Structured Wiring for Residential and Small Business

Wiring in walls

Structured Wiring - starts with wiring in the walls. On one end the wires start in every room or location you want wired internet access. All wires terminate or come together in a central location, relative to where the internet is connected to the ourside by a modem.

unorganized wiring


It is always helpful to know where the wires are going to, or coming from.

Imaging trying to figure out where these wires go, without any of them being labeled.
Yes, it can be done with an extreme amount of time and effort.

Labeling the wire going to and from any location, at both ends, simplifies connecting and troubleshooting why the internet is or is not working in a given location.

The need for mapping or labeling the wires at both ends becomes more apparent when you see a mess like this picture, and none of the wires were labeled.

Strucured Wiring does not have to look like a mess.

I was recently called to straighten out a mess of wires in a new home.
All the rooms in the home were wired for Internet but not all the connections worked.

In addition to the wiring panel being an absolute mess. Excessively long patch cables had been used to connect the wiring in the house to multiple switches with multiple cables going to the modem.

The simple solution was to use an appropriate switch with appropriate length patch cables.

I would normally add a small patch panel to manage the wiring, but in this case the panel box the builder had installed was to small, so I retained the connectors used by the previous installer.

unorganized wiring


The problem above where the Internet connections did not work in all the rooms was because:

  • In some of the rooms the wires were not connected inside the wall plates.
  • In some of the rooms the wires were not connected properly.

Connections at both ends of each wire need to use the same pattern - using either the T-568B or T-568A pattern. I prefer the T-568B pattern. Using one pattern at one end of the wire, and the other pattern at the other end of the wire will not work.

Whether one is making patch cables as in the picture, or punch downs as one would use in the wall or patch panel the wiring pattern needs to be the same.

For high speed internet connections use all eight wires. Four wires can be used in some cases but it degrades a high speed internet significantly.

Patch Panel

Bring it all together

At the central location where the wires come together there are four pieces of hardware:

  • First piece of hardware is usually the modem/router, provided by your internet service provider.
    The modem/router needs to be installed near or along side where the wires come from the rooms.
  • - a patch panel is used to connect the wires coming from the rooms in an organized manner.
  • - a switch is added to manage the connection between the modem/router and internet going out to the rooms.
  • - patch cables are then used to connect the hardware together:
    one patch cable goes from the modem/router to the switch.
    Additional patch cables are then used to connect the switch to the patch panel.

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Adding WiFi

Some modem/routers have WiFi built into the system. If so, your WiFi and structured wiring are complete.

If your modem/router does not have WiFi capability - or if you simply want a seperate WiFi from your modem, you can add a router with WiFi capabilities between the modem/router and the switch.

A few years ago I ran into a situation where the router and switch were installed "backward". The person could get Internet to one location in the house, but no where else.

Although the home owner had multiple persons check the system for problems, no one seemed to notice this error.

In the diagram the word "hub" is used instead of "switch". Hubs have essentially been replaced by swithches. Switches are more efficient and in many cases do not cost much more than a hub.

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