How to Wire a Telephone Patch Panel
By Laura Ross
The basic idea for using a telephone patch panel is to organize your home phone lines and wires into a central, accessible location. It is ideal to have a telephone patch panel installed while a house is being built since it is easier to run cables before drywall is installed. Setting up a telephone panel in a previously constructed home involves running lines from the pre-existing telephone jacks into a central location. Once the lines have been installed, it is relatively easy to wire the cables into a telephone patch panel. Having access to all of the telephone cables in one location is convenient, especially when you or a technician is attempting to troubleshoot a telecommunications problem within your home.
Locate the telephone patch panel in your home. In most houses, the panel is located in the master bedroom closet. Open the panel covering and examine the labels for the different telephone wiring configurations set up in your home.
Find the cable labeled D-Mark, Home Run or One. These are common label names used for the main cable that transmits a dial tone into your home. This is going to be the first cable that you connect to the patch panel.
Cut a small notch into the end of the D-Mark cable using scissors. Strip back the outside shield that is covering the Cat 5 wires contained within the cable. The shield should be stripped back four to six inches. The exposed twisted wires will have these distinct color patterns: White-Blue/Blue, White-Orange/Orange, White-Green/Green, White-Brown/Brown. Untwist the wire pairs so that you have eight separated wires.
Examine the patch panel and locate the color coded slots on the punch down blocks inside. Note the different colors of the coded slots. These colors correspond to the colors of the Cat5 wires exposed previously.
Slide the colored wire into the matching colored slot in the panel. For example, the blue wire should be slid into the blue colored slot, the orange wire into the orange colored slot. Continue until all of the wires have been aligned and slid into corresponding slots.
Use the punch down tool to secure each wire into its slot. Face the impact cutting blade of the punch down tool outward. The blade is facing outward so that you can cut away the excess wire after the wire has been punched into the slot. Press the punch down tool onto the wire in the slot until you hear a pop. Once you hear a pop, the tool has reached the correct pressure of impact and the wire has been secured inside of the slot.
Repeat these steps for the other wires composing the D-Mark cable. For those of you with multiple phone jacks in your home, these steps will need to be repeated for each telephone cable running through your home. These cables should be labeled accordingly in your telephone patch panel.
- You should purchase a telephone patch panel that contains enough blocks for all of the telephone cables in your home. You may have to purchase another block if there are not enough slots to accommodate all of the cables.
- You should practice these steps on a separate piece of scrap Cat5 cable if you have not done this type of wiring before to get the hang of the process.
Laura Ross has been writing since 2003, with her articles now appearing on various websites. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in the biological sciences from Whittier College, a Master of Science in environmental sciences from the University of California-Riverside and is pursuing a Ph.D. in environmental sciences from the University of Arizona.