What Is a CAT5E Coupler?

A CAT5E coupler is a device used to join terminated lengths of Category 5E cable used in data transfer applications. The most common form of termination for this class of cable is the RJ45 connector and, consequently, a CAT5E coupler will typically be a back-to-back RJ45 socket device. Most of these are fairly simple and consist of little more than a molded plastic housing containing two RJ45 sockets internally wired together in parallel. To couple the CAT5E cables, the RJ45 on one end of each cable is plugged into either side of the coupler creating continuity between the two. In some cases, these devices may double as keystone type snap-in modules for use with wall-mounted patch plates.

Category 5E cable is a data transfer cable product consisting of multiple twisted pairs of wire cores. CAT5E cable is most commonly used in Ethernet computer networks as permanent cabling and outlet to computer patch cables. In many cases, these patch cables require two or more standard cables to be joined in such a way that the original signal integrity is maintained. One quick, effective and low-cost device used to make these joins is the CAT5E coupler. As the most common form of termination for this class of cable is the familiar RJ45 modular plug, a typically CAT5E coupler consists of a pair of back-to-back RJ45 sockets enclosed in a plastic or metal case.

Both sockets are inter-connected in such a way that the original signal path is maintained with units available for most common wiring schemes. These connections may be made with wire bridges, but are more commonly achieved with a piece of printed circuit board (PCB). This method ensures that the most effective and interference-free signal path between the two cables. Certain types of CAT5E coupler will include shielding to further enhance the integrity of the passed signal.

To use the CAT5E coupler, one end of each cable is simply plugged into the sockets on either side of the coupler. Generally, the couplers are of a low-profile design, allowing the joined cables to passed through desk cut-outs and trunking systems. Some CAT5E coupler types include flexible clips on the casing allowing them to be used in wall-mounted keystone patch systems. These systems feature blank, wall-mounted plates equipped with standardized cut-outs designed to accommodate a range of termination solutions including keystone compatible RJ45, co-axial, and DIN type sockets.