Identifying telephone cable

Colin O T

Novice Member
Hi there. We are trying to figure out where a telephone socket in the play room in our house leads to. It doesn't seem to lead to the master socket because there is no dial tone when we plug anything in. (I must admit I have not yet checked the wiring in the master but I'm not sure that matters.)

When I remove the plate from the play room socket, I can see there is a 8-wire cable (four pairs) attached to the socket, which is an RJ11 socket. I have so far plugged a phone in (no tone) though I have not tried plugging in my modem.

I have spotted that, outside the house, there is a 6-wire (three pair) cable very near the drop line. Until I took the socket in the play room apart, I had assumed that this cable led to that socket. It's all the same part of the house - an extension the previous owners put in. But I'm obviously not sure of this now that I've discovered there are two different types of cable.

Is it possible they could be joined together somewhere within the ceiling void? Can I check this somehow? The only thought I've had is to pull the cables and see whether they are connected, perhaps tying some string to one end in case it comes through? But perhaps there is a way of testing using some kind of device. Or perhaps I can rule out any connection because the cables simply aren't compatible.

All other thoughts welcome on what the cables might be or where they might lead based on other experience. I'm basically completely unfamiliar with phones wiring.

As a final hint, my wife says that she vaguely remembers the BT engineer "doing something" when we had BT Infinity installed a few years ago.



Distinguished Member
8-wire RJ11? Considering it's >6 conductor (6P6C), that's impressive, but strictly speaking RJ11 is only 2 wire.

You can buy network testing equipment to locate cables/pairs/wires, but probably overkill for just this exercise exclusively. You could 'rig' a couple of test leads if you have some to sacrifice and then use a multimeter if you have one.

Colin O T

Novice Member
Told you I was unfamiliar! It's definitely 4-pair, 8 wire cable (orange/orange white, green/green white, blue/blue white, brown/brown white) going into the back of the socket. And the size of the socket is the small one I associate with modems rather than the wider one I associate with phones. I thought that made it an RJ11.

Being totally thick, what do you mean by rigging some test leads? Sorry...

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