Have you ever wondered why some Ethernet cables have that little rubber dome, boot-like thing protecting a plastic release clip and others don’t?
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The purpose of the boot
It turns out removing the boot does not have a deleterious effect on the cable but it is there for three reasons:
1. To keep you connected
The chief purpose of the boot is to protect the plastic clip from flipping up and eventually breaking off the cable. The plastic clip, also called a retention clip, makes that familiar “click” noise as you plug in the cable; it snaps the plug into place and secures it there. Without the clip, would probably randomly get disconnected from your network as the plug would simply slide out with the slightest tug.
2. To protect the clip
Network engineers often have to pull Cat5 (tech jargon for Ethernet cables) through very tight areas often crowded with dozens of other cables. The boot protects the clip as it makes its odyssey, through the labyrinth of wire spaghetti, around corners and through a narrow conduit. For this reason, Ethernet cables with these little rubber boots are often referred to as ant00i-snag cables because it keeps the clip from catching and halting the cable pull.
3. To protect your nails
It’s easy to get jam the clip under a nail as you try to release or plug-in the Ethernet cable so the boot serves as a barrier to block your trusty thumbs from sliding into it.
If you hate the boot but are afraid to put the cutters to your cable then see if you can gently slide the cable boot down the length of the cable. Some cable boots are just a rubber hood that is loosely connected to the cable sheath. If that’s the case it’s easy to slide it out of the way.