Brilliant ideas in intercom systems!


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Home Phone & Data Wiring - Tips & Accessories
Spool of CAT5 cable

CAT 5 - 4 pair Cable
Available in spools of 1000 ft. & 500 ft.




  Many of those who have taken the step to build their own home or small residential building use to worry about how to wire the phone lines throughout their new construction. While great care must be taken in planning and actually wiring for electricity, data and phone wiring are a lot simpler, no matter how many phone lines or network drops you plan to have. Despite the ubiquity of the wireless these days, don't fall into the trap of not laying down phone cabling in your new or remodeling home or apartment building. You will only live to regret it. Many times, only thing we can offer to those calling us with the request to provide something that will work for them in order to satisfy code or official requirements having not laid down any cabling is our sadness and sympathy!

  With phone wiring you don't have to worry about the load (power) that your wires should support, as you do for electrical wires. Most phone wires intended for use in homes and buildings have two ratings: 22 AWG and 24 AWG. Telephone loop currents are very low, being in the milli-amp range. These wires may be flat-line cordage or twisted pair. You will never want to use the flat-line cordage type which looks like the extension phone cords available in any hardware store. The twisted pair is the industry standard for multiple phone lines and data use. 

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PHONE WIRING - Multi-Port faceplates

Flush modular face plates


Modular Jacks

8-wire or 6 wire - CAT 5 modular jack


HOME WIRING - Blank Place holder

plate blank


F Connectors

F connector module


Face Plates

Example of assembled
modular plate with 
designation labels

CAT 5 twisted-pair cable has become very popular. Keep in mind that shielded CAT5 represents the top-of-line type of cable for phone wiring: they carry an aluminum shield all around the pack of wires to prevent radiated electromagnetic interference from entering the cable. These are more expensive than the regular unshielded cable.

North American wire manufacturers have made available for home wiring phone cables of 2-pair, 3-pair and 4-pair wires. No matter how many phone lines you plan to have, no matter how you want to distribute them around your home, there is one thing you will never want to do: run one multi-wire cable (4 pairs or more) throughout all the rooms and open the cable at each location to tap into one pair of wire. Some contractors use this inconvenient method, probably to cut  costs. Never use it yourself and stop any of your possible contractors from using it! You can't expand, it will be a complete hassle for anyone later on to find the line(s) headend points. It's no good.

The first issue you want to consider is how many (analog) phone lines you plan to have. Even when you are going to have just smart phones for telephone service, you should have at least cabling for 2 lines, which has always been the standard. You should also think that there are other equipments out there that might use the phone cabling in lieu of telephone service. If you have seen the local phone company remove their public copper lines out there, do not take it as a sign that you can have your home or building construction with wiring infrastructure. The fiber box they are going to install in your home or building is going to require standard wiring throughout.

If you are planning for a maximum of two phone lines, it is safe to run a 3-pair cable throughout and use modular outlets with 6-conductor jacks. Do not run one two-pair cable, even though two-pair cables are just what your two separate phone lines will need. Now, because Category 5 4-pair cables are so cost-effective, you will probably find it to your advantage to use a CAT 5 4-pair cable in most cases, even if you are wiring for two telco lines.

You should run your wiring based on 4-pair cables, which sets you up for almost everything wired equipment: a back up phone line for emergency situations, 4-line phone equipments with RJ-45 (8-conductor) jacks if you have a home office where you conduct business, a phone system that can handle up to 4 telco lines or a telephone intercom system that only handles one line. Obviously if you are going to have an IP network for computers and IP phone system, you will even need a separate 4-pair cable with multi-port faceplates throughout. Wiring with 4 pairs is your safest bet. Covers you for all cases and cost-effectively too. For just two phone lines, you could certainly use other alternatives such as running a 2-pair or a 3-pair cable from each room to a central distribution point and one 4-pair cable from the telco demarcation point to your central distribution point. Everything considered however (cost and ease of implementation), it is definitely simpler for you to run a CAT 5 4-pair cable from your rooms to the central distribution point instead. Everything 4-pair.

If you want to be prepared for computer networking as well, you will definitely want to run 2 4-pair CAT5 cables throughout. Never mind any excess of wire pairs, since it is recommended that you keep spare pairs of wire anyway. Most do-it-yourselfers apparently tend to prefer this solution that makes it all fairly less complicated, even though they have to take care of a couple of excess pairs throughout the wiring. Note that the extra pairs may help you take care of such things as wholehouse music distribution based on multimedia speakers as implemented by this one system.

Terminate your lines into 8-wire modular jacks at the wall outlets. You will want to install modular outlets in which you can attach different kinds of plugs. In one outlet, you may want to be able to plug your phone and your computer network cable. You will also want to be able to plug your computer network port in a dedicated separate jack, available at every outlet.  Additionally, you will want your CATV signal (video cable: antenna, satellite, cable modem, surveillance camera...)  to be available at multiple outlets. Therefore your outlets must be modular outlets, giving you the possibility to plug in whatever you want. What is going to be available at each specific outlet you will have to define yourself. It requires you  a little bit of planning to select the right modular outlet for each location of your home. Modular outlets are available for 2, 3, 4 and 6 jacks (openings usually designated as ports) to fit in. Use a wall plate blank to seal ports  that are not used in a modular outlet. Also designation labels are available to identify each port at an outlet in an attractive and removable manner.





Disclaimer: This page reflects the best of our knowledge of structured wiring and holds no value other than suggestions to potential users. It may change to offer suggestions that best fit usage and new wiring methods. You are under no obligation to follow these advice. Quantometrix, Inc. cannot be held liable for any damage of any nature resulting from the use of the information published on this page.


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