My house's builders seem to have cut one of the Cat-6 internet cables somewhere along it's run from the basement to the data hub where all of the other cables converge. It might even be between the floors. This is a low voltage circuit.

The basement outlet is about 12 below and about 25 feet along a single wall from the data hub box. (The Cat-6 cable does not turn corners. It goes up and over.) I have access to the other end of the cable in the data box.

Is there a device that I can plug in to either end of the cable and then track the path of the cable from on top of the dry wall? I hate to punch a bunch of holes in the plaster when I have no idea where the cut is. If I could punch one hole, I could splice the break with a male-female connector, put it back in the wall, and patch over it.

  • Are you certain that one of the connectors isn't bad or miswired?
    – topshot
    Oct 7, 2016 at 13:02
  • 1
    Run new wiring..... Its much easier and cheaper. Oct 7, 2016 at 22:07
  • I re-seated the female Leviton-style keystone twice and tested it. I also re-terminated the male end in the data panel. Still no connection. Running new wire would require me to open the entire wall. The cable runs laterally about 25 feet within the wall before going up to the panel. If I had to guess, it probably happened at/near the ceiling of the basement during the drywall process. Oct 8, 2016 at 14:27
  • I would run new wire.... If the old wire wasn't secured within the wall I'd be able to pull it. The entire length of the wire is behind drywall -- 25 feet Oct 8, 2016 at 14:36
  • Repairing a CATx run is not so simple. You will need to use either a Category-rated splice block, or terminate each wire at the break with a jack and an RJ-45 plug, or two plugs and a coupler. All parts must be rated for the category of cabling you have installed.
    – Jonathan J
    Oct 11, 2016 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


You need a LAN Tracer

LAN Tracer

This one is from Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Upgraded-VicTsing-Ethernet-Telephone-Tracking/dp/B008G8KE90

Connect the sender to one end of the cable, and use the tone receiver to track the cable in the wall. More expensive tracers can tell you the length of the cable up to the break - but I prefer the tone, which tells you exactly where the break is.

Trace it from both ends, and you should end up in the ballpark so one hole will suffice.

  • 1
    I suspect those "more expensive" guys are what we used to call TDR: "time-domain reflectometry" Oct 7, 2016 at 13:23
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    Thanks PeteCon. We happen to have a retired EE living next door to us. He actually brought his over and used one of these. The signal didn't seem to go more than a few inches. Maybe he was using it wrong. The device seemed extremely useful in tracing one wire within a huge jumble of wires. The signal became very loud within a few millimeters of the wire, but faded very quickly. I'll look into it a little more. Thanks. Oct 8, 2016 at 14:34
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    With twisted-pair wire, you will have a very hard time picking up the signal unless your probe is actually touching the cable. A workaround is to connect the tone generator so one lead goes to one wire of one pair, and the other lead goes to one wire of a different pair. This prevents the cancellation caused by the twisting. Then you should be able to pick up the signal better.
    – Jonathan J
    Oct 11, 2016 at 19:22
  • @DanielWoodward - A cheap one isn't going to work through drywall (and I doubt that expensive ones do either). If you do run out and buy one, make sure it's the kind that can tell you the cable length, or this is a lost cause.
    – Mazura
    Oct 12, 2016 at 1:27
  • Good suggestions! I bet that our neighbor's tone generator was using the same twisted pair. I don't think it said the cable length. Thanks!! Oct 13, 2016 at 13:57

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