Wire Your House With Ethernet Cable

Wire Your House With Ethernet Cable

You’ve ripped a movie on your laptop, and now want it on that fancy new home theatre PC next to your TV. If you’ve got the time, wiring your house with Cat-5e cable could make transfer times a distant memory.

Instrucables user Rogue Agent gets into the nuts, bolts, studs, an boxes needed to wire a house with omni-present cable in a fairly professional manner. The tutorial is based on setting up an actual cable switching box on a server-type rack. For those who just need to run cable from one room to another, the tips on finding, mounting and securing cable through the walls, without your home looking like the scene of a sledgehammer party, are just as helpful.

Have you taken the dive into home cable networking? What guides, tutorials or tips do you wish you’d known from the start? Tell us, and share the links, in the comments.

How to Wire Your House With Cat-5 (or 6) For Ethernet Networking [Instructables]


  • In Australia, it is illegal for a home user to install their own permanent data/telephony cabling.

    The operative word is permanent. You are allowed to string ethernet cabling along the floor/wall etc, but as soon as it goes into a wall cavity or a conduit between your house and your shed, you need to employ a licensed data cabler.

    ACMA’s stance on home cabling states:

    A registered cabler can install data cabling for computer networks that connect to the telecommunications network. This includes internet connections and is especially useful where you want computers in different rooms in the house.

    Nevertheless, I have installed Ethernet and phone cables throughout out house with help from sites like this (it can’t be too hard, I’m only 18). As long as you follow the ACMA cabling guidelines – the same ones professionals have to adhere to – it should be fine.

    Getting a cabler to where I live would be expensive (4hrs travel time each way), and I’d still be waiting for a home network. Sometimes you have to take things into your own hands. Just make sure the cables have enough distance from electrical cables to reduce fire and noise risk.

    • Surely that’s only for telephony lines? A network cable is something entirely different. It cannot loop back into and outside network which a telephone line does, so it can’t cause any harm.

      • The Australian Wiring Rules are primarily in place for life safety and public asset protection (along with government employees attempting to justify their jobs through ridiculous money making schemes).

        The main theories are that someone could use a standard RJ11 / RJ12 cable and bridge structured ethernet cabling to public PSTN cabling, and that if the separation of services is not adhered to, an object that could cut a mains cable could also bridge onto ethernet cabling causing a life safety issue.

  • I dont think you have to worry to much about the ethernet police knocking on your door though if you do, do a homemade job.

    I dont see why do this though when wifi is quite common i just have wifi all around my house and stream all my media?

    • lol @ “ethernet police”.

      Though there is no precedent, theoretically an insurance company could knock back a claim in the event of, say, a house fire if there is illegal wiring in the premises, forcing you to recoup any damages from the licensed cabler who botched the job. If you did the cabling, you’ve got no-one to sue.

  • It sure is illegal to run your own cat 5 inside walls and ceilings in AU. For reasons mention above, most networks are connected electrically in some method to the PSTN. Even a switch that has several PCs and an ADSL modem router plugged into it, there is chance (albeit, a small) that a fault could cause damage at the users exchange.

  • My Dad used to work for Telstra (back when it was Telecom) and he said some dude had been killed by a dodgy telephone/alarm clock combo (introduces 240V, where the phones are only 12V from the exchange).

    Apparently it had been wired wrong and sent amps back up the telephone lines and some dude touched it on the other end and got banhammered from life.

    Whether it is true or not, doesn’t matter. I just paid a licensed guy to do the installation in my house. He actually said too that at his company only he could do it, all the other normal electricians were not allowed without an ACRS/AUSTAR license or something. Even he laughed and couldn’t believe that the separate license was required for low-risk data jobs.

  • Having done a good portion of the data cabling course at TAFE I can tell you that a) it is indeed illegal to do your own network cabling, and b) there are some very good reasons.

    Apart from electrical separation, and safety issues, cabling done correctly is also less prone to interference.

  • Yeah, as I said, the main concerns are safety(especially fire and electric shock) and the reduction of cross-talk. Basically, don’t go putting cables in your walls if you don’t know what you’re doing. There was no risk of the services bridging to PSTN cabling, as we have no fixed line – our phone service is from a radiophone tower in our backyard, and internet is from 2-way satellite. The only issue was to make sure it was grounded. My cabling was checked by an electrician (who was a resisted cabler) and under the ACMA guidelines is accepted.

    It’s a bit of an archaic rule, but if it keeps idiots from getting electrocuted, who am I to criticize?

    • @Paul

      “(back when it was Telecom)” : According to the stickers on the box at the base of our phone tower and all the cabling, or service is still provided by ‘Telecom’. Pity, the bills still seem to come though.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!