House with cat5e cables but all rooms have phone sockets and not rj45 ports

mbugsy18

Active Member
Hi, I recently moved into a house which I had thought was wired up for Ethernet only to find out all the rooms have phone sockets. Cable has cat5e written on it. I thought it would be a simple job to change the telephone ports to rj45 armed with rj45 modules and idc push down tool. The cables that end in the cupboard by the front door are not marked but the previous owner had left a switch (TPlink 8port) there and the cables were plugged into that when I moved in. I tried the socket in the bedroom and tested all the cables coming into the switch but no light on the tester. So nothing appears to work. When I plug all the cables into the switch there are no lights on the switch other than from the kitchen which has 2 separate cables going into the phone socket I am assuming one is the cctv and one for the phone. No idea why it’s been wired in this way.
Any advice on how to get Ethernet to each room using the existing cabling which is buried in the walls. I read another thread about wiring ethernet socket and will purchase one of those wire tracker gadgets or should I not waste any more time and money
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Ethernet and analogue phones (POTS) use fundamentally different wiring typologies despite both being capable of being carried over UTP cable (UTP was originally designed for phones and reverse engineered for ethernet.)

POTS is wired "common bus" which means that each socket can potentially be "daisy chained" from the next: Literally everything is physically/electrically spliced together somewhere.

Ethernet use a "point to point" topology in that each cable lobe of an ethernet infrastructure must have one, and only one, active "thing" plugged into each end of the cable. There cannot be multiple sockets wired off a single cable lobe.

No socket wired for phone use would ever have been plugged into an ethernet switch (or an ethernet anything else.) POTS and ethernet much be kept electrically separate - not least because UK POTS lines carry of the order of a 50 volt power supply and I'd "worry" that might damage any ethernet equipment. But also because the cabling paradigms for each are fundamentally different.

If you have unknown cabling, there is nothing for it but to go "discover" where everything goes and map it out. We cannot "just assume" anything. It's a misery when you've not been left a cabling schedule or a map and you've got to figure it out.

You may even need to inspect the back side of each sockets to see whether they are single ended or daisy chained from somewhere else - especially any sockets previously used for phones. If you are lucky, you might be able to break the daisy chaining and convert some sockets to ethernet use, but much depends on the topology. Indeed, if you do find any daisy chaining, it would be worth breaking it at each socket so you can figure which socket is chained to which.

If you are really lucky, all the "phone" lobes might be brought back to a central location and spliced together at that location instead of being daisy chained from socket to socket to socket. Such is easier to break apart and convert to ethernet. It depends what the original installer did.

You could have a look and see if any of the sockets are labelled. That might give you some clues. Otherwise, there's no option but to methodically work through performing a lamp test on each lobe, labeling it all as you go, recording it in a map and trying to figure it out.

A tone generator and wand is certainly a useful tool to help find what goes where - in the past I've even used one to trace the route of cabling through a few walls and conduits (though the signal, of course, is very weak when you are not close the the wire.) It's a value judgement as to whether you buy or hire one. If you cannot figure out the topology using a lamp test it may be worthwhile. A lamp test is literally putting a voltage on one end of the wires and a lamp on the other and see if there's an electrical pathway - many of the really cheap 10GBP cable testers do little more than this.

Speaking of 50 volt power from the telephone exchange, whilst testing all this you should disconnect everything from your master socket so you don't risk a shock and don't risk shorting out any lines and upsetting the telco's equipment upstream of you out in the street and/or at the telephone exchange.
 
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mbugsy18

Active Member
Ethernet and analogue phones (POTS) use fundamentally different wiring typologies despite both being capable of being carried over UTP cable (UTP was originally designed for phones and reverse engineered for ethernet.)

POTS is wired "common bus" which means in that each socket can be "daisy chained" from the next: Literally everything is physically/electrically spliced together somewhere.

Ethernet use a "point to point" topology in that each cable lobe of an ethernet infrastructure must have one, and only one, active "thing" plugged into each end of the cable.

No socket wired for phone use would ever have been plugged into an ethernet switch (or an ethernet anything else.) POTS and ethernet much be kept electrically separate - not least because UK POTS lines carry of the order of a 50 volt power supply and I'd "worry" that might damage any ethernet equipment. But also because the cabling paradigms for each are fundamentally different.

If you have unknown cabling, there is nothing for it but to go "discover" where everything goes and map it out. We cannot "just assume" anything. It's a misery when you've not been left a cabling schedule or a map and you've got to figure it out.

You may even need to inspect the back side of each sockets to see whether they are single ended or daisy chained from somewhere else. If you are lucky, you might be able to break the daisy chaining and convert some socket to ethhernet use, but much depends on the topology. Indeed, if you do find any daisy chaining, it would be worth breaking it at each socket so you can figure which socket is chained to which.

If you are really lucky, all the "phone" lobes might be brought back to a central location and spliced together at that location instead of being daisy chained from socket to socket to socket. Such is easier to break apart and convert to ethernet. It depends what the original installer did.

You could have a look and see if any of the sockets are labelled. That might give you some clues. Otherwise, there's no option but to methodically work through performing a lamp test on each lobe, labeling it all as you go, recording it in a map and trying to figure it out.

A tone generator and wand is certainly a useful tool to help find what goes where - in the past I've even used one to trace the route of cabling through a few walls and conduits (though the signal, of course, is very weak when you are not close the the wire.) It's a value judgement as to whether you buy or hire one. If you cannot figure out the topology using a lamp test it may be worthwhile. A lamp test is literally pitting a voltage on one end of the wires and a lamp on the other and see if there's an electrical pathway - many of the really cheap 10GBP cable testers do little more than this.

Speaking of 50 volt power from the telephone exchange, whilst testing all this you should disconnect everything from your master socket so you don't risk a shock and don't risk shorting out any lines and upsetting the telco's equipment upstream of you out in the street and/or at the telephone exchange.
Thanks for the reply. The socket in one of the bedrooms I am using and hopefully have punched down properly had a single wire to it. How would I know if it is daisy chained would there be a 2nd cable also attached?
 

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mickevh

Distinguished Member
It's best to physically inspect to check for daisy chaining. The one pictured is not, but it's possible "the other end" of that cable might be chained off another socket.

One way you could check without physically removing all the sockets is to put a voltage on this socket then go test every other socket in the premises and see which have a voltage on them. If more than one socket "light up" then you know there's some daisy chaining going on somewhere, if only a single socket responds then you can be a bit more confident that the test subject isn't spliced in somewhere else.
 

mbugsy18

Active Member
Is there anything printed on the jacket of the cable ?
Yes, it definitely says cat 5e, the only hand written writing I can make out is ‘kitch(en)’assuming it’s kitchen but as I said this outlet has 2 wires going into it but I have been told that there is wring for an alarm or cctv camera and the cable in the closet cupboard housing the cable has several that are not terminated for various items labelled door bell, gate, garden etc.
 

mbugsy18

Active Member
Also is there anyway to splice together cat5e cable? as the wire in the back box for the sockets don’t have much slack.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
There's a few options for joining cables. The amount of space available may dictate which are practical.

I have used a widget that is essentially two IDC blocks wired together within a little box. I call them "inline IDC coupler" though they may have other names. That would be my preferred method. Ensure you buy one suitable for the "cat" of cable you have as the wire gauges differ between some cats. Also, these are only suitable for "solid core" cables, not stranded/patch.

Alternatively, you can dress off both cables onto plugs (make sure the plugs are suitable for solid core cable if it is such) and slap them into an RJ45 inline coupler (basically two RJ45 sockets back to back wired together internally.)

It may be possible with "jelly crimps" though I've never used them and I'm a bit suspicious they may "break" the "cat" standards due to the amount of untwisting required (if the cat standards don't outright "ban" their use.) I'm not an electrical engineer, but some others here are and may want to comment on whether jelly crimps are likely to create standing waves. reflections and so on that might be the enemy of high frequency data transmission. (Should be fine for POTS - when OpenReach moved my Master Socket, they used jelly crimps to extend my incoming cct onto a few additional meters of cat5 and that been carrying voice and >63mbps VDSL for about ten years without a problem.)

If you care for a primer on DIY UTP, I like the following page - it has lots of useful pictures of pin outs and so on.... How to wire Ethernet Cables
 

maf1970

Well-known Member
Assuming the cabling is Cat5e and the wiring goes back to the cupboard the OP has described then

1. Does the cabling in the cupboard end on a patch panel or is each individually done with RJ45 sockets ?
2. How much cable is there in the cupboard ? With a second person you could try pulling the cables in turn to try a figure out where each goes to and then label accordingly. If not then you will have to spend time investigating your house to figure out where the cables go.

Ethernet Cabling
 

mbugsy18

Active Member
Assuming the cabling is Cat5e and the wiring goes back to the cupboard the OP has described then

1. Does the cabling in the cupboard end on a patch panel or is each individually done with RJ45 sockets ?
Each cable is terminated with a RJ45 plug.
2. How much cable is there in the cupboard ? With a second person you could try pulling the cables in turn to try a figure out where each goes to and then label accordingly. If not then you will have to spend time investigating your house to figure out where the cables go.

Not much cable left about 6 -8 inches coming out of trunking. I tried to pull one cable but they are tightly packed in the trunking.

 

maf1970

Well-known Member
If you want get a packet of RJ45 sockets and the appropriate tool and you could redo all the cables in the cupboard and cables round the house with RJ45s following the T-568B Straight-Through Ethernet Cable guide via the link in my last post. You could then try testing the cables with a lan tester.
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
I'd suggest that before you re-terminate, extend or any other physical work on your cables, you buy a cheap cable toner like this

Amazon product
And you trace and label each cable so that you know its start and end-point. This way you will know what each cable is end to end. I would write on each cable using a sharpie, starting at 1, first cable 1 on each end. Next cable 2 on each end and so on.. Once you have a good idea of where all of your cables run, then you can decide how best to address their termination.

Whatever you do, DO NOT as been suggested try pulling the cables in situ. Cat5e is not very strong in a tensile way and its easy to snap a conductor by pulling too hard. If the cable is terminated with an RJ45 you can use in-line couplers to extend the cable

Amazon product
This type do not require for you to cut off the RJ45 plug and will allow you to plug in some longer patch cables at the cupboard end.
 

mbugsy18

Active Member
I'd suggest that before you re-terminate, extend or any other physical work on your cables, you buy a cheap cable toner like this

Amazon product
And you trace and label each cable so that you know its start and end-point. This way you will know what each cable is end to end. I would write on each cable using a sharpie, starting at 1, first cable 1 on each end. Next cable 2 on each end and so on.. Once you have a good idea of where all of your cables run, then you can decide how best to address their termination.

Whatever you do, DO NOT as been suggested try pulling the cables in situ. Cat5e is not very strong in a tensile way and its easy to snap a conductor by pulling too hard. If the cable is terminated with an RJ45 you can use in-line couplers to extend the cable

Amazon product
This type do not require for you to cut off the RJ45 plug and will allow you to plug in some longer patch cables at the cupboard end.
Hi, yes I agree, have bought the couplers and waiting on their delivery. Wasn’t sure which cable toner as some had bad reviews on Amazon. I will check the one you mention.
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
As its for a one-off job, I'd just buy a cheap and cheerful one like the one that I linked. They all work in a very similar way
 

mbugsy18

Active Member
Maybe a stupid question but if the phone sockets work is there an adaptor that can be used for a BT phone connector to Ethernet I could use instead or not?
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
Maybe a stupid question but if the phone sockets work is there an adaptor that can be used for a BT phone connector to Ethernet I could use instead or not?
There are adapters that convert RJ45 to BT but not the other way around as BT wiring uses a maximum of 6 conductors whereas RJ45 (for gigabit) needs all 8 conductors (4 pairs).

It should take around 5 minutes per socket to replace those BT faceplates with RJ45 ones
 

mbugsy18

Active Member
There are adapters that convert RJ45 to BT but not the other way around as BT wiring uses a maximum of 6 conductors whereas RJ45 (for gigabit) needs all 8 conductors (4 pairs).

It should take around 5 minutes per socket to replace those BT faceplates with RJ45 ones
That’s what I thought but get nothing at the other end. Anyway tone tracer coming today.
 

mbugsy18

Active Member
Just a small step forward. My brother came for lunch and brought his multimeter and tested the connectors and the wires in the cupboard. Found one that worked. This socket had 2 cables going into it and the other cable was not any showing any continuity of the ones that had rj45 plugs on. So, out of 6 cables only 1 worked and it was labelled incorrectly as bed 1. Anyway now have at least one socket working waiting to crimp the remaining cables before proceeding any further.
 

mbugsy18

Active Member
Quick update, at last have chnaged the phone sockets to rj45. As expected bar one cable labelled kitchen the others were incorrectly labelled. Anyway using the equipment suggested I traced the cables and now all socket have been rewired as RJ45s. The cheap and cheerful tone tracer gave up and broke at the last socket plug got caught and the bale to the rj11 plug came out but it had already found the cables at the closet so no big deal.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
Quick update, at last have chnaged the phone sockets to rj45. As expected bar one cable labelled kitchen the others were incorrectly labelled. Anyway using the equipment suggested I traced the cables and now all socket have been rewired as RJ45s. The cheap and cheerful tone tracer gave up and broke at the last socket plug got caught and the bale to the rj11 plug came out but it had already found the cables at the closet so no big deal.
Did you manage to work out their labelling system ?
 

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