Home Networking Question

I’ve recently cut the cord, Tablo is on its way, Roku is set up via the wireless and I would like to set it up so it’s connected via Ethernet.

When I had the house wired, I requested CAT-6. When I set up the internet, I really didn’t pay attention to the wiring, we just used the wireless. So I open the box which connects everything and low and behold, I find this organized mess:

Now, I fixed the Antenna so it feeds the rest of the house. I just don’t understand this mess of wires. Should I just call someone? Any advice on how to interpret it? This is the box:


I don’t think the top is meant for internet, I read it’s only phone. So that must mean that the wires sticking out in the middle are the Ethernet. But:

1.There wires in the middle sticking out don’t have ends, they are cut.
2.The “test” connection on the top of the box is for Ethernet , not phone.


Lost CordCutter

I would get someone to help you.

But let’s try to figure it out. Cat 6 cable is used for ethernet. In this configure you use all 8 wires in the cable.

Cat 6 cable can be used for telephone lines which is what you’ve done with that Command Center II. Here you are only using 4 cables.

If you don’t have an active phone line, then you can use those cables to hard wire your Roku to your router. As well as hard wire your Tablo to your router.

You’ll need an ethernet switch in the same location where that Command Center II is.

Well, if you live any where near Raleigh, NC I can come over and help you. What you have there is a “structured wiring” box for Phone and Video, not ethernet.
The thing is, you have Cat5 or Cat6 cable, but not hooked up in a way to use it currently for ethernet. Cat5/6 has 4 twisted pairs of wires - only one of those pairs is needed for your phone. Ethernet only requires 2 pairs of wires (of the 4 pairs in the cable) - which means you can cheat and use two pairs for ethernet, while retaining your phone line on one of the other pairs. This is not technically something your should do, as you can in theory get interference between phone and ethernet, but I’ve used this trick a bunch of times successfully, even for GigE speeds.

You would need additional equipment to use any of those cables for ethernet, even as described above. As you noted, there are no ethernet ports or connectors on your cables (the ethernet port on the structured wiring panel is just a test port for the attached phone lines - for voice).

Where is your cable modem or data service in your house? What type of service is it?

I’m looking for local networking guys now.

I do have phone set up through out the house as well so I know the telephone is set up at the top.

Thanks for the advice. I was just going to use my wireless router as the switch for now. I only need one Ethernet set up. I need to look for a better box that can handle Telephone, Cable, and Ethernet.

@ChrisFix, admittedly, I’m not following everything you are saying here. I should get someone here who has more experience. I can rebuild computers, consider myself a geek, but networking has always been my downfall. I’m in the Chicago Suburbs.

From what I recall. We used separate wires for the phone and separate wires for the Internet.

My cable modem and wireless router are 1-2 ft away on the shelf next to this box. I have Comcast.

Okay, great. Didn’t see that you have un-terminated cat6 in the middle there. Do you know if any of the unused cables go from the wall to where you want the Roku?
I’m assuming the cable modem is connected via coax to a wall outlet - does that wall outlet terminate in the structured wiring box? It doesn’t look like it as from what I see all that coax is on an 8 way splitter for TV.
To use those cables as ethernet, you’ll need to connect from your router to an ethernet switch at the structured wiring box, terminate the cables in your wiring box with RJ45 connectors and plug everything together. But that all depends on where your wires are running to.
I can talk you through it, and it really isn’t hard to do - just will need some tools for crimping RJ45 connectors and will need to figure where to house your ethernet switch. The wiring box you have doesn’t help make it easy, as it has no expandability - so you might want to consider upgrading that - but if you just want to connect one or two cables, your can jury rig it successfully with what you have. And any reasonable pro could fix you up easily.
Ideally, you’d have something like this in the wiring box:

So, the house to also wired with Coaxial. I took the antenna feed (from the attic) and put it directly in the “source” in the “home command center” box. Now the whole house has the antenna feed via coaxial.

I took the Comcast cable that previously was in the “source” and fed it directly to the cable modem.

From my understanding, all of the CAT6 lines from the house terminate at the box. So its a matter of figuring out which is which. I believe some are labeled, others are not.

For now, I’d like to jury rig so I can connect my one roku to the internet. I understand in the future I’ll need a networking switch, for now I’d like to use my wireless router as the switch. For the future, is there a box that does all three (telephone, coaxial, and Ethernet)?

What tools do I need? How do I connect the wires to RJ45 connectors? I didn’t know you can do that. I’ll need to go buy some.

By the way, thank you for the help.

My only concern is how much your OTA antenna is split before the Tablo. 1x8 splitter and then the quad tuner has a 1x4 splitter. I would recommend splitting the cable directly from the OTA antenna with a 1x2 splitter then plugging one end into the Tablo and then the other end in to the 1x8 box to feed the rest of the house.

Yes, you’ll need to run a ethernet cable from the current box where you’ll put the Tablo to the router.

So along the lines of just getting something that works for the one Roku location, here is an idea (definitely a jury rig, but will work):

  1. You could connect your router to the cat6 cable at its location (do you have ethernet jacks in the wall plates around your house, and particularly at the router location and Roku location?).
  2. At the wiring box, terminate the cable that goes to the router with a male RJ45 connector.
  3. At the wiring box, terminate the cable that goes to the Roku with a female RJ45 connector (a “keystone” will get to that in a moment)
  4. Connect the Router to the Roku cables at the wiring box
  5. You’ve just effectively spliced the connection from the ethernet port on your router to the wall plate of the Roku

For the female RJ45 you would use one of these (available at Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon, etc):

And a Punch Down tool to seat the wires onto the keystone:

For the male RJ45 connectors use something like this (these are fantastically easier to use than traditional connectors, and you can make them work with the cheap standard crimper listed below by using one small trick noted in the amazon reviews):

And a crimper like this:

Thank you again! I’m going to buy these and will give it a shot this week. Wish me luck.

I understand your concern, I’m going to test the Tablo with the current setup to see if it will work. I see your point about 4-tuners. I do have a pre-amp which works great so far and the antenna is maybe 15-20 ft away in the attic right above this setup.

So I found a great, enclosure, I have a small space to put the enclosure so I need a “mini” version. two problems with it

  1. It’s Cat 5e
  2. its only has 4 video outs.

I don’t think I need wire all the video outs. Big thing is the Cat 5e, wish it was Cat 6

Cat 5e will allow you to use Gigabit speeds, that is 1000 Mbps. The Tablo and Roku are only 100 Mbps devices so I wouldn’t be worried.

Is your router even gigabit? What is the make and model of the router?

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Cat5 is not a problem in any real world application. With Tablo, you really don’t need any Coax running to TVs, as they all will be using Roku / Fire TV / etc. You could also easily change out the included splitter to a bigger one, or just add a second splitter if you really need more connections.
Take good pictures of your current phone wire connections so you can duplicate what’s there.

Also, you’ll need to connect the ethernet patch panel to an ethernet switch. The switch will require AC power, and probably won’t fit in the box (but might be able to be squeezed in). I have two 8 port switches in my structured wiring box, and simply run the power cords out the side of the box to a wall outlet nearby - how you do that will depend on what works best for you.
I would recommend two things regarding the switch - get a metal case version like one of these (get enough ports for your needs) that is flat and compact (and very sturdy):

And use these flat patch cables to connect between the patch panel and the switch. They are so much more flexible and compact than traditional cable - and make a huge difference in what you can cram into a wiring enclosure. I’ve used these extensively and they work great:

One last thought - the enclosure you found may be difficult to use for your situation as all the cable access is from the sides (see attached link to product brochure). Looking at what you currently have, I don’t know if you have enough slack in the cables to make that work. Just something to consider.

Something like this might work better for you. You could remove and reuse the telephone block and coax splitter from your current system, and add an ethernet patch panel. This looks like it would work better with your existing wiring installation and has plenty of room to enclose an ethernet switch. Being plastic, you can easily mod it to fit your needs and the size is compact:
Dimensions: Bracket: 11in H X 6.9in W.
Cover: 11.8in H X 7in W X 4in D.




If you can run a cable from the OTA antenna to each HDTV tuner I would definitely recommend it. It makes Live TV viewing much more pleasurable as you can channel surf easily. Others users on these forums have a similar setup. But yes if splitting is causing too much signal degradation they yes you can use the Tablo for Live TV.

I prefer to keep my Roku or Fire TV use for Recordings.

Yes, if you watch live TV…I watch literally zero live (the only time I have is to test how Tablo is doing in that department).
So different strokes, but I agree if you watch a lot of live TV, it would be good to have the ability to have coax/antenna as the back up.

I went so far as to getting different antennas for each tv, and an antenna for the Tablo. The TV in the bedroom is an old TV, and using the old fashioned rabbit ears, I CAN GET 2 channels that I CAN NOT get using my Mohu Leaf 50. It must be the position. On the other hand, I do NOT receive the channel 17 channels on the bedroom TV. The reason for different antennas is because I have the quad tunner and have the Tablo has a 4 way splitter in it already.

@ChrisFix do you know if the 8 port version of that switch is as good as the 5 port?

Yes, that entire series is good.

So I got my Tablo 4-tuner and due to time constraints, I’ve tried an “As-is” approach:

  1. Ethernet connection from my Tablo to the wireless router
  2. My Tablo is getting the antenna connection from the 8-splitter
  3. Using Wireless 5 GHz network for my Roku

Verdict using the Tablo Preview App? Pretty good. The guide data is a little slow and so is actually tuning a channel. But once a channel starts it works well. If I run into issues down the line, I’ll wire the roku. I need to get that mess cleaned up but for the time being, it working. Hoorah!

Thanks for the help everyone, I’m going to organize my networking box this summer.