Question (Solved) Can landline wiring be used for ethernet?

Jan 24, 2021
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Hi. It's my first time here, I have a question and Google hasn't been useful for me so far.
My house has landline phone cables going through the walls, I think it's to setup multiple phones but we only have one and it's not connected to those wires

There's a jack in my room where my computer is so I was wondering if I could run ethernet over those cables as the router is located in the living room downstairs and I'm upstairs, wi-fi signal and speed is awful and it keeps disconnecting in the middle of downloads or online classes which is a problem.

My idea is to run a cable from the router to the jack that's downstairs then another cable from the jack upstairs into my computer. As far as I know RJ11 connectors fit the RJ45 ports present on both the router and computer.

The wall jacks have 4 wires coloured brown, light brown, red and green.

I can't get a better router as it's too expensive for me (I'm a college student) and I borrowed a kit of powerline adapters from a friend and it's even worse than wi-fi.

BTW speed isn't a concern, I've read some people saying RJ11 is limited to regular 10Mbit/sec ethernet, well that won't be a problem as our service is only 1Mbit/sec.

Thanks.
 
More than likely all you have to do is swap out the connector to get full ethernet as most modern wiring is using cat5 wiring.

If it is older, I would suggest you use a vdsl extender designed to work over telephone or other wire. I've had great experience with netsys-direct ones.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
More than likely all you have to do is swap out the connector to get full ethernet as most modern wiring is using cat5 wiring.

If it is older, I would suggest you use a vdsl extender designed to work over telephone or other wire. I've had great experience with netsys-direct ones.
Since the OP says he has red and and green, this sounds like Cat3 POTS cable. It is not suited for ethernet.
 
Since the OP says he has red and and green, this sounds like Cat3 POTS cable. It is not suited for ethernet.
It depends. Even that wire can work for ethernet as the original 10Mbit spec ran on cat3. It was only 100Mbps+ that started to need cat5.

It's really about how much crosstalk that wire will have. But I know for sure the vdsl extenders will work. I had a 10Mbps+ link over 30 year old water-logged 100 pair bundled pots wire between buildings at a hotel using those devices--fantastic tech.
 
Powerline through the house electrical wiring would almost certainly be better than trying to repurpose old telephone cable.
That's originally what I would have thought, but apparently OP has tried them without success. Maybe a newer set would be better, but if the phone wiring is this old, the power would be just as old and may be the problem there.
 
Jan 24, 2021
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A simple solution to get the wifi upstairs is to use a wireless extender. It has two antennas one for receiving the signal and one to retransmit that signal. I have an important question. When you go downstairs is the router right there or do you need to go around a corner to get to the router?

I need to know how far away your router is from the stairs so we can determine if we need one or two wireless extenders. If you are worried about cost wireless extenders are about 34 dollars.

EDIT: Another way we can do it is run an ethernet cable from the router to upstairs and connect it to a wifi Access Point upstairs. That might be cheaper then using two wifi extenders.
 
Last edited:

USAFRet

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A simple solution to get the wifi upstairs is to use a wireless extender. It has two antennas one for receiving the signal and one to retransmit that signal. I have an important question. When you go downstairs is the router right there or do you need to go around a corner to get to the router?

I need to know how far away your router is from the stairs so we can determine if we need one or two wireless extenders. If you are worried about cost wireless extenders are about 34 dollars.
A WiFi extender would be my last choice, only after every other method was ruled out.
 
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Jan 24, 2021
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Thanks for the replies :)
Wall of text incoming.

More than likely all you have to do is swap out the connector to get full ethernet as most modern wiring is using cat5 wiring.

If it is older, I would suggest you use a vdsl extender designed to work over telephone or other wire. I've had great experience with netsys-direct ones.
Went to the store and the guy there had the same idea, swap the connectors, so I bought a pair of RJ45 jacks and they have 8 pins instead of the 4 the RJ11 have, googling I found several guides like this:

I haven't wired anything yet but I have no idea where each wire goes, there's no light brown or red on the RJ45 jack so what should I do?

When you go downstairs is the router right there or do you need to go around a corner to get to the router?
Several corners, my room is on the back, there's another room and a bathroom before the stairs (about 7m from my room's door to the stairs) then downstairs a small hallway leads to the living room where the router is, I'd say the router is about 15m away from the first step of the staircase with all the corners, old house.
At first I thought of running a network cable but it'd be a mess plus I'd need it to be ridiculously long and I'm not sure if it'd even work.
Problem with wifi is that walls are too thick and the signal can't go through them I guess, it's bricks and mortar.

That's originally what I would have thought, but apparently OP has tried them without success. Maybe a newer set would be better, but if the phone wiring is this old, the power would be just as old and may be the problem there.
I've tried with a phone and works just fine, at least the wires aren't cut.

But I know for sure the vdsl extenders will work.
How would the extender work? And is VDSL the same as ADSL?
I know jack about networking, too much protocols and names x-x
 
After re-reading what wires you have--you won't be able to re-wire it--you only have 4 wires. You'll need to look up what the wiring spec was for 10base-T and you might have a shot of it working if the pairs are twisted:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethernet_physical_layer#Early_implementations_and_10_Mbit/s

If you can run a network cable you can go as far as 100m so I think it should be long enough.

That's good that the phone wires aren't cut--but if you've got working phone signal coming through on those, you will also need to rewire that as you can't have ethernet over the phone line. The vdsl extenders I used before did allow this though--you plug the phone into the unit and could still use the phone line.

So the technology doesn't matter in these ethernet extenders, but they're commonly known as 'vdsl extenders' because many of them use the same xdsl technology to extend the ethernet. Seems like netsys direct just made a new product that's gigabit too:
https://www.netsys-direct.com/blogs/ethernetextender/introducing-the-new-netsys-g-fast-gigabit-ethernet-extender-kit-nv-450ekit
 
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Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
BTW speed isn't a concern, I've read some people saying RJ11 is limited to regular 10Mbit/sec ethernet, well that won't be a problem as our service is only 1Mbit/sec.

Thanks.
Who is your service provider and what type of service is it? What "tier" are you on, if you know?

The reason I ask is because I fear it's possible you might be confusing the throughput rate nomenclature. It's been an awfully long time since any providers offered anything as slow as only 1 megabit per second speeds. Even the average DSL speed these days is around 11Mbps, and most service types are much faster than that. Just want to make sure that the speed of the connection you have is actually what you THINK it is because the solution you seek out might seriously need to be viewed from a different perspective if it's not ACTUALLY that slow.
 
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Jan 24, 2021
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After re-reading what wires you have--you won't be able to re-wire it--you only have 4 wires. You'll need to look up what the wiring spec was for 10base-T and you might have a shot of it working if the pairs are twisted:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethernet_physical_layer#Early_implementations_and_10_Mbit/s
Hi, it says 10Base-T runs over 4 wires (two twisted pairs) and a repeater hub or switch sits in the middle and has a port for each node. A node would be my computer right?
Googled CAT3 cable and has 4 wires in 2 twisted pairs so it could work, I just have to guess which wire goes where since the colours are different


Who is your service provider and what type of service is it? What "tier" are you on, if you know?

The reason I ask is because I fear it's possible you might be confusing the throughput rate nomenclature. It's been an awfully long time since any providers offered anything as slow as only 1 megabit per second speeds. Even the average DSL speed these days is around 11Mbps, and most service types are much faster than that. Just want to make sure that the speed of the connection you have is actually what you THINK it is because the solution you seek out might seriously need to be viewed from a different perspective if it's not ACTUALLY that slow.
I'm from south america, it's really 1 megabit /sec and not 1 megabyte, my download speed is 50-60 Kb/s close to the router, and our tier is 2 out of 4 I guess, the highest is 3Mbps and the lowest 256K
we had 56K until 2015 when it was rendered obsolete, the old family computer had the PCI modem card that made the buzzing and chirping sounds haha
lots of older tech around, for someone from Europe or the US it'd be like going back to the 90s, things are just... stuck, companies only spend money on mobile networks, 3G and such.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Well, that clarifies things a lot. You're right, it's definitely quite slow compared to other regions, but regardless, just like to be sure that the numbers being used are the right ones so you get the right information. Good luck, as you are in good hands with USAFRet and SamirD.
 
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Hi, it says 10Base-T runs over 4 wires (two twisted pairs) and a repeater hub or switch sits in the middle and has a port for each node. A node would be my computer right?
Googled CAT3 cable and has 4 wires in 2 twisted pairs so it could work, I just have to guess which wire goes where since the colours are different

I'm from south america, it's really 1 megabit /sec and not 1 megabyte, my download speed is 50-60 Kb/s close to the router, and our tier is 2 out of 4 I guess, the highest is 3Mbps and the lowest 256K
we had 56K until 2015 when it was rendered obsolete, the old family computer had the PCI modem card that made the buzzing and chirping sounds haha
lots of older tech around, for someone from Europe or the US it'd be like going back to the 90s, things are just... stuck, companies only spend money on mobile networks, 3G and such.
This is perfectly dated for 10base-T, but essentially you just need to choose what wires you want where and keep it consistent:
https://www.arcelect.com/10baset.htm

Thank you for posting about your speeds an tech. A lot of people in the USA and EU throw away tech that is much more advanced thinking it is 'garbage'. I can't believe I have had some courier v.everything modems that could have had a second life doing what they did best--really great carrier connections. :( If there's anything you would like from this side of the world (something that would be 'junk' over here), let me know and I'll see if I can't send it to you.

Makes sense that the concentration is on the cellular networks. That's what I've seen in developing nations as well, mainly because it's so hard to get proper cabling run, trenched, etc. Wireless is a lot easier. Plus, all the transactions are moving to the phone so that's where most the activity is anyways. But this should open up the door for cellular hotspots with good speed--are those not available?
 
Jan 24, 2021
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This is perfectly dated for 10base-T, but essentially you just need to choose what wires you want where and keep it consistent:
https://www.arcelect.com/10baset.htm

Thank you for posting about your speeds an tech. A lot of people in the USA and EU throw away tech that is much more advanced thinking it is 'garbage'. I can't believe I have had some courier v.everything modems that could have had a second life doing what they did best--really great carrier connections. :( If there's anything you would like from this side of the world (something that would be 'junk' over here), let me know and I'll see if I can't send it to you.

Makes sense that the concentration is on the cellular networks. That's what I've seen in developing nations as well, mainly because it's so hard to get proper cabling run, trenched, etc. Wireless is a lot easier. Plus, all the transactions are moving to the phone so that's where most the activity is anyways. But this should open up the door for cellular hotspots with good speed--are those not available?
It worked!!
I've used this diagram, fortunately the RJ45 jacks I bought were easy to assemble, no need for tools except for a wire cutter to peel the cables a bit. Tried 5 different combinations until I hit the correct one.

In case anyone ever needs it from left to right the wires go this way: green, brown, red and light brown
Not sure if those colours are the same all around the world though.

As a curiosity I've found out the 56K service still works with the old computer, I've used it to test the wiring prior to replacing the jacks and managed to load up bing.com, it's a Windows 2000 so it won't load anything else than bing or a couple other sites, google won't work at all due to a security error.

Fast says my speed is blazing fast 480Kbps which honestly is a lot better than the 200 I had with wifi, and it hasn't cut for about 8 hours now, wires seem to be fine, hope I get the whole Mb/s during the night because less people are using it to check if everything works.


This is making the assumption that the devices will negotiate 10base-T. Most devices have removed that and are 100/1000 only.
High end stuff probably, my modem is a ZTE, really simple model, it's made for only 1 computer and has no WLAN, the router is hooked up to it and provides wireless and now a wired connection for my computer.

The settings were somewhat hidden but there anyway, on Windows I had to go into local area connection properties, then configure and set "Link speed/Duplex mode" to 10Mbps/Full Duplex, the modem is 10 only and the router 10/100 as far as I know, the router also keeps alive the modem connection and I don't have to dial each time I want to use the internet from my computer.

Anyway thanks everyone for participating, never done anything related to networking before but it was fun, x
 
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gggplaya

Distinguished
Yup... costs nothing to dream. I doubt we can afford it though, it's $100 US a month.
Costs are intended to go down when full adoption takes place, they're saying about $80/mo in the U.S. I wouldn't go off the beta price. Pricing will also be region dependant, so you may see lower prices than the U.S. pays. They might off tiers of data plans to lower monthly fees as well, especially for poorer countries. It's better to charge $20/mo for 10-20mbps than get $0/mo for 0mbps because you can't get customers that can't afford it. So 4-5 customers in a poor country are equivalent to 1 customer in the U.S. in terms of fees collected and bandwidth allocation.

The equipment costs of $500 may be the same though, no real way around that.
 
Jan 24, 2021
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Costs are intended to go down when full adoption takes place, they're saying about $80/mo in the U.S. I wouldn't go off the beta price. Pricing will also be region dependant, so you may see lower prices than the U.S. pays. They might off tiers of data plans to lower monthly fees as well, especially for poorer countries. It's better to charge $20/mo for 10-20mbps than get $0/mo for 0mbps because you can't get customers that can't afford it. So 4-5 customers in a poor country are equivalent to 1 customer in the U.S. in terms of fees collected and bandwidth allocation.

The equipment costs of $500 may be the same though, no real way around that.
Seen the kit online, it's probably the router that's expensive because the dish and cables should be fairly cheap. Even 10Mbps would be literally 10 times better than we have now. I wonder if there's some data cap, 3G for example is somewhat faster but is capped to 1/2GB a month. Anyway, it'll be years until Starlink gets here, for now I'll remain stuck with ADSL.
 

gggplaya

Distinguished
Seen the kit online, it's probably the router that's expensive because the dish and cables should be fairly cheap. Even 10Mbps would be literally 10 times better than we have now. I wonder if there's some data cap, 3G for example is somewhat faster but is capped to 1/2GB a month. Anyway, it'll be years until Starlink gets here, for now I'll remain stuck with ADSL.
The dish is actually the most sophisticated, advanced and the most expensive part. Currently, it's believed that Starlink is taking a loss on the Dish package for $500. Instead of using a motor to rotate the dish(motors fail), it electronically aims the dish with radar technology called "Phased-Array." This is the same technology used in Fighter Jets. The dish also has a built in heater to prevent snow build up in winter. On a normal day the dish uses 100watts constant power. With traditional satellite being much further away, the angle allows you to just point a standard dish towards the satellite and it can keep a constant lock. But with starlink, being low orbit, the angle changes drastically so the antenna must constantly be optimized.

So far, starlink has no data cap and is unlimited. That may be re-evaluated in the future if things get overly congested.
 

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