Home Data and Voice Cabling - A beginner's experience

Part 1 – Planning

, posted: 28-Jan-2012 13:27


I have decided to do a write up of my recent experiences in cabling a large home for data and voice. When i undertook this project i intended to learn how to install and terminate cat5e/6 cabling, install patch panels and hook the whole thing up to telecom phone lines. I gained valuable experience in all these things, learned a lot and enjoyed the whole process.

A large amount of the information i gathered for this came from Geekzone blogs and forum posts and helpful members, big thanks to all those that helped. Individual mentions will come at the end of the posts.

Original thread from geekzone forums.

Background reading:

TCF Premises Wiring Code of Practice 
Telecom Code of Practice

Cables to go guide
Structured Home wiring
Structured Wiring How To
ZDNet Blog


The wiring in this house was a mess and to be honest I'm surprised the phone and internet worked at all. Also the house was going to be used as a home office for a small business so it required more phone jacks in various places and some wired jacks for internet in the office. I also did some upgrades to the computers and installed a NAS device for storage and remote access, most of this required faster than wireless access especially the home computers and the NAS. So they decided to upgrade all the wiring and get gigabit networking for all the office devices, so i offered to do the wiring for them for good experience and practice for me.

Black house wire joining voice jacks (2) Cable from ETP joining house black wire Joins under the house in the phone line, and the split of the phone line to all jacks.


The first thing I did was to plan out thoroughly what was needed where, I did this by drawing up a house plan roughly to scale. I will not include this to protect the privacy of the home owners but I will put up a link to an example at the end of the post. Would be helpful if you had access to original house plans.
With the house plan I went through with the home owners and decided where to put all the outlets and where to locate the central wiring point. I also considered where voice was needed and how many outlets in each location.
Useful information for this can be found on the TCF website 
I decided to go the route of Rj45 jacks for all locations voice and data (thanks to the input of geekzone members) forgoing Rj12 and BT jacks totally. All outlets would be star wired back to a central location and use Cat5e cabling.
Since i decided to integrate the phone line and data network all to the same location, i had to consider how to connect up the outlets to the telecom etp (where the phone lines comes in from the road and joins your home wiring - should be a small white box on the outer wall of the house somewhere, see pictures). Thanks to advice here i decided i would run a single cat5e cable from the central wiring point to the telecom etp (will explain more in part 2).

Telecom ETP R0014069
I decided on 2 jacks in all bedroom locations 4 in the office, 4 in the lounge, singles in locations for phones and 2 high on a wall well positioned for a wireless access point.
With this house plan and outlet locations, I created a cable schedule in a spreadsheet to label all cables and give their from and to locations and which ports of the patch panel they will be connected to.
In the cable schedule i formed a room and cable labelling format so i could label all the cat5e cable at both ends and quickly check where that cable goes.
This information gave me enough to price up the job and purchase 90% of the materials.

Another major factor to consider was how to run the cabling, in my case there was good access to the under floor of the house and i did a thorough check under all the rooms to assess where would be most practical to run the cabling into the room. Then adjust the outlet locations slightly accordingly.

I also decided to make my own patch cables and phone cords (RJ45 - RJ11) for a bit of practice and experience, plus there was plenty of off cut cable and leftovers.


I used a number of shops to get the best prices they include:

Cables direct
PB Tech
Computer Store
Mitre 10 Mega
Ideal Electrical
I purchased the bulk of the materials from cables direct who have a pretty good range and a good website, delivery was pretty fast too.

I found there were plenty of choices for wall jacks and modules (PDL, Dynamix, Amdex) but decided on Dynamix ones with matching Keystone jacks , they make single and dual wall plates that come in 2 pieces, wall plate and plastic cover, however the 4 way plates are single piece and are a bit messier. In hindsight i may have used 2 dual plates instead. Also remember flush boxes or surface mount boxes depending on how you will mount the outlets, i got them pretty cheap from mitre 10 mega.
For the keystone jacks i got colour coded ones (green for voice jacks, blue,yellow,white for data 1,2,3 correspondingly) because dynamix had a nice range of colours. This made it easy to tell which jacks go to which patch panel ports. I suppose i would have used PDL ones if matching the existing jacks was required but they were considerably more expensive.

fp2ks fp110jackblue ppc5e24lb pphwbxu

Next up was a patch panel, as i had a total of 20 wall outlets and needed some spare to patch the phone line into i went with a 24 port patch panel from Dynamix and a wall bracket .
As not all the ports would be used initially i got an 8 port gigabit switch and used the existing modem router.
A 305M box of cat5e cable would be plenty for this but it pays to check rough measurements first.


After experimenting with eBay and cheap overseas sellers i ended up just getting some proper tools locally
Punch down tool (for 110 style jacks as this was the jacks and patch panel i was using) this was a goodish quality impact tool which i can recommend, worked really well for me. You may be able to use a cheapish non impact tool but i didn't find them as easy to use for lots of jacks.
Crimping Tool i got a cheapish one which works fine for me, but there are more expensive ratcheting ones.

Cable stripper Cable Tester Crimper Punchdown

That is probably all the specialist tools needed, of course general tools will be needed too. Drills, screwdrivers good assortment of sharp drill bits (i used good quality spade bits to drill the holes for the cabling -12mm for most double locations and 14mm+ for the 4 cable locations. ) Cable cutters and strippers (could use sharp knife or the function on the cheap insertion tool)

That's about all for the planning stage
Part II installation coming soon....

Pricing Estimates:

Google Docs version here
ItemQuantityPriceTotal Price Store
24 Port Patch Panel
1$55.20$55.20PB Technologies
8 Port Gigabit Switch
1$69.95$69.95Computer Lounge
19" Hinged Wall Bracket 2U
1$35.00$35.00Computer Store
305M Cat5e Box
1$156.69$156.69Cables Direct
Dynamix Double Plate
6$2.97$17.82Cables Direct
Dynamix Single Plate
2$2.74$5.48Cables Direct
Dynamix Quad Plate
1$2.01$2.01Cables Direct
Flush Box
7$1.11$7.77Mitre 10 Mega
Surface mount Box
2$2.76$5.52Mitre 10 Mega
Rj45 Keystone Jack Cat5e (assorted colours)
19$5.46$103.74Cables Direct
Rj11 Plug
5$0.18$0.90Cables Direct
RJ45 Plug
30$0.53$15.90Cables Direct
RJ45 relief boot
30$0.35$10.50Cables Direct
UY2 / UR2 Gel filled joiners
10$0.25$2.50JA Russell
200x Cable Clip box
1$22.75$22.75Mitre 10 Mega
Hanlong Impact Punch down Tool
1$38.27$38.27Computer Store
RJ45/RJ11/RJ12 Crimper
1$13.95$13.95Computer Store
Cable Tester
1$11.95$11.95Computer Store
Total Price Parts
30 hours$20/hour$600 
Alternative Pricing for PDL Products
ItemQuantityPriceTotal PriceStore
PDL single/double/quad Face plate
9$7.55 each$67.95JA Russell
PDL Cat6 RJ45 module
19$19.40 each$368.60JA Russell
Dynamix Range

(Wall plates + Jacks)
PDL Range

(Wall plates + Jacks)
   PDL + $307.60 
Quoted from JA Russell with no trade discount    


Picasa Web Album  Full version pictures

Cable Schedule

House Plan (example from house plan off the web with an idea of how to mark on outlets etc)

Special Thanks to Geekzone members:


Also mention goes to Sbiddle for his original blog on the subject (mainly on new home installation)

Feel free to ask questions or let me know of any errors.

Other related posts:
Part 2 - Installation

Comment by antoniosk, on 29-Jan-2012 09:04

Will you include budget estimates for parts and labour? Or at least how many hours were spent in the design and hookup?

Comment by davidcole, on 29-Jan-2012 09:56

I'll be interested in seeing how the patchpanel is used/installed with connections for the phone lines and the data connections.

In your wiring you're not including aerials?  I alays thought I'd like to centralise those as well in the same cupboard, and then run 1 aerial to the primary lounge for the telly, my other tellys are lan connected.

Author's note by hazza87, on 29-Jan-2012 12:04

antoniosk - Ok i will knock up a quick spreadsheet with the costs and labour.

davidcole - full write up of that coming in part 2, yes i didn't include aerials as this was undertaken as a previous project, however i can discuss this too if you want. Normally i would also include the tv cabling in a project like this and do a full structured solution.


Comment by sen8or, on 29-Jan-2012 14:59

will be interesting to see how cheap it is on a diy basis. had our whole house done by the sparky, fairly similar to your spec, only a few more data ports in the lounge / home theatre (2 up high behind a tv, 4 down low where the equipment is) and double the amount of ports in the office.

Don't forget to add power to where your capinet is going to be, also, look at having the power points running along the nogs, not facing forward/backward in the cabinet. This is because some equipment like a router / switch may have one of those big transformer type plugs, it won't fit in the cabinet with the wall depth.

Very pleased we spent the extra $ to have the house wired

Comment by antoniosk, on 29-Jan-2012 16:32

cheers hazza

I wrote a blog just before christmas about a similar topic, and opted for wireless over the cost of patch panels and wiring work. Will be interesting to see how costs work out....

Author's note by hazza87, on 29-Jan-2012 17:05

sen8or - This project was completed in October 2011, but i am only getting round to writing about it now. The prices i put in the spreadsheet  include a nominal labour charge of $20 per hour with the rough time it took to complete. However the job was done for friends so i did not charge them that much, if the job was done for myself it would have cost around $500 plus tools. So next time i will not need to buy more tools.
Also if it were a pro job i would only charge the cat5e by the metre (i ended up with about 100m left over).

antoniosk - spreadsheet is now up at the end of the post under the title EDIT:
Just had a read over your blog and you make some good points, i am of the opinion that a mix of wired and wireless best serves me and definetly suited this particular job. (small business run from home - large NAS, and networked printing). See above for explanation of labour costs etc

Comment by antoniosk, on 29-Jan-2012 18:52

Great stuff hazza

Quotes I got were $1.90/m for Cat 5e and $2.40/m for Cat 6. Ferociously high, but then I didn't have time to chase down alternative sources - and for what I was doing, about 200m was required.

Professional electrician labour rates I saw was $25-35/hr, needing 2 people (one upstairs one downstairs, or in loft etc).


Author's note by hazza87, on 29-Jan-2012 18:59

Wow, thats quite a markup, considering they are probably getting it even cheaper than me at trade rates. Cost price for me would be $0.52 p/m.
I can see how some parts would be alot easier with 2 people,but was definetly possible on my own but did require a few more trips under the house and out again.

Comment by ObidiahSlope, on 30-Jan-2012 11:33

To intergrate a telephone landline into your LAN I reccomend a Leviton telephone patching expansion board, or an equivalent product.


You have a puch in coonection to the landline and an expansion board with 6 RJ45 outlets.

I puchased mine from a local electrical supplier. I can not remenber the exact price but I remember thinking the price was reasonable.

Author's note by hazza87, on 31-Jan-2012 14:29

ObidiahSlope - Yes i considered using a product like this or the one designed by Cyril7 sold by Signet, but decided on the cheapest option of just looping through the phone lines to the spare ports on the patch panel.

Comment by Cutcutcut, on 2-Feb-2012 18:53

Great post! I could've used this when I started my recabling project. Very informative. Good stuff.

Comment by reven, on 8-Feb-2012 10:39

good read, i thought 305m of CAT5e cable would have a hell of a lot more expensive than that, im currently saving for my first house and will be wiring it all up using CAT6, and whoa only $200ish for 305m cables, sweet.

Author's note by hazza87, on 13-Feb-2012 18:32

Part 2 - Installation now live

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hazza87 Barnes
New Zealand