Question help me ID my existing network set up

May 25, 2019
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Hi, I am trying to determine what I have pre-wired in my house, and what I need to to do to optimize it for ethernet and possibly POE for my security cams

I have a panel in an upstairs closet that has a bunch of orange and blue cat 5e. I have xfinity cable and internet. house built in 2004. Looks like orange is cable TV and terminates in a switch. and I also have the blue cat 5e wires throughout house, but they're not in use. There are wall face plates that have the blue cat 5e behind them but just cut and zip tied. There are also smaller blue cables, not sure what these are. Can anyone help me figure out if this blue cat 5e cable is meant for ethernet?

I have 2 goals:

  1. optimize current switch for ethernet in each room
  2. use existing wiring for POE security cameras
 

jsmithepa

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Jun 14, 2014
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Is very simple.

Task1: Make sure CAT cables are terminated properly, both ends ending with RJ45 jacks. All 4-pairs wiring per cable needed for 1 gigabit connection (current standard).

Task2: All these "runs" are driven by an Ethernet switch, and if POE cameras then switch needs to be POE capable.

^THAT is your basic infrastructure. One of the Ethernet switch's port goes to Modem for Internet.

That's IT.


P.S. I sure hope your CATs are wired for networking because 90% of people who come here asking this question find out their CAT cables are wired for something else, telephone, alarm, home automation... blah-blah.
 
May 25, 2019
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Thanks. I do question if the CATs were wired for something else since the wall blanks are at light switch level.
Here is a pic of my integration panel. Believe orange in switch is cable TV. Blue CAT is not terminated. Thin Blue is on bottom also not terminated and unknown.
 

jsmithepa

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So looks like at least some of the CATs go into a punch block, take them out and punch them into a RJ45 patch panel, like the Pros. Following the EIA 568a/b standard and proper labels.
 
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kanewolf

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May 29, 2013
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The installer didn't do you a favor by cutting those cables so short. Maybe there is some slack still in the wall. It is hard to tell how many cables you have, looks like 6 - 8. Punching them down to a patch strip is definitely an option. That would provide a quick connection point. If you are unfamiliar with punchdown, you could "practice" with some scrap ethernet cable.
I recommend you get a basic cable tester like this one -- It will help you in identifying which cable is where and to help you LABEL them. It will also help verify you have all 8 wires connected. Follow the 568B color code and you should be good.
You would still need an ethernet switch to activate those ports.
 
May 25, 2019
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Thanks guys. I'm just a normal homeowner with zero experience with this stuff so I may need some more clarification and suggestions on parts. That said, I'm eager to learn and am up for doing it myself.. So, if I understand you correctly, the punch block is on the bottom where the CATs are punched down into the block. So you're saying I need to buy a patch strip, punch all the orange cats down with RJ45 connectors, remove from the current block and insert with quick connect, correct? What about the two sets of blue CATS? there are thick ones and then thinner ones.
Why are there 2 sets? Do I punch down as well to the same patch strip?
Also, what about getting a POE Gigabite switch? Won't this still be necessary? Sorry again for the ignorance.
 

kanewolf

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There is a phone punchdown on the bottom. An ethernet punchdown is different. Here is an example of an ethernet punchdown -- https://www.amazon.com/TRENDnet-Unshielded-Wallmount-Rackmount-TC-P08C5E/dp/B003SSX1Q6
It provides a keystone jack for each of the ethernet cables you have. You would then use standard ethernet patch cables to connect a switch.
If there is enough cable, you could terminate the cables in RJ45 connections and plug directly into a switch.

The bottom set of wires might be for an alarm or some other non-ethernet low voltage use. It would depend on where they go.

A POE switch would only be beneficial if you have devices that can benefit. Usually that is WIFI access points or IP cameras. If you want to connect a TV, for example, a POE switch is of no additional value.
 
May 25, 2019
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Ahh ok that makes sense. I don’t have a land line phone but I do have hard wired alarm system- I assume that’s what’s going In to the bottom telephone block.

So why are there two sets of blue Ethernet CAT cables? One goes into the back of the patch panel and the others goes in the front with a patch cable?

The idea for the POE was to run security cameras outside using the existing Blue CAT.
 

kanewolf

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Ahh ok that makes sense. I don’t have a land line phone but I do have hard wired alarm system- I assume that’s what’s going In to the bottom telephone block.

So why are there two sets of blue Ethernet CAT cables? One goes into the back of the patch panel and the others goes in the front with a patch cable?

The idea for the POE was to run security cameras outside using the existing Blue CAT.
There is only one set of blue ethernet cables that I see. they are at the top of the box, next to the coax splitter. The ones on the bottom are probably the phone lines you don't use.

POE for cameras is a good idea, but those blue cables probably go into rooms with ethernet jacks rather than outside. You may be able to run additional cables to the outside for POE cameras, but the ones you have probably don't go where you want cameras.
 
May 25, 2019
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Ok. That makes sense. Considering the location of the various cover plates in each room, could these also be intended for hard wire surround sound audio? The face plates are up high next to the light switches in each room. Could this be for volume?Also have leads coming out of wall near the ceiling on the patio.
 

kanewolf

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There probably are speaker cables under those high cover plates. There are probably speaker wires on the patio also. They would generally go to a large cover plate near a home entertainment area. Maybe into a closet near the family room or media room.
 

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