 connectors is a highly versatile choice. It means both computer equipment and telephones can utilise the same system and be interchanged at will. All sorts of telephony equipment – from business system keyphones to facsimile machines – will work well with these standardised connectors.