Part of Lesson Plan: How to Use a Cable Tester
Activity Overview / Details
If you have a classroom of cables that have been left in disarray, you will be able to relate to this lesson.
After working with students (and not having any wall pegs from which cable could be neatly hung), take out the huge rat's nest that is the box of cables you use to work with in the classroom. It can be donated cable, old cable, whatever cable ... so when the class begins, have a cleaned off desk nearby and pick up that big box of cable. Turn it over and dump it onto the clean desk.
Walk away. Sit down. Wait for a response. After a few seconds, kids will start asking you why you did such a thing. Just tell them that you are confused. (This happens early on in their training with cat 5 creation, other wise they would think you are crazy. Just don't let confusion be your normal state of affairs so early on.)
Well, you say, when you 'cleaned' up the classroom at the end of the previous school year (or people donated it or whatever...), they put all the cable in this one box. Now, you don't know what kind it is (see why I said early on? They would think you are crazy for not looking at the color scheme through the RJ-54 adapter) and you would like to know that and if it still works.
At this time, (if someone hasn't thought of it first) you can ask how you think you should troubleshoot this problem. (This lesson usually works best before the students know how to make the cable.) They can throw ideas around and you can eventually settle on the idea that perhaps there is a way to test them. How to test? Use them on the equipment and see if the computers can 'see' each other (crossover) or see each other in a small network (using a hub or switch).
But what if you don't have a second computer or a handy dandy hub or switch around?
Then perhaps there IS a way!