So, when i bought this house the builder went ahead and installed a patch panel. Since then the only time I've really payed it any attention was when my house was getting hooked up to my ISP's service. recently I've wanted to start using it to interface with my router so i can easily hook up anything with Ethernet. Only problem is i dont necessarily know where i need to hook everything into. Ive included a picture for clarity. enter image description here enter image description here

  • Do you in fact have 10 active landline telephone jacks - that's certainly what this looks like. One "service in" and what is clearly "telephone out" on top and it looks to say the same thing, just not as clearly, on the bottom.
    – Ecnerwal
    Dec 25, 2017 at 2:15
  • We do not have any phone lines and dont plan on it. So to my understanding this is just a mess of dead/inactive cables. Dec 25, 2017 at 10:36
  • Right - then, as Kevin mentions you need an ethernet switch, not a telephone replicator - but you should be able to use those wires for ethernet, unless they really screwed up the installation. Just unplug everything from the "telephone" box and spend some time sorting out which wires go where (there do seem to be labels, so we can hope those are useful - if not, label as you go.) Then get a network switch that will fit in this box and plug them in.
    – Ecnerwal
    Dec 25, 2017 at 16:56

2 Answers 2


So, based on what I can see there, that's not an ethernet patch panel. The cabling is CAT5, which can be used for ethernet, but those are all being used for phone lines. It looks like there's also a coax splitter, and some unused CAT5 cable.

In general, if you wanted to, you could probably repurpose that CAT5 cable and use it for ethernet, but you'd need to get an ethernet switch or hub, and find a way to get the router to connect to that switch or hub. You'd also need to turn some/all of your phone jacks into ethernet ports. And hope that the builder didn't do something that would preclude using the CAT5 cable for ethernet. Depending on where the line from the ISP comes in, that could be easy or hard.

Optionally, you might be able to use those existing CAT5 runs to pull more cabling, but again, that would depend on how the contractor ran the CAT5 cable (ie, conduit vs staples).

For much more information, I'd suggest reading through https://www.structuredhomewiring.com.


Those are being used as phone, but can easily be changed to ethernet. Buy a cheap ethernet switch(replace the phone switch pictured with it), change the fittings on the end pictured, and replace your phone jacks with ethernet jacks. The tools and material are relatively cheap and can be bought at any home improvement store.

I do it on a regular basis for gamers who want a hard wired connection and for people with old desktops. Works great and as long as the runs are under 100 feet ot will be the closest thing available to a perfect data connection short of fiber optics.

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