Tool-less keyston jack


TheTool-Less CAT6 RJ45… is expensive! 
I was doing a search for a Patch Panel project that I’m leading and right as I went to select a premium “Klein Tools’ punch-down, this product popped up as an ad. I’m intrigued, a tool-less keystone jack? That would be amazing. Less tools to carry, fewer punches would obviously mean less strain on the fingers and palm; this is amazing. 
Hang on… $16.90 for 10 QTY??? That’s (Windows Key + “Calculator”), $1.60 per Keystone! No freaking way am I paying this much for a keystone. I quickly opened a recent PO from my vendors to see how much I bought the keystones for that require the punch – $1.19. Okay, well, that’s a $0.41 cost difference per keystone. Can this make sense?


I performed an assembly test. Each one took me about 3 minutes each. With/out the tool to punch-down. Turns out, this is purely a cost decision. However, I could create a case based on ergonomics over a 30-yr lifespan of punching keystones, but it still wouldn’t be worth it. Okay, I’ll do it. 

40 hr weeks800 keystones<< Total Output
50 week yrs
2000 hrs per yr40,000 keystones<< Total Output
30 years of work
60,000 hrs of work1,200,000 keystones25,000 48 port stacks

That’s 1.2 million keystone jacks that a single person could punch down in their 30-yr career… That’s insane. I think it would be possible to start feeling finger and wrist pains after the first year with over 40,000 punch-downs. So, how much does pain cost? And, what’s the cost to go with the model that could reduce that pain? 
Rather than attempting to calculate the cost of ‘pain’ which is 1/3rd the cost of workers compensation, you should know the cost of the hardware. 


That’s a variance of $492,000 over 30-years… Now, ask yourself, do you operate a data center or a cable installation business? If not, chances are you’re not going to need to calculate 30-years of costs. Like you, I only needed 200 keystones. That’s less than 20 hours of work and equivalent to a days work for two technicians. Spending $320 vs $238 is minimal, however, still  inefficient. This is a hard pass. 
As a follow up, the Tool-Less design required more pressure on the finger joints than the traditional punch-down. This means that the technicians would experience fatigue and likely slow down causing the work to overflow to a second day. Thusly, highly inefficient and more costly for the organization being billed. For us, sticking with traditional tools and technology will be most effective. 
Here’s my test punch down using the tool-less keystone and included zip-tie. 

#cabling #keystones #toollesskeystone #datacenter

Update: 6/28/2020 – Tool-less proved to be far more inefficient than we originally tested. The clip was a bit more complicated and the technician actually slowed down throughout the day. The traditional punch-down maintained speed and actually allowed the technician to speed up their process.


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