How to Install an Ethernet Jack for a Home Network – Part 2

How to Install an Ethernet Jack for a Home Network – the new jack is attached to the wall plate and cable is fished through the walls from the attic to the basement. This project is continued from How to Install an Ethernet Jack for a Home Network – Part 1.

Ethernet Jack and Wall Plate Assembly

The blank port cover is unsnapped from the wall plate and the newly wired RJ-45 jack snapped into place. Remember to label the cables as shown – I used a permanent marker and masking tape. Also take make gentle bends in the Cat5e cable as you push the cables into the wall box to screw on the face plate. A pinched cable can displace the twisted pair wires, lowering the noise immunity and overall performance.

Ethernet Jack Inserted into the Wall Plate

Ethernet Jack Inserted into the Wall Plate

The wall plate is screwed onto the wall box. The PoE jack is marked in red, the new Ethernet jack is on the right. If you’re doing this for the first time, the back of the wall plate is marked showing which way is “Up” for mounting.

Ethernet Wall Plate with New RJ-45 Jack

Ethernet Wall Plate with New RJ-45 Jack

Pull Ethernet Cable Inside the Walls

My big challenge is figuring out way to fish the Ethernet cable from the attic to the basement three (3) floors down. I needed to find an existing pathway in the walls. My solution was to run the cable along the natural gas pipeline from the basement to the attic furnace. A PVC condensation pipe runs parallel to the natural gas line, making for extra room.

My improvised tool for fishing the cable is a small crescent wrench and construction string:

Cresent Wrench and Construction String

Cresent Wrench and Construction String

Working in the attic, I removed the insulation from the opening in the wall by the gas line and condensation pipe and lowered the crescent wrench into the hole. The crescent wrench acted as guide to find the openings on the 2nd and 1st floors that looked like this one here in the attic. A bit of bobbing the string up and down at each floor level was needed to drop the wrench the each opening.

Dropping a line from the Attic to the Basement

Dropping a line from the Attic to the Basement

This is how the yellow string looked as it dropped through the 1st floor into crawl space above the basement ceiling.

String Exiting the 1st Floor

String Exiting the 1st Floor to the Basement

Crescent wrench and string in the crawl space between the 1st floor and basement ceiling.

Crescent Wrench and String on the Basement Ceiling

Crescent Wrench and String on the Basement Ceiling

The Ethernet cable is duct taped to the construction string to pull the cable up through the walls to the attic.

Fishing Ethernet Cable: Construction String to Pull Cable

Fishing Ethernet Cable: Construction String to Pull Cable

The Ethernet cable is pulled up to the attic from the basement. Sufficient cable is pulled to the reach the across the attic and down the wall to the new jack.

Ethernet Cable Pulled to the Attic

Ethernet Cable Pulled to the Attic

The Ethernet cable is pulled from a 1000 feet box.

1000 Feet Box of Ethernet Cable

1000 Feet Box of Ethernet Cable

This project is continued in How to Install an Ethernet Jack for a Home Network – Part 3.

Thanks for reading,

Bob Jackson

Copyright © 2016 HandymanHowTo.com   Reproduction strictly prohibited.

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11 Responses to How to Install an Ethernet Jack for a Home Network – Part 2

  1. Beni B. September 2, 2009 at 9:43 pm #

    Ok, this may be a total overkill, because the distance you can achieve with these things is crazy, but have you tried ethernet over telco/copper-pair? There are a few companies who sell solutions for this, but, by all accounts, it seems these guys have the most legit product: http://www.ethernetextender.com (check out their 820 or 860; still overkill, but probably not as bad as the rest). The reason why I’m suggesting this is because you don’t even have to run ethernet; just use your pre-existing telco wiring. What’s more, if you’ve got a backlot or guest house, this technology let’s you go way out there too.
    Anyways, just a thought.

    • Bob Jackson September 3, 2009 at 8:00 am #

      The reasons I ran Cat5e cable instead of using a HomePlug (Broadband over Powerlines), HPNA (broadband over phone lines or coax) or MOCA (broadband over coax) Ethernet adapter are:
      * Cost
      * Simplicity – easy to debug, test and trace
      * Reliability – no active electronics or intermediate technologies
      * Power over Ethernet support (if needed, e.g. network cameras)

      The street price of the Ethernet Extender 860 LRE Kit you referenced is $475.00, while a 1000 foot roll of Cat5e costs < $100.

      MOCA, HomePlug and HPNA adapters all cost ~$100 to get started and about $50 per additional node. Doesn't take long to get expensive.

      If you can't run Cat5e or Cat6 cable due to the building construction (e.g. concrete walls) then one of the competing broadband phone, coax or power line technologies can be a viable solution. AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS use HPNA or MOCA for the simple reason it's not cost effective to rewire a residential home with Cat5e.

      I've got so much Cat5e in my home now that I'm going to install a structured wiring panel soon.

      Thanks for reading and your comments,
      Bob

  2. jsubijano October 13, 2009 at 7:56 pm #

    Thank you for your how to guide! I am currently in the process of wiring my house for ethernet. I’m not great at understand technology but is this similar to what you did?:

    “1) Install an ethernet wall plate upstairs, connect the cat5 cable to the plate and run the cable downstairs

    2) Install an ethernet wall plate downstairs and connect the cat5 cable that is connected to the upstairs wall plate

    Result:
    Two ethernet cat5 wall plates connected by the cable

    The modem is upstairs, I plug in an ethernet cable into a port and the other end into wall plate jack. Would this make the downstairs ethernet jack live, where I can hardwire my laptop into the router upstairs? Will this work?

    Diagram:

    —cat5—[wallplate upstairs]—-cat5—-[wallplate downstairs]—cat5—(laptop) = Internet connection”

    IF so, I was wondering what a diagram with multiple ethernet jacks in the house would look like? You did mention a structured wiring panel which would indicate that you have other rooms now with ethernet jacks. Or no? Thanks again.

    • Bob Jackson October 14, 2009 at 7:59 pm #

      Your understanding and ASCII diagram is correct. It’s a direct connection between each Ethernet jack.

      > IF so, I was wondering what a diagram with multiple Ethernet jacks in the house would look like?
      I added a network diagram for multiple jacks and rooms at the end of the article above. Here’s the link as well: https://www.handymanhowto.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Ethernet-Home-Network-Wiring1.png

      > You did mention a structured wiring panel which would indicate that you have other rooms now with ethernet jacks.
      If you need more than six or eight Ethernet cable drops or have a lot home networking equipment, the cables and equipment tend to look messy and becomes confusing. A structured wiring panel is a way to organize and simplify cable management for networking, phone and video.

      Take a look at these SmartHome products to get an idea of structured wiring panels and cabinets:
      http://www.smarthome.com/_/Cable_Structured_Wiring/Structured_Panels_Accessories/_/v/1P3/nav.aspx

      The benefits of structured wiring panels and cabinets are:
      * Organizes the voice, video and network wiring.
      * Provides a place to mount equipment in a protected location, versus sitting on a desk top
      * Best for higher density installations. Wall jacks are OK for 1 to 8 Ethernet ports, but cumbersome if larger.
      * Cleans up the appearance – hides the equipment and wiring.
      * Simplifies network rearrangements, equipment changes, network expansions, etc.

      A structured wiring panel and/or cabinet is residential version of commercial wiring closet.

      An easy way to get a look at a structured wiring cabinet in practice is to take a tour of a model home in a new community in your area. Home Builders commonly pre-wire higher-end houses for Ethernet and intrusion alarms. The structured wiring panel is usually in a closet.

      Thanks for reading,
      Bob Jackson

  3. Russ D. January 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    GREAT articles on the Home Ethernet wiring. I did this for over seven years in a school district, and in all manner of buildings, sheds, portable classrooms. Your photos are excellent snd your text easy to understand. I can add some tips: Do not leave “extra” cable all coiled up inside the actual walljack box; instead, leave about two extra feet in the attic, in a BIG loop or loose altogether. This is called a “Service Loop” which allows for future repairs. Do not coil it small and tight – the copper becomes an antenna and you can get “NEXT” (Near End Cross Talk) which can give you really strange errors. A wall-jack killer: having the jack where furniture can be pushed too close, ramming the RJ45 cable plug into the jack – or my favorite – where a big calculator or other desktop device falls off the desk, slides down against the wall and does a guillotine on the RJ45 plug, driving it up at an angle, killing the pins inside of the jack. Thanks Again!

  4. Steve December 14, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    Great article! It’s exactly what I needed to get my house wired for the internet. One thing I would like to point out, though, is the use of post construction, low voltage boxes. Just like the electrical boxes you used but the backs are missing for ease of wire location and feeding. Thanks again…great job!

  5. MESUD June 5, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    What is the problem of using cat6 cable with cat5 wall outlet?
    I already wired/installed cat6 cable I did get cat6 wall outlet but I have cat5 wall oulet so what can I do?

  6. David Stephenson August 9, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Thank you so much, especially for the crystal-clear photos of which wire went to which terminal. Works like a dream!

  7. Dave September 4, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    I know this is an old post but maybe someone is monitoring it !
    I am currently doing this, but have hit an issue.
    Diag:

    switch – patch cat5 – socket – cat5 – socket – patch cat5 – switch

    as i am connecting two switches do i need crossover or will straight through work ??
    thanks
    Dave

    • Bob Jackson September 4, 2015 at 10:56 am #

      A straight-through cable should be used to interconnect Ethernet switches. A crossover cable is only needed when connecting two devices (e.g. laptop to an IP camera for bench configuration) directly without a switch.

      That said, nearly all modern switches support Auto MDI-X so the issue of mixing T568A and T568B and/or cross-over patch cables is a “don’t care”. The switch(es) will detect and configure the connection automatically so you can use any combination of cable(s) and it just works.

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