My basement has this mounted on the joist:

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Which appears to be a POTS/coax panel(?)

Each room has panels that are coax and rj11 combined. What I was thinking of doing was using electrical tape around an existing rj11 line in the basement and pulling that up via the office, since it appears this was put on far after the home was built and should not be stapled.

Then, I was planning on terminating the CAT6 with RJ45 in the rooms.

My question is mainly: how safe is it to pull on those wires? I don't know if these sorts of runs have electrical running or something, I don't think they do. They also don't appear to be connected to the old Bell Atlantic POTS panel on the right (not pictured).

  • 2
    Not POTS wiring at all. 4 pair, probable minimum cat3, more likely cat5 or cat5e. That is not particularly old kit, nor is it classic telephony layout. Odds are that with the right connectors you can run gigabit (most Cat5 would pass 5e testing, but 5e wasn't written when the Ca5 (no e) was being made.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 18, 2020 at 15:43
  • You might want to unscrew that and look at the other side of it. That seems more like the backside than the frontside, and I wonder if the other side actually has jacks on it...no telling why it'd be mounted backwards, but people do odd things sometimes.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 18, 2020 at 20:30
  • Thanks @Ecnerwal I will take a look tonight. Stupid question but...there's no chance of an electric shock with this, right?
    – Kahn
    Nov 18, 2020 at 20:41
  • Pretty much zero chance of that, as you say it's not connected to the phone (where you can get a zap from ring voltage, but not if it's dead or disconnected).
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 18, 2020 at 20:57
  • Thanks so much @Ecnerwal - great news, I checked the cable in the basement - it looks to be 5e! Here's the basement cabling (black cables are coax): imgur.com/pflzeXS and here's the outlet:imgur.com/eZHIpTe Hopefully I can get gigabit speeds here.
    – Kahn
    Nov 18, 2020 at 23:35

2 Answers 2


Those POTS line look like CAT-5 Look on the cable jacket. If so you can re-terminate the ends and be fine with them. The whole thing looks too new to be the original old-style CAT-3 "voice line" or the even older 4 wire bellcore CAT-nothing wire.

  • How cool - I do have 1Gbps via FIOS, however, so I'd need to see if it were CAT5e. If that's the case, then I don't have to pull a thing, and can hopefully just recrimp the panel upstairs!
    – Kahn
    Nov 18, 2020 at 15:48
  • 4
    Honestly, @Kahn even if they're labeled CAT5 not CAT5e, it would be worth it to crimp new ends and try it out to see what kind of speed you're getting. If the speed is acceptable, run with it. If it's not, it cost you a few cable ends, which are pretty cheap these days.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 18, 2020 at 15:50
  • the original old-style CAT-3 "voice line" Actually, CAT 3 was for 10 Meg. Ethernet, though often used for voice out of convenience. Plenty of earlier (not twisted pair) cables also worked for voice. To me "old-style" "voice line" is most definitely not CAT 3. Nov 30, 2020 at 22:50
  • I know that which is why I put it in quotes. The general public does not, however. (and even a surprising number of wiring guy) Dec 2, 2020 at 12:34

If you're fairly certain they are not stapled, this may be possible. First check into the other answer, if there is already CAT5, maybe that is good enough for what you need (most likely it is).

If you still want to pull new, I would certainly not rely on electrical tape. What you would want to do is tie the ends of the two cables together, and then wrap the while thing in electrical tape. The electrical tape is only there to prevent your knot from getting hung up on any corners, etc.

I recommend using something like a rolling bend knot to tie them together, wrap each end in electrical tape to keep some tension, and then wrapping the whole thing very carefully, to make sure everything is flat and smooth.

When pulling, it will probably be good to have a helper, so one person pulls, and one person feeds the new cable in.

Since you don't know what is behind the wall, what route each cable takes, etc. there is still a chance that any given pull may get stuck and require you to completely abandon that run, or that some cable won't budge at all.

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