House wired with Cat5e, but no central access?


In every room of my home, there is an outlet with three connections: coax, Cat5e RJ45, and an RJ11 for phones. I unscrewed the outlet and noticed that all of the wires seem to be heading up towards the attic.

I did a very brief check of my attic (just took a peek from the ladder), but all I could see were valleys and mountains of insulation. If the wires end here, I would have to literally go hunting for them under the insulation. Why would the wires terminate here? Is this common?

I've searched all over my house, but there is no central point where the ethernet cords lead to.

I'm guessing the wires end somewhere in the attic, but I can't fathom why the master builders would lead them all up here and then stop. Is it common for a prewired home to leave it up to the owner to further wire them to a central location closet?

Answers 1

On the houses I have wired all the RJ11 went to the "bell" box on the outside of the house where the phone company...

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Originally posted by: Arsynic

Like you I just moved into a brand new home with structured wiring. I have Cat5e installed throughout the entire house and I was excited...however, my excitement soon dissipated. See, those CAT5e ports in all your rooms default to phone jacks. So that means you have to choose between phone or data. You can't do both because you run into funky voltage problems. You don't want the phone to ring when you have the jack connected to your could fry your hardware since the phone line sends like 90V when the phone rings.

In order to change all or some of them to data, you'll have to use the second set of wires. To my disappointment, all the data cables were non-crimped. I don't really know a whole lot about crimping patch cable, but I know it's a lot of work. So I just went wireless. However, you can have the structured wiring folks come out and convert it for you. I just wished that they had phone and data connected. I mean, under the little...

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There have been several other posts of the same nature; but I am still unable to correlate that to exactly how my home is wired (and admittedly, I am very new to this and only as knowledgeable as the research on the Internet - so thanks in advance for your patience).

My home was built in 2006 and is has cat5e wiring run through out (currently being used for landline telephone). I currently have TV and Internet through Comcast; but what started this was a change over to Comcast voice and looking to improve Internet connectivity (i.e. change home office from wireless to wired).

All cable runs begin in the attic and run down through house (enter through attic --> distribute down to individual rooms). I found the original cable run entering through basement; but due to a connectivity/wire issue, inbound home entry was rewired from the top down. All cat5e wires terminate in the basement (in from outside box --> up through walls to attic --> distributed down to individual...
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getting from floor to floor

if you need to get a wire from the basement to the second floor, or from the first floor to the attic for an up-and-over wiring job, closets are your secret weapon. look for closets that are stacked on top of one another. a hall closet on the first floor may align with a bedroom closet. no one will object to a length of cat 5 running from floor to ceiling in the corner of a closet, but if you want to do it right, drill a larger hole and install a plastic conduit.

a conduit is ideal for running multiple wires and simplifies adding more cables later. one-inch pvc will do. working with several short pieces is best: one up into the ceiling, one down into the floor, with a coupler in the middle. you may want to leave a length of string in the conduit to make pulling additional cable through in the future easier.

you can also do what telephone installers have done for decades go outside and up an exterior wall. once the cabling is neatly...

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How to Install a Data Network in your House: Installation, Cabling Cat5e, Cat6, Connecting by Martin Laurence
English | 19 Jun. 2015 | ASIN: B0102EW2YK | 26 Pages | EPUB/AZW3/PDF (conv) | 3.9 MB

My problem: I had terribly slow internet speed due to using Wi-Fi. I had multiple computers in the house, upstairs and downstairs and i wanted to use the laptop in the garage and that was hopeless.

Did you know Wi-Fi is 50% SLOWER than hard-wired networks?

My SOLUTION was to install a hard-wire a local data network in the house and garage and bring it back to a central location in the house - connecting it to a hub and router and have total freedom.

I was thereby maximizing the internet speed.

Fast-forward and now the work is complete and I can access the net from all my rooms if needed, guests can even log on, and I can use the laptop in the garage when working on a car and getting Internet-based...

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I'm trying to set up Gigabit Ethernet in a new building that's wired with Cat 5E cabling. There are 6 drops throughout the building but, unfortunately, each room was originally terminated with RJ11 for phone. I switched 4 of the jacks to RJ45. The drops were not terminated so I patched them together into a patch panel in the basement.

Unfortunately it seems like only one of the links reached 1GB. The others cap out at 100MB. I can observe this in a few ways: * the router shows orange link light instead of green * my cable tester only blinks green for pins 1, 2, 3, and 6

I've triple checked the wiring at both ends to make absolutely certain that both sides are using the same standard, 568B. I'm not an expert but the wiring looks fairly clean to me.

Here's a photo of the patch panel: and here's the wall socket:

Possibly related is that the Gigabit link is to the first floor while the 100MB ones go to floors two and three. I suppose it's possible that...

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Editors' note: This story was originally published on Dec. 9, 2014, and has been updated frequently with latest information.

When it comes to home networking, there's a soup of technical terms, LAN, WAN, broadband, Wi-Fi, CAT5e, just to name a few. If you're having a hard time with these basic terms, you're reading the right post. Here I'll (try to) explain them all so that you can have a better understanding of your home network and hopefully a better control of your online life. There's a lot to explain so this long post is just the first of an evolving series.

Advanced and experienced users likely won't need this, but for the rest, I'd recommend reading the whole thing. So take your time, but in case you want to jump to a quick answer, feel free to search for what you want to know and chances are you will find it within this post.

1. Wired networking

A wired local network is basically a group of devices connected to one another using network cables,...

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Getting settled after moving into a new house and updating it with home networking. There are 3 rooms in this house that need networking. Started with poor 0.7Mbps upon move-in with 2Wire AT&T WiFi since my room was on the opposite end of the house from the router. Then decided to attempt an adhoc dual-router piggyback setup which raised it to 4Mbps with DLink access point. That still wasn't good enough. So finally decided to run ethernet cable and ended up with a solid connection at 11Mbps. Was offline for over a month upon moving into the new house. It was frustrating trying to get WiFi up to satisfactory speeds. Ethernet cables and jacks are the only realistic way to solve a low WiFi signal issue across such a large distance. Feels good to have internet again! This is a realistic scenario of what it takes to wire up your own house with dedicated ethernet (Cat 5e) hard...

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Let me contribute my last answer today to you dear Fountainhead.

CAT5 is just a name of a standard, like CAT5e and CAT6 are developed and optimized for gigabit speeds CAT5 is a standard for 100 mbit. These are the theoretical number, real world doesn't really listen to those.

CAT5 standard has 8 wires, but uses only 4. Bottom line for you is, if you have ANY 4 wires running inside your wall, you can use them to build a UTP based network.

Lower quality cables - no shielding, bad wire material, no insulation, distance, interference - all those contribute to speed by degrading it (and they are defined in the CATx standards).

So answer to your first question is: Any 4 wires. Downside, you can't guess the quality, you have to TEST it to see if it's sufficient.

Secondly, if you don't have networking knowledge nor experience I stronggly suggest you leave it to others even if you consider yourself to be a handyman. You will save a lot of time and pain. Call in...

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bill001g said:

You can pretty much place the router in any room that has both a coax and a ethernet that goes back to this box. So if we assume you can put it say in a bedroom that can get good coax signal you would then put the router there. You can of course hook up all your devices in that room directly to the router. What you do is cable one of the lan ports to the wall jack which takes it back to the central box. You then put a switch in the box and connect all the ports to it.

The key issue with doing this is you have to be sure you get good enough signal in that room on the coax. You generally have one or more coax splitters in the path. With good quality splitters and strong incoming signal it can work.

Ok let me get this clear if I understood this correctly this might have saved ally my problems....

The FIOS Router is currently in my living room there is a coax there and an ethernet that goes into that box in the garage. but this and the...

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while building the house, you could put wiring anywhere you want.

Where you want to put the router, is in no way relative to where the central point of the network will be.

Cat6 cabling is usually done in star formation, single central point, usually close to where the cabling comes into the house from outside.
Fear my horrible painting skills:

So.. fibre to cat transformer basically must be somewhere near the access box, add one double cat6 socket there. (2nd one is for redundancy really)
add central panel localtion of your choice, anywhere in house, cellar, attic, bedroom closet, toilet/wc.
Add switch there, normal 10/100 8 port switches are cheap.
connect panel port from fibre-router transformer to living room socket where router is.
connect router to wan port.
add living room wiring to tv or whatever to router. (they usually have 4 ports)
connect one of the ports to wall panels 2nd port.
connect said 2nd port...

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There are certain design considerations that need to be addressed based on your needs. I'll discuss this before materials because these questions will affect quantities, tools and materials needed.

1. Which room/s do I want wired?

- I have a 2 bedroom condo so I knew I wanted both bedrooms wired. I also have a TV alcove where my cable TV is so that seemed like a good location to wire as well for things like video game consoles. I have cable TV in each of these locations so it seemed logical to treat the network the same way.

2. How many ports do I want in each location?

- With a multiple game consoles and network enabled Blu-Ray player connected to my TV, I knew I wanted at least 3 connections behind my TV. Since the wall plates come in 1, 2, 4, and 6 jack configurations (for single gang), I just went with 4. Why run one cable when its nearly as easy to run 4, right? Rather than vary the number, I just ran 4 drops to each location to provide maximum...

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Originally Posted by


May be wrong place to post but we just purchased a home. Builder said it was cat5 wired. Found this panel in garage. Having cable/net turned on not sure how to set up network?

I can't see the ends of the white wires / if they have any ends on them or not. I also can't see if they are labeled. Either way one or more of those wires goes to a wall plate in each room, hopefully each of the wall plates had Ethernet Jacks in them, if they do then all you need to do is get a Switch with as many ports as you have connections / wires there plus a few more then you will connect them to the ports on the switch. If the ends in the box do not have ends on them then you can either puts RJ45 Connectors on them and plug them directly in to the switch or you can get a Patch Panel from somewhere like Monoprice and hard-wire them in to there and buy some short 1 foot patch cables and connect them that way.

As for a switch, that is...

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