I am buying a house and it has cat-5 cable going to all the rooms. However, it has an RJ-11 plug on it. I'd like to leave that in place and run an additional one or two cat-6 cables. How can I do this without tearing out the drywall?

Currently, all the cables terminate in a patch panel in the garage. This is a two story house, and many of the sockets are on the first floor.

I'm looking specifically for gigabit ethernet because I will use it. (Backups, network installs, cross-network file sharing, etc)

  • Do you think it is run in tubing? If you lightly tug on it does it seem like it won't budge even if tugging slightly harder? If you answer no to any of those then better run new conduit on top and put your cables in there. PS - This has already been covered- Please search the site.
    – Piotr Kula
    Nov 5, 2012 at 13:43
  • I have no idea if it's in tubing or not. They did move when I tugged on them though, if I recall correctly.
    – Malfist
    Nov 5, 2012 at 13:46
  • @ppumkin, There's a patch panel in the garage labeled Dynaflex, and they're a telecom pipe manufacturer, so I think it would be in a pipe.
    – Malfist
    Nov 5, 2012 at 16:06
  • Sound promising. Could you get a few pictures up- They always seem to help understand the situation much better. If it is a flex/conduit there is a tool you can use to help you put new cables in (fairly) simply.
    – Piotr Kula
    Nov 5, 2012 at 16:14
  • That might take a few days, I'm in the process of underwriting for the house. I'll be able to do a final walkthrough in a day or two.
    – Malfist
    Nov 5, 2012 at 17:26

4 Answers 4


If you just want to extend your network you can use your existing electrical system.

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This is called power line ethernet You get various version- The simplest being point to point. and more complicated ones that allow for mulitplexing/switching across several units like the one in the image below.

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And you can get very advanced and slick ones called power line sockets that are switch traffic across your whole house with these stylish wall plates...

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Speeds vary from products but usually start at 55mbs (55megabits = 5mega bytes per second) and I have seen speeds reaching up to 500mbs (50megabytes per second)

Cable is ALWAYS allot more reliable especially if you want to use it for you home multimedia systems, like streaming HD movies from a NAS, playing world of warcraft with ultra low latency so you don't get owned by a noob because of lag. Wireless is good for watching youtube on your smartphone, placing orders from your fridge or letting your guests leach some of your bandwidth. (Trust me- I had Wirless N on my media centre that was 3 meteres above- put in a 100mb cable and now i can watch movies without stress)

Obviously running LAN cable is the cheapest option - I would suggest using some cable conduit.You get various sizes and shapes - and you paint over plain ones if you want to camouflage them into your wall.

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But be careful not to land up with something like this.. it is easy.

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Some technical benchmarking and limitations

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Some more reviews on the netgear 500mbs reviews

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  • That would be a good solution if he didn't already have ethernet cables strung to all rooms. Since he does, simply using inexpensive network switches in each room is a better quality and cheaper solution than power line ethernet, especially given its limitations.
    – GdD
    Nov 5, 2012 at 14:00
  • I have a NAS, and I stream HD videos to my TV, so wireless and powerline is too slow :(
    – Malfist
    Nov 5, 2012 at 14:10
  • Wireless yes! But powerline by standard now a days is about 110mbs.. that is ~10megabytes a second(equivalent to Cat5 100mbs). That is uncompressed blu-ray sizes streamed without problem dude! Compressed movies with h264 codecs like HD Youtube, Netflix, LoveFilm, Google give you superior quality at lower bandwidth. I converted my entire movie database to h264 for this very reason. I saved 30% space but I cannot see difference in quality! (on 32" Full HD TV on movies ripped from BD) You will never get 1000mbs! Harddrives only read at 400-600mbs
    – Piotr Kula
    Nov 5, 2012 at 14:23
  • ppumkin, your math assumes only one hard drive or one computer is talking at a time. There are multiple computers, and most have SSDs. SSD's easily max out SATA II's bandwidth at 3 Gb/s, which would handily consume all of a gigabit network's bandwidth.
    – Malfist
    Nov 5, 2012 at 14:35
  • @Malfist - Fair enough- Including that in the origin question would have helped. Also maybe could you tel us what codec you will be using for you HD content? Uncompressed Blu-Ray is the largest I am aware of with a Maximum encoding bitrate of 40mbs- That means you can stream 2 uncompressed blue ray(which you wont) over your 110mb + still download stuff from usenet and your little brother can still play WoW without latency effect(especially with QoS enabled) Unless you are running an internet/video cafe- 110mb is more than enough and wont even reach 1% transfer rate of any SSD
    – Piotr Kula
    Nov 5, 2012 at 14:45

You could try to use the existing cable to pull the two cables through, but there are limitations on that. The holes may not be big enough for two cables, there could be snags on other cables, pipes, bends, etc. The risk is that you could end up pulling a good cable halfway out and then not be able to get it back in place.

I would suggest that trying to run wired cables to every room is a load of work for little return. Also, that in a house cat6 is excessive, I highly doubt you'll ever need more than cat5e, and it is cheaper. I would recommend that instead of trying to run loads of extra cables that you install a good wireless network system (use WPA2, not WEP or WPA), and get inexpensive 4 or 6 port switches for those rooms and areas that need extra wired connections.

  • 1
    You know HOW to get the cable back without risk? Tie another piece of cable on the end. So if it gets stuck you pull it back out to its original locations. lol
    – Piotr Kula
    Nov 5, 2012 at 13:47
  • 4
    Of course @ppumkin, but if there's a snag it could get stuck both ways.
    – GdD
    Nov 5, 2012 at 13:50
  • 2
    Wireless is a Hub topography with collision detection instead of avoidance. Wireless is fine for internet browsing, but backing up to a NAS, or streaming HD video is simply too slow.
    – Malfist
    Nov 5, 2012 at 14:11
  • Yes- but having pulling power both ways gives you two times more chance of getting it un snagged. Anyway- Its pretty obvious its not that simples as OP would have liked..
    – Piotr Kula
    Nov 5, 2012 at 14:14
  • Who said there's a simple answer?
    – GdD
    Nov 5, 2012 at 14:22

Unless it's been run in conduit, it's not going to happen. In theory you could attach other cables to the end of the existing one and pull it through to the new place but in practice it will fail (and you'll be left with nothing). Even with conduit it may be troublesome.

Something simple you can do however is run two connections down the same wire bundle. Ethernet uses two pairs of wire (one transmit, one receive) but there are four pairs in cat5 cable. Thus, you can split this out to two RJ45 jacks on the far end and do similar in the patch-panel. It's not cat6 but it is a lot fewer headaches.


You need a RJ45 splitter.

In a Cat5e cable, there are 8 wires or 4 pairs. In a 10mbit network, 2 pairs are used. In an 100mbit network, all 4 pairs are used

The difference between Cat5e and Cat6 is how many twists in any given pair of wires there are and the distance a data signal can be transmitted before degradation occurs and fancy equipment is needed to repeat the signal (a repeater).

Bends, even 90degrees do NOT effect the transmission of the signal. Bending a solid core wire at a given point in the line will eventually weaken the wire and possibly cause it to physically break if you bend it back and forth multiple times (100s), but a 90 degree bend in a Cat5e or Cat6 wire will not show a loss of data transmission rates.

Google "Cat5e Pair Splitter Adapter" - There are many to choose from and if you don't mind using some networking tools and buying some jacks, you can very well make one yourself.

In a pinch, we've used splitters in an office setting and their a perfectly legit way to gain an extra line when running a new one and using Wifi isn't an option.

  • If I split it, won't I loose the ability to have gigabit ethernet?
    – Malfist
    Nov 5, 2012 at 17:28
  • Unless your transferring mammoth amounts of video / audio across your local network, or are on the top tier Verizon Fios or Google Fiber networks, you'll never notice the difference. Even streaming video / audio from a PC to an Apple TV / set top box is fine over 10mbit because it can be sustained (where as wifi is per conditions). If its really a concern to maintain gigabit, attach a network switch to the existing jack in the room. Switches can be stacked or chained up to 3 or 4 without running into problems.
    – lsiunsuex
    Nov 5, 2012 at 17:34
  • Bending the wire back and forth could not only break the wire, but can also lead to work hardening which can increase the resistance of the affected area. You'll also want to pay mind to the cables rated bend radius, which with CAT5 & 6 is 4 times the diameter of the cable. Tighter bends can physically damage the wire.
    – Tester101
    Nov 5, 2012 at 17:35
  • @lsiunsuex, The bandwidth isn't for the internet, it's for internal traffic. Backups to a NAS, file sharing, cross network disk mounting, HD video streaming, etc. Those things are often limited by bandwidth.
    – Malfist
    Nov 5, 2012 at 17:39
  • There are way to many variables in this question to make anymore of an educated guess. If its required to maintain gigabit speeds, just buy a gigabit switch and put it at the jack that needs to be split. Buy as many ports as you need and be done with it. We (in our house) backup to an Apple Time Capsule and stream audio and video to Apple TV and Apple Airport Express and I never run into lag over 100baset and usually, opt to stream over Wireless N.
    – lsiunsuex
    Nov 5, 2012 at 17:44

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