So I just moved into a new apartment which only allows one internet service (AT&T) and the wireless is so spotty it's basically useless. The living room in my apartment has these two jacks specifically labeled with an AT&T logo on them into which the wireless router (Pace 5031NV) is plugged into via a green cable that says Cat 5e on it. (This green cable is plugged into the router's outlet labeled "Broadband")

Problem is, the router is in the living room so it's way too far away for me to run an ethernet cable from my computer in my room to it. My room has a single phone jack, but my ethernet cable doesn't fit into that, so what can I do? I don't want to move the router into my room because that would probably inconvenience my roommates in their rooms (like I said the wifi is super spotty, so that would probably make it worse for them). Is there some sort of adapter for ethernet cables for phone jacks? Do I need to buy a separate modem/router (I don't really know the difference) for my room?

  • You may be able to snake an Ethernet cable around walls to get where you need to go, and locate the router in a better place. Another option is to use powerline adapters or phoneline adapters. These are gadgets that use either the power wiring or the phone wiring to carry the signal to another location without installing any wiring. – fixer1234 Sep 27 '15 at 2:15
  • Probably answered here. – dirkt Dec 20 '16 at 8:50

First of all, you can only have one modem/router on a single phone line. So if your jack in the bedroom is hooked up to the same phone line as the one in the living room then you can't get a new modem/router to have in your room.

You say there are two jacks in the living room. If one of them is used for hooking up the modem/router then what is the other one used for? Could that perhaps be connected to the jack in your bedroom? You can find that out by getting a phone line tracer (device that sends out sine waves over copper wires and its corresponding receiver) hook that up to your bedroom jack and take the receiver to the living room and see if it sees the signal. If you don't hear the signal there, then that means that the copper line connected into your bedroom has no connection with the copper lines connected in your living room and there is no way to get any signal between the two places using the preinstalled copper lines.

If you do hear the signal in the living room that means the jack in your bedroom is hooked up to the same line as the one in the living room.

Then there are two options.

  1. This is all the same line, the line that goes into your current modem/router, the second plug in the living room and the plug in your bedroom. Then you can't use that line to transmit any extra data.

  2. The second plug in the living room is connected with your bedroom plug, but the plug which the modem/router hookes up with is not connected to that same line. Then if there are 4 wires between the living room and your bedroom you are in luck. An internet cable really only needs 4 wires, which is what the RJ11 plugs (I am assuming here that the plugs in the living room and your bedroom are RJ11 plugs, look them up if your not sure) are. So you can create or have someone create two cables with RJ11 on one end and RJ45 on the second end. Hook one of them up to the modem/router and to the living room plug the other one would then go to your bedroom plug and to your computer. Voila, you got fast internet. On the other hand, if there are only two wires connected between your bedroom and living room, your out of luck.

So basically to use the plug in your bedroom you need four wires in that plug that connects to the empty plug in the living room and those wires can not be connected to the plug that your router connects to.

A second solution to get net to your bedroom is using the electricity wiring. See for example this cnet article for options of makes and modules to do this.

  • Are you suggesting to jumper the Ethernet line into the live telephone line? And then what about telephone landline service? – fixer1234 Sep 27 '15 at 2:09
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    Oh no, don't get me wrong. If the second plug in the living room is a live telephone line then it can't be used or it has to be disconnected from the outside telephone system to be used as a carrier for ethernet. But then again, if it is a live telephone line and the plug in his bedroom is also a live telephone line, then he might be able to get some kind of a second internet subscription through that right? I don't know how it works in his country (USA I presume since he mentions AT&T) but here in Iceland then we get VDSL connection through telephone lines. – ojs Sep 27 '15 at 10:53

Based on my memory of what I've been taught:

  • Gigabit Ethernet: should use at least Cat6a (though Cat5e will often work)
  • Fast Ethernet (100mbps) - should use at least Cat5e (though Cat5 will probably work)
  • Telephone - typically uses Cat3
  • Doorbell - may use Cat1

Even if you can have enough wires in your cable, the phone line cabling might not be made up to the standards needed for reliable Fast Ethernet, if it isn't Cat5e. Now, I know you said your jack was labelled Cat5e. I'm not used to seeing such labeling, and would be rather inclined to not trust it.

However, if you test it and it works fine, then trusting it may make a lot of sense after having some more evidence that it works. In theory, these are all copper wires, so some compatibility does make sense.

Some of the quality differences in these Cat standards deal with things like how many times the cables are twisted (with every inch/meter/whatever of cabling). More twists uses more material (because the connection is a bit less straight/direct), but can reduce some vulnerability to some interference (which is called "crosstalk"). Using higher quality cabling will typically technically work; using lower quality cabling may be less likely to work.

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