If you own a home, or even if you live in an apartment, you probably have at least a small tool kit that you use to "fix stuff" around the house. If you’re getting ready to wire up your own home theater or computer network, though, your existing tool kit probably isn’t going to be sufficient.
The good news is that Cmple has everything you need to get a home network, office network or complete A/V studio up and running quickly – including the proper network tools. They’re all manufactured according to our strict quality standards so you can connect your cabling and hardware efficiently, quickly, and without spending a fortune.
Here’s an overview of what you might need to set up your network.
Well, we did say your existing tool kit wasn’t going to be sufficient, not that it would be useless. You might already have a set of pliers which can do the job, if they are large and sharp enough to handle the aluminum, copper, brass or steel wires inside the cable you have to cut. However, most household pliers don’t fit the bill, especially if you’re going to be dealing with thick cables like 100-pair 24 AWG telephone cable or 2mm+ steel wire. Cmple has attractively-priced heavy-duty pliers and wire cutters which are perfect for these types of cables whether they need to be trimmed or flush cut. They’ll be a nice addition to your tool kit after your network is done, too.
Yes, you can use some types of pliers to strip wire. No, you shouldn’t – because the same sharp edges which you use to intentionally cut wire can also accidentally cut wire when you don’t want them to. Even if they only nick the wire that you’re stripping, that will impact the integrity of the cable’s conductivity.
Cmple has two types of dedicated wire strippers available. Our manual strippers look a lot like scissors, with a notch in the middle of the blades that grips the wire and ensures that it isn’t cut accidentally. With a manual stripper you just insert the wire, apply slight pressure and rotate the stripper to remove the insulation. Our automatic strippers are even simpler to use; when you apply pressure one side of the tool grips the wire while the other strips it cleanly. Once you’ve seen how simple it is to use the proper tool to strip wire, you’ll never try doing it with pliers again.
Punch Down Tool
TAlso known as a Krone tool, this is one of the most important tools in a networking, telephone or broadcast technician’s kit. It is also invaluable if you’re wiring a home network which makes use of keystone modules or surface mount blocks.
The punch down tool is an ingenious invention. You place a wire into the tool’s slotted blade, press it against the block or module where the wire has to be inserted, and apply pressure to the handle. Once the proper level of pressure is reached, a spring inside the tool pushes the wire into position, the blade cuts off the insulation and you have a secure connection. The entire process takes less than a second.
The reason technicians make extensive use of the Krone tool is that the network connections they work on usually run through numerous punch down blocks and patch panels. However, you may find that keystone modules and surface mount boxes are the most effective way to create an attractive and versatile home network, and a punch down tool is the easiest way to connect the necessary wires and get on with the rest of your work.
Have you ever climbed a ladder to hang Christmas lights, run everything perfectly, climbed back down, put the ladder away and then thrown the switch – only to find that the lights don’t work? The feeling you experience is similar to what happens when you finish wiring a network, clean everything up and put everything away, sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and find that the network isn’t functional. It’s tough to avoid the Christmas light debacle, but thankfully you can test your network in advance with the help of a cable tester.
Our Cmple cable testers will check all of your connections before it’s “too late”; they are simple to use but are an invaluable tool to own. They have three major components: a source of high- and low-voltage power, a meter that measures the power flowing through the cable, and a switchable matrix allowing you to check various contact points. They also have a microcontroller to manage the functions properly and a display screen to show the test results.
There are two steps in using a cable tester. First, you run “open” tests to make sure all of the connections have been made properly and are working. Then you run "shorts" tests to ensure that no unintended connections have been made which could short out the network. The process isn’t as difficult as it might initially sound, and the testers are nowhere near as pricey as you might expect. Cable testers are a small investment which can save big headaches.
These are the cool-looking telephone handsets you may have seen hanging from a phone technician’s belt. You probably won’t need one for a home theater installation or for small Ethernet networks, but if there are phone cables utilized in your network a butt set (also called a lineman’s handset or test set) will let you easily check a phone line for dial tone or ring tones.
Other Network Tools
Cmple has a wide assortment of other tools which come in handy when building out a network. They include simple items like cable ties and cable clips to secure wires firmly in place without tangling or sagging, and compression tools which crimp and permanently secure connectors, as well as ancillary tools like drywall saws, electrician’s scissors and screwdrivers – everything you might need to professionally wire and set up your Ethernet network, home theater or A/V system. They’re all designed and manufactured to meet our stringent Cmple standards for reliability and durability, and priced so that they’re as easy to purchase as they are to use.