Q: I wanted to add another telephone jack in my house, so I called the
telephone company to set it up. The price they quoted was too much. I only
want to install a jack on the opposite side of the wall from where there
is already a working jack. Is this difficult?
A: Like most things in life, there is both an easy way and a hard way to
do this. The easy way is to buy a wireless telephone jack and plug it into
an electical outlet. You have an instatnt phone jack. The hard way is to
buy the hardware, cut a hole in the wall and run the line.
If you've got too much time on your hands, then be my guest. The most
difficult part of the job will be running the new length of cable, but
since you are only going on the opposite side of the wall, it won't be
The telephone company runs its wires to a box attached to the outside of
your house. It is called a network interface box and is usually green or
gray. You can open the box with a screwdriver and look at the wiring.
There are phone cables running into the box (older homes may have "2 wire"
or "4 wire" while newer homes have category 5, aka cat 5), which you can
access. The different wires will run in pairs, as it takes a pair of them
to make the phone connection. Unplug the phone connector (it looks like
the male end of the tlephone cord) to prevent any shock. Although the
phone lines run on low voltage, it might give you a small buzz if the
phone were to ring.
If you are lucky enough to stay within the same stud bay where the other
jack is located, the job will be a snap-you can just tap into the existing
phone jack. Remove the cover to the existing one so you have access to the
wiring. ON the opposite side of the wall, you will cut a hole to install
the new jack. Measure the distance from the floor to the bottom of the
existing jack and cut a hole at the same height so that everything is
Then, buy a length of cable and thread it through the holes in the wall.
Category 5 is the standard. So if you have older wiring, you will have to
convert the old colors to the new color equivalent. You will have to punch
out a knockout in the back of the existing jack's box, or drill a hole in
Since you are only going a few inches to either side of the existing jack,
you may just be able to reach it with your fingers from the new opening or
you can snag it with a bent coat hanger and pull it through.
All that's left now is to wire it up. Older wiring will have green and red
as a pair, and black and yellow as a pair. If you have one phone line
running into your house, you only need one pair of wires. The colored pair
connected to the network interface box will be the smae pair that is
connected at the phone jack.
Newer phone cables have striped wires, and they vary depending on the type
of wire and the number of wires. You will have a white wire with blue
stripes paired with a blue wire with white stripes, and a white wire with
orange stripes paired with an orange wire with white stripes.
Wiring is easy. Whichever colors are paired to the existing phone jack are
the same colors you will connect to the new jack.
As I mentioned earlier, you may have to convert the old colors to the new
color equivalent. If you have green and red pair of wires, substitute the
white wire with blue stripes for the green wire, and substitute the blue
wire with white stripes for the red one. Additionally, substitute the
white wire with orange stripes for the black wire, and the orange wire
with white stripes for the yellow wire.
Now it's a matter of removing some insulation from the cable and wrapping
the wires around the terminals. Strip off one-half inch of insulation from
the pair of wires. Loosen the terminals of the existing phone jack an wrap
one wire around each terminal, matching the colors (or conversion colors).
Do the same for the new jack, matching the colors with the terminals on
the wiring block and then reattach everything back on the wall. Go back to
the newtork interface box and plug the cord back in and you can start
dialing your favorite 1-900 numbers from a different room.