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In every room of my home, there is an outlet with three connections: coax, Cat5e RJ45, and an RJ11 for phones. I unscrewed the outlet and noticed that all of the wires seem to be heading up towards the attic.

I did a very brief check of my attic (just took a peek from the ladder), but all I could see were valleys and mountains of insulation. If the wires end here, I would have to literally go hunting for them under the insulation. Why would the wires terminate here? Is this common?

I've searched all over my house, but there is no central point where the ethernet cords lead to.

I'm guessing the wires end somewhere in the attic, but I can't fathom why the master builders would lead them all up here and then stop. Is it common for a prewired home to leave it up to the owner to further wire them to a central location closet?

  • I am currently using Verizon FIOS internet. Right now I just have the router/modem in one of my rooms. Coax connects to router, ethernet from router to computer. – ShrimpCrackers Feb 16 '16 at 20:56
  • I can't speak to how common it is, but that's exactly how my house was wired (Texas, 2003). Every room had Cat5, they all went to the attic, and were just hanging loose in the center. Only one was connected to the telephone network box outside. Sounds like I was in better shape than you, but having the wires "just hanging" in the attic happens. – JPhi1618 Feb 16 '16 at 21:02
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    The builder has done you a big favor, vs. having to fish new wires into an existing wall. – Harper Feb 16 '16 at 22:35
  • @JPhi1618 What did you end up doing? Did you drop the wires somewhere to create your own panel in an existing room? – ShrimpCrackers Feb 17 '16 at 2:19
  • I put a small patch panel in the attic to terminate everything and then ran patch cables to a structured wiring box installed in my "office" closet. Now I have my fios router and switch in that box so I can make new connections and troubleshoot without getting in the attic. – JPhi1618 Feb 17 '16 at 2:25
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If you don't have a basement and the builder didn't want to put a cover plate in a closet somewhere, the attic is the only place left inside.

It is very common for a builder to simply run the low voltage wires and leave them un-terminated. A builder can say "wired for cable\internet" without any terminations being made. Hopefully there's an outlet somewhere up there because you'll need power for the router and if you're lucky there's a breaker you can toggle instead of having to climb back up there to reset it.

If you find coiled lengths all piled-up in some location, the builder might have planed on dropping them down one of the walls, otherwise have fun making all the connections hunched over in your attic and dealing with having equipment up there.

Why are most of my cable/coax wires disconnected?

This would be no different than many people's basements I've seen.

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I'm guessing they terminate somewhere. Ours are terminated in a panel in the master bedroom walk-in closet. You might try looking in your closets for a panel of some sort. There might also be a panel in your garage.

  • lol....I went into my parent's bedroom where there is no empty space on the hangar. All used up. I pushed aside the clothes and surprise! Found the panel....but I need to find out how to connect it though. – ShrimpCrackers Feb 17 '16 at 4:10
  • For that you're going to need a toner and a probe. You plug in the toner at the RJ45x outlet, then use the probe to find the corresponding wire in the panel. If they're not terminated in the panel, you're going to need a 66-block to do so. You may want to see if you can find a basic telephony booklet. – BillDOe Feb 17 '16 at 19:13
  • Oh, you could also short one pair of wires and then, using a multimeter, find which outlet has the short, but that would be really tedious. And fwiw, blue is the first pair, orange the second, green the third, and brown the fourth. The contractor may have labeled the wires. – BillDOe Feb 17 '16 at 19:49
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On the houses I have wired all the RJ11 went to the "bell" box on the outside of the house where the phone company connects. The RJ45 usually had a central point that they ran back to (office or computer nook) with as many as 6 or 8 connection points in that room. There was no standard for where they went if we sold the house prior to placement we let the owners change the location. I agree it would be strange to not terminate them someplace common.

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