I'm a home owner trying to get an ethernet switch running in my basement office. I've run a weatherproof CAT5e cable from my router on my main floor to the basement and I've used a cable tester to confirm that the cable is good.

Trouble is, I've hooked several brands of ethernet switches to the cable and then hooked up devices to it but no signal seems to be coming out. They are all unmanaged switches from several manufacturers, but nothing seems to be working.

As far a s I can tell, I'm doing it in the right order: Internet (cable modem) -> router -> 50 foot weather-proof CAT 5e ethernet cable (tested) -> variety of 5- and 8- port switches = dead end.

  • 1
    Step 1: Connect a computer direct to the router with a short cable. If that doesn't work, router problem. Step 2: Connect a computer direct to the router with the 50' cable. If that doesn't work, cable problem. Step 3: Connect a computer to the router using a 5 or 8 port switch and 2 short cables. Plus, how are you testing the 50' cable? May 5, 2020 at 4:26
  • Did you make the cable yourself (attach the plugs to the wires in the cable) or buy it pre-made?
    – DoxyLover
    May 5, 2020 at 8:00
  • 2
    Yup - follow a careful procedure to break down where the problem actually is, which @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact has laid out pretty well. I'm putting my suspicions on the fact that you claim to have tested the cable with a cable tester but you don't mention plugging it into a computer. but the whole list given will really be helpful in sorting out what does and does not work (depending on how antique your switches are, they might need a crossover cable, for an out-in-left-field-these-days example.)
    – Ecnerwal
    May 5, 2020 at 12:34
  • The 50' cable was bought "pre-made" with the ends attached. I'm testing the cable using this device I bought on Amazon: amazon.com/gp/product/B01M63EMBQ/…
    – Flyguy
    May 5, 2020 at 13:56
  • Pre-made cable = no need for a tester. Plug in a computer, does it work? Yes, it's good, no, return it. You need a tester if and only if you have the tools to make cables and you need to check if they were made right, or how they were made wrong. A "pair tester" like that tells you if the wires are connected, but does not tell you if a computer can actually use them. Unless you are a specialist or have crazy money to throw at tools you don't need, your best tool as a homeowner to check ethernet cables is a computer with an ethernet port and a modem/router/switch with ethernet port(s).
    – Ecnerwal
    May 5, 2020 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


So you need to break this down a bit further. Do the switches blink any lights on the port from the router? Can you hook up a laptop to the router with a local patch cable? Can you hook up a laptop to the basement wire from the router?

If not, then you have a problem on that leg, before figuring out the switches.

Test and confirm each connection before adding another. Many switches also have the concept of an upstream connection, make sure you're using that port for your router wire.

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