How to Wire Ethernet Wall Plates

Updated March 23, 2017

An Ethernet wall plate contains an RJ-45 jack that is designed to accept cat-5, cat-5e and cat-6 cables, also known as Ethernet cables, as they're used to connect computers and other peripheral equipment to a network. The cat-5, cat-5e and cat-6 designations signify the maximum frequency that each cable can handle. Most household applications use cat-5e cable. It's rated from 1 to 100 megahertz, or MHZ, and is more than adequate for home networks.

Pull the cable out of the wall a minimum of 6 inches. Use the utility knife to trim the outer insulation at least 2 inches. If any of the wires are cut or nicked during the trimming process, use the cable cutter to cut off the end and try again.

Untwist the four pairs of wires. The connector is colour-coded to match the wire location. Do not strip the ends of the wires. The jack will pierce the insulation when it's inserted in its slot.

Insert one of the wires into its corresponding slot. Some connectors require the ends of the wires to be bent at 90-degree angles as they're inserted. Follow the instructions that come with the jack.

Push the wire down into its slot with the small plastic tool that comes with the jack. Repeat for the remaining seven wires.

Place the plastic caps that come with the jack over the wires and snap in place. Insert the jack into the cover plate; it will latch in place when it's inserted properly.

Push the cable back into the wall opening and secure the cover plate to the wall.


Double-check the wire colours to make sure they,re in the right slots. It's easy to make an error; the wires are small and there is not a lot of room in which to work.

Things You'll Need

  • Wall plate with RJ-45 jack
  • Utility knife
  • Cable cutter
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About the Author

Phil Altshuler has written award-winning ad copy and sales-training literature since 1965. He is an expert in conventional and sub-prime loans, bankruptcy, mortgage loan modifications and credit. Altshuler was a licensed mortgage broker in California and Arizona, as well as a licensed electrical contractor. He has a Bachelor of Science in electronic engineering from California Polytechnic State University.