Connecting Phone lines via CAT 5

In order to simplify the wiring, the phone lines were effectively run through the CAT 5e cabling, with network to phone adaptors (bought from Maplin Electronics), plugged in at whatever wall network port that was patched in as a phone line. A 16-way CAT 5e patch panel was used to wire the 2 phone lines into. The process was a lot simpler and smoother than I anticipated.

Essentially, the phone lines come into the house as 2 separate lines; one an analogue phone line, and one an ADSL line which is split into a phone line and a port for connection to a PC. The analogue line is plugged into a patch panel which distributes this phone line around the house via CAT 5, and a lead from the phone line socket on the ADSL wall unit is connected to another patch panel, which again distributes the second phone line around the house via CAT 5.

Phone Cabling

Wiring the phone lines into the 16 way patch panel was straight forward. A phone lead with a BT plug on one end was plugged into a BT phone socket on the wall. Next to this wall socket was the rack with the patch panel designated for use with the phones. Bare wires on the end of the phone cable were patched into the patch panel in the first patch socket in a group of 8 patch sockets, and then each similarly colour coded connection on each patch socket was wired with a similarly colour coded wire to the following patch socket. i.e. the patch sockets were wired in series.

The same procedure was followed for the second phone line, with a second cable from a second BT phone socket, being patched into a second group of 8 patch sockets.

The phones could then very easily be patched into the main patch panels for each room, and the output at each network socket in the rooms would be fitted with a network to phone adaptor where a phone was to be plugged in. Although the patch panel for the phones has 2 groups of 8 patch sockets, only 4 of each group of sockets are used to ensure the Ring Extension Number (REN) does not exceed 4. If the REN exceeds 4, funny things can sometimes happen, like phones ringing randomly etc.

N.B. Do not, repeat, do not, plug patch leads from patch panels used to connect phone points, into hubs or switches. Hubs and switches are designed for low voltage data communications, not the 40-50 Volts used in phone lines. Connecting the 2 types of systems is a very expensive mistake, and will likely result in ruined network equipment.

A couple of points

  1. The CAT 5 cabling was patched into the patch panels, and the individual modules around the house, using the 568B standard.
  2. Standard RJ-45 to BT adaptors (bought from Maplin Electronics), were plugged into the wall network points in order to connect the phones. As long as the wiring scheme is kept consistent throughout, then it is straight forward to use standard network to phone components for connecting the phones.
  3. Standard Network patch cables were used to patch phones from the phone patch panel into the network patch panels. Again, as long as the wiring scheme is kept consistent throughout, then it is straight forward to use standard network components for running the phone lines.
  4. Write down on paper (or on computer) everything you do in terms of wire colours used, and which colour wire connects to which connection on the network modules and patch panels. If anything goes wrong, it is far easier to trace a wiring problem if you've written everything you've done down somewhere.

The Phones

Wired phones rather than cordless phones have been used throughout the house, originally because all 6 cordless phones (analogue and DECT), have packed in within a year of each of them being bought. To say I am unimpressed with cordless phones would be an understatement. The 3 makes of DECT phones have all broken down with no more than normal phone use; The Philips Onis just stopped working one day, the Samsung cut calls off, and the VTech just stopped. I would also say the Philips DECT phones are about the most user unfriendly, badly designed domestic appliances I have ever come across! I don't know why they just pack in, it's not as if I've got a Faraday cage fitted in all the rooms, and they broke down before the house wiring was started.


There is an unscrupulous website around that has copied whole paragraphs of what I wrote above verbatim, with no regard for copyright. Please be assured, they did not ask if they could use it, nor did they offer any reciprocal link. I offer this information just so you are warned to avoid any site that has no attribution of the information above. If they would do this, it is not hard to draw the conclusion that other sections of their website have been copied without permission from other websites too. They are then passing off this content as their own along with making money via advertising from the content.