2 questions about LAN (10/100) cable.

Question 1:

I was just wondering if it was possible to split a lan cable into 3 ways from 1 source cable.

I know you can achieve this by buying a router, but that costs a lot of money.

Do they sell 3 way taps for LAN cable, and would it even be worth it in the long run? I’ll even settle for a 2 way tap.

I know they sell inline connectors for LAN cable, but do they make taps, and is it even possible to do this…

Question 2:

How hard is it to cut an end off a piece of LAN cable, and splice a new end connector on it? That dumb little plastic tab that holds the connector to the laptop port broke of the connector, and now my LAN cable falls out of my laptop all the time. :frowning: (It doesn’t help that the LAN cable connection on the laptop is on the right of the laptop, and I use a mouse with the laptop on the right hand side as well so it is always in my way)

I was going to say the heck with it, superglue an inline connector on the bad end, and then use a sepearate 2’ or 3’ LAN cable to connect to my laptop. If that tab breaks, then I can always buy another 2’ or 3’ cable cheaper than I can buy another single 50’ cable.

Yes, it is possible to split a lan cable to attach 3 connectors, but since they are wired in parallel only one will work. You can only have one computer attached per cable.

This isn’t necessarily true… the basic function of a router is to reassign ports to different computers and assign ips to those computers to manage them. If you can get your hands on a old crappy free PC, you can put network cards into it and program that to be your router. Sure it wouldn’t be sleek and sexy, but it would work. While i have never done this myself, i know someone who has and i could my hands on the code to do this. I believe it is UNIX based.

And oh yes… the day after thanksgiving sales are awesome. Last year i got a belkin wireless router from staples for 10 bucks after rebates. I’m sure you can find a router then for cheap, or even on eBay.

And yes you can cut the cable and make a new connecter very easily. You need to go to a comp store or like a Radio Shack store, buy a connecter and a crimper … you might get away with crimping it by using a thin piece of metal or something. All you do is cut the cable and untwist the 4 twisted pairs then stick them into a connecter in a certain order:

white orange,orange,white green,blue,blue white,green,white brown,brown

this is looking at the connecter with the latch thing facing down … im sure they will have better instructions on a package of the connecters.

yay Cisco Networking Basics :slight_smile:

I am almost definitley sure you cannot connect multiple computers to one cable. If you are using an ethernet connection with “base” in the name (you are almost definitley using 100baseT), then you can’t just split it.

You can get a hub for 7+shipping and a router for $20+shipping](http://froogle.google.com/froogle?scoring=p&q=router+ethernet&btnG=Search+Froogle). Check your local computer store rebate flyer thingys, too.

It’s not that hard. I have spare RJ-45 connectors and the special tool for crimping them since I made most of my own patch cables. I have sheets that show the wire orientation for staight through and cross over cables. I can bring you the stuff at the next meeting or sometime in between if needed.
Basically all you do is strip about a half inch of the main wire insulation off, staighten and arrange the eight wires, push them into the back of the connector and then crimp the connector.

It’s slightly more complicated, but that’s what a hub does. As Max shows above, they can be found quite cheaply

A crimper will cost as much as a hub. If I were you, I’d buy a hub and a few shorter cables. Then you can duct tape the broken connector into the hub, and run the shorter cables to your laptop and wherever else you want.

edit: if Jay has the crimper and supplies, that’s a no cost solution for you

I’ve made my own cables also. It not all that hard, you just need to keep the wire order correct. Keep the connector you cut off for reference and keep the wires twisted as pairs as best as possible.

I find that those clips break often. I have gone the route of putting a female connector on the end and use patch cords to computer. If the clip breaks you replace patch cord. The other idea of a hub (or switch) to “bridge” the computers to one cable is your best idea.

In a pinch, you could get at least 2 computers running through the same cable. Ethernet connections require a minimum of 4 conductors to operate, two for transmitting, two for receiving. Category 5 cable is composed of 8 conductors, with pairs of blue, brown, green, and orange cable inside. It’s possible to crimp one connector on one set of pairs, and another connector on the other set of pairs, provided there are two matching connectors on the other end of the cable, and each are crimped appropriately. Basically it turns a single cat5 cable into a double cat5 cable, assuming both destinations are close enough where you wouldn’t have to separate the cable too much. There may be adapters out there to do this, most but the limit would be two computers, and that’s assuming you have two open connections where the cable originates (presumably a router). Crosstalk might become an issue on longer runs though, so it’s sort of hit or miss.

Keeping in mind you would need two sets of these connectors (one for each side), plus the cost of patch cables, I’d be willing to wager the price of the connectors would get you most of the way to a cheap hub/switch anyway (roughly $20-25 for a decent 5 port switch, hubs are even cheaper). The switch would serve as a much better device anyway- you would only need one port coming off the router (or source) rather than two with the adapters, you wouldn’t have to worry about crosstalk in the cable, and you’d have the capacity to plug in 4 computers (5 ports, one used as uplink = 4 available ports) over 2, and a switch would be more portable if you wanted to set up a quick LAN at those late night meetings or hotel rooms.

Small hubs and switches are rediculously cheap now. I got my girlfriend a Netgear wireless g router with 4 wired ports on it for $40 with $30 in rebates.

4 port hubs can be got for $5 without mailin rebates.


What he said. I have an extra router, switch, AND hub lying around my house. Not to mention like 100 extra feet in ethernet cables. Comes in useful for Halo 2 LAN parties :cool:

I’m assuming that hubs have to be powered? :frowning:

That troubles me, only because what I wanted to do is put a splitter up in the attic and have 2 lines come off the one cable coming up to it.

Now I have to decide what I have to do… I already have the modem into the router. Maybe I’ll have to run another 50’ cable up through the attic and down into the other room. yuck.

Thanks all for your input, and if anyone has a better idea or solution for this application feel free to post it.

As for the cable connector question. My team mate Jay saw my post and let me borrow his crimping tool. Thanks Jay! w00t!

In order to never have to do that again after it took me ~30 minutes to get the stupid wires in the right places, I have vowed to attach an in-line connector and then a small 1-3 foot cable to use as my laptop connection cable. I don’t want to crimp and splice another connector ever again or buy a brand new 50’ cable either. (which is probably about 2 feet shorter after cutting, and trying to splice the new connector on several times without luck.)

I knew I forgot to mention something…

I blame it on the fact that I’ve blocked out the tramatic experiance. :ahh:


I know in a small home network you may not be concerned with speed but the suggestions thus far do affect connect speed and data loss.
A hub or router is the only way to reliably connect multiple lines. They are cheap and readily available through Best Buy, Fry’s, etc. Even mailorder can get you one in a couple of days.
You can make your own cables but it is tricky to get them to pass 100Mbit data streams. If you can handle the lower data speed, a so-so made cable will pass 10 OK. Again, cables are cheap and easily available from the above sources.
If you are going to something, do it right and use the right tools.

If you are doing your connections in the attic then there should be power up there also. All you need to do is put a outlet box on one of the power feeds. Just make sure that you don’t put it on a light switch or you might spend a while looking for an intermittent trouble.

I would suggest keeping the router down in a room where it is accessible and easier to replace, and you can have it hooked to a UPS so you can get online and check the weather when the power goes out… Then run the cables around the house, through the attic to the router. Running cables really isn’t that hard but it takes time, like Al said do things once, properly and you shouldn’t have problems. As some have said I have found the easiest way is to hook the cables between rooms to jacks then use short patch cables.


I second what Mike said, I keep my router right next to my cable modem, then in my room i have another router acting as a switch. I run a 50ft cat5 cable through my window all the way into my kitchen window which travels to the router (it’s an ugly mess). Why I don’t use wireless, mainly because even though I’m right above the wireless router I get horrible reception.

If you really wanted, you could put the router in the attic, I know many people who do with their routers; they put most of their networking supplies in the attic, then run cat 5 cables into various rooms and install a wall-jack. Router’s are pretty durable and you can usually leave them alone once you’ve set it up. The most you would do is clean out the exhaust fan every so often to clear up the dust (if your router even has one). Even if there was a power outtage, a surge protector will give enough protection for the router, and the router usually resets itself and so forth.

also, (i don’t know what technology for Internet you use there) but here in the UK , most ADSL companies supply their connection with a hub, with 4 LAN ports. Mines currently wired up to 3 PC and a printer (using a print server) . This really is useful, except with my (slow) 512 k connection at home, it lags if you try and play games on one and browse picture heavy pages on another…

i have a computer at the top of my stairs , which you can access the back of the PC from the stairs, so i have the router there, easy access :slight_smile:

Elgin, if you are going to run cabling, might as well do all you will do at once. Figure out where you want a computer, or will likely like to have a computer. Run all the cabling to those locations via the attic to a wiring closet. If you have a cable modem, locate it near where the cable drop is. If you have DSL, you have more flexibility with this. Then in your wiring closet hook the cables together into your switch or router. I would NOT get a hub. A hub shares the bandwidth with all the ports. A 10/100 hub with 4 ports has 100 shared with all 4, whereas a switch would have 100 for each port. This is very important if you are going to be playing games with someone else on your network.

What we did at my house was put the wiring closet in the basement. This was fairly easy because it is unfinished, but we located it so that when/if we do, it is out of the way. (With the furnace and water heater) We then ran cat5 for the first floor along the basement ceiling (easy to do because unfinished) to wherever we wanted internet access. We have 2 drops in my dads office and one in the living room behind the TV. For the bedrooms on the second floor, we ran single lines to all the rooms from the basement, up through the middle of the house into the attic, and then over to the individual rooms. If you do this, make sure you use fire stop material in your cabling duct. For our duct we put a 2" PVC pipe from the basement to the second floor, and then dropped one down from the attic to the second one. We off set them as a fire trap. There is an access panel on the bottom back wall of the linen closet, through which we put a good amount of fire stop play dough like material. We ran two cables at the same time to every room, and replaced the phone lines with Cat-5. Also ran cable TV lines to the bedrooms at the same time, even though my parents are still the only ones with a TV in their bedroom. :rolleyes:

Don’t forget to leave an extra few feet of cable at the end if you do this. The service loop can come in very handy if you have a problem.

In the basement, we ran all the cables into a patch panel, like this one. The patch panel has slots for the wires to go into behind that faceplate, but is much easier to do then crimping a new male connector on. After that, we now had cabling running to all the rooms we wanted, with female ends at both. Now we mounted the cable modem nearby, as well as a Netgear Router/Firewall. My dad spent the extra money and got a decent hardware firewall, which is a VERY good idea if you are going to leave your computers on all the time. We then finished the connection from room wall to router with a short cable from the patch panel to the router. This makes it easy to upgrade/replace hardware. (as we’ve had to do once, when my dad flooded the bathroom during remodeling) I’ll take a picture of the closet next time I am home.

All in all, it was a few hours planning, about 4 hours of physically running cabling, and 2 more of making 20 short cables because half of them didn’t work. :rolleyes: It took some time, but now we have a well networked house, the phone lines are better quality then they were before, and it adds some good resell value to the house should they decide to move.

This is scalable to whatever you want to do, but if you are running only 2 lines probably just forgo the patch panel.

Good luck.


Terminology is fun- NOT! :stuck_out_tongue:

To connect multiple computers together you use a hub or a switch. Switches are better because as Wetzel said the bandwidth is dedicated and not shared between each port.

A router connects one network to another network. In a home network utilizing a broadband connection 1 port would be called the LAN (Local Area Network, the network running in your house) and the other port would be called the WAN (Wide Area Network, your DSL or cable company’s network).

Networking companies started combining a switch and a router into one device. This was good for consumers because there is a good cost savings. It’s also bad for consumers because we now use the term router for two meanings. In the home setting it could mean either a switch/router combo or in the business it usually means just a router. Most importantly unless you check each products specifications you won’t know the difference between the two.

Sometimes included in the switch/router combo the manufacturer include a firewall. If you want a combo device with a firewall make sure the firewall does something called stateful packet inspection or dynamic packet filtering. In a nutshell, this type of firewall makes sure you asked for the packets you are receiving.(Wetzel has a switch/router/firewall combo)

Another home device is something called a gateway. A gateway combines the best cost savings into one package. It usually includes a modem, maybe a firewall, a switch and router into one device. Sometimes these also include a wireless access point.