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I just moved in to a townhouse built in 2007 with a seemingly nice CAT5 and coaxial cabling. In fact, I found a patch panel in the closet! I opened it and found this:

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I also noticed some of the rooms have ethernet ports and/or coaxial cables/outlets sticking out.

I guess I have 2 questions: 1. Where should I connect the router so that I can get connectivity from any of the ethernet ports in the house. 2. Where should I connect the (comcast) cable modem?

Any other tips are greatly appreciated.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

From this photo:

inside view

  • Cable modem is likely attached to the cable at the lower right corner.

  • Cable modem network jack goes to the internet port on your router.

  • Lan ports on the router are connected to the patch panel in the center. The yellow cat5/6 wires are networking to the rooms.

  • If you want TV's in different rooms, you can swap out which white cables are plugged into the top splitter (or get a different splitter with more ports, but the fewer times you split the signal, the better the signal is). The bottom splitter is the first split to the cable modem to give it the best signal. Yellow cable line is most likely the source, and white cable lines go to the various rooms.

  • Blue wires should be for telephone. I don't see where the external connection is, so if you don't have a dial tone, it may not be connected to the demarcation outside. If that's the case, either the last owner never used it, or they plugged in a voip box into a network and phone jack elsewhere in the house.

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Good answer! I wish my house (built 1893) had a patch panel. Heck, I wish it had a few more closets too. :) – Shimon Rura Oct 9 '12 at 3:11

Switch, router, modem, should all connect at this box.

The patch panel should be run to the ports in the rooms. You need to run wires from the patch panel into a switch. That switch should uplink into the LAN port of a router (or that switch should be the LAN ports of a router).

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Each patch panel connection goes to a room. You have to connect a jumper to each connection you want to be active. If your router doesn't have enough ports just connect to the rooms you are using to get started. You can add a separate hub or switch (better) to get more connections.

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