A keystone jack
, also known as a modular jack or snap-in jack, is a small modular connector used in structured cabling systems. It provides a standardized connection point for copper cables, allowing for easy and flexible installation of network outlets, patch panels, wall plates, and other networking equipment.
The term "keystone" refers to the size and shape of the jack, which is designed to fit into a corresponding opening or slot called a keystone wall plate or patch panel. Keystone jacks are available in various configurations to support different types of copper cabling, such as Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, and Cat7.
Key features and components of a keystone jack include:
Jack Housing: The jack housing is typically made of plastic and provides the structure and protection for the internal components of the jack. It is designed to fit securely into a keystone opening or slot.
IDC (Insulation Displacement Connector): The IDC is the component inside the keystone jack that terminates the copper wires from the cable. It allows for quick and efficient termination by displacing the insulation and making a secure connection with the copper conductors.
Contacts or Pins: The contacts or pins inside the keystone jack make direct contact with the terminated copper wires. They ensure proper transmission of signals and maintain a reliable electrical connection.
Color Coding: Keystone jacks often feature color-coded wiring schemes to ensure proper alignment and termination of the copper cables. The color-coding follows industry standards, such as T568A or T568B, to maintain consistency and compatibility within the cabling system.
Compatibility: Keystone jacks are designed to be interchangeable and compatible with other keystone products, such as keystone wall plates, patch panels, and surface-mount boxes. This interchangeability allows for easy customization and flexibility in configuring network connections.
The installation process of a keystone jack typically involves stripping and preparing the copper cables, inserting them into the IDC slots, and using a punch-down tool to secure the connections. Once installed, the keystone jack provides a reliable and standardized connection point for network devices or patch cords.
Advantages of Keystone Jacks:
Flexibility: Keystone jacks offer flexibility in designing and configuring network connections. They can be easily inserted or removed from keystone openings, allowing for quick modifications or additions to the cabling system.
Easy Maintenance: The modular nature of keystone jacks makes maintenance and troubleshooting more convenient. If a jack or connection becomes faulty, it can be easily replaced without affecting the entire cabling infrastructure.
Cost-Effectiveness: Keystone jacks are cost-effective solutions for terminating copper cables. They provide a standardized and reliable connection point without the need for specialized connectors or extensive cabling modifications.
Standardization: Keystone jacks follow industry standards, ensuring compatibility and interoperability with other keystone-based products. This standardization simplifies network installations and allows for consistent performance across different locations or systems.
In summary, keystone jacks are modular connectors used in structured cabling systems for terminating copper cables. They offer flexibility, easy installation, and compatibility with other keystone products, making them a popular choice for network connectivity in various applications, including offices, data centers, and residential environments.