Wire Your Flat on the Cheap

Introduction: Wire Your Flat on the Cheap

Maybe you are thinking of setting up a NAS or home server for storage, serving media files or  would like to have high pings in online gaming. This instructable will show you, how to wire your flat with standard networking cable (aka CAT5e). Why to use cables instead of a wifi connection? Because its way more fast and reliable than any wifi connection!

Comparison of transfer speeds (after deductions):

802.11b: 5-6 Mbit/s
802.11g: 20-22 Mbit/s
802.11n ("draft-n"): 100-120 Mbit/s

100Base-T ("Fast Ethernet"):  94 Mbit/s
1000Base-T ("Gigabit Ethernet"): 940 Mbit/s

Result: Just under ideal conditions wifi is able to beat a "slow" ethernet connection.

Step 1: Grab Your Tools

You will need some inexpensive tools and materials. I got mine from Ebay for ~10€:

- A crimping tool

- As many plugs as you need and a few more to be on the bright side if crimping failed. One of my jiffy bags include: Jack, bend protection and wire insertion pad.

- Cutter and/or wire peeler

- CAT-5e cable (A "gift" from a friend). Don't get the thick ones, they are for network wallets. Look for patch wire with the label "STP" (Shielded Twisted Pair).

Step 2: Run the Wire and Cut It

Run the wire through your flat. Don't bother with hiding it under the carpet or that it lies straight on the wall, we will do that later. Then cut the end of.

Step 3: Peeling the Cable and Remove Shielding

First measure up 2cm (~ 0.8 Inch) from the end of the cable and mark it. Then use your cutter to peel it. Do the same with the shielding, but be careful of the wires. At the end we will have 4 pairs of wire. Nearly half ot the work is done.

Step 4: Put Over the Bend Protection

Now put the bend protection(s) over the cable. The earlier you do, the better. You will easily forget this, because you can crimp a cable without this.

Step 5: Decide Your Wiring

Now we have to decide which kind of wiring to use. There are two styles: T568A and T568B. It doesn't matter which one you choose as long both ends are the same. T568B is more common in U.S. for historic reasons, T568A is used by the rest of the world.

Step 6: Optional: Crossover

You have to use a different style of wiring if you plan to wire two devices together and none of them is capable of Automatic MDI/MDI-X (other vendor-specific terms are: Auto uplink and trade, Universal Cable Recognition and Auto Sensing). This might just be the case if you wire two PCs directly together and both just have 100mbit-capable networking cards.

Nearly all SOHO switches, routers and generally gigabit-devices have this feature implemented. So using this style of wiring anyway will lead to lack of connection.

To make a crossover cable you simply mix up the ends. One connection is T568A-style and the other T568B.

Step 7: Fiddling With the Cables

Now put your wires into the wire insertion pad. Look the pad: There are open lines on one side, where the metal contacts of the plug will hit the cable. There is just one correct way to insert the wires. Or crimping will end up in broken plastic.

Step 8: Insert the Pad

Now insert the wire insertion pad into the jack. To click it into place into I used a paper-clip.

Step 9: Crimp Attack

Just insert the jack in you crimping tool and crimp it. Be aware that all of your wires are in place. Then push the bend protection over the jack and you're done. Feel lucky with your very own best-fitting cable :D

Step 10: Optional: Glue and Hide Your Wiring

Depending on where you run the cables, they can easily transform into deadly traps. Take your hot glue gun or duct tape and glue your cables on the wall. And if you can, hide them under the carpet.

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    8 years ago on Introduction

    Just a question... why use a knife to strip the CAT-5 cable (and risk damaging inner wires - or the user ;) ) when the basic punch-down tool (yellow item in the first picture) has a wire stripper built in that's safer and easier to control?


    13 years ago on Introduction

    My connection to the internet doesn't provide for speeds over 20Mbit/s, so my 802.11g wireless is just as fast at downloading internet stuff as my wife's 100Base-T connected desktop, so wired connections won't help (me) with improving gaming pings outside of the house.

    A connection to a NAS, however, would be a whole different story. My wife's wired desktop would kick my laptop's butt at moving data, and for that, a wired connection is definitely preferred!


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    first, ping in games is your network ping+internet connection ping+ping at server's network, so this does improve your ping.


    12 years ago on Step 10

     I don't recommend glue. Gaffer Tape is a good but temporary way to secure wires that cross a doorway. The best option is to route the wire along the edge of the door, around and above it. If that's too messy-looking and you don't have too many wires, I highly recommend running the wire underneath the carpet-- just pull up the carpet along the wall and make a path with fish tape ($15 at your hardware store) or something sturdy like a yardstick/broom. This is especially ideal for apartments since you can pull dozens of wires out of the carpet in a few minutes leaving little or no evidence behind (and you aren't constrained to running along walls.)


    13 years ago on Introduction

    Depending on how good your wifi connection is, pings will increase a lot. Why? Because you have no more packet loss. I play Urban Terro online (ego-shooter) and ping is essential. With a wifi connection my ping fluctuated between 120 and 80. With a cable connection between 70-90.

    Please share your experiences with my instructable and give feedback. Happy crimping :D