There’s a Lennon canine tradition. Let me explain.

We have a speedy fibre connection. It comes into the house at the corner of the living room, which is great for the TV and all, but is quite distant from my office, a converted carport in the walkout basement. I have a wifi mesh network, which does OK, but internet speeds are decimated, at the very place I need velocity the most. So, I’ve had a cable run out of my office, along the underside of the balcony, through the wall and into the lounge. Boom. High speed internet in the office.

Now - the canine tradition. Charlie, new to the house, discovered the two feet of cable on the terrace, and enjoyed it as a mid-afternoon snack. Last week, foster-dog Chicago repeated the trick.

Thanks Chi-Chi.

How hard can it be? I thought.

  1. Get the cable free from the hole in the wall. Done.
  2. Assess whether cable still has sufficient length. Done.
  3. Source a connector - so that the severed parts may be joined. Done.
  4. Watch You Tube videos on terminating a patch cable. Done.
  5. Source a crimping tool. Done.
  6. Source RJ45 connectors. Done.
  7. Use the crimping tool to attach the connectors to the cables…

Now, I’ve seen some nonsense in my time. I worked in financial services for heavens sake. Who, in God’s name, came up with the RJ45? It’s the most ridiculous, stupid, badly thought-out connector in history. For those lucky enough not to have considered their humble network cable before - let me elucidate for you. The humble Cat 5e cable is made up of 4 pairs of wires. Orange and Orange white. Blue and blue white. Green and green white. Brown and brown white. To fit a connector, you are required to untwist the pairs, and arrange the wires in a specific order, left to right. I won’t bother you with the order - but You Tube is categoric on the importance of it, and it’s not an obvious progression of pairs.

Once you have the wires untwisted and in the correct order, you slide them into the connector. Now - this is the tricky bit. Each of the six wires has to slide into its designated channel, until it’s nestling beneath a connector. Assuming that you have the vision of a golden eagle, you can peer through the almost opaque plastic of the connector and verify that each wire is fully extended beneath the correct contact. If you just have normal sight, then you say a little prayer to “Reboot”, the God of IT. Standing on one leg, with a pile of salt on your right shoulder, you place the connector into the crimping tool and press firmly. Your connector is now fully operational or utterly useless. There is no scope for adjustment in this game.

I did this twice - and plugged both new connectors into a joiner. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Stoic fellow that I am, I snipped off both connectors, re-watched some YouTube videos and had another go. Same result.

IT support are coming tomorrow.

The fact that network support people have put up with this for so long is testament to their capacity to learn new skills and the low esteem in which they are held. If a senior executive at Apple or Amazon ever had to set up their own network cable, the RJ45 would be consigned to the dustbin of history by lunchtime.

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PS: IT support came - and spent 4 hours trying to get the RJ45s on until we agreed to splice and twist the cables, wrap them in a waterproof container and reconvene another day…