I am looking to wire my house for Ethernet. The connection to the outside world is DSL, which requires a phone line.

I'd like to put that phone line in the same RJ45 patch panel as the Ethernet, for space efficiency. That is, I plan to pull some Cat 5e from this (the phone company box outside my house):

to this (a standard patch panel):

My question is, how do I go about wiring this?

In particular, I'm wondering:

  • Which colors go where. (Should I do standard T568A or T568B at the patch panel?)
  • What gotchas I need to be aware of. (I do know one: plugging network equipment into a phone line can damage it.)
  • I don't understand your question. Why would you want to pull cat 5e from the box outside your house? There's no Ethernet there. Are you planning to connect some Ethernet device outside your home? Or are you talking about the patch panel inside your home having both telephone and Ethernet? If so, why run Cat 5 to the panel outside? Sep 29 '13 at 5:53
  • 1
    You can plug RJ11 connectors into RJ45 sockets, it just connects only 4 of the 8 wires.
    – Brian
    Sep 29 '13 at 6:18
  • Single line phone circuits only use one pair (center two contacts), so in reality it will often be two of the 8 if you're using the cheapie satin cable. Not all RJ-11 patch cables have all four conductors. Sep 29 '13 at 6:30
  • @David, the modern recommendation for phone lines is Cat 3 or Cat 5, and I'd already have some.
    – Reid
    Sep 29 '13 at 13:54

Do you intend on having separate phone sockets in the rooms where this terminates?

(I do know one: plugging network equipment into a phone line can damage it.)

Preventable by having wiring for the Ethernet RJ-45 patch panel separate from the phone service (separate jacks, separate 110 panel for phone termination).

Phone and DSL only require one of the four pairs in standard CAT phone cable.

RJ-11 plugs use the two center contacts as a twisted pair. In TIA-568B which is the standard wiring scheme for Ethernet over Twisted Pair, this would be Blue/Blue White. Which is what you'll want connected to your phone NIU.

Wall Plates and Room Termination.

First you cut a hole in the wall for a mud ring. Make sure it's in a bay without power cabling and check for any power cables traversing across the studding (drilled holes) as you do not want your wallboard saw to tangle with Romex. Don't use any power equipment, you can feel if your hand tool meets with resistance, plus you can use a small c-clamp to limit its depth if you're not sure what's behind the wallboard.

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They actually make a template with level bubble for this so you can measure a set distance off the floor and make a completely straight hole with a wallboard saw.

The Mud Ring:

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Now you can pull your cables without damaging the wallboard as the plastic protects the hole. Now for termination. You have both RJ-45 four pair and RJ-11 three pair jacks. The RJ-11 can support up to 3 lines (line 1, line 2, fax) and is color coded so you can easily punch the wires down with a 110 punchdown tool. The RJ-45 jacks get all 4 pair and are color coded so you can wire either TIA-568A or TIA-568B. TIA-568B is Ethernet standard, just make sure both ends of the cable are wired to the same standard and everything will be ok.

Keystone jacks for Phone and Ethernet:

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Hubbel was the originator of the Keystone Jack system, everyone else has adopted it, because of this. You have a wall plate these snap into.

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Other companies like Leviton, Vanco, et.al. took the spec and ran with it, so you can also pull in the same run, cable TV, HDMI, etc.

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Make it a professional installation and it's usable by everyone in the household.

  • Or, preventable by not plugging the network stuff into the phone jack. I'm not super interested in cutting a 2nd hole, etc. :)
    – Reid
    Sep 29 '13 at 13:53
  • No need for a second hole anywhere. Two cables fit into the hole through any 2x4 construction and a single wall plate can take up to 8 Hubbel/Eagle/Vanco style snap-in jacks of all types... Plus the snap-in equipment can cover rg-50, rj-45, rj-11/12, audio distribution, etc. Having done this already, it's no big deal to pull two wire runs at once and have separate jacks in the same wall plate. With the other, you'll get lucky when a family member stabs the ethernet RJ-45 into the phone socket despite having big felt marker labels. I'd go with fool-proof... Sep 29 '13 at 18:17
  • Can you amend your answer to include a photo/link to your alternate one-hole solution?
    – Reid
    Sep 29 '13 at 19:01
  • There is also this type of thing: l-com.com/ethernet-modular-8x8-insert-adapter-pkg-10
    – Reid
    Sep 29 '13 at 19:08

You take the 2 lines coming from the phone line (in either order), and punch them down to blue/white and blue connectors on the patch panel.

This equates to the middle 2 pins of the RJ45, which means that you can plug in an RJ11 jack and the phone / DSL devices will work (although this is not ideal as the RJ11 jack, obviously, is smaller then the RJ45 jack, and probably breaks wiring standards)

Can't think of any gotchas you havn't mentioned. (in fact, I'm not convinced that pins 4 and5 (the blue pair) will cause issues - although I wouldn't swear on it.

This page has a bit on "Backward compatibility" which backs up what I'm saying, ie "Because pair 1 connects to the center pins (4 and 5) of the 8P8C connector in both T568A and T568B, both standards are compatible with the first line of RJ11, RJ14, RJ25, and RJ61 connectors that all have the first pair in the center pins of these connectors."

  • So you're saying that of the blue and blue-white, it does not matter which goes to the red phone terminal and which to the green? That would explain why I couldn't find any directions saying which goes where...
    – Reid
    Sep 29 '13 at 14:17
  • yup. either way is fine.
    – davidgo
    Sep 29 '13 at 16:34

There are adapters available for going from RJ11 to RJ45. Perhaps that might be helpful? This video shows how one would go about making your own RJ11 to RJ45 cable. Note, you need 6P2C RJ11, although this video is also very interesting, although a bit off topic, it does show just how far you can go with getting off the standard wiring medium

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