A beginners guide to DIY structured cabling in a new house - Part III

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 12-Apr-2008 07:19

This is part III in my DIY guide to installing a structured cabling system in a new house. Part I is available here and Part II is available here

First up is configuring the new 16 port patch panel. I purchased a regular 16 port Cat5e panel and jumpered ports 13-16 together for the incoming phone line. This means there are 4 phone ports that can be patched to any of the 12 ports throughout the house. To do this I simply stripped some cat5e cable and looped the blue/blue white pairs through the 4 ports and left about 150mm of spare cable at the end.

Next up is installing the wall enclosure and regular BT phone jack. This BT jack is the only BT jackpoint in the house and also serves as a test point.

Showing another angle. Note BT socket is clearly marked as a Test Point - something Telepermit regulations state you should be doing.

All wiring now completed. I use a regular RJ12->BT adapter to plug into the wall socket. This means that to convert the existing house phones to a VoIP provider is literally a two second job - unplug the RJ12 socket and then plug this into the ATA phone adapter or residential gateway.

This RJ12 patch cable is then connected with scotchlok connectors into the blue/blue white pair that are jumpered across ports 13-16. If you are installing an alarm you will also want to connect it at this point, in this case the cable from the BT socket was run to the alarm and the return pair from the alarm was connected to the blue/blue white pair jumpered across ports 13-16.

Most alarm diallers have their own built in line grabbers and so they need to be wired in series with the existing phone cabling. Most alarm alarm installers will cut the phone cabling in the roof of the house before it reaches the first jackpoint in the house however if you do this then if you move your phones to VoIP you won't be able to use your alarm over your VoIP connection without rewiring the alarm. 
Just be aware that not all alarms will work succesfully over a VoIP connection however most that use the ContactID protocol should work correctly as it's actually only sending burts of DTMF tones - I do know that AlarmNZ have spent quite a bit of time testing their systems using WorldxChange's VFX service and it does work well.

Cat5e keystones and F connectors all ready to go. I just use regular PDL faceplates and PDL F connector inserts. I also use compression style F connectors and would avoid using screw on F connectors at all costs - they really are a bit of a waste of time and to be completely honest when you can pick up a good crimping tool for no more than $30 you should do the job properly the first time!

There are two mains styles of crimp connections for F connectors - radial and compression. There is plenty of debate over which is better but I personally prefer the compression connectors.

Now screwed to the wall. One important thing that you should always do is ensure that wire is looped below the socket inside the wall cavity. This forms a drip loop and means that if water gets inside the wall and runs down the cable it will get to this drip loop and drip off. If the cable is tight and runs directly to the back of the cat5e keystone or F connector drips of water will run down the cable and directly into the back of the jackpoint.

Labelling on the ports is also straight forward - TV's are just labelled with numbers and the data ports are labelled with an A at the start which is standard practice so if additional patch panels are installed they can be given a new designation such as B1, B2 etc. You can buy PDL F modules with text on them, in this case I have purchased some with TV as these are wired back to the TV aerial. Modules with Sky are also available and of course blank ones. I have one for the TV aerial and one blank as this cable is not currently used for anything and just runs back to the splitter and could be used for a satellite dish or as a return to feed a modulated output back into the main TV output.

TV wiring running back to a 6 way splitter. Note that a 75ohm F terminator is screwed onto the unused port. Ideally these should be left on the F sockets of any unused TV sockets around the house if they are wired back to the splitter to minimise interference.  

Alarm pinpad

And one of the best inventions ever - Wallmate fasteners! These are great for things such as alarm pinpads where you may not have a stud behind the wall to screw directly into. These screw into the jib and they'll take a 10kg load!

Hopefully this guide has been helpful, I know I've received a lot of good comments from people who have found it useful. I plan to incorporate all three posts into a single one and also add a few more helpful hints when I get some time over the next week or so.

Other related posts:
CCTV exposed. Why understanding network security is so important.
Anker make some of the best USB chargers and powerbanks available. Now you can get their products shipped directly to New Zealand
United Airlines pulls out of New Zealand for Southern Hemisphere Winter – AKL/SFO becomes seasonal.

Comment by CYaBro, on 12-Apr-2008 23:01

Just a question in regards to the phone line, where did you put the ADSL splitter?

Author's note by sbiddle, on 13-Apr-2008 09:07

There is no ADSL splitter since the house is prewired for TCL cable.

An ADSL splitter would be plugged directly into the BT socket with the outgoing ADSL pair then wired directly into a RJ45 socket on the patch panel that the modem can be plugged directly into. The outgoing voice pair on the mater splitter is then connected to the existing RJ12/BT plug as nothing changes in the voice wiring.

Comment by stu28, on 18-Apr-2008 13:58

The link you posted to part two does not work

Comment by Donald Randall, on 5-Aug-2008 02:21

hi, I know this is s different topic but i was wondering if you had any information on it. I have installed a door entry system, using cat-5e cable through a patch panel. This works fine but I was wondering if there is a way to supply the power to the unit via the patch panel. It is a 12V supply that is wired into the hand set.

Comment by donaldinho, on 5-Sep-2008 00:36

Just a question about connecting the RJ12 cable to the blue pair. i've found a lot of phone cables come with RJ12 at one end, and BT jack at the other. would it be ok to leave the BT jack on and wire it like that, or does it have to be the RJ12. also would this idea work by wiring cat 5 into the back of the BT socket and connecting this straight to the patch panel?

Comment by Igor, on 12-Apr-2009 15:57

Link to part II is wrong - correct one will be - http://www.geekzone.co.nz/sbiddle/4573 Now points to 4765 Looking for information to install Cat6 in existing brick/plasterboard house.

Comment by Igor, on 12-Apr-2009 15:58

Link to part II is wrong - correct one will be - http://www.geekzone.co.nz/sbiddle/4573 Now points to 4765 Looking for information to install Cat6 in existing brick/plasterboard house.

Comment by Peter, on 16-Aug-2009 01:23

Great article! Minor point, the link to Part ii from Part iii is broken.

Comment by tokyovigilante, on 23-Feb-2010 22:18

Great series thanks! I'm going to be retrofitting my house with structured cabling shortly, this will be an invaluable resource.

sbiddle's profile

Steve Biddle
New Zealand

I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.

I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)

  -xDSL deployments

*Structured cabling
  -Home/office cabling
  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
  -WAN/LAN solutions

*Wireless solutions
  -Motel/Hotel hotspot deployments
  -Outdoor wireless deployments, both small and large scale
  -Temporary wireless deployments
*CCTV solutions
  -Analogue and IP

I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.

+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.

You can contact me here or by email at stevenbiddle@gmail.com