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I'm trying to run an Ethernet cable through my house, The router is in the living room, which is above the only finished room in the basement (go figure), so I'm trying to figure out how to get the cable from the living room, into the laundry room so I can run it into a different room on the main floor. My question is, how do I run the cable between the living room floor and the ceiling in the basement. There is a coax cable that goes to the living room, and I was hoping to somehow use it as a guide WITHOUT removing it, I don't want to screw that cable up. The coax cable comes out in the laundry room, through a tight gap between the wall and the furnace, so sticking something through that gap to grab the cable isn't really possible. Thank you for any suggestions.

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    What type of ceiling in the basement? Do you have recessed lights that you could temporarily remove to access the area above the finished ceiling? – JACK Jun 29 '20 at 14:01
  • Or along the same lines of Jack's thought, do you have HVAC outlets in the ceiling? – SteveSh Jun 29 '20 at 14:35
  • No, all the lights hang down from the ceiling, and it's not a drop ceiling or anything that'll let me access above it. It's also a rented house so I don't want to damage anything. – TechSavvvvy Jun 29 '20 at 14:38
  • The HVAC runs below the ceiling as well, the house originally didn't have HVAC and was installed in 2010 shortly before I moved in, so they ran the duct below it. – TechSavvvvy Jun 29 '20 at 14:40
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. If an answer is helpful, please click the large check mark next to it to accept. – Daniel Griscom Jun 29 '20 at 15:39
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It may be possible to use the coax cable to pull your CAT 6.

Remove the coax wall plate and pull the cable off the back of the plate (or otherwise get the cable freed from the wall).

Securely tape sturdy, but thin string or twine to the end of the coax. Pull the coax back through the wall to an access point in the laundry room. Doing so will pull the string through the wall, leaving a "bread crumb trail" back through any holes that were drilled for the coax.

Securely tape your CAT 6to the coax cable. Using the tape, make a tapered lead end around the coax and around the CAT 6. I'd suggest that not having an end on the CAT 6 would be the way to go - it's a big square thing that will catch, while the cable itself is fairly small and will slip through holes easier.

Carefully pull the string back through the walls until the coax and CAT 6 pop out at the original location.

Terminate the CAT 6, reattach the coax to the plate, and presto! (You may want to upgrade to a plate that has a coax and RJ45 jack so you have a nice, tidy finished look.)

NOTE: all this is predicated on:

  • The coax not being attached to the walls anywhere.

    • Any single wire staple anywhere in the walls will prevent the coax from pulling out in the first place.
  • There being no sharp bends in the coax cable run.

    • When the cable was first run with the wall open, it could make some fairly sharp bends. Once the wall is covered and you're tugging from 15+ feet away, it's far less likely.
  • The cable(s) and string not separating.

    • You'd probably be better off tying the string behind the barrel connector of the coax, then taping over it as a 2nd method of attachment
  • The holes in the studs being big enough to pull the coax and CAT 6 through.

    • It's entirely possible that the original installer drilled a 1/4" hole to pull the 3/16" thick coax through (actual dimensions may vary, numbers quoted for demonstrative purposes only) and terminated the cable once it was run. If this is the case, the coax won't pull back through the wall.
    • It's possible there's enough room to get the barrel connector through the wall, but not the connector, cable and an extra piece of CAT 6.

If this doesn't work, you may have to bit the bullet and cut a couple of access holes in the ceiling to pull the cable, then patch & paint when you're done.

  • I'd rather not pull out the coax, it's very tempting but if I screw the coax up then I'm really screwed. – TechSavvvvy Jun 29 '20 at 14:41
  • Also damaging the ceiling isn't an option because it's a rented house and I'm not good at fixing those kinds of things, I need some way to fish it out through that hole in the laundry room, I'm just not sure how. – TechSavvvvy Jun 29 '20 at 14:43
  • If something goes wrong with the coax (visible damage) you can pull a new piece in with the new CAT 6 cable. – FreeMan Jun 29 '20 at 14:43
  • Ah, it's a rental, but you're planning on making a permanent change? Have you spoken with the landlord? In either case, let me introduce you to this technology called WiFi. It's really good at preserving damage deposits when installing networking in rental properties. – FreeMan Jun 29 '20 at 14:44
  • Seriously, I'm 100% in support of wired networks, and almost everything (but the cell phones and the kids laptops when they come home) in my house is wired. But I own my home and can tear it up however I want (so long as it meets the WAF). For a rental, though, I'd go wireless with a really good (i.e. looooong - go check out Information Security) password. – FreeMan Jun 29 '20 at 14:47

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