Brilliant ideas in intercom systems!


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Home Phone & Data Wiring - Tips & Accessories

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 use to worry about how to wire the phone lines throughout their new home. 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 you plan to have.

  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 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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Flush modular face plates


Modular Jacks

8-wire or 6 wire - CAT 5 modular jack



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. If you are planning for a maximum of two phone lines in the future, 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.

Running  4-pair cables, you can purchase 4-line phone equipments with RJ-45 (8-conductor) jacks, a phone system that can handle up to 4 telco lines or a telephone intercom system that only handles one line. Wiring with 4 pairs covers you for all cases and cost-effectively too. 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 also. Everything 4-pair. In this scenario, also you will  most probably be wiring for data networking  with a CAT 5 4-pair cable, for 10BaseT networking. So why not use 2 CAT5 4-pair cables throughout and keep it simple? You'll end up with excess wire pairs, but it is recommended that you keep spare pairs of wire anyway. Chances are that you are planning to have more than one phone line, at least one voice line and one internet line. In this case your resulting spare pairs would not be quite an excessive provision.  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 two extra pairs may help you take care of wholehouse music distribution based on multimedia speakers as implemented by this one system.

  • If you are going to dedicate all 4 lines to voice traffic and you are going to use 4-line telephone intercoms, you will need to terminate your extension wires with 8-wire modular jacks at the wall outlets.
  • If you are going to use a PBX phone system or a telephone intercom system, whether you have 4 telco lines or less, you will want to terminate your extension wires with 6-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 modem in a dedicated separate line jack, available at every outlet for your portable to plug in anywhere, at a minimum.  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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