Tracing out ethernet cables. Any easy way?

Liver

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On going saga.

In our new house I had the electricians run CAT5E cables to everywhere I thought I’d need it. The actual wiring was cheap compared to the labor costs to run the cable, which was $25 a drop during construction (nothing but wood studs). It didn’t matter if they ran one cable or two cables, it was $25 per drop. So, I had two cables dropped at every location.

They labeled a majority of the cables, but (as you know) the locations I want to wire now are not labeled.

All the cables come to a central media closet, and I have no idea which one goes to what location. NONE of the cable are terminated.

Is there an easier way to find out what cable goes where?

My idea is to terminate them all and then cable test all of them. This will require me to terminate twice as many cables as I need (because I have two cable runs to a single location).

Just asking for a better method before I brute force it.
 

Liver

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The only assistant I would get would be a 7 or 9 year old.

I’ll have to terminate the remote end, no matter what. Since that is the drop location I am interested in. How would I tone out the wire at the hub location? Would I have to terminate them all as well?

I was hoping for a magical device that I would wrap around a cable that would induce a small current and then I would take a meter and touch test each cable at the hub. Yes, I know, very wishful.

Edit. I would NOT be asking this question if all the cables were terminated correctly.
 

philb2

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The only assistant I would get would be a 7 or 9 year old.

I’ll have to terminate the remote end, no matter what. Since that is the drop location I am interested in. How would I tone out the wire at the hub location? Would I have to terminate them all as well?
Probably want go to with the 9 year old. For a suitable reward/present of course. Only issue is attention span.:ROFLMAO:
 

philb2

Gawd
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The only assistant I would get would be a 7 or 9 year old.

I’ll have to terminate the remote end, no matter what. Since that is the drop location I am interested in. How would I tone out the wire at the hub location? Would I have to terminate them all as well?

I was hoping for a magical device that I would wrap around a cable that would induce a small current and then I would take a meter and touch test each cable at the hub. Yes, I know, very wishful.

Edit. I would NOT be asking this question if all the cables were terminated correctly.
No magical devices, but one of these:
 

SamirD

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Mar 22, 2015
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The only assistant I would get would be a 7 or 9 year old.

I’ll have to terminate the remote end, no matter what. Since that is the drop location I am interested in. How would I tone out the wire at the hub location? Would I have to terminate them all as well?
haha, I was running structured wiring at hotels at that age. :D

Once you've terminated the remote end, you can use a 'toning tool' like this one (same one I have):
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...tml/?msclkid=1a3993661f6511cebe8cf10e7efcf77c

You plug in the source toner on the remote end (standard rj45 so a 7/8/9 yr old should be able to do it), and then use the 'wand' to listen for the tone among the wires you have in the wiring closet. Once you've found it, you can label it or terminate it and then have the 'assistant' move to the next room/jack--and then just repeat.
 
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toast0

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I'd terminate both wires at the drop location; assistant plugs tone sender into port A, use tone receiver to figure out which wire it is (doesn't need to be terminated) and mark, have assistant switch to port B, use tone receiver and mark wire. It's nice if there's some sort of order to the patch panel (clockwise around the house, or something).

If you don't have a toner kit, they're cheap, and mine will do basic testing of the wire too (just continuity, not quality) which helps figure out when I didn't punch down wires enough or mixed up the wires (unless I messed it up the same on both ends). But if you don't want to spend the money on that, you can just terminate everything and label it later, if needed... if you plug all the ports to a switch, it'll just work and you won't have to know which port is witch. The next owner will curse you, but oh well. :)

You can use the toner on bare wires; they usually come with alligator clips, but you'd need to strip the insulation back first, and that's almost as much work as punching down a jack.
 

Liver

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So this will work if I dont have the cables terminated? I’m about to throw up thinking about how many of the cables I terminated incorrectly already.

This is what It looks like now.

C36D92EA-4319-4591-9F3B-3BB6AEFCF2C1.jpeg
 

Liver

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At this point I dont care what the tool costs. Will be an order of magnitude cheaper than someone coming over to do it.
 

SamirD

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So this will work if I dont have the cables terminated? I’m about to throw up thinking about how many of the cables I terminated incorrectly already.

This is what It looks like now.

View attachment 467711
Yep, should work fine as you point the 'pointer' on the listening end to a wire and if it's not the loudest you keep going until you find the loudest. (y)
 

toast0

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If you watch the video, the guy had all the wires punched down to the patch panel, so he could use the probe on the individual pairs (probably those were punched down in a sensible order, just not marked), but you can just go through the jackets and it'll be fine. His toner looks like it just has alligator clips, but I'd recommend you get one you can plug into an rj45; you're going to put rj45s on all your ports anyway (probably, maybe a couple rj11s if you run telephones), may as well put the jack on before you probe it.

Something like this, although I'm not endorsing this specific one.
 

travm

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https://www.amazon.ca/Flexzion-Network-Ethernet-Indication-Countunuity/dp/B017SM0G1U/ref=sr_1_7?crid=3V1G4Q1DTHU44&keywords=cat5+tester&qid=1651015150&sprefix=cat5+tester,aps,121&sr=8-7

I would recommend this. It will tell you if you mucked up the terminations as well. I have used this model for this purpose. It works.

You have an assistant plug the powered end (the big one) into a jack you want to find the other end of, and then you plug the little end into cables until you get lights.

Looks to be similar to the above actually. Your choice.
 
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SamirD

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If you watch the video, the guy had all the wires punched down to the patch panel, so he could use the probe on the individual pairs (probably those were punched down in a sensible order, just not marked), but you can just go through the jackets and it'll be fine. His toner looks like it just has alligator clips, but I'd recommend you get one you can plug into an rj45; you're going to put rj45s on all your ports anyway (probably, maybe a couple rj11s if you run telephones), may as well put the jack on before you probe it.

Something like this, although I'm not endorsing this specific one.
FWIW, telephones can be plugged into rj45 jacks so I'd only use rj45 (they will only use the center pair).
 

toast0

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FWIW, telephones can be plugged into rj45 jacks so I'd only use rj45 (they will only use the center pair).
It tweaks the jack a bit if you plug rj11 into rj45 jacks... I did use rj45 jacks at my last house with goofy cables (rj11 on one side, rj45 on the other)
 

SamirD

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It tweaks the jack a bit if you plug rj11 into rj45 jacks... I did use rj45 jacks at my last house with goofy cables (rj11 on one side, rj45 on the other)
Interesting. I've never done this long term so haven't had any effects. I know when we had att coming over a dsl line I 'extended' it from the wiring closet over rd45 by just plugging and playing. Then I got rid of it after it cost more and was slower than cable, haha.
 
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