Expand DSl Ethernet Network By Taking Advantage of Second Phone Jack?
April 18, 2013 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Here's the deal. I have a dsl gateway connected to a desktop with no wireless card connected upstairs. I would like to run ethernet somehow to a ps3/360 for optimal performance but it's impossible without making a big mess. I do have another phone jack about 15 feet from the 360/ps3. Is it possible to connect the second jack to the main internet connection somehow? I'd rather not go powerline.
posted by mamamia88 to Technology (9 answers total)
Not really. Not over phone wiring anyway.

Though you could open up the second jack, disconnect the wire, then use it to pull ethernet cable through the wall back to where ever the phone line comes in and put the ethernet gateway there.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:32 AM on April 18, 2013

Sure, it's possible. It would be easy to make a patch cable with an RJ-11 on one end and an RJ-45 on the other end, providing there are at least 4 wires actually connected in the phone jack. This is pretty unlikely though, but you can try to take the cover off the phone jack and see how many wires there are.

Performance will be terrible, but if the run is short and you don't have a house full of noise sources like fluorescent lights it might work.

As long as it's all low voltage there's not much chance of blowing anything up. The worst case scenario is that the wiring isn't good enough and the connection doesn't work.

But like I said, if there's just two wires in the phone jack it won't work at all. And even with 4 wires, phone wiring is not CAT5 twisted pair. But you might get lucky.
posted by GuyZero at 10:36 AM on April 18, 2013

We used our old phone line to pull cable through, it's really easy! You just take off the faceplate and undo the wire, secure your cable to it and pull it through the wall/floor to where you want it. We used a YouTube video, a zip tie and a pair of scissors and had it done in 10 minutes with no mess.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 12:11 PM on April 18, 2013

It's worth checking to see if your phone jack is wired with CAT5. I was able to convert the phone jacks in my house to Ethernet because I was lucky enough that this was the case in my house. When they rehabbed this over-100-year-old house in 2003, somebody somewhere had a brain and used CAT5e. You can imagine my thrill.

I use it now for a PoE Gigabit network, with jumbo frames, and it's great. But if your phone jacks weren't wired in the last decade or so, I wouldn't get my hopes up.
posted by CommonSense at 12:12 PM on April 18, 2013

Update it all appears to be cat 3 cable in my house.
posted by mamamia88 at 12:46 PM on April 18, 2013

I am a full time IT person

forget the phone wires, either pull cable (not that difficult) or use Ethernet over Power... you lose a little bit of the bandwidth but it works.

posted by bobdow at 1:49 PM on April 18, 2013

I have an Ethernet connection running across ordinary phone wire using a pair of HomePNA bridges. Bandwidth is lower than Ethernet, obviously, but it's still higher than the upstream DSL connection, so it doesn't matter.

There are three different kinds of HomePNA adapters, and they pipe the network across power lines, cable TV coax, and phone lines, respectively. I've only used the phone line version. I can't find the ones I have, but it's the same idea as this device, though mine were way cheaper than that - maybe $30 each.

This is supposed to work even if you are also using the wire for voice telephone service, but I don't know whether it is compatible with DSL. I am not using the phone wire in my building for anything but HomePNA.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:52 PM on April 18, 2013

You can run 10BASE-T over cat 3 cable. It won't be the fastest thing in the world, but it works. The bigger problem is that there are probably wire-twist junctions, etc., hiding in the walls/attic/etc. to distribute that phone line all over the house. That will cause reflections out the wazoo and you'll get absolutely terrible speeds and reliability. Twisted-pair Ethernet is designed for point-to-point cabling. :/
posted by introp at 9:40 PM on April 18, 2013

I'm a career IT guy. While rigging something using your phone lines is probably possible, of the available choices it's the worst possible one.

Powerline Ethernet is pretty decent. Slower than wired ethernet and slower than the latest Wi-Fi spec but takes very little effort to set up and is fairly affordable. ('bout a 100 bucks on average for a point-to-point kit.)

I would recommend you upgrade your router to a wireless router and buy USB or PCI wi-fi adapters for any machines not wi-fi equipped. Since you're concerned about how running cables looks, this is probably your best option since it would only be marginally more expensive than power line ethernet but would offer excellent speed (Wireless-N offers about 600mbit - more than sufficient for just about any kind of home use) and no unsightly cables.

Lastly, I will say that running cables cleanly isn't very hard. My apartment is fully wired and I didn't drill a single hole. I bought cables the same white as my walls and ran them where the walls meet the floor, stapling them in place. Where I had to cross door frames I ran the cable up and over the door frame, always keeping it tightly stapled to the edges. This setup works great and nobody notices it. The wires are barely visible unless you know to look for them.
posted by signsofrain at 9:05 AM on April 19, 2013

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