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I have a phone riser in my apartment (25 copper pair, originally but only 18 left going past my floor) carrying Verizon phone service.

I have to move it over 3' to a different wall, so that means splicing in a new segment, a "bridge", which goes under the floor to a different wall up that wall into the ceiling and back to the place in the ceiling where the riser exits. Verizon won't be doing this work because they want $6000 to do it (and even at that price it will take 8 to 10 weeks to get done).

I have a 25 pair 22 awg plenum and I'm going to get some 3G UR2 to make each of the 72 connections. (18 pair x 2 wire x 2 splice locations).

I have a few questions (is that allowed)?

1) I can't tell if the existing wiring (probably installed at lest 30 years ago) is 22 AWG or 24 AWG. Will there be any problem if I use 22 AWG and the existing wire is 24? Some tenants above me may be using DSL of course.

2) If I use the UR2, I have to cut each conductor and then crimp the two connections - this means the circuit will be dead momentarily. Alternatively, I could use a double run/tap connector and connect the entire "bridge" section first then cut the middle out. So there are two questions here: a) Is this kind of connection "as good" as the UR2 which has the gel inside? I really don't want to cause service problems and have Verizon poking around. and b) once I complete the bridge but before I cut the short piece out there will be two "paths" for each conductor. Will this cause problems while the job is in progress?

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    This is a really bad idea for so many reasons. – Matt Young Dec 5 '14 at 18:38
  • Thanks, Matt! That was helpful. By the way, the Verizon engineer was over at my apartment and the plan I described is exactly the one he is creating blueprints for, with the exception of I don't know how he was going to connect the wires. – dmansfield Dec 5 '14 at 18:51
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Firstly, I don't know what your specific situation is, but it sounds like what you're trying to do might be illegal. You're potentially messing with people's emergency services (911 access) and Verizon might own the cable you're trying to mess with. But, I'll assume you've worked this out somehow, and take no responsibility for your actions.

I used to work on telecom and have done cutovers on live copper. It's easy; much easier, but dirtier, than fiber.

Moving to a larger gauge wire is not ideal, mainly because splicing it together could be less reliable (the UR2 is designed for the same gauge wire), but otherwise will not cause any issues.

Using a temporary connection while cutting over is standard practice. We used some vampire clip jumpers (AKA ABN (Angled Bed-of-Nails) clips) to make a temporary bridge, cut out the old, made a new splice in the middle. The gel inside the UR2 (icky-pic) is to keep water out, not act as a conductor, so the vampire clips are just as good in the temporary situation. If someone is talking on the phone during the cutover they will probably hear something, but should not be too disrupted.

I encourage you to check the law on this. If you don't have permission and licensing then even if you're not caught in the act and Verizon later finds out someone illegally performed the exact thing you already got a quote for... Well, it's still illegal and they have a damn good idea who did it.

  • Two issues here, the legal which is very important and I'm glad you brought up, and technical. On the techniral side, I understand you are saying that the final product should be using UR2 then, but it's ok to have the bridge wired in parallel (at times) while the middle gets cut and re-wired? – dmansfield Dec 5 '14 at 19:05
  • Yes, use a UR2 and you should bridge the splice before cutting over. If you can get a lineman's handset, you can check the lines before and after for dial-tone. This also allows you to listen if someone is on the line and you can come back to that pair after they finish their conversation. Some people talk a while, just don't listen any longer than you need to. – Samuel Dec 5 '14 at 19:13
  • I have a lineman's handset with the little "spiky pads" which penetrate the insulation of the pair to tap in. – dmansfield Dec 5 '14 at 19:54
  • Excellent. The jumper cable I wrote about is essentially a two ended version of the spiky-padded clips, it's very useful. – Samuel Dec 5 '14 at 19:59
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    "checking" peoples likes with a linemans handset may also run afoul of wiretapping laws which can have some severe penalties in some jusistictions... – Grant Dec 6 '14 at 2:28
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A few things:

  1. You're relocating what I assume is an old 66-block. You cannot "splice" the wires. You need to keep them in the block. So your solution must be to add another block elsewhere to reroute the wires and "hiding" the current block?

  2. It will be fine to use 22AWG rather than the current 24AWG

  3. It is probably ok for the POTS network to have parallel conduction paths in your described situation. This might cause issues with the DSL lines (but I suspect not) because you'll be adding capacitance... but the old lines in your building are probably garbage anyway so the existing network can handle these capacitance changes. I think it would be better to just disconnect them as quickly as possible the reconnect them elsewhere just to avoid the risk of mixing up splices.

  4. What you're doing could absolutely be illegal. The Verizon technician is not a lawyer. You may not get caught. You might even do a better install job than the Verizon technician but that doesn't mean your municipal regulations allow you do relocating shared service lines.

  5. Frankly I'm surprised that the block is in the interior space of your apartment. That means you could take a butt-set and use your neighbors' phone lines... I struggle to see how its relocation could possibly be your responsibility unless its explicitly spelled out in your tenancy agreement?

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    I don't think he's moving the block, I think he only has wires that go upstairs to another block (or directly to each apartment). So he can't just install a block, he has to splice in a segment of new wires to bridge the gap. Sounds like a bad idea because of the legal reasons you mentioned. I'd get the landlord to do it (or pay Verizon) so he has the responsibility if someone dies if they can't make a 911 call due to a bad splice. – Johnny Dec 5 '14 at 19:35
  • @Johnny he has to move the block. The wires just aren't long enough to put it where he wants... So what can he do except to hide the existing block and run jumpers between it and a second block? – Matthew Dec 5 '14 at 19:44
  • I don't think he has the block (since he said nothing about a block, just wires) -- the block is likely in the basement, and even if he could move it, if the wires feed to each apartment on each floor below him, he can't just move the block and yank the cable up 3 feet. He probably is trying to do some renovation and probably wants to cut through the wall where the wires are running now and needs to relocate the wires to another wall. A modern building might have a block on each floor, but his building is 30+ years old. – Johnny Dec 5 '14 at 19:49
  • @Johnny. Right on - it's a renovation in a 30+ year old building. There's no block. 20 pairs come in through the floor, two are left for me (bare wires at this point) and 18 leave through the ceiling. It's the same on each floor, I imagine. 2 pair per apartment. This is a coop, so I "own" the apartment but not really. There are no blocks whatsoever. The Verizon engineer came in this morning and described his blueprint to me, and it's basically what I described above. – dmansfield Dec 5 '14 at 19:50
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    So you're going to cut the wires, then. I strongly suggest you do this with two blocks in accessible locations and not with "beans" in the walls. – Matthew Dec 5 '14 at 19:52
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I did this once, on a 25-pair cable, back when I worked in the campus TV studio in college. It's fairly simple, but a bit tedious, and a single splice is about 2 feet long.

Basically, you take off the outer jacket, split the 25 pairs into the 5 groups of 5 pairs that are inside, then make sure you've matched up with the pairs on the mating cable. You want to, if at all possible, have opposite "ends" of the two cables so that the ends are mirror images in terms of pair layout.

Then you start to splice. The reason it takes about two feet is that you stagger the splices. Each individual wire splice in a group of 5 pair (10 wires) is offset an inch or two from the adjacent splices (meaning you cut the wires to matching lengths. You solder the wires together, without taping (since the splices are staggered there's no contact between wires), then tape over the whole 5-pair group at once. Repeat for the other 4 groups.

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