Most of the ethernet cables in my house all go to a part in my basement. However, my router does not have a ethernet jack near it enough. How would I be able to run a cable to my basement from the router (which is on the first floor) to the basement? Would it be easy? I do have a coax cable to follow.
Also, not all my ethernet cables seem to go to the same place. How would I trace them down?

So what I have done is I connected two of the 8 wires in an ethernet cable together then tested for continuity on the other side. This has worked for most of my cables except some do not have any corresponding other end. Would a tone generator and probe be strong enough to go through walls? (potentially concrete) I also have to trace some coax cables. Also, I do not have a ethernet cable running to the basement (where I will install a switch). How should I connect the router with the switch?

Router: enter image description here

Network "area": enter image description here

  • Really not enough information here to even hazard a guess.
    – jwh20
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 0:01
  • 3
    if you drill a hole in the floor it will lead to the basement. a tone generator and tracer is a good tool for tracing ethernet cables.
    – Jasen
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 0:27
  • 1
    Vastly vague, pictures would help, but I'll toss you towards my answer to a similar recent question, which details a method to sort out a collection of ethernet wires in a house without spending money on tools you probably don't need to do that, if they are correctly terminated ethernet cables, rather than old telephone cables. diy.stackexchange.com/a/187464/18078
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 0:47
  • A tone source generally does not work through a wall of any sort , sorry.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 5:02
  • "correctly terminated ethernet cables" - lmao. You're more likely to spy Bigfoot having lunch with a chupacabra. - First, you hook up the modem correctly, which means unplugging every coax that doesn't have to be. Why are most of my cable/coax wires disconnected?
    – Mazura
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 6:20

2 Answers 2


Assuming there are no unstated traps lurking (and that's unlikely!) your best solution is

  1. Cut the coax down in the basement and terminate it into a new plug for your router.
  2. Move your router down into the basement and plug it into coax and power.
  3. Buy a patch panel, and terminate all those ethernet cables into it. This will give you a line of sockets on your basement wall.
  4. If your router has multiple LAN ports, (they often have 4) use those to connect to the patch panel. If you need more LAN ports than you have, then you need an ethernet switch in your basement as well
  5. Connect the switch/router-lan ports to your patch panel with short patch cables. These are ethernet leads from 30cm to about a metre. You don't want long ones because of added clutter

Tools - you require

And you would benefit from

Possible downsides - if the coax is not yours, you may not be permitted to cut it. Also, make sure it IS the incoming coax for your router.

Another downside can be decreased wireless ethernet signal level/quality because your router is now on another level. This can be resolved by turning off the router's wireless and using an separate access point upstairs. Some can be POE powered.


A Patch panel to mount on your wall, this one has 12 ports. You can use several, or some patch panels have 16/24/48/96 ports. Comes down to cost. Some patch panels are designed for rack mounting - you don't really need this. enter image description here

An ethernet switch gives you more sockets. They come in 5/8/10/12.... lots of ports. Also they can come in different speeds. You probably want a gigabit switch. 10 gigabit is expensive and overkill, and 100 Mbit is possibly slower than your internet however costs might make 100 Mbit acceptable. Again they can come with wall mounts, rack mounts, and some are just desktop cases. Some are passive and quiet, some are cooled by fans and can be quite loud. Another possibility is to get one with POE (power over ethernet) so it can push power through the ethernet to run Wireless Access points or Cameras or phones. There is not enough power to run computers though.

HP Procurve

Patch cables - these go from your router/switch to the Patch Panel. They should be relatively short for tidiness. I personally like the thinner ones like this. Functionally these are the same as flyleads from the wall-jack to your computer/printer/device just lengths that differ. You can use colour-coding at the patch panel too - red is important, blue is POE, white is desktops, etc. Patch cables are cheap but you need one per active link. Have a couple spares too.

enter image description here


This is not my work - but demonstrates what your basement might look like afterward. Left is a 16 port dlink switch for more ports. Bottom is an alcatel router, maybe internet. The Netopia thing I don't recognise, the Linksys is an ATA for telephony. The three-aerial dlink in the middle might be an access point, not sure why two ethernet patches. Up top is a patch panel, and some misc cable terminations on the upper right.

enter image description here

Its not perfect, but its secure and functional, and accessible for changes. If you want ideas check out https://www.reddit.com/r/homelab/ and https://www.reddit.com/r/cableporn/

  • 1
    This, except skip the patch panel and learn how to do RJ45 plug ends. OP needs a modem, a router and maybe a switch. This guy's got literally eight different things screwed to the wall; a shelf is a lot easier.
    – Mazura
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 6:22
  • @Mazura maybe - if it were solid-core cable I'd go the patch panel and fix it all down. If it were stranded cable runs, then I might consider putting plugs directly on the cable runs. Shelf or wall or rack or desk doesn't really matter - its got to be functional. and ideally tidy :)
    – Criggie
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 6:52
  • @Criggie Is the square Linksys box an ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter)?
    – gatorback
    Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 17:05
  • 1
    @gatorback yes looks like a SPA2102 - a handy piece of kit in these days of Fibre and removal of copper phone services.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 21:11

I would suggest identifying conduits that already run wires from upstairs to downstairs. The alternative is to drill holes through walls / floors, which should be a last resort.

I have had success using 4 of the eight conductors in the building's original telephone wiring for 100 Megabit ethernet. More than enough bandwidth if you are not streaming 4K video.

The level of difficulty of running ethernet cable is on par with running telephone wire.

If an existing wire is runs between upstairs and downstairs, I have used the slack to pull a 300 ft (or shorter) CAT6 cable between the floors and cut it down to the desired length. I used electrical tape to bind the two cords together and gently pulled on the existing cable to see the CAT6 through between the floors.

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