2013-02-27

Now I can network anything!

This weekend, I repaired a network outlet. Three, to be precise.

During the remodel, the contractors have severed three network cables by mistake, and the loose ends were knotted up and stuck out of a hole in the wall.

Considering this was my first time getting all physical with networking, it did not go too bad at all.


Before starting on the project, I got some kit on Amazon.

This little set costs under 20 dollars, and contains a network cable stripping tool, a plug crimper, and a network socket punchdown tool. There was even a baggie with some RJ45 plugs in there, too.

Since all I had coming out of the wall were six ends of the cut cables, I randomly picked an end coming from the left to find out whether it was the live side. Because I was going to sacrifice at least one, and possibly two, and also I had a surplus of RJ45 plugs, I crimped one on there instead of the keystone socket, and stuck it into the network tester.

This little network tester was all of five bucks and saved me a lot of trouble. I had one part of it connected upstairs where I was performing the repair, and plugged the other one into one port on the downstairs switch after another, trying to see if this end of the cable was even live.

Luckily, I hit the jackpot on the first try: The wire I picked went to the switch. However, I made the mistake and wired the plug according to the wrong RJ45 standard. They have A and B and I picked B because that's what one of the cables I had lying around had.

It was pretty easy to figure out, because the tester sends the signal to each of the eight wires in order (1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8) and it comes out scrambled on on the other end.


Once that was resolved, the rest was easy. I used the punchdown tool to wire the three sockets, which had each terminal color-coded for both standards. Again, fairly obvious.

I bought the more expensive "keystone" type sockets and wall plates, because they seemed like they would be easiest to work with. The sockets in this case click into the wall plate, and can be easily removed and replaced.

Wiring the sockets individually, as opposed to dealing with short cables sticking out of the wall while trying to wire them to a plate, was definitely a more convenient option.

Since we were already dealing with cut cables, I had asked the contractor to put a hole on the other side of the wall, in my office/library, which used to be a formal dining room and did not have any network.

Now that I had sockets wired to each of the cable ends, I stuck two through the hole into the office and routed one into the living room.

Voila!