[SOLVED] My house is wired for Ethernet! That's about as much as I remember from my networking classes twenty years ago...

jipptomilly

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Nov 18, 2020
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TL;DR: Fiber internet guy set up one port in my house to use for a wired connection. I know (picture below) that I could wire all my ports fairly easily - I just don't know what hardware I'll need and how to best do it. I have, in what feels like a past life now, stripped ethernet and krimped them into RJ-45s, and wired a patch panel with a punch-down tool. I'm not even sure if those are the correct words anymore.

My basement 'setup'

My wifi has been really spotty lately. My SO and I can't play coop Stardew Valley. My Steam Link in the living room has a terrible connection to my office PC. In my basement I can see all of the ethernet wall jacks are terminated into... something. I have no idea how to hook it all up.

There are six ethernet wall jacks in my house - each labeled and terminated into that thing in the picture above (what appears to me to be half of a patch panel).

A few months ago I signed up for fiber internet, and my wired PC has a really amazing 300Mbps/300Mbps connection. The technician pulled my "bedroom 3" cable which I'm using for my office and terminated it into some sort of female ethernet port thing. Then he ran what I believe is a normal patch cable from the fiber modem to that port. This gave me a connection in my office which I plugged into my google home wifi router. I then plugged my old wireless router into the single google wifi router port and turned off that router's DHCP which, as I understand, effectively turned it into a switch. I thin plugged my Plex server and personal PC into the old wireless router.

The connection to my Plex and PC is excellent. But my Google wireless router and end point are quite spotty. My SO can't play Stardew Valley with me without constantly losing connection. When I use my Steam Link in my living room to stream games wirelessly from my upstairs office PC, it frequently gets more pixelated than 1990s dial-up porn.

If I could supply a wired connection to the other five ethernet ports in my house I'd be set. I know they're terminated into whatever that thing is... Would that thing effectively work as a switch? I've seen pictures online of people terminating their home ethernet into the back of a patch panel which then can plug directly into a switch. Is that what I need to do? Did the thing the technician did actually hurt my ability to make everything work?

Basically what I'm asking is:
  • How hard will it be to get my house setup correctly? Can someone with limited experience with networking from twenty years ago DIY this project?
  • If yes, what kind of hardware/tools will I need? I'm happy to swing by a store on my way home and pick up a punch down tool, some RJ-45s, a switch, and a patch panel (if that's what I need).
  • Also if yes, what should the actual setup be? Can I use that thing they're terminated to in the picture or will I need to terminate them into something else? Do I need patch cables? Crossover cables?
Any help would be greatly appreciated and I'll use any knowledge gained to pay it forward and help out my friends who it turns out are in similar predicaments. Thanks!
 
You have 2 issues.

The first is getting the cabling re terminated. You really do not strip the wire unless you mean the very outside plastic. You want to cut that back as little as possible. For rj45 plugs it crimps into the plug to make it harder to pull the wires out. Even for keystones you want to cut back as little as possible just as you want to untwist as little wire as possible.

I would buy a small patch board like this to replace the telephone one. These are sold many places just a good photo here. This one does not even need a special punchdown tool.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-1x6-Cat5E-Voice-and-Data-Expansion-Board-47603-C5/100062860

On the other end you want to use normal rj45 keystones. In most cases you can unsnap the telephone keystones and snap in the rj45. This assumes they used actual keystones for the phone jacks. If someone used the ones that use screw on connectors you will have to replace the plate and the keystone.

So as I was keying this kanewolf talks about the second issue.

You can't really hook the modem to the switch as well as your end devices and your router. Technically there is a way to do this using vlans but it requires more knowledge and special switches.

What you will need to do is place a router in the cabinet and hook it directly to the modem. You can then plug standard patch cables between the router lan ports and the new patch panel. If you need more than 4 ports you will also need a small switch.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
TL;DR: Fiber internet guy set up one port in my house to use for a wired connection. I know (picture below) that I could wire all my ports fairly easily - I just don't know what hardware I'll need and how to best do it. I have, in what feels like a past life now, stripped ethernet and krimped them into RJ-45s, and wired a patch panel with a punch-down tool. I'm not even sure if those are the correct words anymore.

My basement 'setup'

My wifi has been really spotty lately. My SO and I can't play coop Stardew Valley. My Steam Link in the living room has a terrible connection to my office PC. In my basement I can see all of the ethernet wall jacks are terminated into... something. I have no idea how to hook it all up.

There are six ethernet wall jacks in my house - each labeled and terminated into that thing in the picture above (what appears to me to be half of a patch panel).

A few months ago I signed up for fiber internet, and my wired PC has a really amazing 300Mbps/300Mbps connection. The technician pulled my "bedroom 3" cable which I'm using for my office and terminated it into some sort of female ethernet port thing. Then he ran what I believe is a normal patch cable from the fiber modem to that port. This gave me a connection in my office which I plugged into my google home wifi router. I then plugged my old wireless router into the single google wifi router port and turned off that router's DHCP which, as I understand, effectively turned it into a switch. I thin plugged my Plex server and personal PC into the old wireless router.

The connection to my Plex and PC is excellent. But my Google wireless router and end point are quite spotty. My SO can't play Stardew Valley with me without constantly losing connection. When I use my Steam Link in my living room to stream games wirelessly from my upstairs office PC, it frequently gets more pixelated than 1990s dial-up porn.

If I could supply a wired connection to the other five ethernet ports in my house I'd be set. I know they're terminated into whatever that thing is... Would that thing effectively work as a switch? I've seen pictures online of people terminating their home ethernet into the back of a patch panel which then can plug directly into a switch. Is that what I need to do? Did the thing the technician did actually hurt my ability to make everything work?

Basically what I'm asking is:
  • How hard will it be to get my house setup correctly? Can someone with limited experience with networking from twenty years ago DIY this project?
  • If yes, what kind of hardware/tools will I need? I'm happy to swing by a store on my way home and pick up a punch down tool, some RJ-45s, a switch, and a patch panel (if that's what I need).
  • Also if yes, what should the actual setup be? Can I use that thing they're terminated to in the picture or will I need to terminate them into something else? Do I need patch cables? Crossover cables?
Any help would be greatly appreciated and I'll use any knowledge gained to pay it forward and help out my friends who it turns out are in similar predicaments. Thanks!
Your house may have ethernet cable installed, but it is configured for phone. You would have to change both ends on those cables to use the for ethernet.
 

jipptomilly

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Nov 18, 2020
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Your house may have ethernet cable installed, but it is configured for phone. You would have to change both ends on those cables to use the for ethernet.
I thought that may be the case. So, and I'm just speculating here, what I need to do is:

  • Buy a wire stripper, a bag of a RJ-45s, a bag of keystones, and probably some Cat 6 or Cat 5 cable. Possibly some new faceplates for the keystones.
  • In each room (with the exception of kitchen) remove the telephone faceplate, cut off the telephone keystone, strip the wire, wire it into the cat 5-e or cat 6 keystone, and replace the plate.
  • In my basement, pull the wires (with the exception of kitchen) and wire them into this part I don't know. Do you need a keystone on both sides? Do I wire it into an RJ-45 in a patch cable configuration? Cross-over configuration?
  • Assuming RJ-45 above, plug each of the newly jacked wires into a new six or eight-port switch.
  • Plug the patch cable that's currently running from the modem to the office keystone directly from the modem into one of the switch ports. Then run a different patch cable from one of the last switch ports into the keystone in the office.
  • Now all rooms are connected to a switch in my basement which is connected to my wifi router in my office. They all will get wired IPs from my Google router and everyone will be happy.
I'm not sure if that's right, but I'm also very hazy on what I need to do about the basement-side wire for the ethernet that's run to my living room and bed rooms. My gut tells me that I can get away with a standard RJ-45 configuration and plug them into a switch. But if that were the case, why wouldn't the technician have wired the office wire with a keystone on the basement side instead of an RJ-45 to plug directly into the modem?
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
I thought that may be the case. So, and I'm just speculating here, what I need to do is:

  • Buy a wire stripper, a bag of a RJ-45s, a bag of keystones, and probably some Cat 6 or Cat 5 cable. Possibly some new faceplates for the keystones.
  • In each room (with the exception of kitchen) remove the telephone faceplate, cut off the telephone keystone, strip the wire, wire it into the cat 5-e or cat 6 keystone, and replace the plate.
  • In my basement, pull the wires (with the exception of kitchen) and wire them into this part I don't know. Do you need a keystone on both sides? Do I wire it into an RJ-45 in a patch cable configuration? Cross-over configuration?
  • Assuming RJ-45 above, plug each of the newly jacked wires into a new six or eight-port switch.
  • Plug the patch cable that's currently running from the modem to the office keystone directly from the modem into one of the switch ports. Then run a different patch cable from one of the last switch ports into the keystone in the office.
  • Now all rooms are connected to a switch in my basement which is connected to my wifi router in my office. They all will get wired IPs from my Google router and everyone will be happy.
I'm not sure if that's right, but I'm also very hazy on what I need to do about the basement-side wire for the ethernet that's run to my living room and bed rooms. My gut tells me that I can get away with a standard RJ-45 configuration and plug them into a switch. But if that were the case, why wouldn't the technician have wired the office wire with a keystone on the basement side instead of an RJ-45 to plug directly into the modem?
I think what you would have to do is move the router into the basement. The black box with the 716GE-I ONT is just a fiber to ethernet converter. You still need a router. That router needs to be located where your cables converge to spread the etherent around the house. You may say that will kill your WIFI. That may be true. But you can use the ethernet cables to ADD WIFI sources to your home network.
 
You have 2 issues.

The first is getting the cabling re terminated. You really do not strip the wire unless you mean the very outside plastic. You want to cut that back as little as possible. For rj45 plugs it crimps into the plug to make it harder to pull the wires out. Even for keystones you want to cut back as little as possible just as you want to untwist as little wire as possible.

I would buy a small patch board like this to replace the telephone one. These are sold many places just a good photo here. This one does not even need a special punchdown tool.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-1x6-Cat5E-Voice-and-Data-Expansion-Board-47603-C5/100062860

On the other end you want to use normal rj45 keystones. In most cases you can unsnap the telephone keystones and snap in the rj45. This assumes they used actual keystones for the phone jacks. If someone used the ones that use screw on connectors you will have to replace the plate and the keystone.

So as I was keying this kanewolf talks about the second issue.

You can't really hook the modem to the switch as well as your end devices and your router. Technically there is a way to do this using vlans but it requires more knowledge and special switches.

What you will need to do is place a router in the cabinet and hook it directly to the modem. You can then plug standard patch cables between the router lan ports and the new patch panel. If you need more than 4 ports you will also need a small switch.
 

jipptomilly

Prominent
Nov 18, 2020
11
1
525
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You have 2 issues.

The first is getting the cabling re terminated. You really do not strip the wire unless you mean the very outside plastic. You want to cut that back as little as possible. For rj45 plugs it crimps into the plug to make it harder to pull the wires out. Even for keystones you want to cut back as little as possible just as you want to untwist as little wire as possible.

I would buy a small patch board like this to replace the telephone one. These are sold many places just a good photo here. This one does not even need a special punchdown tool.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-1x6-Cat5E-Voice-and-Data-Expansion-Board-47603-C5/100062860

On the other end you want to use normal rj45 keystones. In most cases you can unsnap the telephone keystones and snap in the rj45. This assumes they used actual keystones for the phone jacks. If someone used the ones that use screw on connectors you will have to replace the plate and the keystone.

So as I was keying this kanewolf talks about the second issue.

You can't really hook the modem to the switch as well as your end devices and your router. Technically there is a way to do this using vlans but it requires more knowledge and special switches.

What you will need to do is place a router in the cabinet and hook it directly to the modem. You can then plug standard patch cables between the router lan ports and the new patch panel. If you need more than 4 ports you will also need a small switch.
Ahh, totally get the second issue.

When you say unsnap the telephone keystone and snap in the RJ-45 keystone, I still need to remove the cable from the telephone keystone and then krimp it into the RJ-45 keystone, right?

Also, that expansion board looks awesome. The alternative, as I now understand it, would be to just krimp them into RJ-45 keystones and then snap those into a little patch panel. I don't really want to wait two weeks for delivery, so I'll probably just go with a normal keystone/patch panel solution Then run patch cables from each keystone to the LAN ports on the router I'll have to place in my basement.

I think this is everything I need!

So to reiterate:

  1. Go home after work and pop off a telephone plate to see if it's got a normal keystone or it's screw-style. If screw style, I need to buy four wall plates.
  2. Go to Office Depot or wherever and buy eight RJ-45 keystones, a plastic patch panel housing for the basement key stones, some ethernet cable and RJ-45 jacks (or just buy a few pre-made patch cables), and a punch down tool / krimper.
  3. Go home and remove all telephone face plates. Rewire the ethernet from the telephone keystone/faceplate and into an RJ-45 keystone. Snap that keystone into the face place and put it back.
  4. In the basement, pull the wires out of the telephone plate and rewire them into RJ-45 keystones. Snap these, as well as the already wired office keystone, into the patch panel keystone housing and screw it into the wall.
  5. Take the plug from my modem and plug it into the WAN port of my router. Plug patch cables from each LAN port from my router into the keystones from my various rooms. If I need more ports than my router has, I'll need to buy a switch and use it to expand the ports.
  6. Somehow figure out how to repurpose my Google Wifi router as a wireless access point. Otherwise just hope that the wireless from my basement router will be accessible in my upstairs bedrooms.
Assuming that's all there is to it, I'll be taking a shot at this tonight!
 
I would try your local home improvement store for the wall plates. The plates cost almost nothing, they are a plastic with a square hole it is they keystone that cost a few dollars each.

You might also look for keystones that are tool less or come with a little plastic punch down tool. If you look through the photos on that patch panel you will see a small plastic thing with a little slot. That is all it really takes to punch down wires, you can trim them off with a normal wire cutter.
 

jipptomilly

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Nov 18, 2020
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Everyone here has been extremely helpful and I'm very excited to go setup my home network.

I do have one final question. Could my Google (turns our it's a Nest Wifi router) Wifi router can act as a second LAN on my home network and keep the wireless? So I add a router with one gateway IP (192.168.1.1) in my basement. Then it provides a connection to my office where I have a simple four-port switch. I plug my Nest Wifi router with a different gateway (192.168.86.1), my personal PC, and my Plex server to the switch and use the fourth port to connect to the wall. Now those three devices each get an IP from the basement router whose wireless I turn off. Then my Nest Wifi router gives wireless access to my wireless devices. As far as I can tell - if that works - the only downside is that it isn't the same local area network, so devices that would normally be discoverable couldn't discover each other. Is that accurate?

Alternatively is it possible to plug the modem into the WAN port of my router basement, but place that router into bridge mode?

I guess maybe I should wait and see what the wireless connection is on my basement router before worrying about it. But I know that Next Wifi end points don't work when the Nest is in bridge mode. So if the above solutions don't work it looks like I'll need to put an extra switch in my living room and plug a few dedicated wireless access points into them.
 

Co BIY

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Fun project!

If I were doing my house over again I would start with something like these at my central cable location.

Mini 12-Port Vertical Patch Panel with 89D Bracket - $20

TP-Link 8 Port Gigabit Unmanaged Ethernet Network Switch


As it is my current system relies on the Modem as router at the entry point and a unmanaged $8 switch at my main desktop computer. It's a bit kludgy as it was built piece by piece as needed. Much better to plan out a whole system at once.

Much better than relying on Wifi for the computers and TVs. Really appreciated for remote video calls.

Make sure you keep the Modem/Router in a relatively accessible place and make the power easy to turn off (power strip/surge protector if it lacks a switch) . I have to power it off more often than a thought I would need to (every couple of weeks / months . Also have to be able to see the front pretty often to check status while troubleshooting other issues.

I've been able to get most needed items at my local Home Depot. Cable, plates and jacks. Nail on cable ties. Eventually 6ft drill bits and 15 ft glow-in-the-dark "fishing "poles for three-story drops.

Start with a spool of 500 ft of cable (might as well go Cat 6 for a few bucks more) or you'll just end up buying multiple shorter spools or try and run less than you should.

You can use the one cable in a phone box to pull two new cables if you are keeping the phone system. In that case keep the phone punch panel.
 
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Everyone here has been extremely helpful and I'm very excited to go setup my home network.

I do have one final question. Could my Google (turns our it's a Nest Wifi router) Wifi router can act as a second LAN on my home network and keep the wireless? So I add a router with one gateway IP (192.168.1.1) in my basement. Then it provides a connection to my office where I have a simple four-port switch. I plug my Nest Wifi router with a different gateway (192.168.86.1), my personal PC, and my Plex server to the switch and use the fourth port to connect to the wall. Now those three devices each get an IP from the basement router whose wireless I turn off. Then my Nest Wifi router gives wireless access to my wireless devices. As far as I can tell - if that works - the only downside is that it isn't the same local area network, so devices that would normally be discoverable couldn't discover each other. Is that accurate?

Alternatively is it possible to plug the modem into the WAN port of my router basement, but place that router into bridge mode?

I guess maybe I should wait and see what the wireless connection is on my basement router before worrying about it. But I know that Next Wifi end points don't work when the Nest is in bridge mode. So if the above solutions don't work it looks like I'll need to put an extra switch in my living room and plug a few dedicated wireless access points into them.
Key here is to run the NEST device as a AP and not a router. When it runs as a AP it does not use IP other than for managment of the end device itself. Almost all routers have a AP mode, sometimes called bridge mode. If it didn't there is a method to use any router as a AP.

If you were to put the basement router in bridge mode with the wifi off you would in effect make it into a 5 port switch. 4 marked lan and the other marked WAN.
 

jipptomilly

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Nov 18, 2020
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Key here is to run the NEST device as a AP and not a router. When it runs as a AP it does not use IP other than for managment of the end device itself. Almost all routers have a AP mode, sometimes called bridge mode. If it didn't there is a method to use any router as a AP.

If you were to put the basement router in bridge mode with the wifi off you would in effect make it into a 5 port switch. 4 marked lan and the other marked WAN.
Yeah, I figured that'd be the case. The Nest mesh network only works if it's in router mode. I guess I'll try to run it as a second LAN and if that causes issues I'll switch it to bridge mode and just ditch the secondary end point.

Thanks, all!
 

carocuore

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. Could my Google (turns our it's a Nest Wifi router) Wifi router can act as a second LAN on my home network and keep the wireless? So I add a router with one gateway IP (192.168.1.1) in my basement.
Yes, set it to static IP access point mode while leaving DHCP server enabled with an IP that's different to the main router's, that way it'll create a subnet and you can name the wireless net whatever you want.

devices that would normally be discoverable couldn't discover each other. Is that accurate?
I did a config like that once and all devices could be "seen" by each other even though they were on different subnets.

I did a similar work at home to avoid running a really long ethernet cable through half the house just to get a connection. Router is at the basement as well and since there was phone wiring installed already I was able to use that, it only allows for a 10Mbps uplink but that's enough for me as I have a 1Mbps service anyway, jacks and plates were cheap.
 

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