How to Wire Wall Plates & Cat-5

Written by c.d. crowder Google
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Wiring an Ethernet network requires you to wire your own wall plates. Wall plates allow you to run Cat-5 cable through walls, underneath floors and through ceilings. By using RJ-45 jacks, you can connect Cat-5 cables from your wall to computers, printers, routers and modems. Wired networks aren't prone to the same obstructions as wireless networks, such as microwaves and metal obstructions. This tutorial assumes you've already run the Cat-5 cable through your walls.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • RJ-45 jack(s) 110-type punchdown, colour-coded
  • Wall plate for RJ-45 jacks
  • Wall box (if not previously installed)
  • Drill or screwdriver
  • Appropriate saw for wall type (jigsaw, razor knife, rotozip, handsaw)
  • Anchors (if screws need more support)
  • Wire stripper

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  1. 1

    Determine where you want to place the wall plate. If you're just replacing the wall plate and jack, use the existing box.

  2. 2

    Draw the outline of the wall box on the wall where you wish to place the wall box. Use the appropriate saw to saw a hole into the wall. Ensure you're not sawing near electrical boxes to prevent cutting other wires.

    Drywall can be cut with a razor knife or handsaw. Wood requires a stronger saw such as a jigsaw.

  3. 3

    Pull the Cat-5 cable through the opening. If you can't see the cable, push the cable further into the wall from the original location. For instance, if running the cable from a hole in the second floor through the wall in the first floor, push more cable through the hole in the second floor to extend the reach of the cable.

  4. 4

    Insert the box. Screw the box in place using the screws that came with the box. If the box doesn't have holes already punched in the box, punch out the perforated hole in the box to pull your cable through. You may need to use a razor knife to cut the perforations.

  5. 5

    Use the wire stripper to strip approximately 1 inch of coating from the Cat-5 cable. Untwist the coloured wires and separate them.

  6. 6

    Place the RJ-45 jack through the wall plate. Place each wire end into the appropriate coloured slot in the jack. Use the punch tool provided with the jack to press the wires in place. Push the punch down completely into the jack to ensure the wires connect properly.

  7. 7

    Fit the jack and wall plate over the wall box. The plate should fit flush to the wall. Screw the wall plate into place.

Tips and warnings

  • Include approximately 6 inches between boxes to allow room in the event you need to recut and rewire the jacks.
  • If the screws don't have a stud to screw into, use wall anchors. Start the screw into the wall and hammer the anchor into place. You can also drill a hole and then place the anchor in place. Screw the screw into the anchor.
  • Test the jack before screwing the wall plate into place. This will prevent having to unscrew the wall plate to check wiring.

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