Ethernet wall jacks question

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I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 4

Ethernet wall jacks question

So I live in a new house, we moved into it about 5 months ago, when I say new I mean it's just build around 2-3 years ago, the original owner put in a ethernet wall jack in each room, they each consist of CAT5, CAT5E and coxial jacks, now I pulled the backing off and they are all connected to yellow  cables and blue cables (ethernet cables), now I went into my basement and found the yellow cables, these being hooked up to the CAT5E jack, these cables then are wired into a small, white, square box with a Rogers logo and a date of when it was installed i assume, about the size of a pack of gum, when I say wired there are the 4 ethernet cables and then there are wires from those four cables running into the box, about 2-3 wires per cable, this box has what looks like a phone jack on the top and a little white wire leading out from the bottom, which runs behind my breaker box.


Now none of the ethernet jacks work in the rooms where the yellow wires are connect to, the jack that looks like a phone jack doesn't have anything plugged in, should it? And the little white wire disappears and I can't seem to find where it goes, I just want to know if the wall jacks will work if something is plugged into the phone jack or am I just missing something here...?


Thanks for your help 🙂


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Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 6,450

Re: Ethernet wall jacks question

If the installation was done with Structured Cabling, you would have a Cat 5 or 5e for telephone, Cat 5 or 5e for internet and two RG-6 cables for satellite or cable.  They would have the correct keystones on them for phone, internet, cable or satellite use and the keystones would be installed in a wallplate designed to hold them.  Its very common apparently to use Cat 5 or 5e for telephone, but, only or two two pairs of the four pair of wires in the cable would be used.  The others would be cut or pulled back along the cable.  Typically the phone wires in the basement are connected to a 66 block which is located in the Structured Wiring Cabinet which is usually located in the basement.  That cabinet is normally large enough to house other distribution hubs for internet, tv and satellite cables.  


The Cat 5 or 5e internet cables upstairs would have keystones installed which would allow you to plug in a typical ethernet cable.  Downstairs you could have either a typical ethernet connector installed on it, allowing you to plug them into a modem, router or switch, or, they could have a keystone installed and then have those keystones installed in a short rack.  From there you would need a short jumper cable to connect to a modem/router/switch.  Its possible that the basement ends of the internet cables do not have a connector installed and are hanging loosely in the cabinet.  


That white wire probably runs off to an alarm system.  I have a similar white wire running out of the connector box as well and it runs to the alarm system box.   It could also be a be a ground wire that grounds the telephone box to the ground for the breaker panel but I suspect its probably for an alarm system.  It sounds like the owner had a Rogers Home Phone installed, in which case the phone outlets should work if you plug a phone modem into that phone jack on the Rogers box.  


As far as the ethernet cabling, you will have to look at what is connected upstairs on the wallplate and see where those cables terminate in the basement.  Our home had Structured Wiring installed, but none of the ethernet or RG-6 cabling was completed, so I ended up installing the correct keystones for everything and the keystone wallplates.  All of the cabling was sitting behind the existing wallplates upstairs and hanging in bundles in the Structure Wiring Enclosure downstairs.  I suspect that its pretty common to install a telephone connector on the bundle and then just tuck the rest of the cabling in behind the wallplate, waiting for a new home owner down the road to discover the cabling.  Unfotunately, that leaves the new home owner to sort out the cabling and install all of the connectos, keystones and wallplates, which isn't difficult, or call in someone to do it all.  If you could post a couple close up photos somewhere, it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out what is or isn't connected.  Seeing the inside of the wallplate upstairs and the cabinet downstairs would help.


Here are a few links for the wallplate and cabinets photos just to show what they look like:


In post #23 on this page are a few links with photos of structured wiring that might be usefull to have a look at:


Hope this helps....

Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 14,124

Re: Ethernet wall jacks question

I agree with Datalink.. likely the jacks in the room are a multi jack..  that allow RJ11 (phone) and RJ45 (networking) connections into it.

My mothers house is the same way.

But it all comes down to how/what they are connected to in the basement there.

From the sounds of it, they are mostly all wired for PHONE, that smaller box being a central spot where they are all connected... then the rogers home phone modem would plug into that, sharing its signal across the jacks in the house.

As Datalink said, without seeing how each jack is connected its hard to say.   HOPEFULLY they are all connected properly for RJ45 ethernet in the jack itself... then the correct two center pairs just used for the phone.
IF you wanted to use it for networking, you would have to get a small patch pannel, or attach ends on the wires, in the proper wiring configuration.

Resident Expert
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Posts: 6,450

Re: Ethernet wall jacks question

Hmm, there is always something that is missed before posting.  The earlier post should have read:


"Its very common apparently to use Cat 5 or 5e for telephone, but, only or two two pairs of the four pair of wires within the cable would be used."


As Gdkitty it pointing out, its possible that you might only have one Cat5 or Cat 5e cable installed which in theory could be shared between telephone and internet.  This is not how it should be installed.  One or two pairs of wires would be used for telephone jack and the other two pair would be used for internet jack.  This limits the internet data rate to 100 Mb/s and subjects the internet wires to possible crosstalk from the telephone pair, which could result in momentary internet interruption when the phone rings or is in use.  It just depends on how bad the crosstalk might me. 


Ideally you would have two cables, two x Cat 5, two x Cat 5e or mixed, one Cat 5 and one Cat 5e cable.  With that type of configuration, the telephone and internet service have their own cabling, reducing any possibility of cable crosstalk to zero or to the point where it has no effect.

I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 4

Re: Ethernet wall jacks question

So what I may be looking at is the two CAT5 connectors, one being CAT5E are really just phone cables all connected to a central hub, I just seems odd that both CAT5 jacks would be for telephone, I just figure that because the house is rathe larger they were installed to allow the rooms farther away from the router and modem in the basment to get signals, not that I have a bad signal, I just have a jack next to my bed and would rather use it for larger downloads than the WiFi. So I should pull the wall plate off and expose the coaxial cable, and both ethernet jacks and then take a picture of those wiring harnesses and then go to my basement and take a picture to where they lead...?

Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 6,450

Re: Ethernet wall jacks question

Yup, just take a picture of the back of the wallplate so that it shows what is connected on the back.  Hopefully what you have is two keystones installed on the wallplate, one RJ-11 for telephone and one RJ-45 for internet.  Those should be connected to separate cables that lead down to the basement structured wiring cabinet.  It sounds like you don't have  66 block installed in that cabinet, which is a punch down block for telephone cabling. Instead, you have the small Rogers box installed where the telephone wires from the Cat 5 or Cat 5e cables are connected in one location.  Not a big deal either way I think.  Here's what a 66 block looks like:


Here's what the keystones would look like that might be installed in the wallplates:


The big question is how are the ethernet Cat 5 or Cat 5e cables terminated at the downstairs cabinet.  If they have ethernet connectors on them, then you could plug them into a gigabit switch which would be housed in the cabinet, plug the gigabit switch into your modem or router and have ethernet service all over the house.  Remember that with that cabling installed, you can backfeed that data down to the basement from an upstairs room.  So, one room upstairs could house the modem or router, connected to the ethernet wallplate jack to feed the gigabit switch downstairs, and then the switch would provide the data feed to the rest of the connected rooms. 


If the Cat 5 or 5e cables are terminated in Keystones, those should be housed in a short patch panel.  From there you would need short jumper cables to connect to the switch.  Here is an image of a 12 port patch panel which would house the connected keystones and which would be located in the wiring cabinet.


So, first thing to do is take a shot of the front of the wallplate, take a shot of the back of the wallplate, and take another shot of the ethernet cabling in the downstairs cabinet.  Then its just a matter of determining whats connected to what.


Edit:  forgot to add, you can post the pictures into a post here, or post the pictures somewhere else and provide the links.

I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 4

Re: Ethernet wall jacks question

Link to pictures:


 Okay, so the first image is of the little white box that the cables from the wall jack connect to.


The second is where I assume all the coaxial cables from those wall jacks and other throughout the house connect to.


The 3 yellow wire and 2 blue wires in the third picture are what seems to be the ones running to the rooms, they either lead up stairs or outside to where the grey platic rogers box connects to my house.


The fourth picture shows that the 2 blue cables aren't connect to anything.


The fifth pictre is what the wall jacks look like in each room


The sixth and the seventh pictures are what is behind the wall jacks, the blue connects to the CAT5e and the yellow connects to the CAT5 jacks.


The last image is just showing that there is only 3 yellow and 2 blue wires, I can't find any others except for these blue and yellow wire that look like two wire inside one large covering, as if the yellow plastic has been molded to two different wires.

Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 6,450

Re: Ethernet wall jacks question

Okay, so:


Image 1:  Yellow Cat 5 or 5e cabling used for telephone service.  In all of the images, only two wires out of the total of 8 wires in the Cat 5/5e cable are used for the actual telephone line.  The others are either pulled back along the cable or cut off.  Thats normal.


Image 2:  RG-6 cabling used for cable or satellite service.  With black and white, I'm assuming that you have structured wiring installed in the walls.  In this case the cables are connected to an Antronix ampifier for Rogers cable TV distribution.  Are you running a VOIP phone as it looks like there is a converter which converts the cable output to ethernet output.  Its had to tell exactly from the image but thats what it looks like to me. First time that I've seen that.  The amplifer is MoCA qualified so that you can run Whole House PVR. The MoCA filter built into the amp will protect your Whole Home System from outside interference, such as someone else deleting your recorded shows.  That amp is also a DOCSIS II amplifier which is compatible with Rogers DOSCIS III system, unless Rogers decides to flip the switch someday and use the extended frequency range in the lower band which runs from 5 to 85 Mhz from what I remember of the DOCSIS III spec.


Image 3:  Downstairs showing the Rogers cable coming into the home and Cat 5/5e (yellow and blue) and alarm wiring (small white).  Looks like there is also some white RG-6 cabling as well.


Image 4:  Ethernet cables with connectors installed. If those are installed on all of the blue ethernet cables, you can plug them into a gigabit switch.  Black RG-6 cable has a crimped connector installed.


Image 5:  Wallplate with keystones installed. Looking at that and the next picture, the middle Cat 5e keystone is the wrong type of keystone for telephone use.  Thats an RJ-45 keystone, not an RJ-11 keystone. That's probably why you are confused about this.


Image 6: Rear Keystone view:  You can see the two wires from the yellow Cat 5/5e telephone cable connecting to the middle white coloured keystone.  The ethernet connects to the lower blue keystone.


Image 7: Shows the Rogers connector box with the alarm cable (?) running off to the alarm system box.

So, to use the telephone jacks you can fit a typical RJ-11 phone connector into that middle keystone. The RJ-11 conector is smaller in width and will fit the RJ-45 jack.  If its inserted straight, I suspect that it should work.  I've never done it that way, but in theory it should work.  In that case, its just a matter of connecting a phone system to the Rogers box in the basement.  If it turns out that it doesn't work for some reason, you would either have to replace the middle keystone, or build a RJ-11 to RJ-45 converter cable.  Its easier just to replace the keystone.


Here is an image of an RJ-11 keystone which only has 4 connectors on it for the telephone cable. This is what should have been installed, personal opinion:


Looking for a Lowes image..... (I'm sure they have them)

Here is an image of an RJ-45 keystone:


The keystones have a top and bottom. I believe the toothless variety are just a push on type. Place the wires where they should go and squeeze the top down to compress the wires onto the contacts. The usual variety requires a 110 punch down tool which has a cutting edge on one side. Place the wires where they should go, and then push down with the punch down tool to force the wire into the contacts. The cutting blade will cut the outside wire off of the keystone as its pushed down and you will hear a click when the wire reaches the bottom. Thats pretty easy to do, but, be very carefull with the punch down tool as its very sharp (the voice of experience speaking here 😞 )   There are also numerous youtube videos on how to use the punch down tool with a keystone.


One thing that is worth doing is to test the ethernet cabling with a LAN tester. That will ensure that the ethernet wires are in the right order, from the connector downstairs to the keystone upstairs, and that none of the wires have missed the contacts, either upstairs or downstairs when the connector or keystone has been installed. That can be done with the following:


Here is a short video showing how that tester works;


and... another youtube video covering testers, with this tester starting at minute 7:20, although its worth looking at the whole video.


Its always useful to have one of those around for testing house and commercial cabling whenever you suspect that you might have problems.  If you have just moved in recently and the previous owner has not indicated that the cabling has been fully tested, then you're potentially dealing with problems at either end, or both ends of each ethernet cable.  That just adds to any confusion if you have any problems.  One side of the tester is a transmitter, the other is the receiver. The transmitter energizes each pair in sequence and the receiver can/will show if there is a wire pair that has been reversed in its end to end travel, or if there are missing wires, which would indicate that either the connector in the basement or keystone upstairs has not been installed properly.  You won't know this unless you test the cabling yourself and satisfy yourself as to the quality of the installation.

If you had to reinstall a connector downstairs you would have to determine if the individual wires in the ethernet cable are solid core or stranded. Solid core only has one single wire under the individual coating. Stranded has numerous smaller wires that make up each individual wire which is then coated with a coloured protective coating. The reason that you have to know this is because there are connectors for solid and stranded core, so you would have to ensure that you buy the right type. With that you would need a crimper to crimp the connector onto the cable. Hopefully you won't have to go this far, but, this is just to let you know what to look for, just in case.


I'm assuming that behind the wallplate there may be another RG-6 cable.  If so, you can use that for other purposes, such as running an antenna possibly from the attic to a tv for Over The Air reception which will provide a better picture than cable or satellite, or radio for FM purposes.  You might have a conduit which runs from the basement up to the attic which can be used to run an antenna cable, or several, depending on what you might want to do. 


Ok, that should do it. If you have any questions, please ask away......


I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 4

Re: Ethernet wall jacks question

So in order for me to be able to use the ethernet ports I need to buy a gigabit switch and have that hooked up to my router somehow? 


The telephone isn't a hue deal for us, we actually dont have a home phone (we were annoyed with the air duct cleaners lol), so as for the telepohone jacks they will probably never be used (sorry) but the ethernet ports are the main priority for us due to the layout of our house and the distance in some rooms from the router...

Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 6,450

Re: Ethernet wall jacks question

Ok, not a problem.  You would need something like this:


Thats an 8 port unmanaged switch, which basically means, it takes care of itself.  The unmanaged switches come in 5, 12, 16 port varieties and larger to suit your needs. 


There are other examples shown here:


What you would do is connect the modem via ethernet cable to one of the wallplate Cat 5/5e ethernet ports upstairs.  Downstairs, connect all of the ethernet cables to that switch and power up the switch and modem.  On the switch you will probably see two colours for the LEDs.  That could be green, amber, yellow for example.  On my D-Link 8 port switch an amber port LED indicates a 10/100 Mb/s connection with the upstairs device , while a yellow port light indicates a 1 Gb/s connection rate.  So, the port LEDs on the switch can also be used to check the basic connection status of the house wiring, similar in nature to using a LAN tester, but definitely not to the same in depth degree.  The LEDs will give you a basic idea of whether the cabling is connected for gigabit connection rates, which is what you want to see, or, if it only runs at 10/100 Mb/s which means that one or two pair of the wires in that cable has a problem somewhere along the path.  That would then require a LAN tester to determine. 


So, if you have a laptop for example with a known gigabit ethernet port, you can connect that laptop to the various ethernet keystones upstairs and take note of the port LED colour on the switch.  That should be done so that you have a good idea of what sort of shape the house ethernet cabling and connectors are in, and whether or not you might have any problems with either one. 


So, if every cable and connector is good, you should be good to go.  Buying a gigabit switch now and determinimg the state of your house ethernet so that you can correct any issues would mean that someday in the future, if and when you want to run any internet rates over 100 Mb/s, your house cabling would be good to go.  Interestingly, in terms of running gigabit internet, I don't think there is any consumer router available at the moment that will run much over 900 Mb/s.  I think most are down around 780 to 900 Mb/s.  To run gigabit rates, your looking at something like a pfSense router, or similar device which is not a simple type of router to install or run. 


Here is what your connections might eventually look like, or at least something similar: 


modem  ----  Cat 5/5e/6 cable  ----  Wallplate Keystone  ----  House ethernet  ----  Gigabit switch (any port)


G   S      Port 1  ----  Modem Cable  (Upstairs Office ?)

 I   W     Port 2  ----  Family Room

G   I       Port 3  ----  Livng Room

A  T       Port 4  ----  Master Bedroom

B  C       Port 5  ---- Bedroom #2

 I  H       Port 6  ----  Bedroom #3

T            Port 7  ----  Bedroom #4

              Port 8  ----  Basement Rec Center