When the field-terminated plug was introduced to the market, installers were thrilled about the quick, easy deployment that was now possible on jobsites. By eliminating the several small parts and steps required to terminate properly, field-terminated plugs let installers swiftly terminate onsite to connect IoT devices like PoE LED lighting, surveillance cameras, wireless access points and digital signage displays.

The field-terminated plug supports a new type of topology known as “modular plug terminated link” (MPTL) that was recently included in the ANSI/TIA-568.2-D standard. This topology allows RJ45 plugs to be terminated directly onto horizontal cabling and then measured in the field. It’s also called “direct connect” because it allows a variety of devices to be plugged without an outlet and patch cord.

Traditional-vs- Direct-Connection

As field-terminated plugs were rolled out onto job sites, questions naturally arose. Were the plugs compatible with all types of devices? Did they perform as well as the traditional configuration? They may terminate quickly, but were they easy to terminate or was the process hard to learn? How long did training take? The answers to many of these questions have prevented field-terminated plugs from permeating the market as quickly as expected – along with the fact that they can be difficult to deploy in small, tight spaces.

An open space with an outlet nearby where a surveillance camera needs to be installed supports a traditional field-terminated plug pretty easily. But what if it were a wireless access point with brackets that obstruct the RJ45 entry port? Or a wall-mounted display with a very tight bend radius to access the entry port?

To allow installers to take advantage of the MPTL configuration for time and cost savings, a new kind of field-terminated plug – Belden’s REVConnect FlexPlug – enables high-performance, direct connections to devices while addressing many concerns of the traditional field-terminated plug.

First, the FlexPlug eliminates compatibility questions when connecting devices. It works with any IoT device that uses an RJ45 plug, whether it’s a camera, wireless access point or display.

It features the award-winning REVConnect termination method, which uses a universal “core” comprised of a cable manager and cap to support a simple, straightforward process requiring no pair separation. Within 15 minutes or less, installers with little or no experience can learn to complete termination.

FlexPlugs can also be deployed in applications where the size of a typical field-terminated plug can’t be used to create a direct connection to a device due to plug size and/or cable routing constraints.

Let’s compare the characteristics of a traditional field-terminated plug to Belden’s FlexPlug.

Installation Efficiency

  • Field-terminated plug: Requires many components, including a jack, biscuit box and patch cord
  • FlexPlug: Eliminates the need for a jack, biscuit box and patch cord for faster installation with fewer components

Termination Method

  • Field-terminated plug: Terminates with a 110-style punchdown tool that often requires pair separation and longer termination
  • FlexPlug: Terminates with one REVConnect tool, which is equipped with a cable preparation feature that strips the cable jacket and cuts the cross-member and rip cord, and can be used on any REVConnect jack and/or plug

Application Flexibility

  • Field-terminated plug: Plug size and cable routing constraints can limit the ability to complete the direct-connect method in certain applications
  • FlexPlug: Can be deployed in tight spaces thanks to a compact, low-profile plug footprint and a flexible, Bonded-Pair cable that can accommodate 90-degree to 180-degree bends from the connection interface

Compatibility

  • Field-terminated plug: Works with IoT devices in certain applications without tight spaces
  • FlexPlug: Works with any IoT device with an RJ45 plug – no nearby outlet needed

The REVConnect FlexPlug from Belden

black FlexPlug from BeldenThe FlexPlug product family consists of Category 6A (10GX) and Cat 6+ unshielded REVConnect flexible, plenum-rated plugs. These plugs allow you to quickly connect a terminated REVConnect core on horizontal cabling to IoT and PoE devices up to 100W. Learn more about FlexPlug here.

REVConnect