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Standard User eded2000
(regular) Mon 09-Jun-14 13:22:59
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Using phone extension cabling for ethernet...?


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My house is an old victorian terrace running over 3 floors, and due to the distance between rooms/floors, the age of the property and the type of construction (thick walls), I've had poor results with connecting various devices around the house to both internet and local file server (master socket, living room and home office each being on a different floor).

To connect the three floors together, I've tried using 500mpbs homeplug (not fast enough for HD streams), moca (fast enough, but drop-out every 20 or so mins so no good for streaming/voip), and also wifi (central london, all channels very congested) and none of these have been either fast enough or reliable enough for work or personal use. I've come to the conclusion that I need to have ethernet run around my house to provide a reliable/fast enough connection to get the most out of my FTTC connection (full sync) and to link each of the 3 floors with sufficient bandwidth on a reliable basis.

I want to avoid lifting floors/drilling through walls/ceilings/tacking cables along skirting boards if I can help it, so I've been trying to think how I can run ethernet cables with minimal impact. On each of the three floors, I have a phone extension socket that have never been wired up to the phone line. All of these extensions have wires which have been buried under the floor/in walls and all run into the attic, where these are currently bundled together, unconnected at the cable end which arrives in the attic. It seems these cables have been laid as part of the house renovation (before my time here), and are fixed in place somewhere along the run, so can't be used to pull new cables through. I am trying to work out whether I can use these phone extension cables as ethernet cables and use these to link the 3 floors (ie changing the faceplates, adding RJ45 connectors etc). Looking at the cable themselves, these have 4 pairs of wires (ie 8 total), with 2 pairs currently wired into the phone sockets, 2 pairs are unused. From a quick google, the colouring of the wires is that of phone wiring, rather than the cat5e colours. The wires seem to be twisted. Assuming I match the colouring at both ends of the cable, and if I use all 4 pairs, can this be used for ethernet? Does anyone know what kind of cable a 4 pair phone cable would be, and whether it is close enough to cat5e to do the job for ethernet? If it makes a difference, I would only be planning on using 100mbit kit either end of the cable, not gigabit. Any thoughts?
Standard User joconnell
(experienced) Mon 09-Jun-14 13:48:40
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Re: Using phone extension cabling for ethernet...?


[re: eded2000] [link to this post]
 
Interesting question. As far as I know, telephone "voice" cable is cat1. If you did use the existing cabling to wire up an ethernet network, I suspect it might be very slow but having said that, it does seem that said cabling is 8-strand, just like cat5 so it might work very well.

Given that you want to avoid the hassle of rewiring to run ethernet cable around the house, I suggest you go head and try one of the extension cables as an ethernet cable and see how it goes.
Standard User BatBoy
(legend) Mon 09-Jun-14 13:52:33
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Re: Using phone extension cabling for ethernet...?


[re: eded2000] [link to this post]
 
100BASE-TX is the predominant form of Fast Ethernet, and runs over two wire-pairs inside a category 5 or above cable.



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Standard User eded2000
(regular) Mon 09-Jun-14 14:24:45
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Re: Using phone extension cabling for ethernet...?


[re: BatBoy] [link to this post]
 
Thanks both, interesting. So, basically it won't work unless it is a form of Cat5 phone cable (do they exist?!)? Is there any easy way to tell cat 3, 4 or 5 phone coloured pairs apart? If its Cat3 or Cat 4, it seems it should work at 100mbit with 100BASE-T4 rather than 100BASE-TX networking kit - are switches still sold that can support that?

Sounds like I should give it a go first with 100BASE-TX and see what happens!
Standard User billford
(elder) Mon 09-Jun-14 14:38:55
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Re: Using phone extension cabling for ethernet...?


[re: eded2000] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by eded2000:
Sounds like I should give it a go first with 100BASE-TX and see what happens!
If possible, that's always the best approach- if it works then job done smile

Theory is just that- theory. It makes assumptions about the real world that may or may not be valid in a particular case.

Bill
A level playing field is level in both directions.

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Standard User trolleybus
(committed) Mon 09-Jun-14 14:44:16
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Re: Using phone extension cabling for ethernet...?


[re: eded2000] [link to this post]
 
I am surprised that the 500mpbs homeplug solution was not good enough assuming you are using a separate output from the router. But there you go.

Using in-situ telephone cable may provide a solution but it seems you are a very demanding network user so I think you are going to be disappointed in going down that route.

So it looks as though you will have to bite the bullet and run some CAT5e cables. I can't imagine getting someone in to do the task would cost a fortune. Perhaps if you gave out your postcode, someone will PM you with a price.
Standard User eded2000
(regular) Mon 09-Jun-14 15:33:34
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Re: Using phone extension cabling for ethernet...?


[re: trolleybus] [link to this post]
 
I was quite disappointed with the homeplugs to be honest. Fine on the same floor, but struggles between floors. Using devolo 500 adapters, the "homeplug light" varies between green and orange/red, suggesting a poor link. When its on red, HD streams stutter/stops (whether from iplayer, or streamed locally from file server), voip calls stutter and it is painful when trying to move large files from the work VPN. All adapters are straight into the wall, no powerstrips etc, tried different sockets to no avail.

I had thought ethernet over TV coax would solve my problems (http://www.thinkbroadband.com/hardware/reviews/75-asheridge-echobox.html), but while faster, I have found this much less stable than homeplug with regular resyncs making it unusable for streaming/voip.

Here's hoping for the internal phone cables - ordered the faceplates, connectors etc so will report back!
Standard User 4M2
(knowledge is power) Mon 09-Jun-14 15:58:46
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Re: Using phone extension cabling for ethernet...?


[re: eded2000] [link to this post]
 
If you can transfer a 1GB file at 10MB/s over 2 pairs of your "telephone cable" LAN please let us know smile
Standard User eckiedoo
(committed) Mon 09-Jun-14 17:19:58
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Re: Using phone extension cabling for ethernet...?


[re: eded2000] [link to this post]
 
Try it on the longest run first!

Not quite your situation; but back when working, i tested Ethernet over the appropriate 1/4 inch coax cable to almost 2000 feet, say 600 metres, when on the drum; then used it successfully through underground (phone) conduits to about 1500 feet to a remote building, with several users at that far end.

The one qualification would be that its loading would be nothing like today's - but no complaints.

This ran successfully for several years, the only problem being about one day's interruption due to very heavy rain.
Standard User eckiedoo
(committed) Mon 09-Jun-14 18:07:43
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Re: Using phone extension cabling for ethernet...?


[re: eded2000] [link to this post]
 
Again from experience, first test those cables, to ensure there are no shorts or breaks in them!

Assuming the three cables start near to the NTE, make sure that none of the wires are touching, then go to each of the far ends; and test them to ensure there are no hidden shorts within any of them.

Having done that, back to the NTE end, bare all of the ends and twist them together firmly.

Back to each far end, bare each of the wire and keep them apart -- then check that you get continuity through each of them.

A bit of a trauchle - but well worth it if you do find problems in the basic cables, before adding the complications of connectors, equipment etc.
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