Home Data and Voice Cabling - A beginner's experience

Part 2 - Installation

, posted: 13-Feb-2012 18:06

I started by setting up the patch panel and switch etc in the most appropriate place i could find (hallway cupboard with good under floor access) I went with the approach of wall mounting everything then building a simple hinged cupboard over the top. There are a fairly good selection of wall mounted wiring cupboards for customised patch panels etc and flush mounted boxes but that would have added a fairly big expense to the project. eg something like this however these require the use of customised smaller patch panels like this . Of course you could also get a wall mounted server cabinet and mount everything in there.(that ones takes 10" patch panels and is reasonably priced)

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I mounted a thickish piece of MDF to the side wall of the cupboard, and screwed the patch panel wall bracket and switch on that (saves searching for studs for everything that needs to go on the wall). I also put a 4 way surge protected multi-board on the wall next to it (one with extra wide spacing for the large power plugs of modems and routers). Since this was to continue to be a storage cupboard i put a piece of 40mm wide conduit up the wall to hold all the cables neatly.(otherwise i would have probably just taped up the bundle and secured it to the wall) The floor below is wooden floorboard so i drilled a 30mm hole with a spade bit to feed all the cables up through.


Before running the cables i cut the holes for the wall outlets, firstly find the stud so the flush box can be screwed/nailed to it, then mark out the size of the flush box and cut out the hole butting up to the stud. This can take a bit of trial and error unless you have a very good stud finder, i used very fine nails to confirm stud locations prior to cutting. Then you have to find out where to drill the holes in the floor plate inside the wall to get up behind your new outlet location. Usually there are some markers so you can work out roughly where you are under the house, electrical outlets and their corresponding cables, outside vents etc. Sometimes you can get the angle to drill from above but mostly the hole drilling was from below, you do get a bit of leeway as there is at least a 400mm gap between studs so anywhere in there and you will be able to fish the cable out.

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Then i went about the process of running the cables, starting from the central cupboard out to the various rooms. To start i fed about 100m onto an old cable spool i had so i could feed 2 cables at once. Then using 4 different coloured rolls of insulation tape i wrapped tape round the end of each cable (different colour for each cable) and marked the box/spool with the colour used. On the insulation tape i wrote on with a fine tipped marker pen the corresponding codes from the cable schedule (Bd1-1 etc). Then fed both cables down the hole with plenty of slack, then under the house to feed them to their various locations. Along the way i used cable ties which nail into the joists under floor then can be looped around the cable (commonly used by electricians for electrical cabling) i got these from Mitre 10 mega see link. I tried to run the cables in straight lines and along joists etc so they are easy to follow (remember separation from electrical cables and to cross them at right angles to minimise interference).

R0014205 R0014208 Under Wiring Cupboard

Then i had cables to all the outlets (50cm or so spare coming out of the holes in the walls) and 2m or so at the patch panel end (remember to leave enough slack to connect up the patch panel neatly)

 R0014198 R0014199 Glad i labelled all the cables well.

Next step was to connect  all the wall outlets, this is a fairly simple process of removing some of the outer cable insulation and untwisting a small amount of each pair and lining them up with the corresponding colours on the jacks, i used T568A wiring throughout. As you can see in the picture the jacks are fairly well labelled so it is pretty easy to connect them up with the punch down tool. I also labelled the wall plate behind the covering so i would know which cable went to which jack.

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After completing this for all the wall jacks, the last job was to wire up the patch panel. The patch panel had each port labelled with a marker pen then it was just the case of wiring the correct cable to each port. I ran all the cables up through the conduit then 4 at a time to the back of the patch panel, cable tied in place where it feeds into the panel. Then punch down those cables according to the colour guide on the patch panel, then run the next 4 cables in. Then the cable from the telecom ETP was run into the last 4 ports, The voice line was connected to the blue/white pair and the data line was connected to the orange/white pair. I ran the voice line through 4 ports and the data line to the final port (as seen in the last photo below).

Small gotcha here: When connecting the orange/white pair to the patch panel i originally connected it to the orange and orange/white ports on the panel, however when plugging in the modem to the jack it uses the blue/white pair in the centre of the jack (i.e. the data line wasn't connecting with the router). So i figured this out when the internet wasn't working and changed it over so the orange/white pair from the ETP connected into the blue/white connections on the patch panel.

Phones and modems only use 1 of the pairs (the blue/white centre pair) of a cable hence only connecting the 1 pair to each of those end ports on the patch panel.

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When all the patch panel wiring was done i used a some cable clips to tidy up the wiring and neaten it up a bit.  Then tested all the ports with a cable tester, one end of the cable tester plugged into the patch panel port and the other to the appropriate wall jack. This will tell you if all your wiring and termination was correct.

Finally connect up to the phone line , i saved this till after i ensured all the wiring was correct to ensure minimal down time of the phone and internet. This was probably the most confusing step as there were so many cables in the ETP (remnants from the 3 phone lines in the house at one point) after a bit of wire tracing i figured out where they all went and what they were for. (see picture below). There was a central splitter installed inside the ETP which had clear instructions on it so that was easy to follow. So i used scotch lok connectors to crimp the cables together, blue/white pair from patch panel to the blue/white pair from the splitter (blue to blue, white to white). Then orange/white pair from the patch panel went into a 3 way scotch lok connector with the orange/white from the splitter and the Line in from Telecom. (orange + orange + black from phone line) (white/orange stripe + white + yellow from phone line) (see picture 3). This was copied from how it was set up before, just adding in a single cat5e cable to replace the old phone cables (one used to go to the adsl jack and one went to all the phone lines)

Notes: the telecom etp had tri-wing screws holding the cover on but i was able to open them with a flat head screwdriver of the correct size, the scotch lok connectors crimp fine using flat headed pliers, the special tool is not necessary.

R0014069  R0014294 R0014310 

Finished product:

Connect up the jacks you wish to use, either to the switch or the phone/data lines at the end of the patch panel, to connect a phone to the RJ45 jacks you could either use and adaptor like this, or just make/buy an RJ45 to RJ11 cable. I made all my own cables for patching and phone and network jacks.

For the Wireless router i had a double wall jack high on the wall. One port fed the data line from the telecom splitter into the router and the other connected the router to the patch panel and in turn the switch. I also fed the power cable through the wall and out next to the wall jack to make it neat, alternatively i would have got an electrician to put an outlet next to the data jacks.

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Hope this guide was helpful

Full versions of the pictures used are available here:

Picasa web albums

Other related posts:
Part 1 – Planning

Permalink to Part 2 - Installation | Add a comment (11 comments) | Main Index

Comment by gjm, on 14-Feb-2012 11:36

Nice work mate, looks impressive.

Comment by Rock, on 14-Feb-2012 13:06


Thanks for sharing the information

Can you tell me where you purchased your electrical conduit?

Author's note by hazza87, on 14-Feb-2012 13:25

Rock - I think i got it from Ideal electrical, but all electrical shops sell it, (JA Rusell, Ideal, etc) also i think mitre 10 mega and bunnings sell it too but may be a bit more expensive.

Comment by Jaxson, on 14-Feb-2012 22:27

Same with the Scotch Locks?  I think you had JA Russell for this?

Author's note by hazza87, on 14-Feb-2012 22:38

Jaxson - Yes i got them from JA Russell but any electrical supplier will have these too, plus cables direct etc sell them too.

Comment by Yoban, on 15-Feb-2012 09:56

Sensational effort both actual and documenting. a couple of questions:

how did you mount the switch in the distribution cupboard?
what brand of wireless router as it would seem to blend nicely with wall mounted speakers?
any issue with heat - I am guessing not due to the router outside cupboard?

Thanks in advance.

Author's note by hazza87, on 15-Feb-2012 12:24

Yoban - The switch has wall mounting holes on the back of it (i think pretty much all of the desktop ones do) so a couple of screws and it clicks into place.
The router is a Huawei HG556a (vodafone broadband complete) came as a freebie from vodafone.
No heat issues as the patch panel is passive and the switches give off very little heat, i guess if i had put a modem in there i may have considered some ventilation.

Comment by Sounddude, on 19-Feb-2012 17:46

like it :-)

Comment by rphenix, on 21-Feb-2012 16:05

Ugly face plates! But good work!

I invested in a cable stapler from mitre 10 rather than using electrical nail tags.

Mitre 10 Mega's also sell the conduit.

My other recommendation would be for anyone else: Look into using patch panels that are modular (i.e. have keystones ) that way you can patch individual cat6 cable sitting somewhere comfy, when ready you just plug it into the patch panel. You also get the added benefit of strain relief on the keystone so less likely to have a wire come loose.

Comment by Yoban, on 1-Mar-2012 09:58

Was reading part 1 and part 2 and you mentioned: "..yes i didn't include aerials as this was undertaken as a previous project, however i can discuss this too if you want..."

Would be interested in your thoughts on this when you have a mo.


Comment by mattie47, on 25-Apr-2012 20:21

Just wanted to say I enjoyed reading this and was interesting getting another perspective on how to do all this :)

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hazza87 Barnes
New Zealand