Stewart Connector Adds Punch-down Plugs to Improve Networking Processes in a Facility

April 21, 2021 by Seth Price

Stewart Connector, a Bel Group company, has added a punch-down modular RJ45 plug for Category 5e and Category 6 network connections. 

These punch-down plugs terminate the wires and make a solid connection, yet they can be opened up for reworking if needed. They are designed to save time and effort and may reduce the number of bad connections in the network.


The Bel Group

Bel Group company has over 70 years of experience working in the electronics industry. Their portfolio of electronics products includes seven wholly-owned companies that specialize in transformers, fused circuit and protection modules, power conversions, cable assemblies, and connectors. Stewart Connector is the company that produces plugs, jacks, and cable assemblies for the networking industry. 

Punch-down blocks are commonly used to attach connectors to wires in the field. The strands of wire from an ethernet cable are fitted into a device which "punches down" the wires onto a housing, simultaneously cutting the insulation and stripping it back enough to make a contact. This device can save a considerable amount of time over having to cut and strip every wire in a bundle. 


Stewart Connector's Punch-down Plugs

The RJ45 punch-down plugs are available in several configurations. They are available in shielded or unshielded configuration, where the shielded configuration places the cable termination and plug inside a die-cast zinc housing. 


The RJ45 punch-down plugs. Image used courtesy of the Bel Group


The shielding reduces radio frequency interference (RFI) and is necessary for some applications. 

RJ45 punch-down plugs are available for Category 6 (CAT6) and Category 6a (CAT6a) in either shielded or unshielded configuration. There are also Category 5e (CAT5e) connectors available in the unshielded configuration. The CAT6 connectors are for use in 1GBASE-T networks, and the CAT6a connectors are for use in 10GBASE-T networks. 

The difference in the CAT5e, CAT6, and CAT6a networks has to do with each system's speed and requirements. CAT5e is an older standard, with less shielding along the cable as compared to CAT6 and CAT6a. There is less shielding in the cable, so there is no need to buy a shielded CAT5e connector, which is why Stewart doesn't offer any. 

Also, the CAT6 and CAT6a cables have extra shielding, meaning they are less flexible than CAT5e, which may be an issue for tight spaces. The CAT6 and CAT6a cables support faster transfer rates, but only up to 55 meters in length. 


Stewart Aims for Better Conductivity

For longer cables, the speeds begin to slow to CAT5e levels. The specific installation will determine whether it is worth spending the extra money for the CAT6 or CAT6a cables and connections.


RJ45 punch-down plugs are available for Category 6 (CAT6) and Category 6a (CAT6a). Image used courtesy of the Bel Group


Regardless of the specific configuration, all RJ45 modules are designed for solid or stranded 23-26 AWG wires, with a cable outer diameter of 6-8 mm. 

All modular plugs have a 1.27 micron gold-plated contact for good conductivity, with little threat of corrosion. The connectors are color-coded to match the appropriate color scheme of the wires and include all necessary strain-relief hardware. They snap together, rather than requiring screws to mount, saving time and effort.

The Stewart RJ45 punch-down connectors are suitable for field installations of virtually all network cables. The punch-down configuration, color-coding on the connector, and snap-together design may save installation time and effort.