Need help installing a switch and/or patch panel

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  #1  
Old 03-12-13, 02:19 PM
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Need help installing a switch and/or patch panel

Hi all,

I moved into my house a few months ago which was built in 2005. There are some CAT5 ethernet ports in 2 of the rooms in the house. I think I found where the cables terminal in my basement right around all my other communication things (cable TV, internet, etc.).
I see the cables there and punched into a small panel thing (see picture), but that's it. There are no loose ends or ports or anything. Also, it looks like there are 2 cables to each punch connection. I was expecting each cable to have its own to keep all the cat5 cables from touch each other. The other thing that baffles me is that there are 4 cables here (3 blue and 1 white) but in my house I only found 2 ports. I checked all the rooms and closets.

Does anyone know what I'm looking at here? (again, please see picture).
Maybe these aren't the cables I'm looking for?

Any help would be great.
Thanks in advance,
Mike
 
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Old 03-12-13, 07:19 PM
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I don't care for how they're stapled down.

To me, it looks like that's set up for telephone distribution. That's the main reason why one would tie all cables together. The beige one is probably the service, and looks like some kind of Cat3 or Indoor/Outdoor voice cable. The three blue would be distribution to the various rooms.

It won't hurt if you plug a phone in to one of the jacks to see if you get a dial tone, assuming that you have a home phone.
 
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Old 03-12-13, 08:08 PM
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Look closely at the jacks......are you sure they say cat 5 and not cat 3 on them.

Like T-W-X said.... that is a telephone set up there.

Check the kitchen for a telephone wall plate...... that would be the missing cable.
 
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Old 03-12-13, 08:31 PM
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Ahhh... that makes a lot of sense. I actually don't have phone service (nor do I plan to). So plugging a phone into the jack to check isn't an option, but I think you guys are right on the money.
Also, the wall plates are labeled Cat 5.

So this brings me to another question. Is it possible to use this setup for my LAN? Perhaps removing this block and replacing it with an RJ45 panel? Or even keeping it simple by pulling the cables out of this block and attaching RJ45 jacks.

I know I'd have to plug each one into a switch, router, etc.
 
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Old 03-12-13, 09:19 PM
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I agree with the others, that is a telephone set-up. I will add that it is very poor practice to attempt to terminate more than one conductor to each 110-style terminal.

If you want to use this for an Ethernet set-up then each cable needs to be terminated on its own jack and then use patch cables to connect to a router.
 
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Old 03-12-13, 09:21 PM
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Yes, but you need a patch panel. You can buy a 110-style patch panel to punch on to, or you can just punch these cables down into keystones and mount them into a plastic surface-mount box with a standard faceplate, or you can go with a proprietary setup like many home install stuff is put into.

I suggest the keystones and standard faceplate with the surface box. You only have three cables now, and if you really think that you'll need expansion you can get a double-gang surface mount plastic box and a double-gang faceplate capable of supporting up to 12 jacks. They make single-gang faceplaces in 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 position, and double in 12. They also make blanks to fill in the unused spaces.

You need to pull the cover in one of the rooms to figure if it's punched "T568A" or "T568B", and punch this end accordingly. The differences are that "A" puts green on the first two pins (technically the third pair), and "B" puts orange on the first two pins. Phone company generally uses "A", but 'industry' typically uses "B", so it's hard to say what it'll be. Most likely "B", but no guarantees.

You'll effectively abandon the white cable, as its to the demarcation point on the side of the house.

You'll also need to get a 110 punch tool. Go to a pawn shop, it shouldn't cost very much and you can get a good Harris/Fluke for the price of a store-brand tool from Home Depot or Lowes. The "puck" to punch against is nice, but for this low volume of installation work, not absolutely necessary.

BTW, I like Leviton for their keystone modules.
 
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Old 03-12-13, 10:23 PM
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Thanks for all the replies! I'll get this done some time this week.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 05:08 AM
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Phone company generally uses "A", but 'industry' typically uses "B", so it's hard to say what it'll be.
It looks like everybody's switching back to A. The specs I got recently from schools and fed, state & county governments all state T568A.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 06:25 PM
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I attached here 2 pictures of the back of my port in my family room. Can someone help tell me what type I have and how I should attach the RJ45 connectors?

THANKS!!!
 
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Old 03-13-13, 06:47 PM
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I can't see the colors too well in the pics...

You can pop the black cap off of the top, pry gently at each side.

The colors should match either the "A" row or the "B" row on the side. If they don't match either one then it needs to be reterminated.

Rick, from what I've read about TIA/EIA 568-C, they're trying to flush "B" out because of the problems. Unfortunately many of the vendors that I deal with never got the memo. We are constantly fighting with them and with the Operations department that's willing to accept "B" installations when they bring in vendors without telling us about the projects. Also unfortunately, with the proliferation of Gigabit Ethernet and auto MDI-MDIX implementation it's getting harder to compel it to be fixed.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 07:38 PM
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I just popped off the black cover (didn't know I could do that!).
It matches A.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 07:48 PM
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Perfect......you can use it for phone or data.

So at splice block end you'll be reterminating those wires with new CAT 5 jacks punched down following A.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 07:58 PM
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If for some reason you end up with "B" parts that don't have any labelling for "A", just swap the orange and green pairs with each other. Commercial equipment these days normally has a strip of paper between the rows of 110 blocks that has one side labelled for "B", and the other side labelled for "A" or 25-pair color code (a high density cable with 25 pairs in it instead of four pair like these "horizontal" cables). The only difference is usually the position of the orange and green pairs. Some older stuff we have at work that was installed by contractors doesn't have the paper, an is only labelled "B", but simply reversing the colors makes it "A" without issue.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 08:19 PM
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Oh, and technically on a wall-mount jack, the retainer clip side goes down, and the conductor pins go up. This makes it less likely that a foreign object will get stuck in the jack where inserting the cable will bend the pins. Also if you look at old telephone company 630A wall plates for wall-mount phones and at the phones themselves, the phones are keyed to not need a cable if the faceplate is installed in this fashion.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 08:44 PM
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Ok, so I pulled the cables out of the block at the termination in my basement.
I crimped on some RJ-45 connectors following T568A.
I plugged these new connectors into my network switch.
Then at the wall jacks I plugged in my laptop using a Cat5 cable.

....nothing. No lights. No indication of anything. It's as if I didn't plug anything in. I checked my crimping job like 20 times, and the colors are correct. Good solid connection too.

What could be wrong now?
 
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Old 03-13-13, 08:57 PM
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Did you use keystones, or did you just punch male patch cable connectors on?

Most male patch cable connectors are meant for stranded cable rather than solid cable. Most solid cable is used for in-wall, "horizontal" cabling. ("horizontal" for distribution on a floor in a commercial building, "backbone" for cable that vertically traverses floors in a commercial building). It's possible that your crimp isn't seated as well as you think.

If you have any extra male patch cable ends, you can make a loopback that will let you use a multimeter to test with at one end. I would cross-connect pins one and three only with one connector, and pins two and six only with another connector. You can then test continuity across the relevant pins to verify that the cable actually goes somewhere.

Diagnosing this is a little difficult without some tools. A tone and probe set would go a long way to making this easier, but they're kind of pricey. There are also some basic two-ended pinout testers that could help also identify the cables. We're not 100% sure that they go anywhere, keep in mind, it's possible that there's a problem somewhere and the cables or portions of the pairs within are cut.

Also, 10Mb and 100Mb only use two pairs, but Gigabit uses all four, so blue and brown must be connected to make it negotiate. Some less expensive Gigabit devices won't even try.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 09:03 PM
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I just punched on some male connectors.
And I think these are solid cables. They definitely feel like solid. You can bend and shape them (think of a very thin paper clip).
Are there special connectors perhaps? Or should I use keystones? Or can I just go back down and squeeze harder on the crimp?
 
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Old 03-13-13, 09:12 PM
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squeeze first, then test, then loopback test, then keystones...
 
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Old 03-13-13, 09:20 PM
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There actually are special connectors for solid cables, I've never used them. I tend to double-squeeze or triple squeeze when necessary on whatever solid cables I have. It's very rare that I crimp ends on like this anymore though.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 09:22 PM
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I squeeze.
Tested.
FAIL!

I can see now that when I'm trying to crimp, it doesn't look like it's even breaking the jacket to make contact. I wish I realized there were 2 types of cables! Back to Home Depot for me. I believe they sell RJ45 connectors specifically for solid cables.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 09:25 PM
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Just get the keystones, the surface mount box, and the faceplate... It'll be much easier...

Hold on a sec I'll post some part numbers.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 09:39 PM
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Connector:

E Tech Category 5e White Jack
Model # 5015-WH
Internet # 202689900
Store SKU # 631909


Faceplate:

CE Tech 3 Port White Wall Plate
Model # 5003-WH
Internet # 202689880
Store SKU # 598515



Surface Mount Box:

Leviton 1-Gang White Surface Mount Wiring Box
Model # R14-42777-00W
Store SKU # 236609
Store SO SKU# 162677


Punch Tool:

Commercial Electric Impact Punch Down Tool with 110 blade
Model # CE70804
Internet # 202039354
Store SKU # 898110


Use 1" course drywall screws to mount the surface box to the plywood backer board. Just a couple would be enough. Notch out the top of the surface box enough to get the cables to pass in. There are 4 and 6 position faceplates if you want to have expansion room, or if you want, get a six-pin keystone for the phone line and use a 4 position faceplate, so that if you ever need a landline or DSL, you can use that cable.

The jacks I specified aren't Leviton, but if you want instant gratification then this is probably good enough.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 09:46 PM
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If you want a cheap tone and probe set, this will probably do:

Klein Tools Trace All Tone and Probe
Model # VDV526-054
Internet # 203015884
Store SKU # 678389


Most sets are about $100 for a good professional set, or more for more features. Mind you, if the equipment is plugged in at one end or the other then it's likely that it won't tone well, and obviously if the cables are cut somewhere then you won't get a tone.

Unfortunately a device that can do length testing will cost you hundreds of dollars for a cheap one, thousands for a good one. "Test Um, Inc" made a tool called the "Lanscaper NT700" that would do the job if you can find a used one, that'd be the cheapest way to find the length that I can think of off the top of my head.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 09:51 PM
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Oh, and pull those tight staples out. They're probably not helping. Unfortunately it's hard to say if there are other staples like that elsewhere concealed behind drywall.
 
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Old 03-13-13, 10:02 PM
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WOW. Thank you! I'll check these out. I'll try to go the cheap way out first. If it does get into a costly project, I might just abort. This started as a simple task rather than any kind of project.

And pulling those staples was the first thing I did before anything. They annoyed me too. I just hope they didn't do any damage. You also make a good point that they can be anywhere behind the walls too. =\
A
 
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Old 03-14-13, 09:20 PM
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Thank you for all the help! This forum is the best!
I bought exactly what you told me to and completed the job in a matter of minutes.
 
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Old 03-14-13, 10:55 PM
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Glad it worked! No reason it shouldn't but using a punch tool takes some getting used to.
 
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Old 03-15-13, 11:36 AM
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nammysu - Out of curiosity did you get a Leviton plate or a CE E-Tech plate? I had to pick some up in a pinch for an install one time, and there is apparently a slight manufacturing difference between the E-Tech and Leviton jacks.. The E-Tech jacks needed to be forced into the Leviton plates to make them lock in.. I'm wondering if I just got a bad bag of jacks or if there really is a difference that makes them incompatible..

As for a LAN tester, I use a Klein VDV-Scout ($85 at HD), and aside from wiring testers (phone/coax/ethernet) it has a built-in toner that works perfectly with my Fluke hound. I bought the Fluke set before the Klein, so I happened to already have it, but I'm pretty sure you can buy the hounds separately.
 
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Old 03-15-13, 05:46 PM
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Just a guess, but I expect that's a CE E-Tech plate. Leviton faceplates that I've worked with lately have had flat-head screws, not Phillips.
 
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