Applications, services and even hardware-based tech such as storage and servers, continue to move out of the datacenter and into the cloud. Still, many organizations have IT staff managing equipment in the datacenter and doing tasks like cabling for telephony and data. These folks are typically networking and/or telecom specialists and they lay the groundwork for smooth-running networks.
To successfully create Ethernet jacks that computers connect to and for terminating Ethernet cables in a way that does not impair the data signal, IT workers need the right tools. Crimpers are used to terminate RJ45 heads?the little plastic plugs that allow an Ethernet cable to fit either into an RJ45 wall jack or the Ethernet port on a computer. I've had numerous experiences with crimpers that did not have the right amount of pressure to make a good crimp as well as the sometimes-flimsy punch down tool that comes with RJ45 jacks?making wiring time-consuming and frustrating.
That's why anyone doing network wiring will appreciate a combo tool such as L-com's EZ 110 Punch Down Tool + RJ45 crimper. It's not only a crimper for terminating Cat 5, 5e or 6 cables, but it also will punch down a 110 IDC RJ45 jack. It's a quality piece of equipment.
The HT-110EZ has a weighty feel; it's solid and easy to tell it's well made. Yet, it's still light enough to throw into a telecom bag and travel with it if you do wiring at multiple sites.
A blue handle serves as the crimping tool. The tool has a latch that you use to secure the handle into the punch-down part of the tool, making it more compact and easy to fit inside a cluttered workbag.
The crimping tool is made for unshielded modular RJ45 plugs. I found it real easy to terminate a network cable. I remember using some crimpers where it took all my hand strength to squeeze and get the cable crimped. Those subpar crimpers are more like hand crampers? especially if you are dealing with lots of cables!
The punch down part of the tool is effective as well. I did a pin-out on a modular 110 RJ45 jack. The blade easily cut through the twisted pair wires. The HT-110EZ provides consistent, quick RJ45 jack wiring?so important for good data communications.
There seems to be a lot less pressure on the jack doing a punch down using the HT-110EZ over an impact tool. One consideration though, with an impact tool you can maneuver a little more with punching down a jack and can check how your wires are positioned before punching down. Since you insert the TJ45 plug into the HT-110EZ's groove for the keystone jack, you have to make sure the cables are all set correctly before inserting the jack into the tool and punching down.
The HT-110EZ lists for $45. That's a bargain if you consider you are getting two common network cabling tools in one: a crimper and a punch down tool. A decent crimper alone can run about $40-$30 dollars, and if you use a regular impact punch down tool (again, a well-made one) that can cost about another $20. So you are getting a good deal with L-com's equipment.
There are a few caveats: If you have a mixed infrastructure, for example, you may have 110 blocks, a 66 block and maybe even a Krone panel, this tool is limited for you, as it is only for 110 blocks. L-com does offer impact tools which have blades you can switch out for different blocks.
Also, once the 2,000 cycle blade use limit is reached, the company won't replace the blade or anything like that. It recommends getting a new HT-110EZ. If you do a lot of cabling work, you may go through the blade in a short time.
Still, this is a tool I would have loved back in the days when I had to wire hundreds of jacks under deadline and regularly made custom network cables. Datacenter wiring remains an integral part of IT network/telecom duties. You need the right tool for the job and L-com's HT-110EZ is the right tool at the right price and earns a 4.5 out of 5 star Editors' Choice for networking tools.