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I suddenly realized my house was prewired with Cat5e and found the panel. I'm confused on how to hook up the modem. The modem receives a connection over an RG6 coax cable. The panel looks like this:

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Near the bottom is something called a patch module. I'm not sure if I need this.

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I know that I can probably take those RJ45s hooked up in the telephone distribution module and hook them into the few spaces I have on the router (I only need a few rooms). However, I have no idea how to hook up the router/modem. Do I unplug the CATV Link and hook it up to the router/modem?

  • While I'm not 100% on which coax needs to go into your modem - but generally you want there to be as few connections as possible between the modem and where the coax enters your house. Once you do get it hooked up though, you just need to get some short ethernet cables to go from the modem to each of the patch module connectors that you want to function in the house. If there aren't enough ports on the modem, you can buy a small switch to be the intermediate step. – Ramrod Feb 17 '16 at 5:26
  • Also, does the patch module have any wiring going into it from the back? – hobbs Feb 17 '16 at 5:49
  • Where did you find the panel? That's awesome. – JPhi1618 Feb 17 '16 at 13:28
  • @JPhi1618 Behind some clothes :) – ShrimpCrackers Feb 18 '16 at 0:42
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Do I unplug the CATV Link and hook it up to the router/modem?

Going by the installation guide for the distribution panel, the jacks labeled "CATV Link" and "SATV/CCTV" are passthrough ports that go to the back of the panel, meant to be used for satellite. I can't tell from your photos where, if anywhere, they go in your system. The input to the 8-way splitter that feeds the TVs is also on the back of the panel.

The recommended thing to do is to disconnect the cable going to the splitter input, and connect it to a two-way splitter (perhaps you already got one with your modem, and perhaps it says that one side is for the modem and one side is for TV — if so, use it, and follow the instructions). Using short cables, run one output of the splitter back to the distribution panel input and the other to the modem. Possibly you already have such a splitter and one or both of the passthrough ports are connected to its outputs? If so, then you could connect the modem to one of them without re-wiring anything, but I can't say.

If that's not possible (for instance, not enough space or available cable length), you can try connecting the modem to one of the other outputs of the splitter (unplug one of the cables going to a room, connect a short from the panel to the modem, optionally add a splitter to restore service to that room), but the modem may not appreciate being downstream of an 8-way split.

Then there's wiring for Ethernet. I can see that the cables running to the Telephone Distribution Module are Cat5 or similar; are they terminated in RJ-45 (wide, 8-contact), not RJ-11 (narrower, 4-contact) jacks in the rooms? If so, then yes, you should be able to pull them and plug them into the cable modem, and the patch panel wouldn't come into play.

But if there are cables going into the back of the patch panel running to each room — perhaps the rooms have separate "telephone" and "data" ports? — then you're better off getting 6" or 1' Cat5e patch cables, and connecting the LAN ports of the modem to each port of the patch panel, and lighting up the data ports that way. That seems more standard than using "telephone" ports, but I guess who has landlines these days anyway?

Finally, a note about WiFi. Is your cable modem/router also a WiFi access point? If so, you might not get the best signal with it closed up in the wiring closet. If it works there, great. But if it doesn't, then there's another way you can go:

  1. Buy an inexpensive Ethernet switch with as many ports as the number of rooms you want internet in.

  2. Place the cablemodem in a room with coax and ethernet ports, where it will also be in a good place for WiFi reception.

  3. Hook up the coax splitter as before, except instead of running one of the outputs to the cablemodem inside the wiring closet, disconnect the coax for the room with the cablemodem from the 8-way splitter, and connect it directly to the two-way splitter. Or if you had the modem connected to one of the outputs of the 8-way splitter anyway, then just leave the coax the way it was when you got here.

  4. Connect the cable modem to the cable jack in the room where it is, and connect one of its LAN ports to the Ethernet jack in that room (you can use any other LAN ports on the modem for more devices in that room).

  5. Put the Ethernet switch in the wiring cabinet, and connect the cables for all of the rooms that you want Ethernet in to the switch. If the switch has a special "uplink" port (it probably doesn't), connect the room with the cablemodem to that port. Otherwise, just connect it to any port of the switch.

Last, but not least — you seem to have really nice structured wiring in the house, but your panels don't have any labels on them. As you hook things up and you discover which ports and cables go to which rooms, write them on sticky labels and stick them in the slots provided on the side of the panel. It will be good for your sanity later on.

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  • Hm, the CatV Link seems to be unrelated? I connected the CatV Link directly to the router-modem and nothing happened (I don't have a splitter yet. I might get one tomorrow). I connected the router back to a coax jack in one bedroom and it connected to the internet even though the CatV link was disconnected....weird. Yes, the patch module jacks do have wiring behind them. – ShrimpCrackers Feb 17 '16 at 6:19
  • @ShrimpCrackers I came to the same conclusion and edited my answer. – hobbs Feb 17 '16 at 6:22
  • "The recommended thing to do is to disconnect the cable going to the splitter input, and connect it to a two-way splitter" Do you mean take one of the connections above the CatVLink and SATV/CCTV and connect it to a two-way splitter? – ShrimpCrackers Feb 17 '16 at 6:28
  • @ShrimpCrackers no, the input, which is the cable that comes from outside and goes into the back of the panel. But if you can't/won't do that, just go to the next paragraph. Seems like you already got the modem to sync downstream of the splitter, so it's likely to work that way. – hobbs Feb 17 '16 at 6:31
  • hobbs, thanks for the great effort in answering my questions. Tomorrow, I'm going to see if I can find the input cable. My suspicion is that it is located in the attic...or perhaps behind the panel?. All those wires seems to be coming from the attic though. – ShrimpCrackers Feb 17 '16 at 6:41

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