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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some of you seem to have the electronics game figured out and I need some help. My son is moving into the basement bedroom as it's a much bigger room and he's 17 and needs privacy🙄. Anyways, he had the router/modem in his room upstairs so that he could connect to the Ethernet on the modem. I moved it downstairs, but the WiFi is not strong enough to run our TiVo upstairs. Bummer...

I think, we have Cat5 ports in most rooms. The house was built 11 years ago and the builders were idiots, and those cables come to a big nest of work wires in the spray in insulation. I have no clue which wire goes where. They are not labeled.

If I were to get a 5 way Ethernet switch, would I be able to have the router feed the one port on that room down to the switch, to then feed the other rooms, if I can figure the wires out. I ran Cat6 into his new bedroom as he's a gamer and I figured if I was running new stuff it should be the latest and greatest.

Or the other idea was to get a MoCa adapter to switch coax to Ethernet at his room.

Any help is appreciated and sorry if I don't have all pertinent info.
 

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get a connector for a 9v battery. connect it to one of the unknown wires downstairs(like say, the orange pair), then find it with a voltmeter upstairs. repeat until you figure them out.
Once you know where they go, you can put ends on the cables, and run him the full bandwidth connection he wants.
Lowes sells a cheezy hand tool, and a bunch of ends fairly cheap.
I'm running a gigabit router/network without any problems on cat5.
 

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You can also find cheap toners if you don't want to mess with reterminating if the mess is terminated now.

Here's a cheap one on Amazon: Ethernet Network Toner RJ11 RJ45 Network Cable Tester Lan Tracker Wire Finder Cat5 Cat6 with 2 Network Wire Stripper Toolkit Orange: AmazonSmile: Industrial & Scientific

Here's one even cheaper on Fleabay: Network RJ11 Line Finder Cable Tracker Tester Toner Electric Wire Tracer Pouch | eBay

Here's a toolkit suitable for a DIY for a weekend UbiGear Network/Phone Cable Tester + RJ11/RJ12/RJ22/RJ45 Crimper + RJ45 CAT5e Connectors Plug Network Tool Kits (568 Crimper Premium Tool Kits) - - AmazonSmile

For that kit, you'd have to have two people or do a bunch of running; plug the MASTER in with a patch cord in a room, and walk through the other ends until you get one that lights up the lights in sequence; label the wires WHEN you find out which room they're in!

If there's no ends, then the other toners would be better; clip to the wire, tone to the other end, and use some heat shrink labels on the wires before you terminate them.

RwP
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. I was hoping to get this sorted tomorrow, but I'll have to see what the local stores have. The wires are all spliced together downstairs from what I can see. I may have to do some digging in the insulation...
 

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Most of the tone tools I've used will let you wave the detector around, and find the wire thru sheetrock.
 
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A basic toner is a good tool to have for that kind of thing. Hook the test end up in the room of interest and use the probe at the "nest" to find which wire it is. Some of them will start picking up the tone with the probe an inch or two from the live cable. Others barely pick it up when you're right on top of it. Try to find the kind with multiple test connections - an 8 position for data cabling, a 6 position for voice cabling and a pair of alligator clips for loose wires or attaching to punchdown blocks and patch panels is a good starting point.

Also, if you're dealing with plenum cable it's almost certainly solid. Most people try to get away with terminating cable ends onto solid plenum cable but that's not the right way to do it. Solid cable doesn't lend itself to being pierced by the blades of the conductors in the cable end (these are designed for use with stranded patch cables) and often the blades simply push the wires aside leading to a poor/intermittent connection. Use a keystone jack or patch panel to punch the cables down to. It'll be a connection that won't work its way loose due to handling and time, and you'll be much more likely to get a solid connection the first time.

If the cabling was run ~10 years ago it's almost certainly cat 5e. Cat 5e is good for 1 Gb/s to 100m or 328 ft. Won't work at 10 Gb/s. Cat 6 is good for 10 Gb/s but only to 55m or 180 ft; you need Cat 6a if you need 10 Gb/s out to 100m. 6a is expensive and requires a lot more work to terminate properly. :)

As far as wifi goes, try using the 2.4 GHz band if you aren't already for longer range stuff. It's more crowded/susceptible to interference from household appliances, has a narrower bandwidth and has fewer usable channels but the longer wavelengh lends itself to better transmission through floors/walls. 5 GHz signal strength and throughput really falls off as soon as you go through even a single open-cavity drywall partition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, so I dug the wires out of the foam and it appears to be Cat5. Unfortunately they only used it for telephone, so it's spliced together for that. (6 sets of blue/white and white/blue).

Looks like I have some ends to put on and a switch to install.

I am running 2.4mh, and Wi-Fi is garbage. Too run these TiVo boxes I have to use Mediacom router/modem. It's garbage. Before these boxes I had a nice Wi-Fi setup.
 

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Ok, so I dug the wires out of the foam and it appears to be Cat5. Unfortunately they only used it for telephone, so it's spliced together for that. (6 sets of blue/white and white/blue).

Looks like I have some ends to put on and a switch to install.

I am running 2.4mh, and Wi-Fi is garbage. Too run these TiVo boxes I have to use Mediacom router/modem. It's garbage. Before these boxes I had a nice Wi-Fi setup.
Clip the toner onto, say, the brown set (pair 4 as it's normally called.) Use that to determine which is which.

IF you have a Brother P-touch labeler, you may be able to use something like AmazonSmile: SuperInk 2 Pack Compatible for Brother HSe-231 HSe231 HS-231 HS231 Black on White Heat Shrink Tube Label Tape use in PT-D210 PT-D400 PT-E300 PT-E500 PT-P750WVP Printer (0.46''x 4.92ft,11.7mm x 1.5m) : Electronics (note: Put it 8" or so back from the end, so that subsequent work doesn't cut it off!) to label the "nest" end of each cable with an identifier; label the other ends like D01, D02, etc. when you terminate those.

I'd go ahead with a gigabit switch and with a patch panel for the nest end ... AmazonSmile: Cable Matters UL Listed Mini 12-Port Vertical Patch Panel with 89D Bracket : Electronics will give you 12 ports. If you need more, use two.

Use good parts at both ends.

One of the sets I showed has the punch down tool in it; again, nothing a pro could use day to day, but good enough for a DIY doing a house.

(My Fluke punch down ran over $100 and my blades are about $25 each ... but then again, I earn my living with mine!)

There's several brands of OK switches out there; I'd go metal so I had the keyhole slots in the bottom to mount with (use #6 wood screws) - something like AmazonSmile: TP-Link 8 Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch | Ethernet Splitter | Sturdy Metal w/ Shielded Ports | Plug-and-Play | Traffic Optimization | Unmanaged (TL-SG108) (Renewed) : Electronics or a DLink or Netgear equivelent. (TP-Link works good enough for restaurants, so eh.)

Then use patch cords from the jacks to the switch and/or devices; whereas they DO sell plugs to fit the end of solid cable, as Hank Hill would say, "That ain't right". 😝

Leviton makes some good jacks; they're a bit pricer than "Honest John's Sushi Shop And Network Parts" or "DungNetworkParts" equipment, but they do work. And packs are available on Amazon and sometimes at either Home Depot or Lowe's (forget which one does Leviton.)

Patch cords - Measure the length you want from the wall plate, then order longer.

Use hook and loop (note: I'd buy the Velcro brand pretrimmed ones personally - oh, wait, that's what I carry in my back pocket!) to bundle stuff up. Don't use the plastic zip ties, unless you're 100% positive that they will NEVER be touched. And if you zip, don't pull down as tight as you possibly can.

Face plates - If you go Leviton jacks, get Leviton plates. They're SUPPOSED to be interchangeable, but there's enough give in the specs that Brand A jacks won't fit Brand B plates, but A jacks fit C plates and C jacks fit B plates, but ... yah. It's a loose standard as implemented.

I'll add that you CAN find 45* face plates; for home usage, I'd recommend those. Some like AmazonSmile: Leviton 41081-2WP Angled QuickPort Wallplate 2-Port, Single Gang, White : Electronics for the 2-port faceplate (if nothing else, use those, and a filler plug in the unused side.) Those help in that it's a LOT harder to damage something with a desk or chair shoved back accidently.

RwP
 

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This is harder than it needs to be. Buy a mesh network system, such as google or TP-Link. They have sets of 3 decides which act as repeaters and allow access through out the house with a single password. Instructions available on Amazon when you view the item.
one unit becomes master and is placed next to your ISP provider’s router. The other 2 units are placed where you need access such as the basement or second floor. Works like magic, no wires needed between the units
 

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I agree that for wireless perspectives you would benefit from an added AP. Though "mesh" networks aren't magic. They backhaul to each other using one of the two frequency bands (either 2.4 or 5) and serve clients on the other radio. They have to be close enough to receive a strong enough signal to associate with one another; data rates half every time you make a hop between a repeater and total range is limited by the sacrifice in throughout you're willing to make between the repeaters.

The more range you need, the further apart the repeaters need to be and the lower the useful data rate between them will be. One solution is to get more repeaters - but remember, every time you add a hop you half your throughput again. Also bear in mind there are only so many usable frequency channels in each band - as few as 3 in 2.4 GHz - so if you overcrowd your home network with mesh APs, you'll have mesh APs on one side of the house interfering with those on the other side. There are 23x 20 MHz channels in the 5.2 and 5.8 GHz bands but you have to consider that most APs will double or quadruple the channel width to enhance throughput - leaving you with 12 or 6 usable channels depending on the channel width.

Or you could just use wires for the access points for a fast, reliable backbone.

Wireless networks are a convenience for end-user devices. They aren't designed to be network backbones. Even when wireless links are used as a backbone it's not for high data-rate or high availability networks; that's why we bore in fiber. :)
 

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+1 on using dedicated wired AP units. As much of a hassle it is to run cable, long term reliability, performance, and throughput will be better on hard wired AP units.
 

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+1 on using dedicated wired AP units. As much of a hassle it is to run cable, long term reliability, performance, and throughput will be better on hard wired AP units.
My house is small so a single AX WIFI router is good enough; I still run one wire to my garage-based machines for high reliability because its easy to access (its right below my main living space).
Plenty of ways to skin the cat. I think it all depends on how big of a house they have.
1) One thing I would probably try is to see if I could use one of the old wires to pull a new wire IF I decided that cat6e was essential.
2) Now, just because you have a ISP supplied WIFI/AP doesn't mean you cannot add your own WIFI AP to the back of it. You can then disable the ISP'sd WIFI interface or set them up to run concurrently (just pick a different channel and a different SSID.)
3) If you just want to throw money at the problem, they do make WIFI6e mesh routers now (6e for WIFI denotes using AX on a new spectrum -- 6GHz vs 5GHz or 2.4GHz -- vs the wire quality and # of twists/inch on the wire cable in cat6e)
 

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Wifi 6E is very new; we're still converting clients from AC to AX. Also cat 6e is a marketing misnomer and is not a TIA recognized cable type.

The common cable types are:

Cat3 - 10 meg at 100m or phone
Cat5 - 100 meg at 100m
Cat5e - 1 gig at 100m
Cat6 - 10 gig to 55m (or 1 gig to 100m)
Cat6a - 10 gig to 100m
 

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I was watching a story on the same thing as it relates to HDMI 2.0 vs 2.1
 
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