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Learning has never been so easy!

Enlarging a wireless network is not as simple, because wireless ranges vary on a number of factors, such as walls, electronic interference from other devices, and the strength of the wireless. Think of MoCA as a “no new wires” technology as it uses the existing coaxial cables already in most people’s homes. There’s no need to drill holes or run Ethernet wiring through your home. Installation of a MoCA network connection is quick and easy, and you don’t need any specialized technical knowledge. Device driver issues can also cause problems with network connections – your network driver may be outdated, a new driver can cause problems, the wireless router may have been recently upgraded, etc. Try doing a system update first.

If your house is wired with 4 or 8 conductor phone line, you can probably use it...

It won't be pure gigabit, but you may be surprised at how effective it CAN be. Wireless interference, saturated RF bands, and even building framing can be a drag on using wifi at home.

Powerline adapters are available but can be intermittent for various reasons. They can be expensive, AND can be difficult to sync up if one end is on Phase1 and the other is on Phase2, or there are other noisy devices on the same circuit....

If you can't run new network cabling (pain in the ass, or you rent, or...) either....

So if you CAN, why not TRY the wires?

9 Steps total

Step 1: Examine the wiring

If you have 8 or 4 conductor wiring you can repurpose it for a home network. Look carefully. In the pic to the right notice the brown and green pairs are cut way back.

If the wiring is all point-to-point from the demarcation box (where the phone company connects outside lines) then you're really in luck.

If it's daisy-chained, that is connected from the demarc to room1, then from the same jack it goes on to room2, you CAN use it for either 1 or 2 network drops, but you'll be limited by the number of wires.

Step 2: ID the demarcation point

For me it was outside near the power meter.

Step 3: Take over the demarcation

The phone company's line comes to a demarcation point on your house or building. If you are a condo or apartment dweller, this CAN be done still, but takes some extra work.

Find the demarc, and disconnect the inside wiring. Leave the phone company's wire alone. Not needed.

I chose to cut a small hole in the garage, behind the demarc, and pull the ends of all the inside wires into the garage.

Pic shows the work in progress for a neighbor.

Step 4: 4 conductor, point to point:

For straight through connectors (I prefer 568B, so will use that here):

Both ends connected thus:

Pins 1, 2, 3, and 6






If your 4-conductor wiring is Yellow, Green, Red, Black, you can still use it, just ensure to use the same colors on both ends, still only using pins 1,2,3, and 6.

Step 5: 4 conductor, daisy-chained.

You can only go from the phone demarcation point, to ONE point on the chain. Sorry. Pick the point on the chain, connect the wiring up as in step 2 at that point, and DISCONNECT the rest of the that chain.

Step 6: 8 conductor, point to point

Connect as normal UTP. If the colors don't match up to the 568A/B scheme, then annotate such and just use the same colors at both ends.

This is not regular CAT-5 wiring. So if you are not going to use jacks and just use RJ-45, if the connectors feel loose, crimp tighter, pack the back of the plug with silicone adhesive, wrap the connector with tape, etc. Whatever you have to do.

Step 7: 8 conductor, daisy-chained

Unlike Step 3, you get TWO jacks from each chain.

Pick 4 conductors for each jack, separate them out at the demarcation point. Let's call them W1 and W2.

At the first jack location you choose along the chain, connect the wires for W1, and DISCONNECT those same wires from the rest of the chain.

Repeat at the 2nd jack, but use the wires for W2.

At all other phone jacks on that chain, there should be no wires connected.

Step 8: TEST

Save yourself a headache and test each jack as you wire it up.

If you don't have a tester you can use, put a switch at the demarcation point, and connect a laptop/PC at the other end of the wire. Lights tell a good story.

Step 9: Enjoy

with Beer.

Cheap and easy way to get network wiring in your house or apartment.

This is TOTALLY REVERSIBLE. Just document your connections BEFORE you change anything. Then put RJ-11 jacks back on (if they are there to begin with!) and reconnect your lines to the demarcation point.

If you have performance issues, look to your connectors first, then your wiring, THEN to interference points (motors, AC units, lights, etc.)

I'm cheap, and love to re-use old $%it when I can. If I can get decent enough network performance for the house via what's already there....

For This Old House, I'm... nah, too easy.


  • Datil
    SnifferSir Oct 23, 2012 at 07:47pm

    Step 6: 'This is not regular CAT-5 wiring...'
    That's because it's likely CAT-3 cabling - which is not technically rated for data, at least the normal/fast speeds However, I have seen it work.
    Definitely a way to get it done 'on the cheap' if rewiring is not an option. If doing this to rental property, it would be wise to check with the owner prior to making any changes, as the owner is ultimately responsible for any wiring within the structure up to the demarc.

  • Ghost Chili
    Nick42 Oct 23, 2012 at 08:30pm

    I know it's CAT-3. My point was not to expect proper fit or performance, like with network cabling. :)

    But... speaking of rentals, I see that I left that comment out. Thanks for the catch! Editing now.....

  • Habanero
    Dashrender Nov 1, 2012 at 08:34pm

    This is a great write up, but considering the amount of work involved, it might be easier (and potentially better/faster network wise) to use Ethernet over Power (EoP). These devices can be purchased from Best Buy or online for $90 or less and in most cases are plug and go.

  • Habanero
    PSX_Defector Nov 1, 2012 at 08:44pm

    One problem with the use of straight strand, which is not CAT3, is no twists in the lines. This wouldn't even be rated for any data.

    Not to mention if there are any scotchlocks on the line between the DEMARC and the drop. Don't expect to run anything other than basic web over these loops. No Netflix.

  • Jalapeno
    C.Michaels.IT Nov 1, 2012 at 08:46pm

    1000 feet of Cat5e can be had for under $100 now, so I rather use the existing wiring as a 'pull-cord' for new wiring, but I enjoyed the write-up!

  • Ghost Chili
    Nick42 Nov 1, 2012 at 08:49pm

    Guys, you're missing the point..... it's a 'can we do it' project, NOT a replacement for CAT-5. We did it initially because we could not run new wire, and power-line networking wasn't working right/expensive. And 'can we pull this off' always trumps reason when trying things out....

    Of course it's not RATED for data. But in at least 5 buildings so far, it's worked for almost every drop.

    For PSX, just a heads up that I've got 600Mbps throughput on the port that has the AppleTV, Roku, and Minecraft server. We watch TV on it all the time.

    AGAIN folks, this is a personal project, not a recommendation to wire up a business! Sheesh...

    Total cost of for 12 working drops, with leftover jacks and plugs, was $96.
    $16 for wall plates, $60 for keystone jacks, and $20 for a sack of RJ-45 plugs.

  • Ghost Chili
    Nick42 Nov 1, 2012 at 08:52pm

    C.Michaels , yeah for one room at the old house we were able to do just that. The room was over the garage and the phone lines were not secured (go figure), so we pulled two proper drops up that way!

  • Cayenne
    Pickle Nov 1, 2012 at 09:57pm

    Very nice write up! Even if you don't use or need it it's a cool DIY project.

  • Serrano
    TehTDK Nov 2, 2012 at 03:00am

    Nice write up. But I suspect doing this voids your landline connection correct?

  • Tabasco
    MJB969 Jan 3, 2013 at 12:12am

    Somewhere, I still have several boxes of devices for phone line networking. I think they're Netgear. Been thinking I should just get rid of them, as I haven't used them in almost 10 years.

  • Chipotle
    MJReno Feb 17, 2013 at 02:38am

    Cool. Thanks for sharing

Suppose we have a number of electronic control units. If we need to connect every unit with every other unit, to form a network, how many wires do we need ?

A network of electronic modules, where every module is connected with every other module, is called a fully meshed network. This kind of network topology is suitable only for small number of modules (nodes). We will see that the number of connections (wires) required in a fully meshed network grows quadratically with the number of nodes.

For example, if we have 4 nodes (electric control units) and we want to have a fully meshed network, we will need 6 wires in total.

Image: Fully meshed network with 4 nodes

What about for more nodes ? What is the relationship between number of nodes and number of wires ?

We have N nodes. Let’s start connecting every node with every other node. The constraints are:

  • between two distinct nodes there is only one wire
  • a particular node can not be connected to itself

In the table below we’re going to write down the number of connections for each node, taking into account the constraints specified above.

Node ## of connections1N-12N-2……kN-k……N-11N0

# – number


Let’s sum up all the numbers of connections together:

[begin{array}{lll} S_N &=& (N-1)+(N-2)+(N-3)+dots+(N-(N-1)) S_N &=& (N+N+N+dots+N) – (1+2+3+dots+(N-1)) S_N &=& N(N-1) – S_N 2S_N &=& N(N-1) S_N &=& frac{N(N-1)}{2} end{array}]

The number of wires SN needed to form a fully meshed network topology for N nodes is:

[ begin{equation} begin{split}
bbox[#FFFF9D]{S_N = frac{N(N-1)}{2}}
end{split} end{equation} ]

Example 1: N = 4

[S_N = frac{4(4-1)}{2}=6]

Example 2: N = 8

[S_N = frac{8(8-1)}{2}=28]

Example 3: N = 16

[S_N = frac{16(16-1)}{2}=120]

Example 4: N = 32

[S_N = frac{32(32-1)}{2}=496]

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In the pictures below you can visualize the topology of the network for each of the above examples.

Image: Fully meshed network with 4 nodes
Image: Fully meshed network with 8 nodes
Image: Fully meshed network with 16 nodes
Image: Fully meshed network with 32 nodes

It is obvious that for networks with more than 4-6 nodes a fully meshed topology is far too expensive and complicated because of the high number of wires used. That is why, in these circumstances, a bus topology network is the right choice.

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Compared to a fully meshed network, in automotive applications, a bus topology network has the following advantages:

  • eliminates redundant sensors and dedicated wires for each function (lower cost, lower weight and better reliability)
  • reduces the number of wires and connectors (lower cost, lower weight, better reliability, easier to package wiring harness)
  • allows more features and more flexibility (modules share data, more flexible design)

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For any questions, observations and queries regarding this article, use the comment form below.

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One Response


Could you explain more on how you get this
Sn = (N+N+N+…+N) – (1+2+3+…+(N-1))
to this Sn = N(N-1)-Sn ?

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