I'm having trouble wiring home with Ethernet.

I want to be able to connect my laptop to the internet via the Ethernet jack in my bedroom while having my router/modem in the living room.

Last year I moved into an apartment in Brooklyn that was renovated just before I moved in. Every room came with at least one Ethernet jack in the wall, with the label Cat6 on it (not sure if it's actually cat6 but I assume so). I looked inside the jacks and there is indeed a cable connected to each jack.

But when I plug an Ethernet cable (cat5e because that's all I have) from the router and the wall, and then I plug my laptop into an ethernet jack in another room, the laptop doesn't see the router. Since there are around 8 jacks in the living room I tried plugging the router into all of them.

Do you think the issue is that I just need cat6 cables? Or is there some other thing I should know about home Ethernet wiring?

  • 5
    When you have 8 wall-sockets with connections you should have a place where all 8 cables come together. It is not that every socket is connected to every other socket. Do you have a closet (normally where all electricity cables and meter is) where all those 8 cables are visible? There you should patch the cables together (with a patch-panel) or you could place your modem/router there. Where does you internet connection enter your apartment? – Rik Jun 23 '14 at 22:07
  • Can you check with the building owner or something? Since this is an apartment, it sure seems like there would be someone around that actually knows how it is wired, or has the documentation. – Zoredache Jun 23 '14 at 23:37
  • The difference between CAT5(e) and CAT6 cables is not going to make a difference in your house due to the short distance. The difference (in a nutshell) is the shielding of the cables, so you get less noise on the cable and you can transfer higher frequency signals. You should check where the cables come together. There should be switch somewhere that connects all 8 cables from the patch panel to the switch (or at least the ones you plan to use). You should either keep your router where it is and place a switch there, or move your wireless router there and use it as the switch. – Jakke Jun 23 '14 at 23:47

XX-Base-T ethernet wiring is not simply tied together behind the wall, but each cable must be routed to a common hub or switch that passes signals from one cable to the others. If you want this to work you must find out where all the cables come out and somehow arrange for all the ones you want to use to be on the same hub. There's no telling how this would be handled in a multi-unit apartment.

(And note that many ways it might be handled would expose any data you transmit over the cables to snooping by others in the apartment, as well as expose your computers to hacking from others in the building.)

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