First, What is a Keystone Jack?
Before you can decide on which type of keystone jack/module you need, it’s important to fully understand what a keystone jack is and what it does. According to Wikipedia, “A keystone module is a standardized snap-in package for mounting a variety of low-voltage electrical jacks or optical
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Blue Category 5e Flush Mount Keystone Jack[/caption]
connectors into a keystone wall plate, face plate, surface-mount box, or a patch panel.” Essentially, it’s a connecting device that an electrical jack plugs into. These are used in networking applications for computers and telephones. Here’s a video that provides more in-depth information.
What is a Shielded Keystone Jack?
A shielded keystone jack is the same as described above, except that it uses other materials or protective coatings that are resistant to electromagnetic interference (EMI). If cables are run close to other cables or electronic devices, it is recommended to use shielded cables and keystone jacks to prevent interference.
Who Should Use Shielded Devices?
Particularly for those working with audio equipment or sensitive data, shielded cables and keystone jacks can reduce static, outside noise, and other interference that could disrupt sound quality or overall functioning. Most consumers looking for home electronic accessories will not need shielded products, since EMI interference is minimal in this instance. But in professional applications, it can greatly improve network function and results.
Choosing the Right Keystone Jack
When in doubt, always ask for expert advice. However, if you are confident about whether you need a shielded jack or not, also remember to choose one based on the cables you’re connecting to. There are Cat 3, Cat 5e, and Cat 6 keystone jacks to coincide with these types of cables – so think about what you already have and what you’ll need to make sure they match up.