Does an Ethernet Cord Work As A Phone Cord?


Ethernet cable, referred to as Cat5, Cat5e and Cat6 works very well for telephone wiring. In fact, many builders are recommending that network cabling be included in any new construction or remodeling project because it provides four pairs of wire that can be used for telephone and networking. While the cost of Cat5 cable is slightly more expensive than the traditional Cat3 telephone wire, doing the job correctly is vastly preferred to doing it over.

Telephone Only

  • Using Ethernet cable for telephone only wiring guarantees excellent quality of the wire as well as the ability to run four independent telephone lines per length of cable. In this specific case, the cable can be pulled in a daisy chain fashion, where the cable starts at the telephone company's demarc and then gets fed to each telephone jack sequentially in a continuous line. The demarc is the box the telephone company usually installs on the outside of their customer's building and this is where the demarcation is located between the telephone company's wiring and the customer's inside wiring. To clarify how telephone wiring is laid out, the cable is run from the demarc to telephone jack "A" then to telephone jack "B" and this continues until all the jacks in the building are connected.


  • When running network cabling, each segment of the cable needs to be brought back to a network switch. The industry term for this is a "Home Run," which designates that each jack will go from an origination point to the jack. This contrasts the method used when running telephone only wiring in that telephone wiring can run from the origination point, typically the demarc, to each jack in succession without the need to be returned to the origination point.

Network And Telephone

  • When networking and telephone wiring are combined in one Ethernet cable, the layout of the cable must conform to the networking topography, which is technically referred to as a start topology, which was detailed earlier.


  • The ends of the wire will require modular sockets, RJ11 for telephone and RJ45 for the Ethernet connections. These sockets are available from a wide variety of manufacturers with several different ways of connecting these sockets to the wire. Once a socket has been attached, it will need to be verified as functional using specialized testing equipment appropriate for the job.

Fiber Optics

  • The days of the copper network are numbered. Many builders are now including fiber optic cable inside the walls of any new buildings they are erecting. This future-proofing method is strongly advised because the cost of running new wiring inside walls is significantly more expensive than including the cable in the construction when the walls are open.

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