On many occasions we have asked ourselves what is more worthwhile: buying a ready-made Ethernet network cable, or buying a reel of cable and assembling it ourselves. The answer is that it depends on the number of cables and the length that we need. If we only need to buy one or two cables, then it is more worth buying an individual cable directly, but if you are going to assemble many cables, then it is more worth buying a coil, the necessary tools and the connectors. Today in this article we are going to show you how much a network cable purchased per meter costs and everything you need to know to save money.
What do you need to mount your own network cable
To mount a network cable you will need a cable reel, the corresponding RJ-45 connectors and also tools to crimp the cable and even to test that we have crimped it correctly and we have not made a mistake. Below, you can see all the “ingredients” you need.
The first thing we must buy is the network cable in the form of a coil. Currently there are coils of 50, 75, 100 and even 305 meters. Depending on our needs, we can buy the coils of one length or another. Of course, the more cable we buy, the cheaper it will be per meter, however, we must buy a coil according to our needs and not buy the longest one. The price of the coil depends on the length, the category of the cable and also the type (UTP, FTP or SFTP), so we must take it into account.
A coil of cable 50 meters long, Cat 6 category and UTP type is worth approximately 30 or 35 euros. However, if we buy 200 meters of this same cable, it is worth about 80 euros, so it is clear that it is worth buying longer coils if we need it.
A coil of cable 100 meters long, Cat 6A category and FTP type is worth approximately 80 euros. A clearly higher price than the previous one, but it is more worth it for very long cable runs, or to achieve speeds of 10Gbps or more. When purchasing this type of cable, you should keep in mind that you will need to purchase Cat 6A RJ-45 connectors which are more expensive than normal UTP.
A coil of cable 50 meters long, Cat 7 category and S/FTP type is worth approximately 40 euros. If you need 100 meters the price is approximately 85 euros. This price is much higher than UTP cabling, but it is very similar to that of Cat 6A cable, so our recommendation is that you go directly to this type of cable because it is worth it, especially for the extra coating it has.
As you can see, the price of the coils depends on the length, category of the cable and also the type of cable.
The RJ-45 connectors to use is also an aspect that we must assess, especially depending on how many cables we want to mount and the type of cable chosen previously. There are several RJ-45 connectors to choose from:
- RJ-45 type UTP for Cat 6 cables
- RJ-45 type S/FTP for Cat6A or Cat 7 cables
The UTP type are the cheapest and most basic, because they are not even shielded to reduce interference in the connector itself.
The price of 10 units of UTP connectors for Cat6 cables is around 5 euros, if we buy 50 units the price is only 12 euros, so it is worth going directly for the 50 units to save a lot of money, provided that You are going to use them, of course.
The price of 10 units of S/FTP connectors for Cat6A and Cat7 cables is around 20 euros, a clearly higher price than the previous ones, but we must bear in mind that they are much better as they are shielded, have guides and are compatible with Cat cabling. 7. Although there are different types of connectors for Cat 7 cables, our favorites are the following:
You should also bear in mind that the crimpers for RJ-45 Cat 7 connectors must be specifically designed for this, because the connector is different in dimensions than the usual Cat5e or Cat 6, so you must keep this in mind.
Crimping and testing tools
Now that we have both the network cable and the RJ-45 connectors, you must buy the crimper, which is the essential tool for mounting network cables. Our recommendation is that you buy a crimper compatible with Cat 6 RJ-45 connectors and also Cat 7, this crimper is the one we have and it works perfectly:
Although it has a price of 40 euros and there are other models that cost around 15 euros, this VCELINK model is the one we recommend because it supports both types of RJ-45 connectors and because the quality of the materials is very good.
Regarding the tester to check that the crimping of the cable has been done correctly, there are very professional testers who will give us a lot of information. However, we believe that at a domestic or SME level, a cheaper tester of approximately 10 euros is sufficient. We have a basic tester like this:
If you want something more professional, then you can buy this cable tester which will tell us a lot more information:
As you can see, depending on the number of network cables you are going to make, it will be worth buying a coil and mounting them yourself, or buying them directly ready-made.
The total cost if you want to mount your own network cable is the sum of the cable coil, the RJ-45 connectors and also the crimping and testing tools of the cables themselves. Not only do we have to think that the cost is only for the cable, in fact, a large part of the cost falls on both the connectors and the crimping tools, especially if it is the first time that you are going to build your own Ethernet network cable.
The sum of the professional crimper that we have recommended and the cheap tester add up to approximately 50 euros, and this is just to start, then you will have to decide between the different categories of cable and the type:
- 100 meters of UTP type Cat 6 cable and 10 RJ-45 UTP connectors: 47 euros for the cable plus 5 euros for the connectors, total price around 52 euros.
- 100 meters of FTP-type Cat 6A cable and 10 RJ-45 S/FTP connectors: 80 euros for the cable plus 20 euros for the connectors, total price approximately 100 euros.
- 100 meters of Cat 7 S/FTP type cable and 10 RJ-45 S/FTP connectors: 85 euros for the cable plus 20 euros for the connectors, total price approximately 105 euros.
In the previous options we will be able to make 5 cables of 10 meters each. In the first case, the cable will cost around 10 euros, and in the second and third cases it will cost around 20 euros, not counting the cost of the tools (crimper and tester).
If we see the prices of individual cables on Amazon or in any other store, we can see that if we buy them already made, they will be somewhat cheaper, for example, we can buy 10-meter Cat 7 cables for approximately 15 euros, there are some cheaper and others more expensive. It is only worth buying them to make them ourselves if we are going to wire the house and we have to pass it through conduits, or if we are going to make many network cables.