What is a jack? How do I install one?
Put as simply as is possible, jacks are the ports where you plug things in. Want to connect your computer to your Cat 5e network? You need a jack. Want to plug in the television and watch cable? You need a jack. Want to plug in your speakers to your new Dolby Digital 7.1 Surround Sound system? You need a jack.
Jacks look and connect differently depending on what they are for. Here is a picture of three keystone style jacks and a penny:
From left to right we have a Cat 5e jack, a Coax BNC jack, and a Cat 3 toolless jack.
In this picture, the port of each jack is facing the camera. The port is where you plug in your equipment and is the part of the jack that remains visible after the jack has been installed. The back side of the jack faces inside the wall. To better illustrate this, here is a picture of two jacks that have been installed in the FOURPAIR.com offices:
You can see how once the jack is snapped into the plate and the plate is attached to the wall, you can only see the port. You'll have to excuse the old school wall plate. (The much more attractive ones that we currently carry can be found in the wall plates section of FOURPAIR.com.) In case you're curious, that is a phone cord coming out of the yellow Cat 5e jack. In our offices, we use Cat 5e for our telephone system and Cat 6 for our computer network.
The back side of the jack is where the hardwiring in the walls is terminated. Watch for future blog posts explaining how to terminate many different types of jacks.