Do it Yourself DSL Wiring

Do it Yourself DSL Wiring thumbnail
DSL Modem, with telephone connection (left cable), Ethernet connection (center cable) and power connection (right cable)

Broadband Internet is available to more people than ever before. Several options exist for obtaining broadband Internet access: Cable Internet, Satellite Internet, Wireless Internet and Digital Subscriber Line, also known as DSL.

DSL is available through many landline telephone service providers, such as Windstream, Verizon and Qwest. Even though a service provider may offer installation services, an end user can just as easily accomplish the installation in a few steps.

  1. How Does DSL Work?

    • DSL Modem, with telephone connection (left cable), Ethernet connection (center cable) and power connection (right cable)

      A Digital Subscriber Line is an enhanced telephone service. Since telephone signals are analog, a digital signal can be transmitted on the same line simultaneously without interruption to the telephone service.

      To utilize this digital signal, you need a device called a DSL modem. This device converts the digital signal into data that your computer can use to communicate with other computers over the Internet.

    Items Required for a DSL Network Connection

    • For a DSL modem to work, two connections must be made: one connection to the telephone system (via a telephone jack), the other connection to a computer.

      The connection to the telephone system is relatively simple. Simply plug a telephone cord into an active phone jack, and plug the other end into the DSL modem. If the DSL service is active, usually there will be an indication on the DSL modem (such as a lighted "DSL" or "Network" indicator on the modem).

      The connection to the computer is made using a network cable (often called a CAT-5 or CAT-6 cable), which looks like a large telephone cable. One end of the network cable must be plugged into the DSL modem, and the other end must be plugged into the computer's network adapter.

    Wiring Your Own Telephone Connections

    • Wiring an extension phone jack simply requires connecting matching wire colors together

      Many persons like to set up their Internet connections right next to their computers. In the case of DSL, you would need to have a telephone connection nearby to set up the DSL modem, and sometimes there isn't a telephone jack nearby.

      Wiring a telephone jack is relatively simple. If you have an unused telephone jack (such as a wall jack found at most home improvement stores), a spool of four-wire telephone cable, a screwdriver and a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can make an extension of your single-line telephone service.

      First, install the base plate of the wall jack on the wall closest to where your DSL modem will be set up. A wall jack will typically have the mounting hardware necessary (such as screws and covers) to attach the jack to the wall.

      Next, run a length of telephone wire from the nearest active telephone jack to the new wall jack. Make sure to leave about 6 inches of slack on each end of the telephone wire.

      After that, go back to the new wall jack, and strip away the top layer of insulation from the first inch or so of telephone cable. This will reveal four smaller wires - one red, one green, one yellow, and one black. On each smaller wire, strip away about 1/4 inch of insulation, exposing about 1/4 inch of bare wire. Make a small "hook" out of each the bare wires (taking care not to break the individual strands).

      Next, install each colored wire to each marked terminal. Red wires should be connected to the "red" marked fastening screw, green wires connected to "green" marked screws, etc. Once you are done installing the wires, make sure each connecting screw is tight and there are no loose wires. Install the telephone jack cover on the base plate, and make sure that the cover is fastened securely to the base plate.

      After you are done installing the new phone jack, go to the active phone jack that you are extending phone service from. Strip away about an inch of the top insulation layer to expose the four colored wires. Repeat the steps outlined above, making sure that your existing telephone wiring makes a physical connection at the bare wire to your extension.

    Wiring The Network Cable

    • Making a physical connection to the DSL modem requires a network cable to be attached from the DSL modem to the computer network adapter. Creating a network cable is not difficult, but it does require special cabling and some special tools.

      To create a 100 Base-T cable, you will need a telephone wire crimper, RJ-45 connector ends, and CAT-5 (Category 5 Ethernet) compliant cable. You can find all of these items at an electronics supply store or mail-order catalog.

      First, cut a length of CAT-5 cable long enough to reach from your DSL modem to your computer. There should be enough length so that the cable is slack.

      Next, strip about 1 3/4 inches off the outer insulation on each end. This should expose 4 pairs of wires (orange/orange-white, brown/brown-white, blue/blue-white, and green/green-white). Arrange the wires at each end so that the eight wires lay flat at the ends.

      At one end of the network cable, arrange the wires in this order, from top to bottom, with the wire colors to the right-hand side of the insulation: Orange-white, orange, green-white, blue, blue-white, green, brown-white, brown. Making sure that the wires are aligned as such, carefully slide the RJ-45 cable end over the wires (gold connectors facing you), and crimp the connector on to the cable.

      Follow the same steps for the other end of the cable. Once both sides of the cable have been crimped on, the network cable is ready to be plugged into the computer at one end and the DSL modem at the other.

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