Home Wiring

24 Cat 5e cables and more…

Wanted to post this much earlier but didn’t have the time to. When it was time to replace all the old wiring in my new home, it made sense to lay enough cable drops to various rooms and areas in the house. I used Cat 5e cabling because I had a box of it lying around. Cat 6 would be better but no point throwing a thousand feet of good cable away. A few hiccups happened for the wiring contractor conveniently forgot to add a drop near the kitchen and dining so those areas will need to be wireless now and means they can’t get Satellite TV either via Cat 5. All cables were home-run (star topology) into my “home office” room. I didn’t want a standard Rack occupying the space so I turned Ikea-hacker. An Ikea PS cabinet was modified with my dremel tool to mount a 24-port patch panel and patch block to distribute phone lines. Since I had a DSL link, I patched all phones behind the DSL splitter which makes things cleaner.

Ikea PS. Just what is needed!

Data-links were patched to a Linksys (Cisco Small Business) SRW2008 managed gigabit switch which in turn is fed off my dual-WAN Linksys RV042 VPN router. Also connected is a DLink DIR-655 wireless router and a Netgear 10/100 8-port POE switch to power my IP cameras distributed around the house. It all fit somewhat nicely into the Ikea PS cabinet with space for two Belkin power strips fed off an APC UPS with extended run battery. That’ll give an approximate three hour runtime for my cameras, broadband and network during a power outage.

Improvements? I’ll need to add a few more cable drops for IP cameras sometime this year and since my NAS will be coming soon, I’ll probably need another patch panel. I’ve three data ports in each room, that makes 9 plus my “home office” has 4 ports so I’ve already used 13. My living room and common area has another four ports so that goes to 17. I’ve 3 POE ports outside the home (to be increased to 5) so that’s 20. My phone line distribution ends up take another three so I’m effectively out of ports! The picture below is not the latest one as I’ve added a modified shelf to hold my router to make space for a 16-port 10/100/1000 switch below and will be color coding the patch cables for easier maintenance soon.

Cabled up and running!

BTW for those interested in laying their own Cat 5 or 6 cables to connect to Telekom Malaysia’s demarcation point such as a telephone pole, here’s a quick guide depending if your cables are new or not. Newer cables are usually color coded. Mine are blue/white and white/blue and typically, you’ll use the same matching blue/white & white/blue center pair in the Cat 5 cable. The good thing about Cat 5 is that you can carry more phone lines on the same cable using another pair (up to 4) so your one single Cat 5 cable can then be split internally (hence my patch block & patch panel) to multiple incoming phone lines and devices (fax, line 1, line 2, etc). Typically, white/blue (white cable with blue stripes) is the positive cable but do verify with a voltmeter to be sure. In older areas sometimes the color is red and green where green is positive. If you have all black cable, a ridge (feel for it) marks the side of the twin cable that’s the positive wire.

p.s. Sorry for the photo quality — all taken with my iPhone 🙂


  1. Li Ying January 5, 2010 at 2:17 am

    the openning shot looks so festive….
    Great shots!

  2. Mark Leo January 5, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Wow, the pork burgers look so awesome!