Converting RJ11 to RJ45

sglee
sglee used Ask the Experts™
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I have face plates in the house where there one or two RJ11 (phone) connectors.
Can I convert these RJ11 connectors to RJ 45 CAT 5e or CAT 6?

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Commented:
Not necessarily.  You need to have the appropriate wiring behind the faceplate, and RJ45 connectors are wider than RJ11. If you accomplish those two things, there should be no problem.
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

Commented:
Normal house phone wiring isn't even CAT3.  You would have to install new cable everywhere you wanted an RJ45 ethernet plug.  In addition, you would have to run the to a central location where you had a switch or a router.  Ethernet can't share the wires like a phone can.

Commented:
It would be much more cost effective to use wireless networking. RJ-45 uses Unsheilded Twisted Pair cables Cat5 or Cat6 for netowking. The pairs are twisted inside to produced an small magneting field, which blocks interference. But running such cable in an existing dwelling is expensive.
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Commented:
I just went to the basement and saw Six CAT5e (in grey color) and Three blue colored cables (w/o label) all connected to the 4 x 4 inch patch panel (of some kind) and they all go upstairs.
I have 4 bedrooms upstairs / Loft / Familiy Room / Kitchen / DEN.
Each area and bedroom has a telephone jack on a face plate.
Why would they have used CAT5e cable? Why there are two different colored cables?
Can these CAT5e be converted to RJ11 so that I can use them for networking?
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

Commented:
The installers may just used what they had and CAT5e cable is common and inexpensive.  If all 4 pairs are available at the outlet panels, you might be able to convert them over to RJ45s.  The patch panel is not adequate to support networking, you would still need a switch or a router, because you can't 'party line' network connections.

Author

Commented:
DaveBaldwin:,

" The patch panel is not adequate to support networking, you would still need a switch or a router" - Yes I do have a switch because we have file servers and workstations in my home/business.
So it sounds like I can have a wiring guy to simply re-do the wiring behind face plates.
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

Commented:
If the wiring to the outlets is all there, you might be able to do that.  You can take the outlets off and look behind them before you hire someone to do the actual wiring.  You will have to bypass the patch panel and 'home run' the network cables to the switch.  Or you could put a second switch beside the patch panel and only run one cable back up to the main switch.  I have that in a number of places here.
Robert Sutton JrSenior Network Manager

Commented:
The answer is Yes. You can have someone just re-do the wiring, but it also depends on what type of connector sits on the faceplace. Is it cat-5 capable? Is the patch panel cat-5 rated also or is just a simple voice punchdown panel? Just because you may have the wiring already in place doesnt necessarily mean you have the capability to feed the house. If you're lucky, they used everythig rated cat5 (or >) from wire, to patch panel, all the way to the end drops(faceplates or jacks throughout the house). Hope this helps.

Author

Commented:
" You can take the outlets off and look behind them before you hire someone to do the actual wiring."
I am an IT person, but have no clue about wiring. So even if I unscrew face plates, I wouldn't know what to look for when I look at current wiring.
I usually bring in someone else when my customer needs wiring done for phones and network.
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

Commented:
That's fine, it was just suggestion.  The person you hire should inspect and test the wiring as the first step in the change over.
Robert Sutton JrSenior Network Manager

Commented:
Just read on the side of the outersheath of the actual cable sitting behind the faceplate. It should be printed on that and also the actual "Jack" mounted on the faceplate. That should say cat3, 5, 5e, etc.  You may get lucky and not have to do a thing. Remember, voice is only 1 pair(Primarily Bl/Bl-w), so that may be the only pair punch over feeding the current voice capability at that drop location.
Robert Sutton JrSenior Network Manager

Commented:
If anything it should only be using pins 4&5 on the actual jack if its only a voice feed w/ 1 line. Just suggesting... Take a look at everything.

Author

Commented:
I uploaded som photos:

It looks to me that the grey colored cable is CAT5e. So it means I can re-make the end, buy the new faceplace that accomodate Phone/Ethernet/Cable and connect computers?

Also can you point me to the website that shows how to make ends off these wires to create RJ45?
Beadroom-RJ11-Cable-2ndRJ11.jpg
Bedroom-RJ11-Plate.jpg
Loft-RJ11-Cable-2ndRJ11.jpg.jpg
PhonePatchPanel-Basement.jpg
PhoneWire-Basement.jpg
PhoneWiring-Basement.jpg

Commented:
Tes, you could put rj45-f ends behind the plates and essentially plug an rj11-m (ie: phone) in but you would have to make sure the pin out is correct. There probably wouldn't be much need at all to do this unless you also change the patch panel in the basement out. The application may not be known at this point but typically cat5 is at least a better cable type for signal quality. I plan to do something similar in my house except I'm starting with no cabling. If all those ports are used for is standard voice you may not be accomplishing anything but spending a bit of money.

Author

Commented:
I intend to replace all exising plates around the house to new plate that comes with both RJ45 and RJ11. Do you think, based on the photos, I can use existing wiring for both Phone and Networking?
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014
Commented:
This looks like a good description on this page: http://www.ertyu.org/steven_nikkel/ethernetcables.html  Note 1: the pairs are not wired exactly in sequence.  Note 2: although it says 'unused' for some of the wires, higher speed ethernet does use all 4 pairs.  You should wire them all up to the socket and not use them of anything else.  The blue cable also looks like CAT5 in the pics.

The Leviton web site will list the appropriate inserts for the RJ45 connections and it should also have wiring instructions.  Probably on this page but I can't find the ones like yours at the moment: http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ibeCZzpHome.jsp?minisite=10027&respid=22372
Robert Sutton JrSenior Network Manager

Commented:
1st thing you want to do is figure out which jacks you want to change to data. THe patch panel you speak of and show in your pic is a voice distribution block. Feed on Left and distribute from the right. The above photos show a single voice termintation and a 2 line termination in case you're feeding 2 separate phone #'s to the same jack location(Line1/Line2 or maybe a fax).
Once you've figured out how many you want to switch to data, you'll need to figure out if each location is capable as far as jacks. Your top photo and loft photo show 2 separate voice/data jacks. You may be able to use those if they're cat5 capable. Are they labeled on the individual jacks? Somewhere around the USOC/Leviton labeling. If you aren't sure, post a pic of the front face of one of those 2jack/ Cable drops. The bedroom voice (labeled:Bedroom-RJ11-Plate.jpg ) is not capable for data.  You may just have to reconfigure your feed end by removing some of the existing feeds, buying a small data punch-down block, and swing those current wires to that data block while leaving your voice feeds on the current one pictured.  Let us know.

Author

Commented:
The_Warlock:,

  Here is the photo.
  I have a question. You said "The bedroom voice (labeled:Bedroom-RJ11-Plate.jpg ) is not capable for data". If the cable label say "CAT5e", can a technician re-cut the cable to create RJ45 connector?
IMG00098-20110515-1815.jpg
Robert Sutton JrSenior Network Manager

Commented:
FWIW,
Ideally your best scenario would have been to have had 2 physical feeds per jack location. All the pictures above show only 1 feed. This is why I stress about how many and which locations you wish to convert. Bearing in mind, once each location is converted you've removed the voice/phone line capability at that same location. I'ts a trade off.
       Consider this, if most of your devices run wireless and only a 1-2 need an actual hardwire ethernet hand-off then only change those locations. Purchase a small SOHO router w/ wireless capability and ethernet 4ports(if you already don't have one) and install that next to your phone voice block(Pictured above) in the basement. This way all you'll have to do is identify which locations, pull them from voice block. You can either choose to use a ptach panel or just put rj-45 connectors on the loose ends of those previous voice feeds. Plug em into that SOHO 4port. Everything else can run wireless.
Robert Sutton JrSenior Network Manager

Commented:
Yes, I meant the jack wasn't capable. At least the one pictured. And yes, you might be able to use those for your data feeds. See, if you look at the front pic of the jack itself its dual-notched. Menaing it can accept RJ-11/RJ-45 connectors alike.... I don't know the particuliar part# of that exact jack, but it may be a cat 5 connector just being used for voice.

Author

Commented:
The_Warlock:,

  I understand what you are saying. Since I have only one feed, I have to give up RJ11 to have RJ45 connector.
  I use VONAGE phone service connected to my coreless phones around the house, so currently none of phone jacks are being used.
 
 Let me list what I need to buy before brining in a Wiring guy.
 (1) Decide which location/bedroom I like to convert to RJ45
 (2) Buy RJ45 connectors
 (3) Buy New Face plates
 (4) Shoud I have a wiring guy to pull some CAT5e Cables (PhoneWire-Basement.jpg ) out of PhonePatchPanel-Basement.jpg and create RJ45 connectors so that I can plug those into the switch?
 
Robert Sutton JrSenior Network Manager

Commented:
Well, if you dont have the proper tools, it would be smart of you to have someone do the wiring. If you don't feel confident doing it on your own. But yes, you can buy new jacks(cat5 rated) for out at the drop locations once you've figured out how many you will need. Your wiring guy should be able to go and identify each feed on that basement distribution block. He can then take those feeds, put RJ-45 connectors on em and plug those into your switch/router that you install next to voice block. On the jack end, he'll just wire the new cat 5 jacks accordingly.
    Furthermore, you have to remember that all these wires are installed. Theres not alot of room for mess-ups and or moving them elsewhere. If you install a switch/router in the basement right above your voice block, the wires being changed wont have to go very far. Hope this helps clear up your questions.

Author

Commented:
I am going to buy some parts and I would appreciate it if you could confirm:

(1) Up beadrooms, I need to buy a network faceplate along with Punch Down Keystone Jacks
(2) For basement, I just need to buy Punch Down Keystone Jacks (like TRIPP LITE N238-001-WH Cat6/Cat5e 110 Style Punch Down Keystone Jack)

should i buy ready-to-go faceplace with the socket built in or buy Punch Down Keystone Jacks & faceplaces separately?

I uploaded some photos of these parts for your confirmation.

Punchdown-Keystone-Jack.jpg
RJ45-Configured-WallPlate.jpg
Faceplate.jpg

Commented:
I would buy the keystone jacks and select your plates.  This will allow for expansion of various types of connections down the road if needed. You can fill in empty slots with blanks temporarily.  Most of my rooms will be either 2 or 4 port plates and when I pull additional cabling I'll just add the keystone jack and snap it right in.  I personally use Leviton parts  as they have nice selection and good compatibility with other brands.  Looks like you have the right idea and this will be a nice upgrade.

Commented:
Some people prefer the separate plate and keystone because it makes it easier to swap plugs later, but in your bedroom application I would be neutral and probably make the decision on quality, cost, and ease of use.

The punchdown jack that you have chosen for the basement seems fine, but you may want to consider a cat5 RJ45 mini patch panel for your network connectors.  I've seen 12 position panels advertised for under $40,  so it probably won't be a whole lot more expensive. Remember that you'll also need patch cords to run from your router or switch to your patch panel.  

An alternative you might consider if you have the appropriate free cable length would be to put male ends on the existing basement cabling and forego the patching.  This has the advantage of cutting down on the mechanical connections where noise might be introduced and the amount of equipment required, but some might object as it doesn't offer the same flexibility as a patch panel.

Author

Commented:
Amick:,
- " I've seen 12 position panels advertised for under $40," ..
Can you give me the link to website for that patch panel?

- "appropriate free cable length would be to put male ends on the existing basement cabling and forego the patching."
I agree. I don't really need to have a patch panel because it is basement of my house and the look is not important. I was just going attach CAT5e keystone connectors to cables coming from bedrooms,
plug keystone connectors directly into the switch using CAT5e drop cords.
Senior Network Manager
Commented:
If you buy a patch panel, you'll need to terminate the "loose" wires in the basement to that versus just capping' the open ends with an RJ-45 connector and plugging them into a hub/switch/router.

Here's a simple and inexpensive 8-port patch panel.

http://www.hometech.com/hts/googlebase.html?item=SU-SAMD8
Commented:
There are many choices available:

Here are some.

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