Smart Building

Achieving Labor Savings During Cable Termination

Matt Baum

Integrators and installers fight a constant juggling act: Finding cable and connectivity that will perform well and provide what end-users need while also being cost effective and keeping the bottom line and profitability in mind.

Using inexpensive components may help on the latter (profitability) – but could create performance glitches, cable termination problems and testing issues, which ultimately slow installers down and waste time. In some cases, labor is the only opportunity to decrease project costs.


For this reason, labor and yield are important issues to consider when calculating the real cost of the cables and connectors you choose. (When calculating, don’t forget that the cable termination process may take longer if the work area is hard to reach or if installers are working within a restricted space.) Even if the cables and connectors you choose have higher material costs, the difference can be made up in labor savings.


Connectors that are simple to install can be installed faster, which lowers labor costs. But connectors that install quickly will become useless if they frequently fail and require rework as a result. Low-loss connectors pass testing more often and fail less frequently, which lowers labor costs along with rework. 


To maximize labor and squeeze as many minutes out of the workday as possible, look for a cable termination process that:

  • Is fast, intuitive and simple
  • Is easy for almost anyone to learn quickly
  • Eliminates the potential for human error when possible
  • Doesn’t require multiple, complex tools
  • Reduces the need for continual rework

Cable and connectors that offer a fast, simple termination process not only reduce labor, but also allow installers to:

  • Save time so they can move on to other tasks faster
  • Shorten the learning curve, making it easy for new technicians to onboard quickly and reduce the number of questions they have
  • Carry fewer tools around with them

Traditionally, copper cable termination involves stripping the cable jacket, separating pairs and conductors, seating each conductor to the proper IDC tower, punching each wire down to make the connection and cutting off excess. 


This termination process can take anywhere from five to 10 minutes per connector (a jack, for example). When you have several hundred or several thousand terminations to make, the labor hours add up quickly (not counting the rework that must be done if components fail testing frequently). A study conducted by Belden a few years ago uncovered that nearly 5% of Category 6A jacks and plugs fail to meet standards after the first termination. This equates to a first pass yield of 95%. In these cases, installers have to undo the termination and replace the connector or re-terminate it. If you have 3,500 terminations to make in a single project, this means that 175 of them (at least) will need to be redone.


It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that, when you can shave a minute or more – or even mere seconds – off of cable termination time, installers start to put hours back into the day. This means they can get more work done faster.


What REVConnect® Offers in Terms of Labor Savings

Belden’s REVConnect Connectivity System helps installers find the right balance between what each party needs for a successful installation.

  • It reduces rework with a first pass yield of 99% – a major increase over the typical 95%.

  • This means that installers spend less time undoing the termination, leading to decreased labor costs.

  • It improves termination time by 25%, making installers much more efficient.

  • It reduces deployment and testing time by 10%, further contributing to labor savings.

  • It’s simple and quick to learn in 15 minutes, with one process, one tool and one set of core components to perform any RJ45 connectorization.

  • Its unique tool saves time, with a jacket-prep insert to fully prep the cable and complete the cable termination with a single tool.