Upgrading a 600-series phone socket to RJ11

Live in Australia and have an old, crusty phone socket that needs to be upgraded?  Not sure if you can DIY or whether you should call a sparky?  If so, read on.

Telecom/Telstra has installed millions of 600-series phone sockets in houses all across Australia since the 1960s.  If you have one, it probably looks something like this:

If you’ve bought a phone recently, however, the chances are it no longer has a 600-series plug.  It probably has an RJ11, RJ12 or RJ45 plug instead — something like this:

So, what you probably want to do is upgrade your old phone socket to one that will suit your new phone’s plug — something like this:

Whilst there are a lot of possible combinations of old sockets, wires and new socket options, I’m going to explain the simplest case so that you can grasp the bare essentials of what is involved.  If you are still confused at the end, keep researching or call an electrician.

If you remove the cover plate of the old (600-series) phone socket, you will see six screw terminals attached to six connectors arranged in pairs.

Each screw/connector should be numbered (from 1–6) but, if they aren’t, just start your numbering from the outermost connector in the group of four.  Thus you should have 1&2 then 3&4 then a gap (to receive the non-conducting spigot) followed by 5&6.

In the simplest case, you will only have two wires connected to screw terminals.  A white and blue striped wire should be connected to terminal 2, and a blue wire should be connected to terminal 6.  By convention, the white and blue striped wire is referred to as the “white” wire — thus white connects to terminal 2 and blue connects to terminal 6.

For a single, regular, no-frills phone line that’s all you need — one pair of copper wires.

NB:  These wires usually have ~50V DC open circuit which jumps to ~100V AC when a call comes in.  Shorting or earthing them can give you a nasty zap or damage expensive equipment at the exchange which can easily be traced back to you.  If you aren’t competent to handle such live wires without causing damage, don’t proceed — call an electrician instead.

Remove the mounting screws holding the socket’s mounting-plate to the wall.  Carefully pull the plate out so you can check the back for any surprises.

Using an insulated screwdriver, release the white wire from terminal 2.  Snip the exposed/stripped section of wire off with insulated cutters to minimise the chance of an accidental shock or short.  Carefully withdraw it from the socket.  Bend the wire out of the way and tape it for extra safety if you wish.

Using an insulated screwdriver, release the blue wire from terminal 6.  Snip the exposed/stripped section of wire off with insulated cutters to minimise the chance of an accidental shock or short.  Carefully withdraw it from the socket.  Bend the wire out of the way and tape it for extra safety if you wish.

Dispose of the 600-series socket and mountingplate.  Keep the mounting screws.

Now let’s turn our attention to the replacement socket.

The simplest Registered Jack (RJ) that will support a single phone line (pair of wires) is the RJ11.  The RJ11 has 6 Positions where wires can be inserted and connected to pins, but only 2 Contacts have actually been made — thus RJ11 is also known as a 6P2C connector.

NB:  Your phone may have an RJ12 plug.  This is exactly the same size and shape as the RJ11 but instead of only 2 Contacts it may have 4 Contacts — thus RJ12 is also known as a 6P4C connector.

All you need for a basic phone service (which fully supports ADSL in both its normal and naked forms) are two copper wires, so a 6P2C RJ11 socket is all you need.  If you can, get one.  But since it costs a negligible amount more for manufacturers to make 6P4C RJ12 sockets (which get used a lot by companies) it will probably be easier to find and use one of those instead.  Something like this would work just fine:

RJ12 IDC Socket

(“IDC RJ12 Telephone Wall Plate Socket” from Jaycar Electronics)

The back of the socket will have colour-coded slots for wires.  You run each wire through the channel in the middle, then through the same-coloured slot.

NB:  You should easily find the blue slot, but you will not find a plain white slot.  Look for a white-blue slot (often a rectangle or square split diagonally with white in one half and blue in the other) — the white and blue striped wire goes in the white-blue slot.

In each slot are two small conducting blades.  If you push the wire down to the bottom of the slot, the blades will cut through the sides of the sheath and make contact with the bare metal inside.  To help you with this process you may want to get yourself a punch down tool — something like this:

Punchdown tool

A punch-down tool is not required — you can easily accomplish the task with one or two thin screwdrivers, a pair of scissors/clippers, and by exercising a bit of care and patience. However, given that punch-down tools can be found for ridiculously low prices on eBay (e.g. $1.61 from Hong Kong with free international shipping) why not buy the tool and make your life easier?  Especially if you have more than one socket to replace, or know other people that have sockets that could do with replacing down the track?

Using a punch down tool (or otherwise) punch the white(-blue) and blue wires down into the correct positions on the RJ11/12 socket:

Punchdown in action

The above image shows not only the white(-blue) and blue wires being punched down, but others as well.  Orange and white-orange are the second pair that enable RJ12’s extra functionality.  For RJ11 you do not need to punch down anything but white(-blue) and blue.

Once you have punched down the white(-blue) and blue wires it should look something like this (but with the loose ends trimmed off):

Punchdown complete

Two wires punched down into their corresponding slots on the back of a RJ11/12 socket with all of the other wires folded out of the way (not punched into the socket).

Secure the unused wires with electrical tape, cap the back of the socket (if it has a cap) and then plug your phone into the socket and test to make sure it works.

If everything is working then push the socket into its mounting-plate and mount it on the wall using the original screws that you saved.

Tidy up and you’re done.

PS:  Assuming that you buy a RJ11/12 socket, mounting plate and punch down tool, you’re still going to have change left over from $30 and should be able to complete the above process in less than half-an-hour.  Each additional socket would cost you less than $20 (since you now have a punch down tool you would only need to buy the socket and plate) and would only take about 10 minutes to upgrade.  A sparky would charge around $80 per socket.


113 thoughts on “Upgrading a 600-series phone socket to RJ11

  1. thanks for this article. I have a question regarding this though. I have another white and blue wire in the terminals as well which go to another outlet in another room. There is also a red wire connected to the terminal with the blue wires. If I disconnect the red wire the phone has no dial tone.
    Will the rj12 connector take 2 wires in the respective slots and which slot should the red wire go in?

  2. Whilst it is pretty safe to assume that your (original) main phone socket was installed by a competent technician, the same cannot be said of any extensions — especially if they were added by later occupiers of your property. Instead of using the right sort of cable (with correctly-coloured wires) for the extension, they might just have used whatever scraps were handy, and thus the colour of the wires could be completely different.

    In a typical extension scenario, you will have two wires coming into your main phone socket (white-blue and blue) and then a second pair of wires going out to your extension socket (which should also be white-blue and blue but could be any colour). Thus, in your main phone socket, you should have two wires connected to terminal 2 and two wires connected to terminal 6. Four wires total. (If you have any more or any less, or if they are connected to different terminals, then it’s probably time to call an electrician and let them figure out what has happened.)

    Assuming you have two wires connected to terminal 2, and two wires connected to terminal 6, no more and no less, then yes, you can just piggy-back the wires and punch them down into a RJ12 socket. (Most of the slots in modern sockets are designed to hold two wires.) Both of the wires connected to terminal 6 should be punched down into the blue slot of your RJ12 socket. Both of the wires connected to terminal 2 should be punched down into the white-blue slot of your RJ12 socket.

  3. Hi
    I have 4 wires coming in the house , black round cable with 4 wires – red , black, Blue and white – (no white with blue strip all solid colours)
    Which ones do I use and what do I do with the others ?
    Also no phone connection and don’t think previous owners had phone either , so cannot test dial tone but want to get internet .

  4. For a very, very long time it has been standard Telecom/Telstra practice to run “two pair” into every house that gets connected to the public switched telephone network. The cost of installing two pairs (four wires) is only a tiny bit more than simply installing one pair (two wires) and allows room for later expansion without having to dig the ground up again.

    Since a phone line only requires one pair of wires to work, that means virtually every house in Australia actually has the capacity to run two phone lines into it — but only one phone line is actually connected. The second line is just sitting there, disconnected at both ends, unused — a spare. The folks that have connected the second line have typically used it as a second voice line (for the kids), a business/fax line (for a home business), or a dedicated Internet/modem line.

    In your case blue+white would almost certainly be the first pair, and red+back would be the second pair. If you got the blue+white pair hooked up you could get Naked ADSL running just fine. The red+black pair is just a spare pair of wires for a second line, should you want one. It doesn’t sound like you do, so snipping off any exposed metal (with insulated wire cutters, just to be safe), folding them out of the way (back along the main cable) and taping them down with electrical tape will get them insulated and out of the way so you never have to worry about them again.

  5. Thanks Tim
    Great info good to know the history and reasons .
    Thanks again

  6. Tim
    I have a 600 series wall socket with only 2 wires connected to it White (2) Blue (6) and a RJ11 adaptor which i bought to connect my wireless router .Are they the only 2 wires needed to be connected for a broadband signal

  7. Yes, you only need two wires (one pair) for ADSL. Your wiring (white to terminal 2, blue to terminal 6) is also totally expected and normal. Looks like you are good to go!

  8. Hi guys trying to find out where the White and blue wire’s go on a rj12 as only give me these options an two orange 3 on a white background or two white 4 on a blue background or two blue 5 on a white background or two 6 on a orange background help me pls

  9. The numbers that you have mentioned (3,4,5,6) suggest that you are actually talking about a RJ45 socket with 8 Positions, not a RJ11/12 which only has 6 Positions. If that is the case, then you should punch down your blue wire into the “white 4 on a blue background” slot, and your white(-blue) wire into the “blue 5 on a white background” slot.

    The long version, if you are interested:

    Wire colours are identified based on a primary and secondary colour. The primary colour is the one there is more of; the secondary is the one there is less of. Thus if a wire is completely blue, it is called “blue”. If it is mainly blue but has a thin white stripe, then it is called “blue-white”. If it is mainly white but has a thin blue stripe, then it is called “white-blue” or, as explained earlier, in the case of a single pair, simply “white”. I write this last case as white(-blue) to hopefully make it clearer for the reader.

    If you are looking at the back of a socket and the manufacturer has printed coloured numbers on top of a background colour, then the background colour is the primary colour — because there is simply more of it — and the colour of the number is the secondary colour (because there is less of it). The number itself identifies the Position, of course. Thus a “white 4 on a blue background” means that the slot is connected to Position 4 and also that primary is blue and secondary is white — so you should punch in a blue wire which may (or may not) have a thin white stripe on it.

    If you had a RJ11/12 socket you only have 6 Positions that can be connected. The wires of the first phone line are always connected to the middle two Positions — Position 3 receives the blue wire and Position 4 receives the white(-blue) wire. Positions 1, 2 and 5, 6 are empty. Thus if you were looking at a RJ11/12 socket from the same manufacturer, you would probably see a “white 3 on a blue background” and a “blue 4 on a white background”. But that’s not what you are seeing.

    Seeing the numbers 3, 4, 5, 6 are clues that two pairs of wires can be connected to this socket. Because numbering always starts at 1, it also infers that Positions 1 and 2 can not be connected. Since connections are always symmetrical around the centre, that means you also need to have two Positions at the end which are not connected — Positions 7 and 8. Thus you have an 8 Position socket and are talking about a RJ45 not a RJ12.

    In the case of a RJ45 (8 Position) socket and a single phone line, the two wires are still connected to the middle two Positions, but these Positions are numbered 4 and 5. Positions 1, 2, 3 and 6, 7, 8 are empty.

    In the case of a RJ45 socket and two phone lines, or a single phone line with ‘fancy features’, two pairs of wires are used. The first pair (for the first phone line) is connected to Positions 4 and 5. The second pair (which enables the second phone line or the extra features on the first phone line) then ‘wraps around’ the first pair, and is connected to Positions 3 and 6. Positions 1, 2 and 7, 8 are empty. As a matter of trivia, an orange or orange with white stripe wire would go into the slot “white 6 on an orange background” and a white with orange stripe wire would go into the slot “orange 3 on a white background”.

    Hopefully this has answered your question.

  10. Hello Tim,
    re: upgrading 600 series socket
    thankyou for your clear instructions. Good, sharp well-lit photos of relevant components and details, simple english instructions, no ambiguity or doubtful loose ends. My 600 series phone socket is in the bin and I am still connected to the internet etc.

  11. You’re welcome. Walls look so much nicer without those dated, yellow sockets and unnecessary adapters plugged into them, don’t they? 🙂

  12. Hi Tim,
    My 610 socket has the the red & white wires connected to terminal 6 and the black & blue wire connected to terminal 2.
    The plug that slots into the socket has the yellow wire connected to terminal 1, the green wire to terminal 2, the black wire to terminal 5 and the red wire to terminal 6.
    Does this seem OK as both my phone & Internet work ok!
    Can you please advise which green or yellow coloured wires match to with the white & blue wires?
    ( eg. Does white match up with green or yellow and does blue match up with green or yellow)

  13. It would be nice if we lived in a world where all telephone lines, plugs and sockets are wired consistently to the same standard — but we don’t. Whilst the colours of the wires coming into the house are generally consistent (because a single company installed most of them), everything beyond that (e.g. wires to extensions or devices) may as well be random. Every manufacturer seems to want to wire things up using different colour combinations so unless you buy everything from the same manufacturer the colours of the wires will be all over the place. I would advise not worrying so much about the colours of the wires and instead paying attention to the terminals they are connected to.

    Case-in-point: My original plug was wired black/red/yellow/green to pins 1/2/5/6. You have yellow/green/black/red to pins 1/2/5/6. The same four-coloured wires connect to different pins — and not even a mirror image (to indicate a simple reversing). /sigh

    So, if we now look at your socket… we see that you have black&blue to terminal 2 and red&white to terminal 6. Two wires to each terminal suggests that you have an extension somewhere else in the house. Two wires come into the house and to that socket (probably the blue and white) and then the two other wires (probably the red and black) extend the same line to your second socket. Only two wires are needed for a functioning phone/ADSL system so such a setup is quite common. Note that only two terminals (2&6) are being used — the rest are not connected and are thus inactive.

    On the plug side, you have yellow to pin 1 and black to pin 5. Since the corresponding terminals in the socket are inactive, these two wires in your plug are not getting signals of any kind. Since your current setup works then it is obvious that these wires (yellow and black) are not needed by the device(s) they connect to and can safely be ignored (trimmed off).

    That leaves us with green to pin 2 and red to pin 6 on the plug side. These two pins connect to the only two terminals in your socket that are active, thus the green and red wires in your plug are the only ones that are capable of doing anything and hence are the only ones you need to worry about.

    black&blue wires > socket terminal 2 > plug pin 2 > green wire
    red&white wires > socket terminal 6 > plug pin 6 > red wire

    Note: The above colours are based on what you wrote in your comment. You might want to double-check what you wrote to make sure it is correct before taking further action. I’m advising this because the bottom part of your comment makes it seem as though you expect green and yellow wires to be used, whereas the top part makes it seem that yellow is connected to pin 5 and hence is not needed at all.

  14. Hi Tim,
    I have a phine line coming into the house, black insulation, with red, black, white and blue… with the blue wire its not copper shinny like the other wires. I tried connecting but get no tone :- ( would it be because of the blue wire (being black in colour not cooper?) Any suggestions.

  15. Sometimes wall cavities can end up rather exposed to the elements, and exposed wires can corrode or simply get covered in dust and grime. Phone sockets near external vents can also suffer from residents spraying various chemicals (e.g. barrier spray to ward off ants and spiders) into the cavity via the vents and these sprays can coat exposed wires and the back of the sockets. A bit of light sanding can remove unwanted build-up on a copper wire but, if it’s too degraded, you could always clip the old ends off and re-strip the ones you need.

    That said, it is not clear from your post what the state of your phone/ADSL line actually is and what you are trying to do. This article assumes that you actually have a fully-functioning phone/ADSL connection and just want to know about changing sockets over to the more modern RJ-11/12 variety. If your phone/ADSL line wasn’t working in the first place, you need to get that sorted out first with your telco/ISP.

    Naked ADSL, by the way, does not have a dial-tone. So if you just have Naked ADSL on the line you can’t test it by plugging in an analog phone and listening for a dial-tone — you need to connect it to your router in the usual way, then give time for the router to sync with the DSLAM at the exchange, then try connect to external sites (e.g. surf the web or check mail).

  16. Thanks Tim, there was only a cord coming out from the wall when i bought the place, i have just got the phone line activated so i can get ADSL, I attached the wires to the socket, being:
    Blue wire to green wire
    White wire to red wire
    Reading before that the red and black are only if 2 phones lines are needed.
    But no dial tone and i did plug in the adsl and this didnt work either, i think the line maybe faulty, (unless i wired it wrong) might have to call in the professionals. Thanks again for your help

  17. So the previous owners ripped out the phone socket? That’s a bit feral. 😦

    When activating a new phone service, a telco has a service obligation to ensure that the line is actually working. Sometimes that involves a site visit (which, in most cases, you would not get charged for). In a situation like yours I would have informed them that there was no socket, which would have automatically flagged a site visit, and when the technician was onsite I would have asked for the existing line to be terminated onto an RJ socket (standard practice now anyway, methinks). You probably would have scored the visit and the socket for free but, at worst, would only have had to pay for the hardware.

    Getting the first/master phone socket working is definitely something you should let telcos do. Without that as a reference point any DIY efforts are just stumbling around in the dark.

  18. You should have seen the place before i started renos, extremely feral, thankyou your help and advise i have contacted the supplier, and they are sending out a tech thanks again 🙂

  19. Hi Tim,

    Great instructions and advice. I have an copper coloured wall plug with an RJ11 socket which has four wire combinations on the back, being red, green, yellow & black, the type requiring new wires to be connected with screws i.e screw type and no punch down tool required. Im wanting to connect the blue and white phone line coming from the wall into the back of this wall plug but unsure which colour needs to be connected? Can you please advise?

    Many thanks.

  20. Unfortunately you can’t rely on the colour of the bridging wires in a socket to determine functionality — too many manufacturers use different schemes (case in point: black-red-green-yellow is far more common in Australia, so I would actually expect red+green to be the middle two in most cases). Fortunately, we can work out everything we need to know from the position of the pins.

    The two pins in the middle are the ones used for core functionality in a telephone circuit. The outer two pins merely provide extra functionality (that very few people actually use) and are not needed at all in ADSL circuits.

    So, if the corresponding order of your bridging wires (when viewing your socket from the front with the notch for the clip on the bottom) is red-green-yellow-black, then the wires you are interested in are the green+yellow ones — the “middle two”.

    The incoming blue wire needs to be connected to the screw terminal for the first of the middle two in your socket (which, if the order you gave is correct, would have a green bridging wire). The incoming white(-blue) wire needs to be connected to the screw terminal for the second of the middle two (which, if the order you gave is correct, would have a yellow bridging wire).

  21. I have a 600 series telephone socket and bought a RJ45 socket thinking this was the right type to replace it with.
    Have since learnt that even though it physically seems to fit, I probably should have bought an RJ11 or RJ12 socket.
    Can I still use the RJ45 socket saves me having to get another socket? particularly since I had to order this black one in to colour coordinated with the power points.

    And if I can use it, how should I wire it up?

  22. The main reason you would want to update an old, 600-series telephone socket is so that it will match the plug of the phone (or extension line) without needing any big, ugly adapters. Thus the plug determines the socket. If your phone has a RJ11/12 plug then you really should have a RJ11/12 socket.

    If you compare a RJ11/12 plug with a RJ45 plug you’ll actually see that the thickness of the edge plastic in the RJ11/12 is slightly larger even though the outer dimensions of the plugs are identical. What this means in practice is that if you plug a RJ11/12 plug into a RJ45 socket the thicker edge plastic on the plug will have a tendency to bend the outermost contacts within the socket. If you absolutely, positively, never, ever are going to connect up a RJ45 device (e.g. an IP phone) to that socket, then two bent pins won’t matter. If you think there is even a remote possibility that you (or whoever lives in your house after you) might do that in the future, then I’d avoid creating a situation that will damage infrastructure in the first place.

    If aesthetics determined the socket, it was difficult to source, and you want to keep it, then you should probably change the plug that goes into it to match (i.e. replace your RJ11/12 plug with a RJ45 plug) in order to avoid damage to your socket. You’ll need a crimping tool and a RJ45 plug. It should be easy to find written and video guidance (on crimping a RJ45 plug onto a phone cable) elsewhere on the web — it’s beyond the scope of this article, I’m afraid.

    Turning back to your socket… yes, you can indeed use a RJ45 socket for your phone line. With RJ45 you have an 8P8C connector and thus more terminals on the back of the socket where you can connect incoming wires. The middle-two wires out of a set of 8 are numbers 4 and 5. The incoming blue wire would connect to terminal 4 and the incoming (blue-)white wire would connect to terminal 5.

    If the terminals on the back of your socket are not numbered (many aren’t) then they are probably identified by coloured symbols (e.g. a rectangle of solid blue and a diagonally-divided rectangle half-filled with blue and half-filled with white). I, personally, always use a multimeter (on brands and models of sockets I’ve never used before) to verify that the right pins within the socket connect to the right terminals on the back of the socket before punching any wires in. So pin 4 to the blue terminal and pin 5 to the (blue-)white terminal is what is expected.

    Be advised that the colour-coding of sockets sourced from overseas usually do not conform with Australian standards.

  23. I am now connected to NBN. As a consequence my old wall socket/plate is no longer required at all. Do I need a technician or an electrician to cap the wires in the wall so I can remove the plate and plaster over the hole?. Local Telstra shop advises an electrician could do the job but is this legal for an electrician to work with phone line?

  24. Anyone with a current and appropriate ACMA license (either ‘open’ or ‘restricted’) can legally perform (tele)communications cabling work. (Older ACA/Austel licenses have long since been superseded.) Whether or not the person is also a qualified electrician will not make any difference whatsoever in your case. The job you have described is trivial in the extreme for anyone with an ACMA license. The hardest part of the job will be thinking of ways to look busy for 15 minutes so they don’t feel too guilty about charging you so much for — literally — two minutes of work.

  25. Hi, I have a problem with my wall plate connection, my tiler disconnected it today to make tiling easier for him but I now have no internet!!!. The wall plate has 8 lots of 3 connectors on the back, R1, R2, R3, R4 and T1, T2, T3, T4. The wires that were connect are just blue and a white one.
    There are 3 cables protruding so a total of 3 white and 3 blue the other color wires dont appear to have been used. I have a couple of phone points in other rooms which I use only one due to having FTTN so the one that has been taken off the wall is not used either but I guess this is the main one given the other cables.
    Can anyone one tell me how to connect the blue and white wires back up until I can get a cable
    guy in to redo it?

    Thanks so much.

  26. It sounds like that phone socket is/was connected directly to (at least) two other sockets (which would explain the three cables — one incoming and two outgoing).

    Without photos of the actual socket it’s impossible to tell for sure what pins R1–4 and T1–4 actually connect to. Even with photos it might not be clear. The only way to be sure is to check with a multimeter.

    Given you have eight terminals on the back of the socket, it sounds like you have a registered jack type of socket with 8-Positions. If you look in the front of your socket you’ll see either 2, 4, 6 or 8 metal pins/Connectors. The only ones you need to worry about are the middle two. Using a multimeter you can test to see which pin on the front connects (and thus corresponds) to which terminal on the back.

    One of the pins (in the middle pair) will correspond to a T# (‘tip’) terminal on the back. I would suspect that it will be T1. (There’s a small chance that it will be T4 and nearly no chance of it being T2 or T3.) The other pin (in the middle pair on the front) will correspond to a R# (‘ring’) terminal on the back. The number should be the same… so if one was T1 the other will be R1; if one was T4 the other will be R4.

    The blue wires should be connected to the R# terminal and the (blue-)white wires should be connected to the T# terminal.

    Tip: If anything is going to be disconnected or dismantled then try to take enough good, close-up photos so that if it needs to be reconnected or put back together again you have at least some idea of where things should go. A bit too late in this case, but something to keep in mind for next time…

    Afterthought: Since the tiler was responsible I assume he’ll be paying for the technician. If that’s the case then you only need to improvise something for maybe a couple of days. If the blue and white wires have been disconnected from the terminals on the back of the socket, but are still connected to each other, then your other phone sockets should still be live. Just run a long phone extension cord from your router, phone (or whatever) to one of the other sockets. Alternatively, relocate the device into one of your other rooms that still has a live socket. Worth a try (and maybe even easier).

  27. Hi Thanks so much for the advise, I have connect the 3 blue wires to the R1 connection and the 3 white wires to the T1 connection and my NBN VDSL modem now has connection in the study.
    Is there any particular order that I should connect the wires in the connectors?

    As to the wall plate connection, we actually would prefer this to go and have the connection pushed back inside the wall, plus the wall connector plate connections don’t look the best quality,
    I have a krone connector from the study (second line that we don’t need) that I have looked at and thought could we use that to connect the cables instead of the wall plate and push it back into the wall with the wires? or even as a temp measure for a better connector? if so what wires do I connect where? The Krone has 4 connectors either side number left to right as
    3/6, 3/6, 4/5, 4/5.

    Or if you can suggest something else I can go buy it, as cant get anyone here till early next week.

    Thanks again

  28. My last reply I put the incorrect email, can you email your reply to [email address provided but removed to protect it from being harvested by bots and becoming the target of spam].

  29. I fixed your email address in the post you are referring to.

    FYI: If you are relying on email for blog notifications, realise that you generally only get one notification when a post is initially made, and that subsequents edits are usually not notified. Since subsequent edits can not only be used to clear up spelling and grammar mistakes, but also rephrase sections (for greater clarity), elaborate on sections (needing more detail), or even extending the response with new content, it’s a much better idea to just visit the blog page with a browser rather than read/rely on what comes through via email. Basically, what comes through via email is only a 1st draft of a response — and often that is quite inferior to what is on the website after a few editing sessions.

    As for the order that you should connect the wires to the terminal (if that’s what you are asking): They end up all electrically bound together in each terminal, and no circuit is complete until both T1 and R1 are connected, so it doesn’t really make a difference. Shock exposure risk is minimised by dealing with the (blue-)white wires first (connecting T1) and then the blue wires (connecting R1) last.

    If you still have a dial tone on that line (i.e. haven’t gone Naked) then an elevated shock risk occurs when a phone call is incoming or outgoing. You can’t predict or control incoming phone calls but you can talk to other members of the household (and even disconnect devices) to ensure that the circuit is as inactive as possible as it is being worked on.

    Any electrical wiring that is being abandoned in a wall should be physically shielded to prevent moisture, mould or critters from shorting a circuit and potentially causing a fire. If an unused socket is simply pushed back into a wall, a mouse could decide to nibble on the exposed pins and… the results could be quite nasty in more ways than one. That’s why products such as the Crimp Wire Connectors – 2 & 3 wire – Pk.8 from Jaycar exists. Note that that particular pack has only two 3-wire connectors, so there’s no room for error in your situation — practicing using the (more plentiful) 2-wire connectors and some scrap pieces of wire is probably advisable. Jaycar also sell a 50-pack of 3-wire connectors if you want to spend $15 instead of $5 and have plenty left over for other projects.

  30. Thanks again for the prompt response and advice. Think the way to go is the Crimp Wire Connectors you have suggested and push them back into the wall. Just to clarify with the crimp connectors, I connect the 3 blue wires to 1 connector and the 3 white wires to a second connector? and that’s it?
    Also given the connector type I take it the wires would need to be stripped back to go into the connector?
    We don’t have a home phone or VOIP just the NBN FTTN VDSL service.
    If I do this do you think I still need to get someone in, given that we wont get the money from the tiler who caused the problem as he was marched of the property for a number of reasons.


  31. Yes, all three blues would go into the one connector and all (blue-)whites would go into a different connector. All other (unused wires) would normally be cut to different lengths and bent back along their respective cables and then secured in place with electrical tape.

    Yes, for a good electrical connection to take place within the connectors the tips of each wire should be stripped back and clean. The diameter of the round section in those Jaycar connectors gives you an idea of how much wire should be exposed at the tips.

    As stated in the original posting and throughout multiple responses to other folks, telecommunications cabling can only be legally performed by someone with the appropriate ACMA certification. I provide information and advice here for educational purposes and to help you decide whether or not the job is something you can DIY or whether you need to get someone else in. It is up to you do decide if you are “qualified” to perform the work — that is something I am in no position to judge for legal reasons. It would be silly of me to condone ‘criminal’ activity. That having been said, most of this sort of work is easy and safe and the likelihood of anything going seriously wrong is small. The over-regulation that we experience in this country is all about forcing the number of taxable transactions between individuals to increase (in order to boost government revenues) — it really has very, very little to do with safety.

    Sorry to hear that the tradie let you down.

  32. Thanks so much, just one last question as the only connection that is used is the one in the study which comes from the wall plate we are replacing with the crimp connectors, am I better off not to connect the 2nd extension into the crimp connectors given we wont be using it?

    Again your information for educational purposes is greatly appreciated.
    Cheers Tim

  33. You are correct. There is no point having unwanted/abandoned wires connected to a live circuit — all they do is add to line noise (which potentially could reduce your DSL speed) and make the circuit less reliable.

    It’s always preferable to remove ‘dead’ cable runs from a wall, but sometimes the length/friction/bends make this impossible. In such cases it is advisable to cleanly cut through the entire abandoned cable (thus trimming off all exposed and loose wires) and tape the end so that no metal is exposed. Bonus points if you go to the extra effort of tagging both ends with text along the lines of “abandoned extension to [north] wall of [living] room”. Many years down the track someone working on that wall/outlet may come across the cable end and wonder what it was for and where it goes. Such text could be especially helpful in the case where they would like to recommission the extension.

  34. Your question is vague and lacking in background information. You haven’t described what you’ve got, what you’ve done so far, or what specific problem you’re having. My responses to Mark and Matt touch upon some RJ45-related issues — reading them (along with all of the other comments and replies) may fill in some gaps for you and let you come up with a better question. 🙂

  35. Excellent article. Expert advice, expertly written.

  36. I have a blue and a white wire to the house. From there it’s two black wires to the phone socket. My ISP is saying I need to up grade this so I get better speed. Is this something I can do my self. I’m only getting 1 Mbps

  37. Internet speed problems are beyond the scope of this article. Nonetheless… It sounds like you are talking about ADSL. ADSL speeds are primarily determined by the distance to the exchange and then by line noise.

    But first, make sure that you actually have a problem by checking units. Mbps is not the same as MBps. 1MBps is fine, but 1Mbps is very low for ADSL. There are 8(b)its in a (B)yte, so 1MBps is actually 8Mbps. Lots of applications report transfer speeds in KBps or MBps and they aren’t always consistent (or correct) in their capitalisation. Use something like http://www.speedtest.net/ to verify your download speed in Mbps.

    Assuming that you do indeed have a download rate of 1Mbps, then the next thing you need to check are the laws of physics. Signals lose strength as they travel down copper wires, and since download speeds are linked to signal strength that means the further you are away from your telephone exchange, the slower your download rate. Use something like https://adsl2exchanges.com.au/detailedsummarystart.php to find out what your estimated maximum speed should be. If you’re within 40% of this number then you don’t have a significant problem (cable runs are often much longer than straight-line distances).

    If what you get from http://www.speedtest.net/ is more than 40% lower than what you could get from https://adsl2exchanges.com.au/detailedsummarystart.php then there’s probably a problem somewhere. How big a problem depends on how big a difference there is between your download rate and the X – 40% figure.

    Line noise is the next biggest limiting factor. Bean-counters at Telecom/Telstra have forced technicians to use cheaper, sub-optimal compounds to moisture-proof connections for decades with the most common problem being that, when it rains heavily, junction boxes and pits flood, water penetrates the connections, and low-level short-circuiting occurs. You can tell if this affects you because when you go to make a phone call (using your analogue land line) just after a decent rain, you’ll hear lots if static and pops on the line — line noise.

    Since your ADSL rides on top of the underlying carrier signal, whenever that signal gets disrupted, you lose packets and your Internet application needs to re-send those packets. This is known as ‘packet loss’. Having to re-send lost packets takes time and slows down your transfer speeds. If you have a decent router, you could log into the router’s web interface and bring up a chart or some statistics showing you how much packet loss your line is experiencing. If packet loss increases after local rains, but is negligible during dry periods, then that’s your problem.

    The real problem, however, is getting it fixed. If you detect line noise and report it to your ISP then they’ll open a ticket with Telstra who will take, at least, two days to get back to you. By that time the rains have stopped, the junction boxes have emptied, the connections have dried out, and the signal noise is gone. So when the technician rocks up and test your line, the device they use reports that the line is working fine. /sigh

    The final source of line noise is within your house. This is a vast topic in and of itself, but basically the more phone sockets, connections, splitters, adapters, extension lines, analogue phones, security systems, and so-on that you have connected to your line, the more line noise there will be. You can disconnect absolutely everything from your phone system, then connect only your router to the master/main phone socket (the one closest to where the line comes in from outside) and do a speed test with that. If there’s a big difference to what you got before, then one of the things you disconnected was the cause. Shouldn’t be too hard to work out which one if that’s the case.

    Optimising an Internet connection is not a trivial process. You need to be prepared to research all of the relevant issues and absorb and understand technical information. There is no magic green ‘go fast’ button that you can press. Sometimes 1Mbps is as good as it gets. The location of your house, the location of the exchange, the condition of the line between them, the laws of physics — none of these care about whether or not you are happy with the speed of your Internet connection, and you usually can’t change (‘fix’) any of them.

    The best you can do is simplify the wiring within your house, and maybe try a different router. If that doesn’t fix the problem, then the problem probably can’t be fixed. You then have no option but to use a different method to connect to the Internet (cable, fixed wireless, HFC, mobile, fibre…).

    Finally, this problem isn’t going to get better — it’s going to get worse. The government is basically abandoning the copper network (and everything that relies on it). This is clearly evident in how the NBN operates. If you get a new NBN connection, they decommission your land line within 18 months — literally cut it off. The writing is on the wall for the copper network. That’s why no-one is really interested in fixing house-to-exchange line noise issues — crumbling infrastructure and slow speeds are a good way to ‘encourage’ users to stop using the copper network and switch to the NBN. You can voluntarily walk the plank, or wait until you are pushed — either way you are leaving the ship.

  38. Thanks for your in depth answer. I’ve checked how far I’m from the exchange 5km. I used the adslexchange link as well. Doesn’t have a estimate speed that I should be getting. Only use line for modem no phone. No other phone lines in the house. Will upgrade line in house and see what happens. Thank you once again

  39. That link was for ADSL2 exchanges. If you aren’t getting an estimated speed it could be because ADSL2 isn’t actually available at that exchange — you may be connecting using ADSL(1). Regardless, 5km from the exchange is huge. If you look at this chart you can see that the maximum speed of ADSL2 at 5km is only about 1.3Mbps and the maximum speed of ADSL is just 1Mbps. Both of those figures are in the ballpark of the 1Mbps that you are seeing.

    Sounds like there’s nothing actually wrong with your connection. I don’t think ‘upgrading the line’ is going to give you any performance boost worth talking about. Your house is just too far from the exchange for ADSL to give you good performance.

    If you want better download speeds you need to use a different technology to connect to the Internet.

  40. you are a legend! thanks for the info. made it very easy and simple where other info never is. thanks!!!

  41. Hey Tim,

    I don’t know if you still follow this post, but I have just renovated the kitchen in my apartment and took out the old 610 connection. I have been searching all over the Internet for an article to replace the old cream socket with a nice new white RJ11. So thanks, this is perfect.

    I did have one question. The socket is in a really weird position and not in close proximity to a power supply. Is there anyway to extend the existing cable to relocate it?

    Thanks in advance,

  42. Paul, if you remove the 610 then you’ll see which direction the cable runs inside the wall. Could be up, down, left or right in an apartment. If you only need to shorten it a few metres, and it runs in a favourable direction, then you might simply be able to create a new hole for the new socket, intercept the line, pull the end through and connect it there — without having to cut any wires.

    If, however, the cable runs in an un-helpful direction inside the wall, and you really need to extend it further, then the matter becomes too complex to resolve online. How far, which direction, through studs or noggins, through the ceiling cavity, crossing electrical cables, internal or external wall, do you even have a ceiling cavity, roofing material, etc., etc.

    Throwing some money in the direction of a licensed cabler is the “right” way to resolve the issue.

    I’d certainly never suggest that you get a telephone extension cord from Bunnings, cut both ends off, connect two wires from one end of the extension to the two wires on the original phone cable with something like these, securely tape the connection, create a new socket hole where you want one, grab something like a poly cable feeder, feed it through the new socket hole up the wall and into the ceiling cavity, climb up through your man hole into your ceiling cavity, locate and pull up your old phone line and the extension connected to it, tape the free end of the extension to end of the poly cable feeder, climb back down, pull the cable feeder and extension cord down the wall and into the room, then connect up your socket. Nope, I’d never suggest anything like that. Because that’s something so “complicated” that only a licensed professional, certified by the government, is capable of doing it.

    I’d also never suggest — if you need to go short distances sideways through an internal wall — that the easiest way is to just use a chisel to cut through the plasterboard where each stud is, and cut a small notch out of the stud (say the width of the cable feeder), so that you can then thread the cable feeder sideways through the wall and all of the notches and use it to pull your extension through. Nope, I’d never suggest that.

    Oh, and I’d also never suggest that instead of wasting a bunch of money on a high-tech stud-finder, that you instead get a spare/free/cheap magnet and slide it across the wall where you think studs may be located. When you get close, the magnet will pull towards and usually stick to the head of the metal plasterboard screws/nails that the builder used to secure the plasterboard to the studs whilst the stud adhesive was curing — thus revealing the location of the studs. Nope, I’d never suggest that either.

    Yep, making two wires run a few metres further is so amazingly complicated and dangerous that it requires a licensed professional, certified by the government, who has high-tech tools. You couldn’t possibly ever manage to do it yourself without dying and burning your house down. Nope. No way. That $15 DIY job should “definitely” be outsourced to the pros for at least $250.


  43. Thanx for sharing these detailed instructions – I was able to get rid of my old, yellowed 600 series plugs and sockets and replace them with a shiny new RJ12 socket; worked a treat first time! It was a very straightforward changeover achieved in perfect safety (I have ADSL+ and, from my research, there is no 50V DC on the line once you have ADSL). Far better than being charged $80 for someone else to do the same job! Thanx again!

  44. You’re welcome.

    There’s no DC on a line if you have Naked ADSL installed. Naked ADSL means that the dial tone is missing because you are no longer connected to the Public Switched Telephone System (PSTN). If you still have a regular land line and you still have a dial tone then you still have 50VDC on the line that is responsible for generating that tone.

    Regular land lines are becoming less and less common as people opt not to subject themselves to the predatory monopoly pricing tactics of Telstra. It’s far more common for houses nowadays to have no PSTN-connected phone line at all installed, and for occupants to simply rely on mobile phones for voice calls.

    Some areas, however, are “blackspots” where mobile phone coverage is weak, spotty, unreliable or non-existent. Steel house frames and reflective foil sarking are also interfering with mobile phone signals. Where the 3G/4G network is unable to provide a satisfactory data service (i.e. Internet connectivity) it is common for folks to use the existing copper wires to purely provide Internet access (via Naked ADSL). If 3G/4G reception is so bad it can’t even provide an adequate voice service (i.e. phone calls) then it is common for folks to set up a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service that piggy-backs on top of Naked ADSL.

    So, in the old days, we just had analogue phone calls on the phone line, then we added Internet access by piggy-backing ADSL on the analogue system, then we got rid of the analogue system and just had Naked ADSL, then we added phone calls back by piggy-backing VoIP on Naked ADSL, and now we’re replacing the underlying copper wires with a mishmash of technologies in the form of the NBN.

    It sure has been one heck of a ride!

    Oh, and thanks for providing an updated price on how much sparkies charge nowadays to switch over a socket. $80 is pure gravy.

  45. Hi Tim,

    I have just recently installed the NBN at my residence and have been experiencing drop outs every 20 to 30 minutes. The NBN mob is blaming the dropouts to my High Performance ADSL Splitter/Filter Remote (Model C10100E) and says I need to get rid of it.

    I have the main line (4 pair cable) coming in from the telstra box on the outside of the house wall with the white/blue and blue cables in going to the ‘LINE IN’ of a High Performance ADSL Splitter/Filter Remote (Model C10100E) as would be the norm of connecting the same.

    Another 4 pair cable with ONLY one pair runs from the Modem connection in the same Filter box to an ADSL port on the wall to which I connect my NBN TP-LINK Archer AC1600 Wireless Modem Router VR600.

    And another 4 pair cable with ONLY one pair runs from the Phone connection in the Filter box to 2 separate phone ports in different rooms as I used to have two phones in the house on the same phone number.

    I now no loner need and use the phones (PSTN) and only want the NBN to run properly.

    Question is should I terminate (crimp) just the white/blue and blue into an RJ 11 jack and then plug that straight into a modem (will a 8 pair fit in a RJ 11 jack or will just the 1 pair and leave the others outside).

    I don’t know if this will solve my drop outs of internet.

    Many Thanks in advance.


  46. Thanks for a very well researched and detailed question. Makes it so much easier to visualise what is going on. Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 describe exactly how things should be connected to a C10100E, so I don’t see anything wrong there.

    The thing that really piques my interest is the 20-30 minute disconnect period. Is this consistent? Does it happen day and night? Hot, cold and mild days?

    If it is consistent, then the first thing I’d be doing is looking at the power cable that runs from your Archer VR600 to a General Purpose Outlet (GPO) on a wall. Does it run parallel to, cross, or connect to the same GPO/powerboard as the power cable of any device that operates on a regular basis and draws a lot of power when it switches on? The usual suspects are refrigerators, airconditioners and pumps.

    When such devices turn on, they draw a very large amount of current through the electrical system for a short period of time (hundreds of milliseconds through to a few seconds). This surge creates a burst of electromagnetic noise that nearby conductors (e.g. electrical cables or phone (extension) lines) can pick up. Sometimes the additional noise is so high that it causes one of the devices on either end of the line to drop the connection.

    When you switched to the NBN, you may have purchased a new router as well, and inadvertently connected/run cables (i.e. re-jigged your internal network) in a way that makes it more prone to picking up interference. A little bit of investigation and monitoring will let you know if that is the case and, if so, the solution might be as trivial as re-routing a few cables or plugging your router into a different GPO.

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