In my condo, there is a network closet that contains this item:

What do you call this thing Other view 1 Other view 2

There are 3 RJ45 jacks around my condo and I assume it's each connected to one of the 3 blue Cat5e cables that are connected to this thing.

My questions are:

  1. What do you call this "thing"?
  2. How do I interconnect this "thing" with my router so I can have wired access on the wall jacks? The existing connection was installed by the technician from my ISP and it doesn't look like it was connected by hand. Does it require a specialized tool?
  • Can you post more photos of it? It's hard to tell how it's hooked up from just the one shot you've posted. Jun 7, 2016 at 1:04
  • 1
    It's a punch-down block. Jun 7, 2016 at 1:16
  • @ThreePhaseEel more pics added. Jun 7, 2016 at 1:54
  • 1
    Are you sure that's not for phone? Jun 7, 2016 at 2:08
  • That's the thing I'm not sure. It was wired like this when I moved in so I assumed it works. Jun 7, 2016 at 2:12

2 Answers 2


That is a Belden IBDN QCBIX1A4 BIX Distribution Strip with 4 pair markings. A datasheet can be found here. This product line was originally owned by Nortel, so you might see Nortel labels in your panel.

It's essentially a 4-pair splicing strip with 110 style punch down terminals - every pair of wires punched down on one side are extended to the other side of the strip.

Manufacturer's description:

The BIX Distribution Connector is a 25-pair connector. The connector’s symmetrical construction allows termination of cables on one side and cross-connect jumper wires or BIX patch cords on the other. Each BIX connector is equipped with 50 double-ended Insulation Displacement Connection (IDC) clips for terminating plastic insulated solid copper conductors without stripping. The connector is built with two staggered rows of IDC clips enclosed in a three-layer construction of fire-retardant plastic wafers. Pair splitters on each side of the connector facilitate wire insertion.

Since it is certified for CAT-5e, you should be able to use it to extend ethernet to your rooms (and it should work up to gigabit speeds). Probably the easiest thing to do would be to get some solid (stranded wires don't work well with punch down blocks) CAT-5e patch cables, clip off the end (if you cut them in half, you can use both ends), then punch them down opposite the existing wires, matching the color codes. Then you just plug the other end of the patch cable right into your switch/router.

If you're lucky, everyone used the same color code, and it will work, otherwise, you might need to inspect your home wiring and the patch cable and match up the colors to make a "straight through" connection, i.e. pin 1 at the jack in your room, should go to pin 1 on the cable in your wiring closet, and so on. Here are the most common wiring color codes for structured wiring, but the installers (and/or patch cable manufacturer) may not have followed the standard:

enter image description here

You'll want to use a 110 punch down tool for this, a spring loaded tool works best:

enter image description here

(I'm not neccessarily recommending this particular tool - punch down tools range in price from $10 to hundreds of dollars for professional models. You're generally paying for longevity more than performance with the more expensive tools, for a few dozen punches, you won't see a whole lot of difference among the price range if you stick with known brand names)

But if you're only doing a few punches, a manual, non spring loaded tool would work:

enter image description here

There are other options, the BIX line also includes a CAT-5e modular jack strip that may fit into your existing panel, then you could punch down short CAT-5e cables to patch from the connector strip over to the modular jack panel. (or just move the blue wires from the connector strip over to the modular jack panel so you don't need to use short jumper cables)

enter image description here

  • So using this strip how do you differentiate each run to the router? Jun 7, 2016 at 10:52
  • Johnny, it sounds like the setup would be something like this? imgur.com/2QUcSad Jun 7, 2016 at 16:40

That is a "110" punch-down strip. You need a punch-down tool to terminate to it.

enter image description here enter image description here

I can't see if there is a color code pattern on that strip but there will be an area for each 4-pair cable to terminate. Something like this is a bit easier to follow. T568B is pretty much industry standard for things like a home network. enter image description here

Thing is, you cannot use that strip for a LAN setup. You'd need to replace it with a patch panel, and put patch cords from each port of the modem/router/switch to each port needed on the patch panel. Along these lines:

enter image description here Or a real simplified drawing:

enter image description here

  • Only question -- how does he hook onto the existing terminations there? Unlike the punchdown blocks I've worked with, his doesn't have jacks for patchcords... are you supposed to double-terminate into the same set of 110 terminations on the block? Are there terminations in the block that are internally connected to each other? Jun 7, 2016 at 1:59
  • The current setup right now is: Router -> punch down block -> ethernet cables running inside the wall -> modular wall jacks -> desktop computer I guess this won't work? I'm assuming that in the punch down block, the horizontal sections are internally connected? Jun 7, 2016 at 2:13
  • Here are 2 more pictures from the side to show the interconnections: imgur.com/a/mtyjQ Jun 7, 2016 at 2:20
  • Yeah, that to me looks like a phone strip. That is how residential phones would be wired, but not a home LAN. Jun 7, 2016 at 2:23
  • Can you elaborate why the setup won't work? I just expect each wire to be interconnected in the board since all 8 wires are all connected properly at the wall jack Jun 7, 2016 at 3:08

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