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Home pre-wired with Cat5. Need help with setup.


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sylercider's Avatar
sylercider sylercider is offline
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18-Feb-2011, 11:24 AM #1
Home pre-wired with Cat5. Need help with setup.
My house has Cat5 cable running to every room. Basically, instead of regular phone lines, it looks like they used Cat5. Some rooms have regular rj11 jacks, others have rj45 jacks.
I have a box in the master closet where all the wires are connected to a punch down panel. Luckily, they labeled them for me.
See image here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/59639796@N02/5456267942/

I would like to use some of those Cat5 phone lines for a LAN. As I understand it I need to:
1) Disconnect the Cat5 cables from the punch down panel and install the rj45 clips on them.
2) Plug the newly created rj45 cables into a switch.
3) Install my cable modem in this box and plug it into the switch, too.

Does this sound correct?

One question... where should I put my wireless router? Can I just plug it into one of the rj45 wall ports that I added to the LAN? I don't want it in my master closet b/c that seems too far away to get a good signal for my laptops.
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18-Feb-2011, 04:28 PM #2
That punch down panel is for a phone system. What businesses tend to do is use cat5 cable, and split up the pairs (each pair can be used for a single phone line, so you get 4 phone lines out of a single cable). What do the termination jacks look like? Depending on how it was wired up, you might be able to terminate the ends into a switch in the closet, and swap out the wall jacks for RJ-45 face plates. If that's the case, you can pick that stuff up pretty cheap on monoprice. Most likely, they had some sort of IP phone system, and the wiring for it is what you've been left with.
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21-Feb-2011, 11:00 AM #3
Some of the jacks terminate with rj11's, but others terminate with rj45's.

Is it pretty easy to add the rj45 jacks to the end of the cable? Or does it take a little practice to get it right?
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21-Feb-2011, 02:19 PM #4
Shouldn't be too difficult for you. As long as you have enough slack in your cabling, you should be able to try it a time or two before you get it. All you need is one of these for each wall socket:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2
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21-Feb-2011, 06:46 PM #5
What you have there in the picture looks like a 110 PSTN punch down block.

Your plan to re-terminate the cable ends is fine. But make sure you follow one wiring standard and stick with it. There are two wiring standards out there T568A and T568B. Phone and ethernet can co-exist on the same cable infrastructure. The wiring standards allows both phone and ethernet devices to use the same jacks. I do this with some jacks in my house. I will sometimes re-purpose a LAN jack to function as a phone jack and vice versa. If you want this flexibility, it's best to put in a patch panel like this:



So when you want a jack in a particular room to be a phone jack you plug in the appropriate patch, if you want the jack to be a LAN connection you would patch in the port on the patch panel to a switch.

Also, you need to make sure you pay attention to how you punch down the cables as it's important to make sure the twists of the pairs are held consistent and as close to the jack as possible.
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23-Feb-2011, 05:43 PM #6
Thanks for the advice, zx10guy.

Since we don't use our landline, I'm just going to take the easy route and turn most of the phone lines into LAN lines. I already bought the rj45 crimp tool, 100' of cat5e cable, 100 of the little rj45 connectors and a network switch. All for about $50.

I'm correct that I'll be able to plug my wireless router into any of the newly converted rj45 wall jacks and it'll work just like it does now, right?

I don't want the wireless router in the closet because I fear that the reception will not be good.
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23-Feb-2011, 08:04 PM #7
Just follow either of the wiring standards I told you about at both ends of the cable and you'll be fine.
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16-Mar-2011, 11:32 AM #8
OK, so I now have an LAN Switch in the closet and my wireless router plugged into one of the rj45 wall outlets that is plugged into the switch.

Like this...

internet-->cable modem-->switch-->rj45 wall outlet-->wireless router~~> laptops, etc.
..............................................-->rj45 wall outlet-->desktop
..............................................-->rj45 wall outlet-->xbox360

My concern is the desktop and the xbox360 that are plugged directly into the wall, with no router just the LAN switch. Is that secure at all? I would need a firewall on each device that plugs into the wall outlets, correct?
Or
Would is be better to add a wired router off of the switch, like this...

internet-->cable modem-->switch-->rj45 wall outlet-->wireless router~~> laptops, etc.
..............................................-->wired router-->rj45 wall outlet-->desktop
...................................................................-->rj45 wall outlet-->xbox360

That way I don't need a firewall installed on each device, I just use the router's firewall. Is this ok to have a wireless router and a wired router coming off of the switch? How do they distribute the IP addresses without a conflict?

Last edited by sylercider; 16-Mar-2011 at 12:37 PM.. Reason: formatting of LAN design
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16-Mar-2011, 03:31 PM #9
If your cable modem is a modem only, you would need a router between the modem and switch anyways. If the cable modem also functions as a NAT router with firewall functionality, you don't need to have anything else unless there is a limitation to the number of private hosts connected to it.
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17-Mar-2011, 02:38 PM #10
It's just a Motorola SURFboard Cable Modem, which doesn't have a firewall (I believe not).

So, I'll have to buy a wired router.

Why does the router have to be between the modem and the switch. If it's before the switch, then the switch becomes useless unless I need to plug in > 4 devices, which I do not.

Can't I have the wired router after the switch? That way I'll have the wired and wireless routers connected directly to the switch. Or does it not work that way?
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17-Mar-2011, 05:00 PM #11
You can't have the switch before the router because I highly doubt you have service with your ISP which grants you more than one public IP.
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17-Mar-2011, 05:28 PM #12
If you are able to use more than one PC at a time now, there is a router in the works somewhere.
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18-Mar-2011, 02:50 PM #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by zx10guy View Post
You can't have the switch before the router because I highly doubt you have service with your ISP which grants you more than one public IP.
Aha, that makes sense, zx10guy!

So, I'll have to plug my wireless router off of the wired router, too. Like this...

internet --> cable modem --> router --> rj45 wall outlet --> wireless router ~~> multiple devices
..................................................--> rj45 wall outlet --> xbox360
..................................................--> rj45 wall outlet --> desktop
..................................................--> rj45 wall outlet --> etc...

So, I don't really need the switch. That's $15 wasted.

Also, to connect the wireless router to the wired router I need to do the following:
* Plug a cable from the wired router's LAN port into the wireless router's LAN port. (NOT the WAN port.)
* Disable the DHCP on the wireless router
* Disable UPnP on the wireless router
* Use a static IP address on the wireless router.

... is that it?

Thanks so much for your help, zx10guy!
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18-Mar-2011, 04:17 PM #14
Yep. You got it. The IP for the wireless router is just ot manage it since you're just using it for the access point features. The switch can be handy in the future if you grow your network. When ever possible, I always go wired. It's faster and more reliable plus more secure.
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