How to Wire a Cat5 Data Jack

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Cat5--short for category 5--is a cabling standard that is seeing more and more use in homes, as it carries both a data (Internet) signal and a phone signal. This means only one cable needs to be routed to provide both services throughout your home. Wiring is very similar to standard four-wire telephone lines, though the jack may seem a bit more complicated. You will need a special wire punch tool to properly seat the wires into the jack, but the installation is very similar to installing a telephone line. Wiring a jack for data will allow it to transmit high-speed internet to your computer and other internet-ready devices.

Things You'll Need

  • Cat5 cable
  • Wire punch tool
  • Cat5 jack
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire cutters
  • Screwdriver
  • Check your wire routing at the main Cat5 module to identify which strands of the Cat5 cabling carry a data signal. Of the two rows of connections, one will be for telephone and the other will be for Ethernet data transmission. The wires should be in color-coded pairs; a typical data line may use the green/green-white pair and the orange/orange-white pair. Check with the original installer if you are unsure which wires are used for which service.

  • Route Cat5 cable to the location you wish to place your jack and thread the cable through the back of your jack-plate's electrical box. Install the box into your wall in the same manner as other outlets and jacks, securing it to a wall stud to reduce stress on your drywall.

  • Strip 3 inches of the outer sheath enclosing the color-coded wires within the Cat5 cable. Separate out the two pairs needed for the data signal. Once these four wires are separated, there will be four leftover that will not be used. These can be trimmed off or sectioned off with electrical tape.

  • Strip back 1/4 inch of plastic coating on each wire and pair with its matching colored receptacle on the jack. Press the wires in place with a wire punch tool.

  • Install the jack into the jack-plate. Mount the jack-plate on the electrical box using screws.

Tips & Warnings

  • A dual-jack plate will allow you have one jack wired for data while using the leftover wire strands to wire a telephone connection.

References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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