Introduction: Usb Dongles for USB Over CAT5 Connection

Picture of Usb Dongles for USB Over CAT5 Connection

You can run pretty much anything on Cat5, VGA, Usb, Sound Signals, S-Video and so on.

I'm planning in using my web cam as a security cam at my front door and I was thinking in using a pc downstairs to see my web cam over the net, but I have keep both pcs running at the same time and the need of extra software as well, so i decided to use a Cat5 to run a Usb connection over at least 25', I've been searching a little over the web and I found a couple of ideas to connect Usb peripherals over Cat5 successfully and I went over the subject, but I realize that i didn't want to cut the cat5 and solder the usb connections to the cable, so I decide to build a couple of Usb dongles (female and male) to cat5 and the cool thing is that they can be used on existing Ethernet network wall connections as well. I know that I might be pushing the limits but it's worth the try.

I wouldn't use this devices for Data tho, I understand the there are plenty of connectors out there that have baluns (which I don't quite know how they work), to send and receive Data signal, so I wouldn't risk the try but for peripherals such as web cams, mouse or keyboard, and sound signals would do just fine (even S-video).
I would highly recommend using a powered Usb hub for the distance mentioned above, in regards of some of the limits for this type of configurations:
Usb limits are up to 15' (4.5 meters)
S-Video up to 50' (15' meters)

I got very useful information from Tony's Cafe blog, on distances limits and some other valuable info, you may want to take a look at his site:

Step 1: Materials and Instructions

Picture of Materials and Instructions

The Dongles or connectors are very easy to build, I gather all the material from salvaged hardware

2 Ethernet Hubs (8pin RJ45 - salvaged from network cards)
1 Usb Male Plug Type A (any standard Usb cable)
1 Usb Female Plug Type A (from a Pc)
Solder Gun, wire and electric tape.
and of course a CAT5 Ethernet Cable

The hardest part was desoldering the Hubs from the salvaged PCB board, after that it was just a matter of selecting which cables of the CAT5 use to solder the Usb plugs and the RJ45 Hubs.

I select the pins in the following order:

RJ45 hub = USB plug
pin No. 2 = Green Cable
pin No. 4 = White Cable
pin No. 6 = Black Cable-Ground
pin No. 8 = Red Cable

I test the configuration at the other end and test the web cam (my work very well) later I isolate each soldered connection with electric tape (with yellow tape) and cover the hole thing (black tape), and voila!. 25' of video cable (plus the hubs) and working.
Easy and extremely cheap.


tech78 (author)2017-11-08

Is there a downloadable software(4 channels or more) also that has the same function as CCTV using PC camera. I would like to set-up monitors in my house.

MichaelF282 (author)2016-06-23

If I need to access USB over Ethernet I use the software - no cables, no hardware. Really helpful.

widetire (author)2014-06-24

is it possible to get netgear 85 router to receive wifi signal from an outdoor antenna with usb to ethernet splice? Reason being me and neighbor share off of his internet but my usb adapter doesnt pick up signal from his router anymore but does with my outdoor antenna. also have amped wireless repeater that i boosted signal with now it is not apparently receiving signal.

tech1337 (author)2013-03-13

Tis a shame that usb traffic cannot be routed! Think of the possibilities just plugging in a usb to a network port in a school or office and receiving a file with just a button press!

Thought of using the other way around? Male jack on usb to female/female extension? (less common I know, but available!)

mast3rbug (author)2010-05-31

It seem that peoples here know nothing about electronics and USB specification...  So I will let you know why USB can't work over 5 meters.

This is all about timing. at 5 meters, the delay propagation in the cable is maximum 26 nS(Nano Seconds).  This is the time the USB transceiver will wait after a packet transmission for an ACKnowledge answer.

So if your cable is longer, the ACK will be received too late, and the USB transceiver will be already in the timeout processus.  It's for that reason that if you want longer cable, you need Active USB repeaters.  These Active cables Are real relays that send ACK signals and re-transmit the data over another 5 Meters cable.

There is nothing about voltage drop or crosstalk here.

pcooper2 (author)mast3rbug2012-01-15

You're right. A person would be lucky to get USB 1.0 speeds out of a hack like this, if it works at all.

gurr (author)mast3rbug2010-10-13

It can not be that critial, since its working!
Once I ran RS232 over a 300 meters telephone cable! (max=16 m?)
It was working constantly for more than one year.

Sometimes we may test the "impossible" and it works.

DGeneral02 (author)2011-12-18

Is there any possibility of this working on a router, am looking forward to connecting a 3g usb dongle to the rj45 wan port of my router running a linux distro so i can establish a dialup connection. Pease any help will be appreciated

jtoomey (author)2011-05-20

Three things on running USB over Cat-5 wiring:
1. On the RJ-45 8-pin jack, you want to avoid pins 1,2,3,6 because if it accidentally gets plugged into a switch or PC Ethernet jack, the 5-volts could fry something.

2. You want the power (+5v,ground) on the same color (blue,blue-stripe) so it doesn't make an electronic field that can ruin the valuable data lines. the phone company runs 24V to our homes on one twisted pair of wires and it works fine.

3. Twisting the two data lines on one color (brown,brown-stripe) will keep data integrity over a longer run of lines. Ethernet lines do that and it works just fine.

I suggest the following from the USB to the Cat-5 jack:
1. usb pin 1 (+5v,red) goes to RJ-45 pin 5 (blue-stripe)
2. usb pin 2 (d-,white) goes to RJ-45 pin 8 (brown)
3. usb pin 3 (d+,green) goes to RJ-45 pin 7 (brown-stripe)
4. usb pin 4 (ground,black) goes to RJ-45 pin 4 (blue)

Using this configuration, you could simultaneously run Ethernet to a hub AND your USB extension with splitters and all.

AaronOfRuston (author)jtoomey2011-10-17


ogad_80 (author)jtoomey2011-09-22

I actually used this configuration for a USB web cam. Just a note, some USB's have an wire insulation that has nothing to do with making the connection just a tip for noobz like myself. I also had to cut down my Cat5 cable to about 3 meters because I was getting an error of non-recognized hardware. Thanks awesome Instructables and awesome tips!

flame boyyyy (author)2011-10-08

Why does it tell me that my USB device is unrecognized when i pplug it into the cable?

supadhyay1 (author)2011-09-12

try this one out hope thats help

gerneio (author)2011-07-21

just curious, is this whole instructable about extending your usb cable using an ehternet cable (cat 5)? Thats pretty neat, but what i was curios about was if it was to be possible to instead of making an extension, to convert or merge a usb cable and ethernet cable to work together. Its kinda far stretched, but the only hard part in this is figuring out which wires to connect or pair. So on the usb side, which has four wires (red,green,white,black) to the ethernet cable by connecting the wires together in the right way.... Possible or impossible?

E_MAN (author)gerneio2011-08-26

Actually it is possible to run other things over a cat5 cable. Search up "POE pinout" and you will find that the brown and blue pairs are not used by a standard networking devices. You SHOULD be able to run the 4 usb wires over the 4 spare wires... but i will warn you, there could be LOTS of interference. If you have any networking equipment that has POE you will probably destroy your networking equipment, usb device and your computer :) but if use disconnect those connections to your devices you should have TOO many issues... have fun!

gerneio (author)E_MAN2011-08-26

So it is possible?? :D but I'll destroy my equipment?? Lol.... That's a hard decision...

E_MAN (author)gerneio2011-08-26

no, as long as you disconnect the blue and brown pairs from the cable and not splice them you should be fine. Just put that as a warning......

gerneio (author)E_MAN2011-08-26

Ok so if I'm using a already made ehternet cable, and cut one end of the cable off to expose the wires, it'll work? By doing what you said, of course

E_MAN (author)gerneio2011-08-26

just use a knife and strip off the outer jacket. Then cut only the blue and brown pairs out. do this on either end and just be careful not to cut or untwist the green and orange pairs. oh and by the way, keep the power and data connections on different pairs to minimize interference. Doing it this way will help keep your networking equipment intact :D

gerneio (author)E_MAN2011-08-26

Thanks for these fast replys, I will defiantly try this when I get time

金王 (author)2011-07-19

We do develop the new product for surveillance system by USB Cam. Now, we could do 4 ch USB Cam with a great video. It is also great to read this document. We will try. Thank you those information.

lp142 (author)2009-11-02

Can a powered hub be put in the middle of this configuration and provide power?

quaired (author)lp1422010-03-17

hello everyone, this may be offtopic please excuse my comment. i made myself one project very similar to this but instead pulled out an ethernet port together with 2 usb port on a one module from the back end of a destroyed motherboard already. i have been trying to make a very long range ethernet but as i researched usb is really limited to 5 meters only. therefore i compared two cat5 cables with 1 below 5 meters and 2 above 5 meters and gathered the difference between the two:

these are my observations:
usb power supply pins1 and 4 can supply with a steady 5 volts on both cat5 cables. cable 1 below 5 meters and cable 2 above 5 meters both registered on the tester 5 volts steadily.

while testing on terminal +data and -data i get a drop of .5 when i put the testers over 1x continuity.

this lead to a conclusion that signal from the usb running through a cat5 cable drops after 5m. but the 5v supply from the usb running through a cat5 is a steady power supply.

i made this project because i want to use my socket A old cpu as surveilance system of our home using usb webcams. i can connect up to 4 webcams but distributing it around the house is very tricky. im avoiding also of ip cams because of it's high costs any suggestions on how i might solve my problem? thanks for your ideas.

Ant1Xr1st (author)2010-03-15

My USB2.0 Webcam works perfect via 12.2Meters CAT5e cable. But 15.5Meters long cable isn’t working. I used one pair for data (D+, D-) and tree others for power. Cat5 cable is directly soldered to webcam on the one side and to the male-A usb connector on the other side.

BlackHatCracker (author)2010-03-02

Nice idea, instead of spending 30.00 + for this.. :-D Lovin it!

tinnyjl (author)2009-09-14

Can Use The Cables With Out The Ethernet

arte.sano (author)tinnyjl2009-09-14

It depens for what, I've had luck using a usb webcam over 25ft but witha powered usb, but no luck with mouse or keyboard, maybe adapting some sort of additional power like a battery or power via ethernet using the remaining cables, or using capacitors? good luck

milsorgen (author)arte.sano2010-01-10

 Yeah your probably going to need to clean and boost the signal for extreme lengths on pins 2-3.

krahoc (author)2009-09-16

Tried it with a 20m long cat5 shielded câble. 5V between +5 and ground is ok, but data +/- fails (tried webcam, keyboard, joystick). Guess I will have to find an ethernet webcam.

Lee Wilkerson (author)krahoc2009-11-14

Your problem is most likely a power sag induced by too long a cable. With a cable that long and that small I can imagine you're going to drop at least .5 volt. Test your voltage at the end farthest from the computer with the load attached. You need at least 4.75 volts. Try using the unused wires in the Cat 5 cable in parallel for the +5 and ground wires.

If your voltage didn't sag that far, then you have crosstalk issues. If this is the case, ground all the  unused wires at the COMPUTER END ONLY (hook 'em to the black wire).

krahoc (author)Lee Wilkerson2009-11-14

The +5V has been tested and is ok. Checked the connections with a continuity tester for the data cables and the other cables were not connected.
Seems the problem is not power (the hardware is powered) but data transmission (un-recognized by computer). Anyway, I used another solution (optic fiber).

qou2600 (author)2009-02-28

Can I use this to get internet or a lan connection?

dejan4ence (author)qou26002009-05-21

for USB FLASH MEMORY is work but for w-fi USB not. Wi-fi its working only 2meters leng in 3meters hi dont recognize . salute

cornflaker (author)qou26002009-04-08

... just use the cat 5 cable by itself without doing anything lol this is to extend your usb cable way beyond the normal limits

qou2600 (author)cornflaker2009-04-08

I understand. My friend has a laptop with a broken network card an I was hoping for a cheap solution to his problem. I'm sure he can find a good deal on something though thank you both

PCfreak (author)qou26002009-04-08

no u would have to use something like this:

LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-01-22

Cool! how does it perform (speed)?

arte.sano (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-01-22

So far I've been testing on Usb1.1, and just peripherals, no big deal there. thanks.

LinuxH4x0r (author)arte.sano2008-01-23

I know that speed decreases in as short as 6 feet, so I wasn't sure, but 1.1 should do fine.

varun.coolmax (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-04-21

hmmm I've tried this stunt on a very long Cat5 cable.. i attached a 5v led on the other side of the wire and it glows.. meaning the power is transfered accurately.. but when i attach a usb mouse or keyboard.. it seems that it doesn't get much power...meaning it doesn't work... is there anything i can do... ???

arte.sano (author)varun.coolmax2008-04-21

mmm, now the you mention it, I try a keyboard and didn't work, Mouse neither, How long is your cable?, check the length cos' my is 25' at least my web cam works with no problem, you can also use the 8 wires and paired them in two to double the connections, check the reply below. cheers

Sk8erCk4Life (author)arte.sano2008-12-22

Use this wiring method but instead of using UTP, use CAT5 cable and don't use the hubs.

How to extend your USB using UTP

varun.coolmax (author)arte.sano2008-04-27

my cable length is 25'... I've used the following pairing between usb and cat5... +5v on blue/white... GND on blue... Data + on brown.. Data - on brown/white... i've just bought a new web cam.. it gets powered up using the wires but the computer cannot recognize the web cam.. i guess this is something to do with the Data cables..the Data cables have voltage of 28 AWG which limits its distance to about 1.81 meters...also i guess its voltage is 3.3V or 4.5V.. if it were 4.5 it should work..but in case of 3.3V it might not be able to send the current far across the 25' wire... any suggestions...!!!

arte.sano (author)varun.coolmax2008-04-28

mmm, I actually test my cable with the dongles on a webcam, a regular logitech 5v. the confusing part was the Usb ports I was using, my work in the one that i previously connect my webcam, and considering that I'm still using Usb 1 I can't see why is not working with yours, I'll check the Usb port. Hope it helps.

Padlock (author)varun.coolmax2008-09-24

Passive USB cables do not operate beyond 16 ft.

CuSS (author)varun.coolmax2008-06-02

try to put a powered usb hub pluged at the female of the usbcat5

sarkeizen (author)2009-01-22

Actually what I found easiest of all is buying a USB Extension cable. Which has one Male "A" connector and another Female "A" connector. Cut it in half. Strip the wires. Then crimp an RJ-45 connector on each end (making sure to pair the data+ and data- leads). I have it on a short run (8ft) and it works fine for USB 1.1 devices. Even data can be transferred at that speed. I've played 720p video back over that connection. It even can handle a single USB 2.0 device. I'm working on getting USB 2.0 to work through a hub. I'd like to connect a USB Blu-Ray drive this way.

ggiihh1 (author)2009-01-08

Can this be used simply as a usb extension cable?

help me please!!!! (author)2008-12-30

I have a cord used to hook a computer to internet it has 8 wires. 4 white wires 1 orange wire 1 brown wire 1 green wire 1 blue wire and on the usb cord it has 1 white wire 1 red wire 1 green wire 1 black wire and a bunch of little silver wires over to the side without and covering. How do I connect them?

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