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Old 02-26-2012, 08:03 PM   #1
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What's the deal with these cables next to my main panel?


I recently purchased a house that was built 5 years ago. Right next to my main panel there is a wad of 8 CAT5 cables (I think they're CAT5 - see photos below). However, I don't have any CAT5 jacks anywhere in the house. So I have no idea where those wires go. I can see them trailing off into the basement ceiling behind the furnace ducts, but there are no jacks anywhere in the house.

From each of the eight cables, all of the 8 blue wires are wired together with a wire nut (see photo below). Also, all 8 of the blue/white wires are connected together with a wire nut (see photo). However, all of the other six wires from each of the 8 cables are just hanging there connected to nothing.

QUESTIONS:

1) Are these CAT5 Cables? I just want to confirm.

2) Can you think of any reason why all of the blue wires would be connected to each other, and all of the blue/white wires would be connected to each other, while all the the other six wires from each cable would just be left hanging there connected to nothing? Would there be any purpose for that?

3) This looks like an amateur job, so I doubt if this was installed when the house was built, but is it customary for builders to string CAT5 cable to the rooms just in case the owner decides to install jacks later? I'm just trying to figure out why these wires are there.

4) If this was your house, what would you do with those cables?

I'm just trying to make sense of this bundle of CAT 5 cables hanging next to my main panel. Any suggestions or opinions would be appreciated. Photos follow:






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Old 02-26-2012, 08:06 PM   #2
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What's the deal with these cables next to my main panel?


My guess would be phone. Two wire system. Compare your pone jack count with the wire count.

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Old 02-26-2012, 08:08 PM   #3
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What's the deal with these cables next to my main panel?


Looks like they ran CAT5 to all the jack locations in the house and only wired them for phone instead of wiring them into a patch panel.

Blue/blue-white is typically the first pair for a phone number.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:13 PM   #4
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What's the deal with these cables next to my main panel?


Looks like a typical telephone company installation. I see this in houses constantly. The electricians run the cable and cat5 runs for phone and cable, and leave them at the panel. The cable and telephone companies then come and sloppily hook them up, without regards for how it looks.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:20 PM   #5
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What's the deal with these cables next to my main panel?


I never realized you could just wire-nut phone line wires together like that. In my house I ran unbroken lines jack to jack.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:21 PM   #6
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What's the deal with these cables next to my main panel?


New phone and data lines are now run all as home runs from a common or central point. Daisy chaining is not done.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:24 PM   #7
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What's the deal with these cables next to my main panel?


Looks like the PO wired all the phone jacks with home runs. That's a good thing. It allows you some flexibility with an additional line or two and the option to put in a telephone system, and intercom system and individual uses for each jack.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:25 PM   #8
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What's the deal with these cables next to my main panel?


I like the idea of them running cat5 for phones that way if the homeowner decides they wants a wired home network they just swap out the jacks put plugs on the cable and add a router.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:29 PM   #9
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What's the deal with these cables next to my main panel?


Quote:
Originally Posted by 30Five View Post
I never realized you could just wire-nut phone line wires together like that. In my house I ran unbroken lines jack to jack.
Yeah, I've seen that before, but around here, they're usually always all brought back to the panel. This way, you have easy access to the all the lines, its easier to troubleshoot each individual jack and can change the connections if need be (i.e. add a 2nd phone line, etc..)
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:16 PM   #10
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What's the deal with these cables next to my main panel?


Telephone. You have a pseudo structured wiring setup. Good for if you wish to change a phone over to ethernet. You just need to punch down the cat-5e to a punch down panel, add in a switch, and you are good to go for networking.

To the OP, I have posted over in the networking forum, how my network setup is done, so that others can go on their own in how to do their's, and it gives also an idea of what a patch panel, network rack, switch is. My network rack is just tucked under our stairs going into the basement, and sits on a shelf next to the power panel, where catv & telco enter the house.
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:17 PM   #11
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What's the deal with these cables next to my main panel?


Quote:
Originally Posted by 30Five View Post
I never realized you could just wire-nut phone line wires together like that. In my house I ran unbroken lines jack to jack.
That was the old way of doing things. Star topology is a better solution.
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:33 PM   #12
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What's the deal with these cables next to my main panel?


Yep, that's it. Never in a million years would I have thought of phone jacks on a CAT5 cable. Any phone wiring I ever did was with that skinny tan jacketed cable with black, red, green, and yellow wires inside. But tonight I pulled a phone jack cover, and sure enough, there was CAT5 cable in there. So now I know.

I'm not using any phone jacks because I have wireless phones connected to my cable provider, but it's nice to know I have the flexibility to do other things down the road if I want to.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:38 PM   #13
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What's the deal with these cables next to my main panel?


Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
...To the OP, I have posted over in the networking forum, how my network setup is done, so that others can go on their own in how to do their's, and it gives also an idea of what a patch panel, network rack, switch is. My network rack is just tucked under our stairs going into the basement, and sits on a shelf next to the power panel, where catv & telco enter the house.
Thanks gregzoll. I'm heading over there now.

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