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Old Mar 2, 2013, 10:52 PM   #1
Just1nCase
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Need help configuring a Gigabit Network

Hi all!

I'm setting up a gigabit network for my home, but I'm running into some difficulty. My iMac still reads that I'm still running 100 Mbit/s. It's not obtaining GigE speeds based on my current setup. All my equipment are GigE capable and are using 5e cables:



Based on the GigE Switch, the LED from the router to the switch is obtaining GigE speeds. However, from the switch to the 5e patch panel to the outlet to the iMac, the LED reads that I'm getting 100 Mbit/s.

What may be causing this? Is it the 5e Patch Panel from Leviton that came with my home that's holding it back? Its a Category 5e patch panel so it should be compatible to GigE speeds. I'm lost. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

-Justin
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Old Mar 3, 2013, 01:14 AM   #2
ytk
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First, check in network preferences to make sure your Ethernet port is set to auto-configure. It should be, but it may have been changed. If it's set to automatic, try changing it to manual and set the speed to 1000baseT. If that doesn't work, set it back to automatic.

Next, check your cables. Are you using commercial cables? Especially if they're handmade, examine each cable in the path and make sure it's actually a Cat 5e cable and both connectors have all eight wires terminated.

Barring any of these basic steps, the most obvious culprit is the patch panel. How does this connect to the system? If it uses punchdown terminals, check each conductor. 100baseT only uses four wires in an RJ45 connector, but gigabit uses all eight. So if you have one wire loose, it will fall back to 100baseT. If you can bypass the panel somehow, give that a try as well.
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Old Mar 3, 2013, 01:51 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ytk View Post
First, check in network preferences to make sure your Ethernet port is set to auto-configure. It should be, but it may have been changed. If it's set to automatic, try changing it to manual and set the speed to 1000baseT. If that doesn't work, set it back to automatic.

Next, check your cables. Are you using commercial cables? Especially if they're handmade, examine each cable in the path and make sure it's actually a Cat 5e cable and both connectors have all eight wires terminated.

Barring any of these basic steps, the most obvious culprit is the patch panel. How does this connect to the system? If it uses punchdown terminals, check each conductor. 100baseT only uses four wires in an RJ45 connector, but gigabit uses all eight. So if you have one wire loose, it will fall back to 100baseT. If you can bypass the panel somehow, give that a try as well.
1. I've tried that. It didn't work.

2. The Cat5e cable are handmade and have been checked with a cable tester that it was all working correctly. However, the cable is a bit finicky. It would disconnect suddenly when its jostled around—like any other cable though.

3. I'm afraid it might be the panel. Upon further investigation, I'm able to achieve GigE speeds when I hook up my Macbook Pro directly to the GigE Switch avoiding the panel all together.

Like I mentioned before, the panel is set up as a Cat5e panel so it should be compatible with GigE speeds. Maybe it's an issue on how its setup. (See images below to see punchdown terminals layout looks like:





My iMac is hooked up to a Cat5e outlet from my room which is connected to the command center with the Leviton 5e patch panel. The panel is then connected to the GigE switch which is then connected to Airport Extreme Base Station. Then, the Base Station is connected to the Cable Modem.

Thanks for your help!
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Old Mar 3, 2013, 06:50 AM   #4
matspekkie
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Originally Posted by Just1nCase View Post
1. I've tried that. It didn't work.

2. The Cat5e cable are handmade and have been checked with a cable tester that it was all working correctly. However, the cable is a bit finicky. It would disconnect suddenly when its jostled around—like any other cable though.

3. I'm afraid it might be the panel. Upon further investigation, I'm able to achieve GigE speeds when I hook up my Macbook Pro directly to the GigE Switch avoiding the panel all together.

Like I mentioned before, the panel is set up as a Cat5e panel so it should be compatible with GigE speeds. Maybe it's an issue on how its setup. (See images below to see punchdown terminals layout looks like:

Image

Image

My iMac is hooked up to a Cat5e outlet from my room which is connected to the command center with the Leviton 5e patch panel. The panel is then connected to the GigE switch which is then connected to Airport Extreme Base Station. Then, the Base Station is connected to the Cable Modem.

Thanks for your help!
It looks like the cables being used are not twisted pairs neither do they have shielding. Run those over longer lengths and you get auto negotiation problems and sort alike. 1gb speed will only be reliable on proper twisted pair cables (crosstalk) and shorter is better although with good cable the max length is close to 100 meters.
The grey flat cables on your picture are not capable of running 1gig connections period.
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Old Mar 3, 2013, 09:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Just1nCase View Post

2. The Cat5e cable are handmade and have been checked with a cable tester that it was all working correctly. However, the cable is a bit finicky. It would disconnect suddenly when its jostled around—like any other cable though.
From the picture and your description, I would most definitely suspect the handmade patch cables. I have never had a properly made patch cable "disconnect suddenly" when jostled, with one exception. At my last employment (where we handmade patch cables by the 100's), the gofer snuck in some incorrect cubes (the RJ-45 plugs). I never knew before that that they made cubes for stranded wire that are different than cubes for solid wire. When you use an incorrect cube, it does exactly as you describe, lose connection when jostled. Monoprice (and many other places) sell high quality, inexpensive patch cables in lots of lengths and colors.
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Old Mar 3, 2013, 10:18 AM   #6
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All the suggestions are good, but if you didn't punch down with a proper punch-down tool, consider investing in one, and then repunching. They aren't too expensive. The plastic ones that come with jacks and inexpensive patch panels will indeed work but a dedicated tool is better.

Something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-N04...punchdown+tool

Also, recheck the color coding. You'd hardly be the first person to punch down the wrong wire, or to accidentally mix up 568A and B.

And I strongly support the recommendation to get commercial patch cables. I used to make my own, and still do on rare occasions, but the commercial ones are more reliable, especially at gigabit speeds.
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Old Mar 3, 2013, 11:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by matspekkie View Post
It looks like the cables being used are not twisted pairs neither do they have shielding. Run those over longer lengths and you get auto negotiation problems and sort alike. 1gb speed will only be reliable on proper twisted pair cables (crosstalk) and shorter is better although with good cable the max length is close to 100 meters.
The grey flat cables on your picture are not capable of running 1gig connections period.
Are you suggesting I should re-run new cable with shielding in order to achieve reliable GigE speeds? If so, yikes! This job will be a lot tougher than I though it would be.

Btw, the gray flat cables are telephone patch cables. Not to be confused with the blue ethernet cable right next to it. Here's just a image I drew up quickly to make sure we're both on the same page:



----------

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Originally Posted by HenryAZ View Post
From the picture and your description, I would most definitely suspect the handmade patch cables. I have never had a properly made patch cable "disconnect suddenly" when jostled, with one exception. At my last employment (where we handmade patch cables by the 100's), the gofer snuck in some incorrect cubes (the RJ-45 plugs). I never knew before that that they made cubes for stranded wire that are different than cubes for solid wire. When you use an incorrect cube, it does exactly as you describe, lose connection when jostled. Monoprice (and many other places) sell high quality, inexpensive patch cables in lots of lengths and colors.
True, it was my first time creating my own patch cables so my cables can be a bit sketchy. I'll check out some better quality cables. Thanks!

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Originally Posted by monokakata View Post
All the suggestions are good, but if you didn't punch down with a proper punch-down tool, consider investing in one, and then repunching. They aren't too expensive. The plastic ones that come with jacks and inexpensive patch panels will indeed work but a dedicated tool is better.

Something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-N04...punchdown+tool

Also, recheck the color coding. You'd hardly be the first person to punch down the wrong wire, or to accidentally mix up 568A and B.

And I strongly support the recommendation to get commercial patch cables. I used to make my own, and still do on rare occasions, but the commercial ones are more reliable, especially at gigabit speeds.
The terminals has been punch down by someone else—professionally I assume—before we purchased the house. Me being an amateur networker enthusiast, this may be a daunting task for me to do: to repunch wires. I'll double check again or possibly maybe routing my own cable from the gige switch to my room—to avoid the patch panel all together. It'll be a long cable, but I would know it'll get GigE speeds.

Again, thanks again for your guys help!
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Old Mar 4, 2013, 09:05 AM   #8
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The cables to the rooms look OK to me, perhaps in that picture they don't appear as tightly wound/twisted and they should be, but no real reason to run shielded. Given that you are using quality cat 5e or cat 6 UTP cable, as you move up in standard, the cables matter less than your techniques. Less severe bending radius is allowed in your run, more distance from interference such as fluorescent lighting or motors, crossing power lines at right angles only, and only untwist a bare minimum of wire at the end to make your final punchdown or crimp.

I would simply replace the patch cables, and that will probably fix you up. Even if not, that's a good start.
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Old Mar 4, 2013, 12:29 PM   #9
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Regarding the punchdowns to the patch panel. IMO those have too much exposed wire... I'm fussy. I bring the cable to the half way point and then punch down the center two first (orange & white-green). Get the blue cable as close as possible, then punch down the rest of them. This will yield the shortest amount of exposed wires. A proper punch down tool is a must. In all honesty, I don't even mess with 5e anymore, everything is Cat6. In addition I don't use the traditional patch panels anymore, but rather the one with keystone snap-ins. I find the headroom when tested with a Fluke DTX-1800 is much better. Quality patch cables from someone like Panduit or Commscope are better then what you can make yourself (most people don't have an AMP crimper or AMP connectors).
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Old Mar 4, 2013, 07:30 PM   #10
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The cables to the rooms look OK to me, perhaps in that picture they don't appear as tightly wound/twisted and they should be, but no real reason to run shielded. Given that you are using quality cat 5e or cat 6 UTP cable, as you move up in standard, the cables matter less than your techniques. Less severe bending radius is allowed in your run, more distance from interference such as fluorescent lighting or motors, crossing power lines at right angles only, and only untwist a bare minimum of wire at the end to make your final punchdown or crimp.

I would simply replace the patch cables, and that will probably fix you up. Even if not, that's a good start.
Sure, I'll grab some good quality 5e cables at Fry's or Amazon. If that doesn't work, I might just remap my network configuration to the following

Internet ==> Router ==> 5e Patch Panel ==> GigE Switch (connected after the patch panel, inside my room, using the RJ45 outlet) ==> iMac

The only disadvantage I see from this setup is that only machines connected to the GigE switch inside my room will have GigE speeds—which I'm totally fine with since I will be using it more often than others.

My intention is to eventually add a NAS to the GigE switch where my iMac have access to with GigE connection speeds. And if I do plan to make the NAS a cloud storage device from outside, the transfer speeds will be determined by my internet speed anyways and GigE connection wouldn't help at all.

Let me know what you think about this alternative solution.

----------

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Originally Posted by Coolestdude View Post
Regarding the punchdowns to the patch panel. IMO those have too much exposed wire... I'm fussy. I bring the cable to the half way point and then punch down the center two first (orange & white-green). Get the blue cable as close as possible, then punch down the rest of them. This will yield the shortest amount of exposed wires. A proper punch down tool is a must. In all honesty, I don't even mess with 5e anymore, everything is Cat6. In addition I don't use the traditional patch panels anymore, but rather the one with keystone snap-ins. I find the headroom when tested with a Fluke DTX-1800 is much better. Quality patch cables from someone like Panduit or Commscope are better then what you can make yourself (most people don't have an AMP crimper or AMP connectors).
Interesting, I'll keep that in mind next time. Thanks!
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 10:24 AM   #11
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Let me know what you think about this alternative solution.
BTW, I wired our house in 2002 with cat 5e cable and a Leviton box such as you are using.

You'll want 1000base-T everywhere you can put it.

I don't view the network topology quite like you do, as "Internet-centric". I have a 1000base-T switch that I consider the "top" or center of my network, and everything else spokes off of that. My Leviton patch panel spokes five lines off the switch, and I have other devices connected directly to the switch, including other switches. The router/Internet spoke is just one possible path for packets. The router itself is all gigabit as well (on WAN and LAN ports), only the WAN port is autonegotiated down on the Internet connection. I use an AEBS, connected directly to the gigabit switch, as a stand-alone wireless access point (so I can mount it up where it needs to be). Everything is centric to my main gigabit switch.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 11:40 AM   #12
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I use an AEBS, connected directly to the gigabit switch, as a stand-alone wireless access point (so I can mount it up where it needs to be). Everything is centric to my main gigabit switch.
Both houses I've wired are like that. Straight out of the AEBS into an 8-port gigabit switch, and the patch cords go from there to wherever I need to patch them to, via the panel.

OP, your proposed configuration will be fine. The only downside is that you're basically giving up patch panel functionality. But if the only place you need to run a line is into your room, then who cares?

If it was me, and I wasn't too constrained by money, I'd use 2 gigabit switches. Something like a 4 or 5 port one near the patch panel, and then the larger one where you work.

That way, when you get the NAS you can put it in the wiring closet with all the other stuff, and connect it to the new switch you'll buy -- thus getting gigabit speeds all around. I have one setup like that, only the NAS is remote in another room, sitting on a small switch there. Works perfectly.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 11:41 PM   #13
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BTW, I wired our house in 2002 with cat 5e cable and a Leviton box such as you are using.

You'll want 1000base-T everywhere you can put it.

I don't view the network topology quite like you do, as "Internet-centric". I have a 1000base-T switch that I consider the "top" or center of my network, and everything else spokes off of that. My Leviton patch panel spokes five lines off the switch, and I have other devices connected directly to the switch, including other switches. The router/Internet spoke is just one possible path for packets. The router itself is all gigabit as well (on WAN and LAN ports), only the WAN port is autonegotiated down on the Internet connection. I use an AEBS, connected directly to the gigabit switch, as a stand-alone wireless access point (so I can mount it up where it needs to be). Everything is centric to my main gigabit switch.
I see, thanks for the feedback! So, from I read, you're suggesting that I keep my original network where my GigE switch isn't in my room, but connected to the patch panel—and rewiring all with 5e cables to achieve 1000base-T throughout my network. Also, note the wires that are already punched down are 5e cables so I'm basically replacing the patch cables that connects from patch panel to my GigE switch.

I know using verified 5e cables made from reputable manufacturers help in terms of the cable's reliability, but how does it help achieve 1000base-T? in comparison to my handmade 5e cables that I am using now—which is not helping me achieve 1000base-T speed.

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If it was me, and I wasn't too constrained by money, I'd use 2 gigabit switches. Something like a 4 or 5 port one near the patch panel, and then the larger one where you work.

That way, when you get the NAS you can put it in the wiring closet with all the other stuff, and connect it to the new switch you'll buy -- thus getting gigabit speeds all around. I have one setup like that, only the NAS is remote in another room, sitting on a small switch there. Works perfectly.
I thought about that, too. So, if I have a NAS hooked up to a GigE switch before my patch panel and my iMac hooked to another GigE switch in my room with it connected the RJ45 outlet from the patch panel, will the patch panel outlet bottleneck my transfer speeds?
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Old Mar 6, 2013, 06:51 AM   #14
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It won't bottleneck anything unless there's something wrong with it.

Let's say you have a 4 port switch in the wiring closet. Call it S4.

router -----> S4 port 1
S4 port 2 ---->NAS (directly)
S4 port 3 ---->patch panel port A ----->some room
S4 port 4 ---->patch panel port B ----->your room--->iMac

Every device connected to the switch can talk to every other device on the switch at gigabit speeds, assuming the device supports it.

For example with this setup, you could also have the NAS in "some room" and it would have the same effect as having it in the wiring closet (again, assuming no wiring problems).

And if you had a switch in your room, then all the devices in your room would connect at gigabit speeds to each other, and also connect to anything connected to S4 at gigabit speeds.

Think of the patch panel as a "switch," even though it isn't. It lets you route connections as you please, and that's all it does. It's passive.

For example, not long ago I moved my network printer to a different location in my workroom. It had been plugged in like this:

Mac Pro -->workroom port W1 -->panel 2 port 3-->switch port 7 -->panel 1, port 6-->workroom port E1-->printer

In other words, the connection between the Mac Pro and the printer (5' away) went out of the room, into the wiring closet, and back again.

I moved the printer and plugged it into workroom port N2, which I knew (from having wired it up myself) was wired to panel 1, port 5.

I unplugged the patch cord that had been in panel 1 port 6 and plugged it into panel 1 port 5.

That connected workroom N2 to switch port 7. Everything else stayed the same. Done.

Another example. In a far room, fed by one long fixed cable running from panel 2 port 1 to a single in-wall port in that room, I had a 4 port gigabit switch plugged into the wall, and thus on the network. Back in the wiring closet, panel 2 port 1 was plugged into a gigabit switch. In the remote room, the AlphaServer's two 100 ports were plugged into the switch, and my old NAS (gigabit) was plugged into the remaining one. The NAS was thus available all over at gigabit speeds, whereas the AlphaServer was also available all over, but only at 100. I got a new NAS, so I disconnected one of the AlphaServer's ports and plugged in the new NAS, which then appeared everywhere at gigabit speeds. In this example I didn't have to repatch anything, because the remote room was already fed into the gigabit switch via the patch panel.

Maybe this has been too tedious. If so, sorry. And I'll add to it by including an image. The red cable feeds the switch from the Airport, and then the patch cords distribute the connection via the patch panels to the left.
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Old Mar 6, 2013, 10:06 PM   #15
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It won't bottleneck anything unless there's something wrong with it.

Let's say you have a 4 port switch in the wiring closet. Call it S4.

router -----> S4 port 1
S4 port 2 ---->NAS (directly)
S4 port 3 ---->patch panel port A ----->some room
S4 port 4 ---->patch panel port B ----->your room--->iMac

Every device connected to the switch can talk to every other device on the switch at gigabit speeds, assuming the device supports it.

For example with this setup, you could also have the NAS in "some room" and it would have the same effect as having it in the wiring closet (again, assuming no wiring problems).

And if you had a switch in your room, then all the devices in your room would connect at gigabit speeds to each other, and also connect to anything connected to S4 at gigabit speeds.

Think of the patch panel as a "switch," even though it isn't. It lets you route connections as you please, and that's all it does. It's passive.

For example, not long ago I moved my network printer to a different location in my workroom. It had been plugged in like this:

Mac Pro -->workroom port W1 -->panel 2 port 3-->switch port 7 -->panel 1, port 6-->workroom port E1-->printer

In other words, the connection between the Mac Pro and the printer (5' away) went out of the room, into the wiring closet, and back again.

I moved the printer and plugged it into workroom port N2, which I knew (from having wired it up myself) was wired to panel 1, port 5.

I unplugged the patch cord that had been in panel 1 port 6 and plugged it into panel 1 port 5.

That connected workroom N2 to switch port 7. Everything else stayed the same. Done.

Another example. In a far room, fed by one long fixed cable running from panel 2 port 1 to a single in-wall port in that room, I had a 4 port gigabit switch plugged into the wall, and thus on the network. Back in the wiring closet, panel 2 port 1 was plugged into a gigabit switch. In the remote room, the AlphaServer's two 100 ports were plugged into the switch, and my old NAS (gigabit) was plugged into the remaining one. The NAS was thus available all over at gigabit speeds, whereas the AlphaServer was also available all over, but only at 100. I got a new NAS, so I disconnected one of the AlphaServer's ports and plugged in the new NAS, which then appeared everywhere at gigabit speeds. In this example I didn't have to repatch anything, because the remote room was already fed into the gigabit switch via the patch panel.

Maybe this has been too tedious. If so, sorry. And I'll add to it by including an image. The red cable feeds the switch from the Airport, and then the patch cords distribute the connection via the patch panels to the left.
I see what you're saying. The Gigabit Switch is the central point across your other devices in your network.

I'm about to purchase some bulk 5e cables from Monoprice and I'll keep you guys posted on the results. Thanks again for the clarification! Plus, the picture was helpful actually. Since I'm a very visual person, I enjoy seeing photos of other people's configurations.
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Old Mar 9, 2013, 01:45 AM   #16
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Just an update – I've replaced all my cables into verified 5e cables (from Monoprice) and adjusted my network path to the following:

Cable Modem => Airport Extreme Base Station => GigE Switch ==> Leviton 5e Patch Panel => iMac

and I found out the reason that I am not achieving gigabit speeds in my room is from a bad RJ45 wall socket.

I came into this conclusion because I went to a different room's RJ45 wall outlet (that is connected to the GigE switch) and connected it into another iMac around the house (that is Gigabit compatible) using a 5e cable. From there, it successfully achieved gigabit connection from the wall socket.

Now, the new issue that I need to resolve is repairing a bad wall socket. I've never done this before, but I'm about to hit up Google and see what's up. Hopefully, it isn't bad.

Any tips or suggestions? or should I find a place that is local that is able to repair RJ45 outlets professionally (if there's any)?

Thanks again for all your help! I think about almost there!
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Old Mar 9, 2013, 06:57 AM   #17
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Almost certainly the actual RJ45 port is a snap-in piece.

Get a new port, which should be less than $5. Why not get CAT 6? But 5e will be fine. These days, most hardware stores carry RJ45 parts. If you live in a town of any size at all, you'll have an easy time finding a new jack.

You'll need a small flat-bladed screwdriver -- the size needed to remove the screws on the faceplate.

Remove the faceplate, and when the whole thing drops forward towards you, look at the back. That's going to be the rear of the RJ45.

Use the screwdriver to pry up (or down, depending on how it's inserted) on the plastic tab holding the jack in place, until the RJ45 piece pops loose.

Look to see whether the plug is wired 568A or 568B, or just make a simple sketch of which wire goes in which slot.

Pull the wires off the old one. Assuming you have some cable length to work with, strip back the outer shell so you can have fresh wire ends. Don't use the part of the wires that have already been punched down.

The new jack's going to come with a simple plastic punch down tool. Brace the jack (because you'll be pushing down) and punch down the wires.

Snap it back into place. Remount the wall plate. Done.

This is a lot easier to do than to describe.
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Old Mar 9, 2013, 01:33 PM   #18
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Not all brands of faceplates and snap-in jacks are interchangeable. In the worst case, you might have to buy a new faceplate to go with your new jack.
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Old Mar 9, 2013, 07:09 PM   #19
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So I've replaced the bad RJ45 outlet with a brand new On-Q RJ45 plug. Now, everything is working flawlessly. I'm able to stream HDTV quality videos from my iMac flawlessly (no stutters whatsoever) with a successful gigabit connection.

Thanks a lot! I'm about to play around with a NAS and see how it performs under these new link speeds. Thanks again! You guys are awesome!
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Old Mar 12, 2013, 03:56 PM   #20
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So I've replaced the bad RJ45 outlet with a brand new On-Q RJ45 plug. Now, everything is working flawlessly. I'm able to stream HDTV quality videos from my iMac flawlessly (no stutters whatsoever) with a successful gigabit connection.

Thanks a lot! I'm about to play around with a NAS and see how it performs under these new link speeds. Thanks again! You guys are awesome!
Then if you can set to use Time Machine with a NAS then bookmark the blog post Configuring OS X Mountain Lion Time Machine to Work With CIFS (SMB) Share.

However I urge al NAS user to forget about Time Machine and concentrate of using a program (that user rsync) like Carbon Copy Cloner to backup to a network smb share.
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Old Mar 13, 2013, 02:53 AM   #21
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Now, the new issue that I need to resolve is repairing a bad wall socket. I've never done this before, but I'm about to hit up Google and see what's up. Hopefully, it isn't bad.

Any tips or suggestions? or should I find a place that is local that is able to repair RJ45 outlets professionally (if there's any)?
With a cheap line tester you should have been able to find the problem out in a matter of minutes. For less then the cost of hiring a professional to replace the outlet you could pick one up from places like Frys and Home Depot. Its an invaluable tool when punching down your own wires because sometimes they lift depending on how the plates and panels are put back in place, etc. Not to be confused with an expensive line tester/conditioner that tells you approximately where the break in the wire is located.

If you shop at places that have a good return policy, or if you just like to have spares around, you should pick up a few extra jacks and plates on your first trip to the store. Some spare wire, an extra jack, and the continuity tester would be good if you find yourself thinking a jack is bad.

Unless you're going for a crossover make sure your jacks are match your panel. If your panel is type A so should your jacks. Most likely it is type B. Many, but not all switches will auto crossover fixing the A/B mismatch.

The best advice no matter who is doing the job is to label the finished jack on the wall plate so it is easily found in the network closet.
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