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Discussion Starter #1
I ran a bunch of CAT5 into my home theater during construction because I figured it would future proof it. CAT5 can be used for phone, ethernet, and other transport (a buddy of mine is replicating a video signal from room to room).

My issue is how to terminate it. Obviously at the room, I already have keystone jacks mounted in the wall for where phone and internet will be.

But what about the other end? I'll eventually move all my phone and internet to CAT5 and want them to come to a central place- some wires being setup for phones, and others going to ports on my router.

In the old days we used punchdown panels. Is that still the way to go? Seems awfully painful.

I think there are new panels which end up with a keystone jack termination and then you use jumpers to connect that termination to your router. But- what do you do about phone? That isn't a 1/1 matching- all the phones need to run on the same pairs. Also- since CAT5 has more wires than you need (unless you're running GigE with CAT6), you can use the same CAT5 wire for both phone and ethernet- what do you do in that case- some wires would be peeled off to go to the router, whilst others would go to the phone bus.

Suggestions from someone who has done it very much appreciated.
 

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The problem with splitting cat5 for data/phone is that the wall plate with only one pair can only be used for phone, not data. We always run full cat5 to each jack on the wall plate, then use a termination panel from Hill industries, doubt you will get that brand in US, then all you do is swap over the patch cable from the two panels to your phone or router system (the patch panels have punch down at one end and RJ45 at the other).

If you do want to split the cable, mount the panels in a structured wiring enclosure, then bring in the pairs already split from the back and you will only see the cables that need punching down.
 

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teocheese....

here's what I'd recommend...
don't split phone/cat 5 - wire is pretty cheap, either pull an extra cat 5 for the added flexibility - or pull an additional cat 3 (which is really cheap) for just your phone.

In your wiring closet, EVERYTHING gets punched down to a patch panel - NOT a punchdown block.

they sell patch panels with RJ45 connectors (cat5/6) or with RJ11 connectors (Cat 3-phone)
my preference is to use Cat 6 for network punched down to RJ45, and cat 3 for phone punched down to RJ11

now Networking stuff is easy - one Cat 5 jumper from each port to a port on a hub or switch...

phones on the other hand typically all need to work together....
heres what I did...
Bought an extra RJ11 patch panel.
got a 3 foot piece of wire and pulled just the blue/blue white pair.
on the back of the extra RJ11 panel, I've snaked blue/blue white across the center 2 terminals of each jack (well technically the punchdown block behind the jack)
I plugged a live phone line into jack 1.
I plugged short phone cords to connect jacks 2-x to my lines running to actual phones.

now as an alternate you could just punch down each rooms cat 3 to a telco punch down, I started that way, and ripped everything out - I was getting some noise and wanted full control to be able to disconnect the phone wires in a room if it wasn't being used for a phone. Now my phones sound great.

Also I'm not sure if it's too late for this, but when our home was built, I ran 1" conduit from every room down to the wiring panel in the basement. This did a few things for me:
1) emptied my wallet of some considerable cash
2) turned my arms into pipe bending bicepts of steel
3) allowed me to not worry about any wire during construction.. (just conduit)
4) allowed me to pull whatever needed later.

that worked out great - there were a few locations I needed 3 cat 5's and a few I needed 3 RG6's so the flexibility is nice to have. As a rule, each location has 2 cat 5, 2 RG6 and 1 Cat 3.

oh one more thing - you can get a decent label printer for around $100 - well worth it if you want to keep organized. I bought a brother light industrial unit for about that. and bought a roll of wire wrap tape (It's a bit more flexible) the brother has modes for repeating text on a piece of tape for wire wrapping, and it has modes for labeling patch panels (you tell it the space between, border style, etc...)
I didn't have one of these when I built, and I wish now that I did (especially since I ended up buying it anyways)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Great stuff- I understand the phone now- that makes sense- you use the other panel as the bus. I'm still having trouble envisioning how you patch from the room to the phone panel though...
 
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Why not use CAT6? Better (faster) than CAT5 and cheaper than Fiber

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1000ft $157.00
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The wire has already been run- it is Cat5e/Cat6 anyway.

The question, however, is what's the best way to configure a home wiring closet.
 

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I'll snap some pictures now, and hopefully find some time to resize and upload later today.

My setup isn't perfect, as I learned from more than one mistake along the way...

I also got a free telco rack at some point - probably should have just bought one to begin with - they're only about $120. - anyhow so you'll see a few different approaches to where to locate, how to punch down etc...
 

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Well, I took all the pictures, wrote a nice web page and went to upload it and the server's (mine not HTS) giving me an error - I've emailed support so Hopefully it will get resolved soon, I've got tons of pictures - wall plates, conduit - front and back of the patch panels for phone and Network, a shot of the Antenna/RG6 wire config too...
 

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Thanks guys,

I got lucky on a few counts... I worked in a building in downtown Chicago and had a chance to talk to the in-house wiring guy before we built - I learned a lot from him, especially the color coding of cat 5, and why it's important.

Also my builder was really cool, and let me run all this stuff myself. So I came in over thanksgiving weekend and installed all the conduit to the point where I had a bunch of stubs in the basement. After the house was finished, I ran the remaining conduit in the basement, and pulled all the cat 3/5/RG6.

In Northern Illinios, many builders charge a fee for every phone, network, antenna etc.. jack fee - typically $75 per jack (not location!) So I could not have done it if that was the case!

No question is too simple - I made a lot of mistakes, so if I can help just one person avoid them, then the effort on the pictures and this post will all be worthwhile.
 

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I hate to say this, but I have no idea -I saved all the reciepts in case we need it for tax purposes when we sell the house, but I didn't add them up.

If I had to venture a guess, I probably spent a $1000 on wiring/tools/conduit/jacks/panels/etc... this was back in 1997 when a 10 foot piece of 1 inch conduit cost $3.05
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Bravo! Thanks, that's exactly what I needed. Now I just need to find some patch panels and I'll be in business. I think I read that if you use one of those standards you mention, you can use the ethernet jacks for phone jacks interchangeably (the phones are narrower, but fit in the middle). I have been putting keystone jacks everywhere, but for now my wires run into a horrible mess under my desk near a switch. I do have a big switch to put in a closet, and now I know what to do!

Thanks!
 

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as for phones...
Single line phones use the center 2 pins (pins 4+5 on an RJ45 connection)
Both 568a and 568b route the center 2 to the center 2, with a single, twisted pair (Which is what you want)

as for the closet, I'd be inclined to use 2 RJ45 patch panels - assuming an average size house, probably a 24 port to lead to all the keystones in the rooms, and maybe a 12 port for the phone bus if you liked that idea. Then I'd use some short color coded CAT5 or 6 patch cables - I'd use blue to connect the network locations to your switch, and a different color for your phones.

at the keystone end - you can plug the RJ11 connector into the RJ45 connector like you said - be sure to leave some slack on the wire behind it, in case you ever need to replace the keystone connector - the RJ11 connector will bend pins 1+8 on the RJ45 keystone all the way back, so theres a small possibility that one day those pins won't have enough spring in them to make a good contact.


I've bought most of my stuff from pimfg.com
They sell molded cat 5 patch cables for $0.81 each ($1.22 for cat 6),
24 port cat 6 patch panel, $57.60 ea
and they have brackets, and other rack mount accessories.
If you look at the picture of my stuff, on the plywood towards the bottom, is a black patch panel - that was the original one before I got the giant aluminum rack.
There's no close up, but that black patch panel is on a bracket that holds it about 5 inches from the plywood - the left half of the bracket is hinged so that the whole thing swings out for easy access to the punch down blocks. They sell those brakcets in different heights - I bought a 2U for expansion, but didn't need it once I got the aluminum rack.
The aluminum racks are available in shorter sizes too..
 
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