1. I had a new home built in 2017 and had it wired with cat5 cable to all the rooms.
  2. The junction box for the cat5 & coaxial cable is in the garage where all the cat5 wires terminate. None of the cat5 junction box wires or wall plugs have ends and are not connected to anything.
  3. I have internet coming into the home via coaxial cable. The cable modem has 4 LAN output ports, 3 of which are unused. LAN port 1 on the modem is hard wired to my Linksys EA7500 wifi router. The wifi router is hard wired to my computer and printer. The other 2 LAN ports on the router are unused.
  4. The other internet capable devices in the home such as TV's, etc. are on the wifi network. I want to utilize the cat5 hardwire network for all the rooms and devices.
  5. I need instructions, an equipment list (crimper, wire ends, tester, switches, etc.) that I need to complete the network. I am capable of doing the work but need good advice on how to proceed.
  • 1
    visit a big box store that sells lan cable and electrician tools ... talk to one of the staff
    – jsotola
    Apr 1 at 17:05
  • 1
    2017 I certainly hope you used Cat5e, given that Cat5 was discontinued more than a decade before...
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 1 at 17:21
  • 4
    @jsotola Talk to one of the staff is iffy. Some will give you a 20 minute tutorial. Others will be more like "I guess you can use the stuff in this aisle, it says it is for networks." Same applies to electrical, plumbing, painting, etc. Staff quality varies tremendously from totally inexperienced (or experienced but in other departments) to semi-retired with decades of experience. Apr 1 at 17:30
  • Big Box will also easily cost you 3-5 times what a decent internet network supplier will cost for the same items.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 1 at 17:51
  • Hi Gary, this site works with single questions, so this will be closed. The question is just too broad. You can edit and ask one question. Apr 1 at 19:01

1 Answer 1


Save money and have a more reliable network by not wasting money on a crimper.

The professional approach (for reliability, rather than cost savings, but it is less costly) is to terminate cables to jacks or patch panels, and leave the crimping of plugs to factories. Which is to say, if you need a plug, buy a patch cable. In many cases they cost less than two plugs, and they are tested at the factory.

Most jacks (not all) that takes a "punchdown tool" which generally costs far less than a crimper (if not, shop harder.) Some jacks are "toolless."

Assuming you actually have Cat5e, given the build date, you need jacks and/or patch panels that are Cat5e or better. Or better being Cat6 or Cat6a, which might be the same price as or cheaper than Cat5e (as Cat5e becomes obsolete) but probably not Cat7 or 8 that will still have a large upcharge for no practical benefit.

If you need more cables active than you have open ports on your router (the others on the modem may or may not actually work, depending on how that's configured) you need a switch at the central location with at least one more port than you have cables (since it needs to plug into the router to get your network, and that takes up one of its ports.) You can terminate the central cables to a patch panel, or to jacks that you mount in wall plates, depending how many there are and what your shopping reveals about relative costs for the number of cables you have. Use factory-made patch cables to connect the switch ports to the wall cables.

For a home-scale one-time project, the value of a pair tester is debatable, but they are relatively cheap, so if it makes you feel better, sure, spend $10 on one. You can also just verify that you get a full-speed computer connection across the cable, and where you don't you can carefully examine both ends of the cables to see if you mixed up wires, which is most of what a pair tester will tell you.

Pick one standard for termination order and stick to it. It does not matter whether that is 568A or 568B, so long as you don't mix & match. For whatever reason T568B is generally more popular. Follow the coding on your jacks and patch panels corresponding to the standard you pick. Most jacks and patch panels have internal wiring to make the wire connections on the jack or patch panel more sane than what goes on in a plug with crossed, reversed and split pairs.

  • 2
    Excellent answer, particularly "punch jacks, don't crimp plugs". The testers are an incredible deal these days. In the olden times (~ 30 years ago) they were way too expensive for one-off homeowner use but well worth the cost ($200+ at the time) for professionals. But at < $20, worth it, IMHO, especially for people doing this for the first time as figuring out problems with punching jacks is hard for people who have never done that before. Apr 1 at 17:51
  • 2
    A worthwhile tester / certifier for professional use is still hundreds to thousands of dollars. They do a lot more than test pairs. Those are not worth buying for a one-off home network project, at all.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 1 at 17:54
  • 2
    Punching jacks are relatively much easier than crimping RJ45. You really do need to know to punch onto the sleeve instead of bare wires that'll come loose / rust within the year, and then also properly matching the colored pairs using consistent standards (568A/568B).
    – Nelson
    Apr 2 at 6:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.