Main Menu


How to Install an Ethernet Jack for a Home Network

This project shows how to install an Ethernet jack for a home network with wiring instructions and photos.

The home network is extended to the basement game room by running Cat 5e cable and installing a new Ethernet jack. A “wired” network connection was needed at this location due to a weak WiFi (wireless) LAN signal. Cat5e or Cat6 cable wiring is often needed for Power over Ethernet (PoE) connections to network cameras.

The most difficult part of this project was fishing 65 feet of Cat 5e Ethernet cable from the home router in the upstairs bedroom to the attic and down three floors to the basement game room. The trick is to find a convenient pathway to fish the Ethernet cable inside the walls.

Verifying 100mbps LAN Data Rate for the New Ethernet Jack

Verifying 100mbps LAN Data Rate for the New Ethernet Jack

Home Network Cable Modem and WiFi Router

My home network consists of a Comcast Cable Modem, NETGEAR WiFi Router N900 Dual Band Gigabit (WNDR4500), Netgear ProSafe Plus Switch, 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet with PoE (Power Over Ethernet), Universal Devices ISY Home Automation Controller, NetGear Skype WiFi phone adapter and a Vonage phone adapter. The NETGEAR Ethernet switch is needed for increased Ethernet port capacity and Power Over Ethernet (PoE) devices on my network. All 8 Ethernet ports are in use on the Ethernet switch and I expect to upgrade to a 24 port switch.

Home Networking Gear - Cable Modem, WiFi Router and GigE POE Switch

Home Networking Gear – Cable Modem, WiFi Router and GigE POE Switch

I previously installed a dedicated wall box with a single Ethernet Jack and 4-port wall plate. I used a red Ethernet cable to denote a Power over Ethernet (PoE) connection. I’ll add a 2nd Ethernet jack to this outlet and pull a new Ethernet cable to the finished basement.

4-port Ethernet Wall Plate

4-port Ethernet Wall Plate

Working from the attic, I fed kite string with fishing weights the through a 3/4 inch hole in the 2×4 wall plate between the wall studs to the blue old work box. It took a few minutes of trial and error to drop the fishing weights through the hole in top of the box. I had a helper shine a flashlight into the outlet box so I could see my target from the attic and tell me when the fishing weights dropped into the old work box. I have rolls of nylon and metal fish tape, but didn’t use it because the fish tape coils in the wall cavity and I’d never hit the small hole in the blue outlet box. A straight wire pulling rod might have worked if I’d had one available.

Fishing Ethernet Cable: Kite String with Lead Weights

Fishing Ethernet Cable: Kite String with Lead Weights

With the kite string fished through the old work wall box:

  1. I tied yellow construction string to the kite string and pulled it up into the attic.
  2. The Ethernet cable was taped to the yellow construction string.
  3. The Ethernet cable was pulled down and out of the outlet box.

How to Install an Ethernet Jack for a Home Network

RJ-45 Ethernet Jack Punchdown Wiring

Wiring an RJ-45 Ethernet jack is easy to do if you’re attentive to detail and follow a couple of guidelines:

  • Strip about 2 inches of outer sheath from the cable.
  • The four wire pairs should remain twisted as closely as possible to the punch down pins for maximum signal integrity. About 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch of untwisted wire is usually sufficient to reach the punch down pins.
  • Avoid kinks as the light gauge copper strands can break.
  • Double check the wire color are correctly matched to the colored-coded pin positions on the jack.
  • Wire the jack following the T568B wiring diagram unless you have reason to use the now recommended T568A wiring scheme. The T568B standard is widely used in commercial and residential cable installations. It doesn’t really matter which wiring scheme you choose because either will work fine if both ends of the Ethernet cable are wired the same way.
  • If your cable or phone company installs an Ethernet jack for you, they’ll mostly likely use the B standard. I asked several technicians if they were using T568A or T568B, they’re still using T568B.
  • The following instructions illustrate how to wire the Ethernet jack using T568B standard. The means matching the twisted pair colors to the “B” color code band on the Ethernet jack. Notice the B color band (upside down) on the Leviton QuickPort Jack in the image below. (If you choose to wire per the T568A standard, just match the wires colors to the “A” color code band.)

    Leviton QuickPort Ethernet Jack

    Leviton QuickPort Ethernet Jack

  • Detailed Ethernet jack wiring instructions from Leviton are here.

The punch down tool and Cat 5e jacks are illustrated below. The punch down tool is a basic model that’s fine for occasional work.

Punchdown Tool and Ethernet Jacks

Punch Down Tool and Ethernet Jacks

About 2 inches of sheath are removed from the cable, revealing the four twisted wire pairs.

Cat 5e Ethernet Jack and Cable Twisted Pairs

How to Wire an Ethernet Jack

The orange wire is matched to the orange pin position on the ‘B‘ color band and punched down:

Punching Down the First Wire – Cat5e Ethernet Jack

The orange Cat 5e wire is punched down on the jack pin in the following photo. The punch down pin is slotted such that it cuts the insulation and grabs the wire, holding it securely in the jack:

Orange Cat 5e Wire after Punch Down

The color coded wires are matched to the ‘B‘ band color codes and punched down in sequence. The minor trick here is to carefully route each wire to the pin position and avoid kinks:

Punching Down Cat 5e Wires onto the Ethernet Jack

Your Cat5e jack should look like this after punching down all eight wires. Punching down Cat6 cable is the same:

Completed Cat5e Ethernet Jack Wire Punchdown

Right side close-up. The wire color matches the pin in the ‘B‘ color band.

Cat5e Ethernet Jack Punchdown – Right Side

Left side close up:

Cat5e Ethernet Jack Wiring – Left Side

Trim the excess wire as close to the jack as possible:

Trim Off the Excess Wire – Cat5e Ethernet Jack

The finished Ethernet jack:

Cat5e Ethernet Jack Wired and Ready for Service

Fluke LinkSprinter Network Tester

The Fluke LinkSprinter Network Tester is a handy tool for setting up and maintaining a network. It automatically tests:

  • Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • Ethernet Link, jacks and cables
  • DHCP and Static IP Addresses
  • Network Gateway
  • Internet Connectivity

LinkSprinter takes guesswork out of network test and troubleshooting.

Fluke LinkSprinter 200 Network Tester

This tutorial is continued in How to Install an Ethernet Jack for a Home Network – Part 2.

Take care,
Bob Jackson

Copyright © 2014 HandymanHowTo.com   Reproduction strictly prohibited.

RedditEmailShare

, , , , , , ,

85 Responses to How to Install an Ethernet Jack for a Home Network

  1. Josh Maxwell January 19, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

    A friend of mine just emailed me one of your articles from a while back. I read that one a few more. Really enjoy your blog. Thanks

  2. Derek Sorrells April 12, 2009 at 11:56 pm #

    I just wanted to say thanks for your publishing of this article. This is almost exactly what I was thinking of doing(single story house though) for the purpose of an XBOX 360 in another room(bad signal with wireless) and you answered all the questions that I had and the pictures were a nice touch. After searching for a long time on how to do this, I am glad I came across this article. I am going to try install mine sometime soon and just wanted to let you know that you have helped someone. Thanks.

  3. michael Kruck May 13, 2009 at 12:46 am #

    Thank you very much. i’m attempting to network our new house. we were left with he non tech savvy builders and Verizon left us with only 1 jack. being an xbox player myself i am very sick of being dropped from my favorite games. if all goes well i shall post again.

  4. Tim Snow June 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm #

    Before I read this, I had no clue how to hook up an Ethernet jack. Now I feel like a pro. Thanks!

  5. kikkin_wing1 August 1, 2009 at 9:49 am #

    Loved your stuff, extreeemly helpful in many ways. I already had the hookup in my room with the cable running but just wondering how to insert wires. All for my ps3 and xbox 360. Also just wanted to say how easy you made it im only 15 and with no mechanical knowledge easily performed this. nice blog! :)

  6. Pamela Adler December 26, 2009 at 11:58 am #

    How do you connect a Mac?

    • Bob Jackson December 26, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

      The Apple Mac computers use a standard RJ-45 Ethernet port. Just plug the Ethernet cable into your home network.

      If you’re asking how to configure the Mac O/S network settings, that I wouldn’t know as I’m not a Mac user. This article at Apple Support may be what you’re looking for: Creating a small Ethernet network – http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1433

  7. Endocine February 2, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    I was wonder what brand punch down tool you used for this project.

    I am going to re-do the cable in my ethernet wall jack in my place, because the installer who did it originally left ~6″ of uninsulated and unbundled wire before terminating the end on the jack itself.

    Great howto by the way, nicely illustrated and cleared up the process.

    • Bob Jackson February 2, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

      > … the installer who did it originally left ~6″ of uninsulated and unbundled wire before terminating the end on the jack itself.
      A long strand of untwisted wire like that can significantly impair the signal quality and lower your data rates. Rewiring it correctly is a very good idea.

      > I was wonder what brand punch down tool you used for this project.
      The punch down is the Economy Punch Down Tool – Catalog # 35-185 made by Ideal Industries, Inc.

      I bought it at Home Depot for something like $10. I found it just fine for work around the house.

      Thanks for reading,
      Bob Jackson

  8. nmrrjw66 March 1, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    Hi there, I just had a quick question. Is there a reason you wired your own Jacks rather than just using a female/female coupler? Is the connection more reliable when you wire your own ports? Was it becuase it’s easier to fish out the bare cable? Thank you.

    • Bob Jackson March 1, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

      > Is there a reason you wired your own Jacks rather than just using a female/female coupler?
      I wired my own jacks because it provided a standard RJ-45 wall jack data port and I’m able to make the Ethernet cable run any length to suit my needs. Had I used Ethernet patch cables with factory installed plugs, I can only buy standard lengths, e.g. 10ft, 25ft, 50ft, 100ft. Bulk cable is a cheaper way to go if you plan to do a lot of jacks.

      > Is the connection more reliable when you wire your own ports?
      Wiring your own Ethernet jacks is very reliable if you use quality materials (not all Ethernet cable is the same quality) and are careful in your work.

      > Was it because it’s easier to fish out the bare cable?
      Fishing bulk cable might be a little easier compared to fishing pre-wired Ethernet patch cable with a plug. My concern would be gumming up the plug on the patch cable when wrapped in duct tape to the fish wire. When I pull a run of bulk cable, I just cut off the last 6 inches or so that I wrapped in duct tape to the fish wire.

      Thanks for reading,
      Bob Jackson

  9. Speedy March 16, 2010 at 8:04 am #

    Thank you for your Blog. Very helpful. Done plenty of wiring, but never an ethernet. Will be doing mine this afternoon. Just wired a new wall for my surround sound, electric, phone and now my network.
    Thanks

  10. Flo March 19, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    This is exactly what I have been looking for and hopefully my hubby will now be able to hook our house up so we can access the whole house. would I be able to use the phone jacks as I originally had 2 phone lines but don’t use one now. I am assuming I can change the phone jack on the bottom to a data plug.

    • Bob Jackson March 20, 2010 at 8:21 am #

      You will need to buy a new wall plate having an RJ-11 phone jack and an RJ-45 Ethernet jack. Many styles and configurations are available.

      Thanks

  11. Ryan April 11, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    Does it matter if you do the A side instead of the B side.

    • Bob Jackson April 12, 2010 at 8:09 am #

      The A-side (T568A) will work fine, the important thing is to wire both terminations (jacks) using the same scheme, A-to-A or B-to-B; however A-to-B wiring will not work.

      The T568B is newer and supersedes the T568A standard.

      See this Category 5 cable Wiki article for more information.

      Thanks,
      Bob Jackson

  12. candice May 7, 2010 at 3:43 am #

    I hope you can help me, I moved into a new place and I have this box in the closet that contained a Netgear Ethernet Hub with eight ports. All the wiring seems to be done already and the jacks are all installed. There are four ethernet cables in the first four ports on the hub which I assume are to go to the four jacks but then there is a single ethernet cable hanging that goes into the wall somewhere. My internet got hooked up today and the tech did not know what to do. I can’t hook up the modem to the hub directly since there is no phone line around. Do I need a router then? I am sorry if this is a dumb question. If it helps, each jack has a ethernet, phone, and cable outlet.

    • Bob Jackson May 7, 2010 at 7:17 am #

      If I understand your description correctly, to summarize:
      1) The 8-port Netgear Ethernet Hub is still there in the closet.
      2) Four (4) Ethernet cables are plugged into the hub.
      3) A fifth Ethernet cable is hanging loose and not plugged into the hub.
      4) You have DSL service, the DSL modem is installed somewhere outside of the closet and away from the Netgear hub.
      5) The DSL modem can’t be located in the closet next to the hub because there’s no phone line.

      The problem is getting an Internet connection from the DSL modem to the Netgear hub.

      Solution Description:
      In general, the Internet connection will follow the format in this diagram – there needs to be a Cat5e Ethernet cable connection between the DSL modem and the NetGear hub:

      Home Network Wiring Diagram

      First, you can use any of the Cat5 Ethernet jacks in the house to backfeed the DSL modem internet connection to the Netgear hub. You didn’t specify the Netgear model #, but it shouldn’t matter which port the DSL modem is plugged into on the Ethernet hub. You might use Port 1 on the hub just to make things easy to remember.

      Second, that fifth Cat5e hanging cable might be the one that was used for the broadband service feed by the prior homeowner, or it might just feed another jack, or maybe not connected to anything. Experiment by plugging it into a spare port on the hub and seeing which jack it lights up by plugging your laptop into the jack and seeing if the connectivity LED lights up on your PC. You can do the same for the other four ports and jacks to trace the connectivity. Label each with a piece of masking tape as you trace it out.

      Hope this helps,
      Bob Jackson

  13. Eric May 14, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    What did you use to cut the hole out of the wall plate. Last time I did a project like this is was for my DirecTV coaxials and I thought I could just pull the old wall plate out. Can’t believe I missed those two mounting screws behind it that pulled out a chunk of my drywall with the plate (wife still not over the damage to her unrepairable faux finish wall). Also, I had planned to run many of my wires from the various rooms up to the attic, plug them into a 5-8 port switch and then wire the switch back downstairs into a wireless router. Do you see any issues with this configuration? Do you know if most switches (even the $10 – $20 ones) can handle the connection to the router without a crossover cable?

    • Bob Jackson May 14, 2010 at 11:16 pm #

      > What did you use to cut the hole out of the wall plate.
      Begin by marking the outline of the outlet box as illustrated in Part 3. Drill a 3/8″ or 1/2″ diameter hole in a corner of the outline just inside the lines marked for the outlet box. The purpose of the hole is to get the keyhole saw started without tearing the drywall. Cut along the inside of the marked lines using the keyhole saw.

      > I missed those two mounting screws behind it that pulled out a chunk of my drywall with the plate…
      Yeah, that’s an “old work” outlet box with the “wings” that extend as the mounting screws are tightened. Nifty invention.

      > Do you see any issues with this configuration?
      That will work. My WiFi router feeds my Ethernet switch.

      > Do you know if most switches (even the $10 – $20 ones) can handle the connection to the router without a crossover cable?
      Do yourself a favor and buy a quality 8-port 10/100 (or 10/100/1000) Ethernet switch for $50 to $75. A crossover cable isn’t needed because your making LAN connections through one (or more) Ethernet switches.

  14. Nina May 18, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    Trying to run a single cat5 cable from an office in the middle floor of our home to an upstairs office on the 3rd floor. I have searched all possible options to fish it up there, current phone outlets, and cold air return ducts. The cold air returns do not go to the lower level and they contain electrical conduit piping. I was told not to run cat5 along side electrical wiring, only across it. The phone line runs up to the attic. I found where the phone line comes in through the stud down to the room but have not investigated it more to find out where it is leading from (I assume outside). I can get the cable from the lower level office to the garage (there is a common wall between the two), then I can run it up into the garage roof attic but then it would require me to start to cut wholes in my drywall to feed it through the master bedroom closet and up into the master closet roof attic. I am not crazy about the idea of cutting about 4 holes in my drywall to do this. There has got to be a better, more professional way.

    If an electrician were to come in and run a cat5 cable what would be the route they would take?

    • Bob Jackson May 19, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

      An electrician would go through your thinking process looking for a simple direct route and use a combination of fish tape, nylon fish rods and/or string. It’s common to cut several small holes in the drywall when there’s no other way to get access. Notice that long flexible drill bit I used to drill through the horizontal brace between the 2×4 studs. That drill bit comes with an L-shaped tool to bend and guide the drill bit between the drywall cavity to drill a hole through the sole or top plate of a wall. I used this exact technique on another project pull wire for a clothes dryer hookup and it works well. It’s not always easy and perseverance will pay off.

  15. Nina May 18, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    Continued from previous question….I might mention that there is a basement in our home, so all of our heating and cooling is down there not in the attic. If we ran the cable through the attic spaces do we need to use a weather protected cable?

    • Bob Jackson May 19, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

      Standard Cat5e is fine in the attic – tuck it under the insulation if you live in a really hot region like Phoenix. Your phone wiring and house electrical wiring are probably up there too with no problems. See this website for temperature rating info.

  16. kevin diaz July 13, 2010 at 2:14 am #

    nice post!
    i keep reffering to it. anyways i need to run some ethernet cables throughout my home. one to the living room, and two, to my brothers room. the main network is in my room (dsl router, cable modem)…

    also in my room the techs ran my tv cable through a hole in the ceiling of my closet. i personally dont like it, especially when i have a hole in my wall by my tv and network that seems to be okay to use as a path to run the cables. i need to run the cable cord, a phone line cord, as well as the 3 ethernet cords i will need.
    i went in the attic and i couldnt find where i needed to drill to make the whole. how can i come about finding the right spot, when you cant see if from the attic?

    • Bob Jackson July 13, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

      > i went in the attic and i couldn’t find where i needed to drill to make the hole. how can i go
      > about finding the right spot, when you cant see if from the attic?

      There are several techniques for locating where to drill the hole in the top plate of the 2×4 wall to route a new wire or cable: 1) Measure the relative distance to the wall from a ceiling air vent and do the same from the air vent in the attic. Clear away the insulation to see where the drywall meets the 2×4 top plate of the wall. 2) Follow the electrical wiring in the attic to see where it routes down the top plate in the wall. Notice the nail pattern to locate the studs and drill your hole for the ethernet cable between the next set of studs. Do not route ethernet or phone wiring along the 120VAC wiring to avoid interference. 3) If you don’t have “landmarks”, drive a finishing nail in the ceiling directly above where you want to install the ethernet outlet, 2 or 3 inches away from the wall. The nail should pop through the drywall after 1/2 inch or so. If you hit something hard – e.g. ceiling joist or truss – pull the nail out and retry 3 inches to one side or another to avoid the joist. Go into the attic and look for the finishing nail. Now you know where to drill a hole between the wall studs. The finishing nail makes a tiny hole that is easy to fill with a dab of spackle. I used a similar technique to locate a new air vent in this project: http://www.handymanhowto.com/2010/07/05/speedi-boot-part-2/

  17. Chris Livingston September 15, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    Is there a way to wire to wall plates without having to undo the cable and punch the individual wires into the plate? What about a connector and wall plate with open holes? Whats the advantage of direct wiring into the wall plate.

    • Bob Jackson September 15, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

      There’s no way around pulling back the insulation and untwisting the wire pairs before punching down the Ethernet jack. There are tooless Ethernet jacks that use a clamp mechanism, but you still have to strip the insulation and untwist the wires first.

      Not sure what you mean by “connector and wall plate with open holes”, but the purpose of the wall plate is:
      * strain relief for the wires and jack
      * fixed positions to label the jacks for different destinations or purposes
      * professional looking appearance

  18. James C November 9, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    Thanks a ton! My house has CAT5 wired for telephone. As part of a bedroom remodel I wanted to switch wallplates. Using the Decora/Keystone insert color matched to suit the new decorative wallplates required cutting the cable and then rewire it to fit the Leviton plugs.

    Your excellent pictures were very helpful. Most often there are high-level over views and a lack of step-by-step for home wire newbs like me.

    • Bob Jackson November 9, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks for letting me know my article was helpful.
      Bob

  19. Sean November 29, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    This was great, this saved me alot of time!

  20. Thomas Quinn February 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    I have a 2 story house on a slab. So i am having difficulty is deciding how to get from my attic through the 2nd story down to the ground floor? Can i follow my vent system and run the Cat5 cable next to that?

    • Bob Jackson February 7, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

      The problem with running wiring inside the air duct pathways is that many houses use the 2×4 wall cavities as air return ducts (the building code doesn’t allow this anymore). In the event of a fire – short circuit, power surge/lightning, etc. – toxic fumes from the burning insulation are directed into the central air heating/cooling system.

      If the air duct inside the walls is fully sealed rigid or flexible duct, you should be OK running Cat5e cable outside the ductwork. Remove a register grill and shine a flashlight inside the wall with a hand mirror to determine how your home’s ductwork was installed. If there’s no other way but to run cable in the plenum space (2×4 wall cavity used as an air return), install fire resistant plenum- or riser rated Cat5e cable.

      Check with your local Building Dept. for their advice.

  21. Joseph Kankowski February 14, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817111012&Tpk=N82E16817111012

    How do unmanaged switches work? If i plug it into my router LAN, will the router DHCP assign ip addresses? And if that is how it works, i will easily be able to portforward? If so, then that is what i want!

    • Bob Jackson February 15, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

      An unmanaged switch is simply plug-n-play – nothing to configure and good for small networks that don’t need Virtual Private LAN (VPN) or advanced traffic management features. If your unmanaged switch is connected to your router (e.g. Linksys WRT54G WiFi router), it will pull an IP address via DHCP.

      Port forwarding is configured on your router – search for “port forwarding” on HandymanHowTo.com (top right corner of the page) to see several port forwarding tutorials with network diagrams.

  22. Al Camacho March 14, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    Very informative little article.
    Is there a link where I can buy the Cat5E ethernet cable which does NOT have the pre-terminated ends? I would like to follow the instructions in your article to the letter, without second guessing myself.

    I will appreciated it.

    Al

    • Bob Jackson March 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

      You can purchase Cat5e cable in bulk 100ft, 300ft, 500ft and 1000ft coils at Home Depot, Lowes, Fry’s Electronics, Amazon.com and elsewhere.

  23. Al Camacho March 17, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    Thanks to all.

  24. Joe W. March 24, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    Hello,
    Thanks for the very helpful and detailed instructions. My house has the network cable installed for us but both end of the cable is not connected to anything. My question is can both end of the cable be wall jack or does it have to be terminated using a male RJ45 terminator.

    Thanks,
    Joe

    • Bob Jackson March 25, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

      The cables in the house walls should be terminated with Ethernet Jacks.
      Thanks for reading!

  25. Dan Gledhill April 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Hi Bob, I am going to be doing this to my house soon, I am having an extension built and want to run cat5e cable to the new rooms in the floor under the screed, I am having underfloor heating put in, do you think that will have any affect on the cable?

    • Bob Jackson April 17, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

      If space permits (e.g. pouring a new concrete slab), you should lay a 1/2″ PVC pipe in the floor and run the Cat5e cable through the PVC conduit. This will take the floor loads off the Cat5e, provide an insulating air gap for distance from the underfloor heat wiring and you can fish a new cable through the conduit if there’s a problem or cable upgrade.

      If you do lay Cat5e with the underfloor heat mat, run the cable perpendicular (90 degrees) to the wires or better run the Cat5e wide of the heat mats nearer to the wall.

  26. Dan Gledhill April 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Thank you very much for the information you have been most helpful!

  27. Ivan April 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    Hi Bob,
    I ran 3 cat5e cables from my router (net gear N600) to my room about 40′ of distance so I can connect it to my desktop computer but it wont work cause there is no signal is it necessary to add a switch?

    • Bob Jackson April 22, 2011 at 7:05 am #

      “Home run” Ethernet cables from the Netgear N600 to your desktop should work fine, you don’t need a separate switch. How did you run the Cat5e cables? By running cable inside the walls and installing Ethernet jacks as I explained in the project?

  28. Blake April 30, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    Bob,
    Thanks for the info! I am having a house built and they quoted me to do 6 data locations and it was outrageous. So i got some plenum cable and am going to do it myself! I would like to put in 6 data locations through out the house:
    * behind the family room TV
    * in each bedroom – 4
    * in the bonus room

    My current setup that I am going to bring over to my new home:
    * Cable Modem DLink DCM 202
    * Air station Wireless G Router

    A couple of questions
    1) what should I use to attach the cables to the studs?
    2) I have a cable modem and an buffalo airstation 6 Wireless router I currently
    use. It only has 4 wired ports. I see you use a switch? Which one should I get
    to get more ports?
    3) how do I connect the switch to the router? any particular configuration?

  29. Blake April 30, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Thanks! I got these because I am also doing the surround sound wiring. would these work for Cat6 cables?

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=105&cp_id=10520&cs_id=1052006&p_id=5834&seq=1&format=2

    • Bob Jackson April 30, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

      Staples for coax TV cable are usually too large to secure Cat5e, but give it a try. If the staple holds the Cat5 cable without slipping, you’re good to go.

  30. Blake May 19, 2011 at 5:22 am #

    bob,

    Thanks for your help! a couple of more clarifications.. the builder is wiring my whole house with Cat 5E. He is bringing it back to a central point in a coat closet. My computer that right now I have connected straight from the wirless router will be 2 rooms away. So what do I need to put over there in the coat closet and what do I need to run back over to where my cable modem will be?

    • Bob Jackson May 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

      Use an Ethernet switch to interconnect the Cat5e house wiring to form a LAN home network and bring it back to your WiFi router as illustrated in this diagram at the end of Part 3. Just imagine the Ethernet switch sitting in the wiring coat closet.

      Ethernet Home Wiring LAN Interconnections

      Take care to label your Cat5e wires so you know which room each one goes to; a piece of masking tape labeled with a pen on each cable will do fine. It doesn’t matter which switch port the WiFi router connects to, but I like to use Port 1 because it’s easy to remember.

  31. Blake May 21, 2011 at 5:19 am #

    Thanks Bob! When you say image – what do you mean? I am concerned right now with running the correct wires but what do you mean by imaging?

    Secondly – What bit do you suggest I use to drill through studs? Looks like I might have to do 2 at a time as I walk through my home.

    • Bob Jackson May 21, 2011 at 6:16 am #

      > When you say image – what do you mean?
      I pasted a photo in the my previous comment reply. It didn’t save the first time in the e-mail reply you received, but you can see it now in my comment at the website.

      > What bit do you suggest I use to drill through studs?
      Any wood boring bit will be fine – minimum 1/2″ for a single wire but 3/4″ diameter will make pulling wires a whole lot easier.

  32. Blake May 21, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    ok – I see the diagram and understand it. wiring all through the house back to a patch panel and and switch. Then one data cable back to to my Wireless router and another cable connecting to my modem. gotcha.

    Really though – what do I have to do about imaging? maybe I am getting hung up on the vocabulary?

    Currently I have my modem going to my router and then to my desktop. it has been so long I am not sure how I set that up for a network. Where do I go to look on how I setup the lan network u speak of?

    I am sure it is not as easy as just plugging all of this in like shown and i get internet at each location.

    • Bob Jackson May 21, 2011 at 6:39 am #

      > Really though – what do I have to do about imaging? maybe I am getting hung up on the vocabulary?
      Doh! I misspelled and meant to write “imagine” instead of “image”. The correct statement is “Just imagine the Ethernet switch sitting in the wiring coat closet.” and the network diagram will match your situation.

      > Where do I go to look on how I setup the lan network u speak of?
      Just plug the unmanaged Ethernet switch into your WiFi router and you’re home LAN network is ready for use. It’s that easy.

  33. Blake May 22, 2011 at 6:09 am #

    I have never punched down CAT 6 before – Is there a trick? secondly – should I just get the tools from monoprice?

    • Bob Jackson May 22, 2011 at 6:57 am #

      Punch down is the same, be careful to use Cat6 rated jacks to maintain the full Cat6 performance. If you mix Cat5 rated connectors with Cat6 cable, it will work but you may lose the noise immunity and transmission performance of Cat6; the “weakest link” principle.

  34. Blake May 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    never punched a cat 5e or cat 6 – do I follow just what you have here?

    • Bob Jackson May 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

      Yes – follow the instructions here. You might practice wiring two jacks on a short section of cable and testing your work with two patch cables.

  35. Randy Wilson June 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    Thanks for the overview. I just did the same thing–ran an ethernet cable from a bedroom, up to the attic, down 3 floors (by punching a hole in the horizontal tin/flashing between floors that hold the water heater vent pipe in place), and then I got to where I needed to install the wall jacks, and didn’t know quite how to do it, nor what the A/B was about.

  36. Rene November 12, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Hello Bob,

    I just came across your articles and found them very useful. My question is if I need to buy the desktop switch. I am not sure what it is for. I want to have my iMac hard wired via the ethernet port which is in the office. I have other entertainment devices in the living room (about 5-6) that need internet connection. I have an apple time machine that has additional ports that I can use to connect these devices. So I am not sure if I need to buy it. Can you help?

    • Bob Jackson November 13, 2011 at 9:03 am #

      I assume you have the Apple Time Capsule wireless backup device. The Time Capsule has three GigE LAN ports to plug in your other entertainment devices in the living room.

      The purpose of an Ethernet switch is to expand your local area network (LAN) to provide additional Ethernet ports for connected devices. You have “5 or 6″ devices in the living room that need Internet connections, but the Apple Time Capsule only has 3 LAN ports. If those living room devices support WiFi, then go with wireless. If the 5 or 6 entertainment devices don’t support WiFi, then you’re short 2 or 3 LAN ports on the Time Capsule to plug everything in. This is where an Ethernet switch is handy because you can connect the Ethernet switch to the Time Capsule to expand the Ethernet port count and plug the other living room devices into the switch. This is how it looks from an Ethernet cable connectivity with an 8 port Ethernet switch:

      Internet — DSL or Cable Modem — Time Capsule — Ethernet Switch (8 LAN ports) — Entertainment Devices (up to 7 devices)

      Why only 7 Entertainment Devices on the 8 port Ethernet switch? Because one Ethernet switch port is needed for the Time Capsule connection, leaving only 7 available for the living room connections.

  37. Rene December 11, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    Hello Bob,

    Thank you for the reply on the time capsule. I failed to mention that I also have an airport extreme that I could connect in series so that would give me an extra 3 ports. I totally get what you were referring to though. One final question…You mentioned a PoE connection in your article. I am not sure what this is for. Can you provide information?

    • Bob Jackson December 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

      Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a means of providing power and data over the same Ethernet cable to a device such as an IP phone, network camera, WiFi access point or other Ethernet device. The primary advantage of PoE is it simplifies wiring and device hookup – no need for a “wall wart” AC/DC transformer and a nearby 120VAC power outlet.

  38. cris caragan December 31, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Thanks for this info. am in TX visiting my son . going back to LA sometimes 1st of the year. will visit this website again to instal my computer with WIFI on a cable ISP(will change ISP from dial-up to cable). need to follow your step by step to connect internet WIFI and also instal cables for Netflix also.
    Happy new year to you Bob.

  39. Peter May 31, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Is it possible for you to give a list of supplies/equipment you will need for this installation. ie: – Preferred brand of Cat 5 cable, types of wall plates, types of Wall mount boxes to attach the wall plates, etc.

    I have a Ranch style house and will be running Cable to 4 rooms (3 rooms to be wired and 1 room as a start) and it would help if I knew exactly what things I need to complete the job.

    Also does it matter if the cable is run under the house through a crawl space or through an attic?

    • Bob Jackson May 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

      The attic or crawlspace will be fine, it’s mainly whichever has the easiest access. If running cable in the attic, keep down low the insulation or ceiling joists where it’s a bit cooler. Stringing Ethernet cable along the trusses or rafters where it’s hotter could degrade the cable performance.

      You’ll need the following tools and materials:
      1) 500 feet box or roll of standard Cat5e or better Cat6 Ethernet cable.
      2) Box of 10 Cat5e or Cat6 rated RJ-45 Keystone jacks.
      3) Keystone jack wall plates – one per room.
      4) Low-voltage old work mounting brackets – one per room.
      5) Punch down tool.
      6) Wire cutter.
      7) Utility knife, or better a Cat5 / Cat6 cable stripper to remove the outer insulation.
      8 ) Drywall jab saw.
      9) Electricians fish tape to pull cable.
      10) Cordless drill/driver with Philips and flat head bits.
      11) Plastic cable stables for Cat5/6 cable for taking the cable to the floor joists (if in the crawlspace).
      12) Flashlight or a battery powered lantern.
      13) Pencil.
      14) Tape measure.
      15) Bubble level.
      16) Combination square.
      17) Duct tape.
      18) Construction string. Optional, to help with pulling cable through walls.

      The brand of Cat5e or Cat6 cable isn’t that important. You don’t need the really expensive plenum-rated cable (fire resistant) and I also wouldn’t buy the bargain basement products.

      BTW – if you’re using Cat6 cable, take care to buy Cat6 rated keystone jacks for better performance.

  40. Paul Corner August 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    I’m having renovations done and the contractor was going to install a data jack with the other electrical. But he wasn’t able to elaborate as to why I even need one. I have a wireless modem right now through my phone line and wireless-capable laptops and xbox that work fine with it. I have a desktop that doesn’t get much use, but it can be plugged into the modem as it doesn’t have wireless. So why do I need a data outlet? I need to know right away whether to install it before the flooring goes in.

    • Bob Jackson August 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

      > So why do I need a (hardwired) data outlet?
      I highly recommend installing the hardwired Ethernet data outlets during your remodeling project. Why are hardwired data outlets needed in the age of WiFi? There are many reasons:
      * WiFi is subject to signal interference and signal strength degradation
      * WiFi can’t do Power over Ethernet (PoE) for IP cameras and other home security devices
      * Cat 6 cable for 10 Gigabit Ethernet – wow! Your home will be around for years, make it future proof. Take care to use Cat 6 rated jacks and connectors.
      * Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) speeds over WiFi are available, but require your device supports the router’s particular WiFi advanced implementation and reaches those speeds only under ideal conditions.
      * GigE Dedicated bandwidth paths for Network Attached Storage (NAS), home media centers, Ultra High 8K Definition TV and other bandwidth hungry devices.
      * Security – not a concern for the average Joe who posts everything on Facebook, but WiFi signals are broadcast outside your home and encryption can be broken.

      WiFi is awesome for around-the-house mobility, eliminating wires and device miniaturization (what would a smart phone look like with an RJ-45 jack – fail!), however it’s not a total replacement when remote device power or massive amounts of LAN bandwidth are needed. Bandwidth demands are only going up! You might even consider running fiber optic cable in your home with the Cat 6, that’s what I’d do if remodeling or building a new house.

  41. Randy November 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    Bob, Thanks for your contribution! I wish that I had this post in my library of info before I wired my home for internet…

    Here is my question: A of the wall plates that I installed have two jacks, an upper and a lower jack. I wired the upper jack using the “B” wiring scheme, and I left the wires from the Cat 5 cables long. I took these long wire ‘tails’ and wired them to the lower jack of each wall plate, also using the “B” wiring scheme.

    If I plug a laptop into either of the upper or lower jack of any wallplate in my home, that laptop will be connected to my LAN without an issue. But if I try to connect two devices (laptop, roku, etc.) – one in the upper and one in the lower jack of any single wall plate in my home – both devices fail to connect to the LAN.

    Can you outline the correct way to connect one Cat5 cable to two jacks contained within a single wall plate?

    Thanks again!

    • Bob Jackson November 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

      The requirement is one Ethernet cable for each Ethernet jack. You cannot split, or wye, an Ethernet cable to two jacks. You need two jacks and two cables connected to two Ethernet switch ports. The Ethernet switch is what combines the different connected devices so everything can talk.

  42. chais ullmann December 2, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    i was wondering why my network might be still not working but i have tryed everthing even switching wires

    • BobJackson December 2, 2012 at 8:21 am #

      Have you tried making a short Ethernet cable for testing to validated your wiring technique is correct? Are all your cables point-to-point runs terminated at each end by an RJ-45 jack? Is everything plugged into an Ethernet switch?

      You may want to consider a Cat5 Ethernet cable tester if you’re still having problems.

  43. mike December 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    I ran a cat-5 cable to a wall jack. The plate I bought from home depot has 8 solid colored wires, white, brown orange, red blue, black,green and yellow. the cat-5 has 4 solid and four striped wires. what do I do? did I get the wrong plate? It says computer jack

    • BobJackson December 5, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      I don’t recommend the pre-wired wall plates due to the odd screw terminals-to-jack wiring scheme and I have doubts about the Ethernet performance specs. My recommendation is: Return the pre-wired plate to Home Depot, then use the materials and methods as I’ve described in the project.

      If you decide to give that pre-wired network plate a try, this link may be helpful: GE Cat5 Network Wall Plate Install

  44. Katy February 18, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    Ok…our son has an Xbox and we did have a long ethernet cable that ran from the modem around the perimeter of the room and hall ’till it reached our son’s room and was plugged directly into his Xbox. We recently remodeled his room and decided it was time to run the ethernet cable through the wall. I went to Lowes and explained to them what we wanted and he sold me a wall plate that had a double-sided ethernet jack…much like the one you showed in your post except we don’t have to hook any separate wires up…the ethernet cable that is plugged directly into our modem is ran through our wall and plugged into one end of the ethernet jack. The end of the ethernet jack that is exposed to the room through the wall plate has another ethernet cable that is plugged directly into his Xbox. We can’t get it to work. My husband seems to think that the ethernet cable from the modem has to be plugged directly into the Xbox. But the Lowe’s man said this device is what we need.

    Any tips on how to get it to work?

    • BobJackson February 18, 2013 at 8:14 am #

      Based on your description I believe you bought a wall plate with an Ethernet coupler, to which pre-made RJ45 patch cable is plugged into both sides of the coupler as opposed to an RJ45 punch-down jack as shown in the project.

      The Ethernet coupler should work:
      modem — RJ45 patch cable with plugs — Coupler/Wall Plate — RJ45 patch cable — Xbox

      Try the following troubleshooting steps:
      1. Verify the patch cables and Ethernet coupler in the wall plate are not the crossover type because a crossover connection will not work. All components must be the “straight through” or standard wiring configuration.

      2. Move the Xbox next to the modem and connect it to the modem using the patch cable from the wall plate to the Xbox.
      This must be working before anything else. You could have a modem or Xbox software configuration issue. If the Xbox isn’t working, plug in your computer with the same patch cable. If the computer works but not the Xbox, then you have an Xbox network configuration issue. Check the Xbox network settings in the Xbox setup menu.

      Once the computer and Xbox is working when connected to the modem, proceed to step #3.

      3. Remove the wall plate and plug the patch cable coming from the wall directly into the Xbox and/or a computer.
      If this works, the problem is with the Ethernet coupler. If it doesn’t work, replace the Ethernet patch cable inside the wall.

  45. Katy February 18, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Got it!! Thanks for responding so fast…found your site on Pinterest and have used your DIYs several times…this is the first time I had to ask a question and am VERY HAPPY that you were so prompt!

    Thanks!!!

    • BobJackson February 18, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

      Let me know what you did to get the Xbox working. Thanks.

  46. ALDWIN February 24, 2013 at 1:06 am #

    hey bob,

    how are you?

    im gonna setup a new network on a desert site here in U.A.E this is my first time setting up a network soi have so many question about it. i know you can help me like you help them.

    i will setup in a trailer container that they turn into a office with a 15 users.
    their will be a two office a long trailer with 12 users and the small one with 3 users.

    i bought this things:

    d-link 24 port gigabit switch 10/100/1000
    2-d-link dwr-512 wireless n 150 3g 7.2 mbps router
    a cat5e cable and connectors

    and 2 data stick for my connection…

    pls help me im doing this a day after tommorow.

    • BobJackson February 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

      > how are you?
      I was better, but I got over it. ;-)

      > pls help me im doing this a day after tommorow
      Local Area Network (LAN) design and consulting is outside the scope of HandymanHowTo.com, but I will provide a few pointers.

      1. Write a statement of what what you want to do. Is it just to setup Internet access for the 15 LAN users? Do the user’s need access to LAN resources, e.g. servers and printers? Will the two D-Link DWR-512 routers and subnets be bridged together?
      2. Make a network diagram. There are many examples on HandymanHowTo.com. Enter “network” in the search box at the top of the page, then click IMAGE results.
      3. If you want to bridge the two D-Link DWR-512 networks together such that a LAN client on the first D-Link can route to a LAN client (e.g. printer, server) on the second D-Link DWR-512, then D-Link supports RIPV1 and RIPV2. See the ROUTING page in Section 3 – Configuration of the User Manual. A good tutorial for configuring RIP between two networks is here. The tutorial is written for Cisco routers, just sing-along and configure the same parameters in the D-Link configuration page.
      4. Start simple, get Internet access working, then work on the advanced services.
      5. Considering hiring a LAN networking consultant.

      Good luck!
      Bob

  47. Brian April 2, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

    I’m afraid you’re mixed up with T568A and T568B – new installations should always use T568A. You would only use T568B if your existing wiring already uses it. Take a closer look at that wiki article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T568A#T568A_and_T568B_termination

    • BobJackson April 3, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      Hi Brian,
      You are correct – the new recommendation is T568A and T568B is deprecated. I believe the firm stance on T568A is more recent than when I wrote the project in January 2009. That Wiki article has been extensively updated over the past 4+ years, too.

      There’s an informative discussion thread on DSL Reports: “T568B Ethernet wiring standard deprecated?” for further reading.

      New installations should be wired using the T568A standard. Existing installations wired per T568B should continue to do so to avoid inadvertent cross-over connections and confusion.

      I’ll update the project per the T568A recommendation. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  48. Russ May 31, 2013 at 3:11 am #

    I had a ethernet network installed into our new house, once I got the internet connected i connected a etihernet cable from modem to ethernet port in activity room then plugged a ethernet cord from the plug in the lounge room to our t-box (settop box with digital channels) – 20 minutes later the phone line stopped working in that room. anyone know if this setup could have shorted something?

    I have sinced moved the modem to another phone line port and using wireless – too scared to plug into it again…dont want to loose my last phone line —any ideas?

    • BobJackson May 31, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      Do your wall plates have both RJ-45 Ethernet and RJ-11 phone jacks? Recommend removing the wall plates and checking the phone wiring; perhaps something came loose or shorted while installing the Ethernet jacks.

Leave a Reply