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Can you distribute ethernet over telephone wiring?

Hi,


A client of mine has a large two-floor house that doesn't really work with WiFi.  Can we use the existing phone lines instead to send data to computers in different parts of the house?  If yes, how does it work and what equipment do you need?
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epichero22
Asked:
epichero22
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1 Solution
 
mlchelpCommented:
yes you can, you may also use the esiting electrical wiring, they sell the kits at best buy or frys, the ones that work are netgear.
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epichero22Author Commented:
I have used successfully used Ethernet over power adapters in several homes already.  How do they compare with telephone wire distribution?
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mlchelpCommented:
They both work, I would say it depends on the wiring but I think the telephone ones work better because there is no distorion from noise on the electrical circuit. Why cant you wireless? Have you tried using one of the better units with high gain antennas?
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epichero22Author Commented:
It's always some problem with intermittent signal degradation.  They get four bars for half the day, the other half they're barely hanging on.  No consistency.  With cabling, you'd expect to get something that's at least more predictable.

Is a lot of equipment necessary for it?  I do IT support (mostly setting up and consulting) but I don't do low-voltage.  I'm wondering if I could offer it to my clients without a high entry cost.
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mlchelpCommented:
its pretty cheap, i believe around 100 dollars for the netgear setup, intermitent wireless signals are usually from using store brought belkin routers, the antennas are not very good on the, if you used a good HP curve or Cisco access point with say 8 or 10 DB gain antennas it would work fine.
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epichero22Author Commented:
No I mean the equipment necessary for Ethernet over telephone setup.  Is it expensive.
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mlchelpCommented:
thats what i meant, no its around 100 bucks.or so its called a HPNA adapter, see one listed here for 138 dollars

http://www.smarthome.com/6407E/Corinex-CXH-AV-ETH-Av-Phoneline-Ethernet-Bridge/p.aspx

google hpna adapter phone line, there are a bunch of them, 2wire, linksys, netgear.
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epichero22Author Commented:
Oh my mistake :)

So you need one of these in each telephone jack I'm guessing, and that it works similar to a hub.  What I would think would be a better choice would be to splice a telephone block with Ethernet cables so that each telephone jack in the house gets a data feed from each port in a corresponding switch.  Then the data and voice would run on individual telephone lines with different frequencies and a filter at the other end.  That seems like a way better way of doing it.  Is that also possible?
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mlchelpCommented:
Im not sure, but be very carefull, there is 40 - 90 dc volts on the line when a call comes in.  I dont think it will work that way.
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kode99Commented:
If you have cat5 wiring in the house for phones (pretty common these days) you can use 2 of the wire pairs in the cat5 for phone lines and 2 for 10/100 networking.  Then you put in a wall plate with a phone and network jack and separate the wires to the appropriate jack on the plate.

It's not 'proper' and you could have issues but it generally works.  Just be sure that the phone lines don't get jacked into a network device.

For the HPNA adapters you do need one at each phone jack you want to connect with networking.  You can also get version that work on coax wiring so you can use it with existing tv wiring,  I think they were even more $150 - 300 range.

The powerline stuff has become fairly mainstream and prices have come down compared to the phoneline units.  The powerline units with wireless AP built in are pretty handy.

Here's an example,
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833127340

Given the description of your problem I don't know if using wireless on short range would pan out.  It is pretty convenient though.

The only problem with the phone wire stuff is that the quality of wire is a bit less controlled than powerline.  So if you have a home where somebody has mickey moused a pile of extensions and have splices god knows where or mice have chewed up the wires you might have problems especially if there are long runs and old wire.  Electrical wiring is usually pretty consistent with the exception of really old homes.

Unfortunately in either case you really gotta try it to find out if its going to work well or not.



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epichero22Author Commented:
Kode99:

What you're saying sounds simple enough and I'm tempted to actually try it out myself.  The current setup in the house is that we have a single base station for the telephones and about 8 wireless receivers around the house.  So only a single telephone jack is being used, but not sure if that's significant or not.  I still think we should keep the phone jacks around the house in tact, just in case.

If I do have cat5 wiring, what color codes should I use for Ethernet?

You said "just be sure that the phone lines don't get jacked into a network device."  What do you mean?  Unless you're talking about the idea of using the telephone block as a bridge to the switch, the here's what I'm thinking.  For example, the telephone block goes to the den of the house.  This is how I would imagine it would work:

Internet -> Cable Modem -> 5-port switch -> Port 1 -> Cat6 (RJ-45 on one end, cut down to two wires on the other end and spliced into the den's telephone block).

And the other ports would work the same to the other rooms.

I think I saw that setup in a home once.  What do you think.



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kode99Commented:
How well do all the wireless phones work?  Any chance the phones are messing with the networking?  Also have you tried any higher performance wireless gear,  I find some mainstream consumer stuff is really weak.

If they are not using any of the jacks now you could easily just turn any of those cat5/6 wire runs into a network port.  The only issue with doing this would be if they have split the wires so that 1 wire is feeding multiple jacks.  If each jack is home run to the phone block then you would be good.

Check this link for the wiring color/pin out,

http://www.ertyu.org/steven_nikkel/ethernetcables.html

So from that you can see that the blue and brown pairs are not being used for 10/100 networking.

What I mean about not jacking in a phone line to a network port is that you need be absolutely certain that a live phone line will not be connected to a network port on any equipment.  A live phone line will damage network devices.  

So kind of like you are saying though I would install a network patch panel and terminate the cat 5/6 wires to it BUT not terminate the specific pairs used for the phone line.  So punch down all the pair except the blue pair on the network port then run the blue pair to the phone block.

Now you can just use patch cables from the router/switch to the network patch panel.  Then at the wall plates connect the blue pair to the phone port and the rest punch down onto the network port with proper colors.

The potential problem is the phone line can cause interference on the network wire.  This could be simply lower performance which may not be noticed but it could be much worse.  

Might be worth it to just convert a few choice phone jack positions into access points and properly wire the cat5 for networking.
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epichero22Author Commented:
Here's a photo of our telephone block:

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j30/orielonline/IMG-20111030-00016.jpg

I'm not very familiar with this stuff, but can you make sense of it?
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kode99Commented:
Is there only 1 phone line in there?

Looks like its a pretty tight space which might really make it very hard to terminate anything cleanly in there.

Are you sure that the internal jacks are all run with CAT5 wire?  Some of those wire colors do not match up to standard colors and some look like they might be using more than one pair in the cat5,  I see orange, brown and green pairs used.  Did they use different colors in in cable or did they split up the cat5.

You should be able to find the actual phone line and see how it connects to that block and how the phone jack wires are connected.  You can trial and error with a phone and see where you get dial tone.  

Here's a little tutorial on network connections,

http://www.swhowto.com/CAT5_Ch1.htm

Some of the other sections may be of interest.
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epichero22Author Commented:
I'm actually not going any further with it.  We installed an Ethernet over power system and it appears to be working OK for the time being.  Thanks for the input.
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kode99Commented:
After seeing that picture I think you made the right choice.

There wasn't too much room to monkey with the internal phone wiring and add any proper network patch panel plus the extra time to sort out the wiring and redo all the jacks.




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epichero22Author Commented:
The EoP system we have cost us about $260 for one Ethernet to power adapter and two wireless access points.  Something tells me that trying to modify the phone lines would have cost more.
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