My router/modem is located in the garage because that is where our Gigapower box is located but my office is all the way on the opposite side of the house and upstairs. Using WiFi is tedious because everyone in my house (two roommates and a child) also use WiFi for work/school. Should I be looking for any plugs in the wall or something that I can possibly connect an Ethernet cable to? I have a socket in the wall that says CAT5e+ but I’m pretty sure that is for house phones. TIA.

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    We have no way of knowing what might or might not be in your house. You could edit to add pictures, and you could look around your house and take more pictures if you find some possible networking nexus, but otherwise there just isn't enough information here to even speculate. – Ecnerwal Feb 26 at 18:52
  • This question is off topic here, but I'll suggest you look at the modern crop of wifi mesh systems. They're effortless. I'm a software developer with two kids in the house (one of which is also a power user) and we've been tickled with the Google Wifi 3-pack. – isherwood Feb 26 at 19:34
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    If you own rather than rent, the most likely to succeed approach tends to be "run a new line" in the absence of network wiring installed to be used as network wiring. Phone wiring can get away with many things that network wiring won't tolerate, and it's not clear you even have a (phone or network) line to your garage. – Ecnerwal Feb 26 at 19:34

RJ-11 and RJ45 jacks

Edit: My answer is targeted to the very little information posted at the time. The question is could this work, not what's the best way or fastest way.

Cat 5 cable and RJ-45 jacks have eight wires.

100 Mbps Ethernet uses two pairs (four wires), one for send and one for receive. Telephones use two wires.

Therefore, you can run both ethernet and telephone over the same wire, and still have two wires left over. It all depends on how your home was wired. The outlets may need to be reconfigured, but it's easy to test if you can find the junction box and see if you can plug in an ethernet cable from the modem. If it works, problem solved.

The caveat is that the maximum speed under ideal conditions is 100Mbps. The actual speed might be lower.

Good luck.

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    This is very outdated info. Old 10/100 Ethernet used only two pairs, but gigabit ethernet and faster use all four pairs. It'll work, but much slower than you might expect. – Nate S. Feb 26 at 19:06
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    State of the late 1980's advice. – Ecnerwal Feb 26 at 19:11
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    @NateS. The maximum speed with Cat5e is 1000 MB. Even if Seth can only get 100 MB out of the network, it's still faster than he might be getting with the long distance from the wifi and the extra traffic since it skips the wifi altogether. It's the best solution I could think of with so little information posted. A second Wifi network might also work or a better optimized one, but the question was about the existing network. – gwally Feb 26 at 19:12
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    I'm not at all sure that 100Mbps ethernet is faster than OP's existing WiFi -- modern wifi is on par with gigabit ethernet speed-wise, and even with a fair amount of interference should still be faster than 100Mbps. If it were me, I'd be ripping out the phone part of the wiring, and repurposing all four pairs for gigabit. – Nate S. Feb 26 at 19:21
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    I added an edit to make clear that when running on only two pairs, the maximum theoretical speed is 100Mbps, not 1000Mbps. Gigabit absolutely requires all four pairs, and it won't even attempt to go over 100Mbps if only two pairs are connected. – Nate S. Feb 26 at 19:24

An alternative solution, rather than wiring up your whole house with ethernet, would be to buy a few WiFi Repeaters and set them out where ever you need a stronger signal.

You can go fairly basic (e.g. NETGEAR Wifi Range Extender) or as fancy as you want (e.g. Whole Home Mesh WiFi System). Even at the fancier end it'll probably be a cheaper solution than hiring an electrician to run all that CAT6. Of course if you really want to run your own ethernet cables, who am I to stop you.


CAT5e+ sounds like an ethernet connection. You can try to plug in an ethernet cable and see if it fits; phone sockets can't fit ethernet cables.

Try to find the other end. Look in the garage, utility room, attic, or basement for a cluster of sockets/wires. (Although it could be anywhere.) If you're lucky, the actual sockets/wires will either be numbered or labeled such that you can tell which socket goes to which.

The standard setup is to have one cable from the modem in the garage, going to the cluster, where there will be a switch, and wires from there to all the rooms that need internet.

In the event this is actually a phone wire, that's probably not the end of the world. You can use it to pull real ethernet wire. Just securely attach the ethernet wire to the end of the phone wire, then pull from the other end.

Alternately, I think Powerline Ethernet Adapters are actually okay, or at least better than wifi.

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    You can connect any sort of wiring to a Cat5e+ jack. Doesn't make the wiring Cat5e unless and until you find that printed on the wiring or run a network analyzer on it; just means that was the jacks they were using. Most low voltage folks don't carry anything lower than that, unless they do enough POTS to bother carrying RJ-11 style jacks (2-6 pin, not 8 pin.) The upside is that most don't carry any lower grade cable than that, either, but it still may not be run in a way that network will run on it, if it was installed for phone (daisy chaining .vs. star, etc.) – Ecnerwal Feb 26 at 20:04

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