I've spent the last 20 years with Belden telling my customers why we won't sell you an RJ-45 plug. It all started with the old Category 3 days, when industry studies confirmed that the #1 cause of network failure was "owner installed plugs." So the solution to this was clear. We sell you a jack and we sell you a patch cord.


Well, the networking folks had no problem with that but, as Cat 3 turned into Cat 4, then Cat 5, Cat 5e, and now Cat 6, these cables began to be used for all sorts of things, not just Ethernet networks. If you're from the AV world, you want to wire point-to-point, from Box A to Box B. A jack and a patch cord just won't work.

While Belden continued to proceed with caution, there were lots of other folks who were happy to sell you an RJ-45 plug. Of course, some of them were "variable" in their quality and consistency, but most of the time they worked OK. We may be hesitant to join the bandwagon, but we're not blind, and we finally have seen the light.

Cabling to Support 4K UHD HDBaseT Applications - White PaperOne of the new applications that turned us around was HDBaseT, a new protocol that uses those category cables to do things that are not strictly Ethernet. Another was the fact that the audio community has recognized that these category cables make excellent audio cables.

Way back in 1995, some courageous field recordists began using Belden 1872A MediaTwist (unshielded Category 6, was Cat 5 back then) to record classical music. Clearly, the times they were a changin'! That was 17 years ago!

This year, InfoComm (June 13-15) is at the Las Vegas Convention Center. We are in booth N2641. We're going to do more than just show you some installable RJ-45s, we're going to let you install them. We'll give you a 10-ft. piece of cable, a couple of connectors and you can practice. When you're ready, we're going to time you doing a complete cable. Then we'll test the finished cable on a Fluke tester! A Tool Kit is available to make the process seamless.


If the cable works and you have the best time of the day, you will win a new iPad. Do you install Cat5e or Cat 6? We probably should give an award to the last hold out who doesn't install Cat 5e or 6! It's ubiquitous, it's everywhere. To make this even more interesting, this is on our new cable, Belden 2412F, a shielded Cat 6. Yes, we make a shielded Cat 6 cable as well. You can take this 10-foot cable with you when you're done.

I remember the zoo we had when we did this at NAB with our new compression BNCs. Come visit our zoo at InfoComm! There are free Exhibits-Only show passes. To register, go to www.infocommshow.org and select "Register Now." When it asks for the VIP Registration Code, put in BEL745 and follow the prompts. You are encouraged to share this information with any friend or associate. See you at InfoComm!