Cross Cable Configuration

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An Ethernet crossover cable is a type of Ethernet cable used to connect computing devices together directly where they would normally be connected via a network switch, hub or router, such as directly connecting two personal computers via their network adapters.

The 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX Ethernet standards use one wire pair for transmission in each direction. The Tx+ line from each device connects to the tip conductor, and the Tx- line is connected to the ring. This requires that the transmit pair of each device be connected to the receive pair of the device on the other end. When a terminal device is connected to a switch or hub, this crossover is done internally in the switch or hub. A standard straight through cable is used for this purpose where each pin of the connector on one end is connected to the corresponding pin on the other connector.

One terminal device may be connected directly to another without the use of a switch or hub, but in that case the crossover must be done externally in the cable. Since 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX use pairs 2 and 3, these two pairs must be swapped in the cable. This is a crossover cable. A crossover cable must also be used to connect two internally crossed devices (e.g., two hubs) as the internal crossovers cancel each other out. This can also be accomplished by using a straight through cable in series with a modular crossover adapter.

Because the only difference between the T568A and T568B pin/pair assignments are that pairs 2 and 3 are swapped, a crossover cable may be envisioned as a cable with one connector following T568A and the other T568B. Such a cable will work for 10BASE-T or 100BASE-TX. 1000BASE-T4 (Gigabit crossover), which uses all four pairs, requires the other two pairs (1 and 4) to be swapped and also requires the solid/striped within each of those two pairs to be swapped.

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