My apartment is currently wired with five Cat5e cables that all meet in a closet, where there is also an outlet and the cable entry. The ethernet is currently wired into the board in the picture below.

I want to move the modem and router from my living room into this closet and distribute the internet from there to other rooms using the Cat5e cabling. Can I use this existing wiring setup or is it best to remove the board, manually add jacks to each cable, and connect those to my router?

enter image description here

  • Is there a sixth line wired in there as well? Probably phone service from the street.
    – mmathis
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 16:49
  • 2
    I'm no network wizard, but those are all probably connected as phone lines like mmathis said. To work as ethernet lines, you'd need them separated and connected individually to the router. This would disrupt phone service unless the lines were split accordingly.
    – isherwood
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 17:20
  • 1
    WiFi signal can't penetrate a steel box, just sayin. Either have external antennas or locate the WAP gateway down one of the ethernet lines. You said "modem and router" and those are the words regular folk usually use for consumer grade components; i.e. the "router" is a combo NAT, ethernet switch, firewall and WAP. If you're a pro dealing with prograde components, nvm... Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 18:19
  • Very helpful to know that the lines are likely connected as phone rather than ethernet. I'm also aware that the WAP gateway should be located outside the networking closet. It is currently located in the living room, and the new plan is to have the modem and router in the closet feeding the ethernet to the WAP in the living room as well as the home office also having a dedicated ethernet line.
    – surfearth
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


It looks like this was originally intended for telephone service distribution.

There's a few ways to go about it depending on how neat and tidy you want the job to look.

  1. You can pull those blue wires free from the termination block, crimp them with rj-45 heads, and plug them into your switch. Quicker, Easier, Cheapest.
  2. You can replace the punchdown block in the picture with a mini patch panel. More work, cost, but nicer finished look. You will then need to also buy a handfull of 6 inch patch cables to connect it up from your switch.

You should trace and label those cables as well so you know where they go.

It's likely that one does not end in your apartment, but is going to the street or a patch panel elsewhere intended to provide phone service. To prevent damage, do not connect this one to your network equipment.

  • 1
    I'd strongly urge option 2 - crimping RJ-45 connectors for a novice is also a bit expensive as you need the tool, but is also not easy to get right the first time. I was in this same situation, tried crimping on RJ-45 jacks to plug into my switch, failed to get good connections several times, over several days. I wound up buying a mini patch panel and punched everything down in half an hour, all good gigabit connections. The patch panel and patch cables were cheaper than my crimping tool to boot (though the crimper came with a cable tester as well).
    – mmathis
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 17:35
  • Good point. I take for granted I've been crimping my own rj-45 heads for two decades now. There's no color indicators on crimp heads like there is on a patch panel either. Also, I recommend Monoprice for cheap, plentiful ethernet patch cables. 6" or 12" should work a treat in that box. Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 18:07
  • Yup, monoprice is good for cheap patch panels, too :)
    – mmathis
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 18:08
  • 2
    #1 is Quicker, Easier, Cheaper and better (less connections). If you're a novice when it comes to crimping plugs, practice on some scrap cable, before you botch the installed wires and make them too short.
    – Mazura
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 20:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.