Cat6 Wiring Question

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by hayduke, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. hayduke macrumors 65816

    hayduke

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    is a state of mind.
    #1
    So I'm trying to fix a partly bungled wiring/cable installation that our electrician/contractor has in place. At this point the cables are buried in the walls/ceiling and we are past the point that I can run new cables etc.

    The Airport Express will only work as a network extender over hardwire. All I wanted was to bury a Cat6 line in the wall so I could connect and Airport Extreme at one end and an Airport Express at the other end of the house. I was gong to do that by plugging the Extreme into the wall at one end and the Express into the wall at the other end. I think I can still do this, but I need some help.

    Currently I have a bare (no connectors) cable from where the Extreme is running out to a metal box in the back of the house. There is also a bare cable running from where the Express is to the same box. Questions...

    1) How do I connect the two cables in the metal box to ultimately provide a run from the Extreme to the Express? Can I just buy male and female RJ-45 connectors and snap them together?

    2) How do I wire the cables to the ethernet jacks at the wall port? (I'm confused about 568a, 568b, cross-over, etc. standards).

    The routing plan looks something like this:

    Airpot Extreme ---> Standard Cat6 Cable --> RJ-45 Wall Jack (???) --> Bare Cat6 Wire (buried in walls) --> Box (Connect two Cat6 Cables) --> Bare Cat6 Wire (buried in walls) --> RJ-45 Wall Jack (???) --> Standard Cat6 Cable --> Airport Express

    Any help is really appreciated.
     
  2. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030

    CylonGlitch

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Location:
    SoCal
    #2
    FYI Cat-5 is really all you need; well Cat-5E. But if you already have CAT-6 run, that's fine. The only really difference is that CAT-6 is certified GigE while Cat-5E isn't certified (but operates the same way).

    You'll need to wire it as follows :
    [​IMG]

    For jacks, look for things like these keystone jacks : [​IMG]

    They hook up to these faceplates : [​IMG]

    As for patch cables, it takes practice to make the cables well; but it isn't that hard, just need the right tools.

    RJ45 Crimping tool : [​IMG]

    Most of this stuff can be found at Lowes or Home Depot as well. You can get them cheaper online, but the stuff there isn't that bad.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. VideoFreek macrumors 6502

    VideoFreek

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    Philly
    #3
    Another tip: if you're installing new jacks in standard gypsum wallboard construction (USA), these are great:

    [​IMG]

    You basically cut a rectangular hole of the specified size (a template is provided) using a drywall saw,

    [​IMG]

    insert the metal bracket and then bend in the metal tabs to hold it in place (in the top photo, the top tab is already bent around). The faceplate then attaches to the bracket. Note that this can only be used for low-voltage installations (e.g., network wiring).

    You can pick these up at any Home Depot, Lowes, etc.
     
  4. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #4
    Videofreek and Cylonglitch gave good advice, but if you're a novice you might still be wondering about things.

    If you have a cable run, (such as outlet to outlet) it's never wired crossover (individual cables with RJ45 ends may or may not be crossover).

    As for 568a vs 568b -- it's unimportant except that you need to wire all your connectors in the same way (568a or 568b). Mostly I see 568b, but the point is that they must match at both ends. This is easier than you may be thinking, because the jacks will be color-coded and somewhere on the jack you'll be able to see which scheme is 568a and which is 568b.

    Take a good look at your cable, so that you don't confuse (for example) orange-white and white-orange. Have a good light where you're working.

    You're going to have push-down connectors, and the jacks are going to include simple plastic push-down tools. I'd suggest practicing pushing down wires before you have to be down on your knees doing it. It's not hard, but a little practice will be useful. It's far easier when the jack is on a solid surface. Don't try to hold it in one hand and push the wires down with a tool in your other hand.

    Be very careful when stripping away the cable jacket to get at the wires. If you nick one of the wires, it might break off when you start bending and punching down. Inspect each wire carefully, and re-strip the jacket if there's any sign of damage.

    You don't need to strip the individual wires. The jacks will be the insulation displacement type, meaning that the jack's internal connector will cut through the insulation and make the connection when you punch the wire down. The only stripping you'll do is to get the jacket off.

    I see you want to connect two Cat6 cables in a box -- assuming I'm understanding you correctly. You don't say what kind of box it is -- how big? You could crimp RJ45s onto each end and join them with a coupler, but I wouldn't recommend that. You'd need a crimping tool -- a fairly expensive tool you might never use again -- and in my experience, crimping RJ45s is not easy. It's much more difficult than punching down on a jack.

    My suggestion for the connection would be to get a small patch panel (Home Depot has 5 port ones, the last time I looked; I've never seen one with fewer than 5 ports, but that doesn't mean they don't exist) and fix it into the box, or a replacement box if the one you have is too small. If this box is inside the house, then you don't really need a box anyway. Punch down each cable to a different port, and use a short "patch cable" to join them. That also gives you some options for the future, in case you end up running more cables and want to connect them differently. The panel will probably be 5 or 5e, which is fine (but see below). If there's a Cat6 and it's priced right, then why not?

    Finally, if you don't want to go the whole route, cutting into your walls and all that, you could use surface-mount boxes, which are small and resemble the old surface-mount telephone jacks. They work well enough, and you won't have to be cutting into your walls. I don't think they look as nice, but yes they do work. Home Depot (and others) have them. They take the same jacks.

    Cat5/5e vs. Cat6. As has been pointed out, you don't need Cat6 just to connect to the Airport Express, if the Airport Express is going to be acting as your wireless connection. I suggest going Cat6 all around (jacks, plugs, patch panel etc.) only because (a) you've laid the Cat6 already, (b) you don't necessarily know what's going to be connected to the outlet in the room where the Express is going to be. Sometime in the future you might want to have a gigabit or faster device there, and then having a nice consistent Cat6 pathway back to where the router is would be a big plus.

    The last time I was wiring, Cat6 connectors cost more. But you won't be using many of them, so the additional cost should be small.

    I recently rewired an older house (ten outlets) with Cat6 because walls and ceilings were open and I figured Why not? I can't predict what I'll be wanting to do in 4 or 5 years, or what's going to be out there that I'd like to use that requires Cat6. I was tempted by fiber, but realized I didn't know enough about it to get involved. And I have a completely different set of pathways to where I need outlets, that are still accessible, so if I have to run fiber someday, I can.

    Good luck. Like so many things, you're probably going to find this easier to do than to read about.
     
  5. hayduke thread starter macrumors 65816

    hayduke

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    is a state of mind.
    #5
    Many thanks all. Today I'll give this all a shot!
     
  6. hayduke thread starter macrumors 65816

    hayduke

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    is a state of mind.
  7. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #7
    That's great.

    But I'm curious about which of the techniques you used.

    How did you join the two Cat6 runs in the box?
     
  8. hayduke thread starter macrumors 65816

    hayduke

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    is a state of mind.
    #8
    I didn't do it in the most elegant way, but I did it using what I had. I purchased a pack of 5 keystone jacks and used two for each of the wall panels and then one on each end in the exterior box (really a telephone box). Then I simply connected the two with a 1' patch cable. I know this is probably an odd way to do it, but again I already had the parts!

    So now I can connect the Express to the Time Capsule, but I haven't set them up as a single wireless network. Hopefully that'll be in place this weekend.

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  9. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #9
    Heh. I've done that too.

    With that creative solution, you've moved into Class 3 Wiring Nerd status, up from Novice.

    "I already had the parts" -- another big score.

    Congratulations!
     

Share This Page