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Vonage Mods might want to sticky this, since it seems to come up a lot. I just rewired

Mods might want to sticky this, since it seems to come up a lot.

I just rewired my whole telephone system, because the original wiring was probably older than me and had all sorts of spaghetti and splices and whatnot.. I had a lot of air and crosstalk in the lines, and it caused all sorts of havoc with my alarm system not being able to handshake with the monitoring center when it dialed out (even though it seizes line 1, the interference from line 2 still killed it). So I decided to just rip everything out and start new.

First of all, use only CAT5 cable. CAT3 (regular phone wire) isn't twisted pair. Twisted pairs cancel out interference and crosstalk. Second, use "home runs" (bring all extensions to a central location), don't splice or run jacks in series. Third, use a punch-down block, not a screw-type block for the distribution center. Punched connections are more reliable, and it looks a lot neater. If you don't want to completely rewire, you may still be able to improve the quality of your line, provided you have a place where most of the wiring comes together.

Security systems use an RJ-31X jack almost all the time. This is a special "insert loop" jack, which provides a means of disconnecting the security panel from the phone system quickly without having to physically rewire. When I say "insert loop" (anyone who knows studio recording equipment knows this term), I mean a jack that has both an input and an output circuit, which, when the jack is empty, are internally connected. This is the RJ-31X jack that I pulled out from my existing phone wiring:

If you'll notice, there are two little circuit traces, with the jack's pins resting on them. One connects red to blue, the other connects green to gray. Red and green are called Ring and Tip, and connect to the TelCo's wiring. Blue and gray are called R1 and T1, and connect to the house wiring. What this does is when the jack is empty, connects the TelCo right to the house wiring, but when a plug to the security panel is inserted, the pins move away from the contacts, and sends the phone signal out through the red/green pair, through the panel, and back in to the house wiring through the blue/gray pair. This configuration allows the panel to seize the line, cutting off all other phones on that line, so an off-hook phone or call-in-progress doesn't impede the panel from calling out.

Now, if you are lucky, your alarm panel was installed very close to where the phone lines come together, and you will have the RJ-31X jack as the "distribution block". In this case, you will have a very easy job, and you will only have to run a single (CAT5) cable, from that point to wherever your Vonage adapter is located. You will also have a pigtail coming from the alarm panel, which connects to that jack. If the pigtail is made from modular cord (the flat gray stuff), it must be replaced. More on that in a bit.

If your phone block is not near the alarm panel, and the RJ-31X jack is "remotely installed", or the panel is hardwired (no jack), don't fret. That just means you need to run 2 cables instead of 1. Again, one from the distribution location to where your Vonage adapter is located, and also one from the distribution location to the alarm panel.

This is the cheapest, and coolest punchdown block I've seen.. It is designed to be used with the Leviton Structured Wiring System, but as you can see, it works just fine by itself:

It's the Leviton 1x7 Security Module, available at Home Depot for about $25. As you can see, it supports up to 4 lines to 7 locations, and has the RJ-31X jack built right in. They also sell an expansion board, which can support up to 9 more locations, in case you need it. All you do is match up the color pairs to the block, and use the included tool to punch the wire down. Then you just trim off the excess.

The punch blocks are color coded for CAT5 wiring, which is:
Line: tip/ring (I only show the predominant wire color, not the tracer [painted stripe])

1: white/blue
2: white/orange
3: white/green
4: white/brown

If you have older existing wiring, those colors are as follows:
Line: tip/ring
1: green/red
2: black/yellow
3: either blue/white (3 pair wire) or brown/orange (4 pair wire)
4: blue/gray

The top set of contacts is labeled "From Demarc". You are going to run a (CAT5) cable from this set of contacts to a CAT5 jack where your Vonage adapter is. By using a CAT5 jack on that end, you will have access to all 4 lines via jack splitters if you need them now, or in the future. You can plug a regular single phone line into a CAT5 jack with no problems. This is the jack splitter I use, which allows access to lines 1 and 2. If lines 3 and 4 are needed, Leviton makes a splitter (which is also available at Home Depot, in the same section) which gives you single jacks for all 4 lines.:

The jack splitter is only necessary in a 2 line case because the Vonage adapters can't put 2 lines out to a single port.

Now, the CAT5 jack on this end will not follow a standard color code. It will closely resemble the T568A code shown on the jack, in that the blue pairs are correct. But if you need 2, 3 or 4 line capability, you will have to change the positions of the orange, green and brown pairs for it to work correctly. I will use a slash (/) to indicate the stripe wire:

For Orange, you just swap the position of the orange wires. Solid for stripe and vice versa.

For green and brown it's a little different:

T568A Jack pin color: Wire color

green : green
green/ : brown
brown: brown/
brown/: green/

This is the only part of the setup which will not follow a standard color code. Everything else does.

Once you have this jack wired, connect the Vonage adapter (and jack splitter if necessary) using regular phone cords.

Ok, now if you followed this correctly, you should have working Vonage phone service to all of your jacks. Congratulations! If any jacks do not get a dial tone, check to make sure the wires are solidly punched down. If ALL jacks don't get a dial tone, then make sure you followed the color code for the Vonage jack correctly.

Now that you have a dial tone, it is time to connect your alarm. If your alarm panel pigtail is made from CAT5 cable, simply plug it in and you are done. Call your monitoring station and tell them you need to run a test, and make sure they get a signal.

If your panel is either hardwired (no pigtail), has a modular wire (flat gray/silver stuff) pigtail, or is no near the distribution block, you are going to have to make a new pigtail. If you have an RJ-45 crimper and know how to use it, you probably don't need any further explanation from me. (If you don't know what a crimper is, don't sweat, I'll get to you in a minute) Run a CAT5 cable from the alarm to the distribution block, and crimp an end on it, arranging the wires as follows:

Pin 1: Orange
Pin 4: Blue
Pin 5: White/Blue
Pin 8: White/Orange

At the alarm panel, find the phone terminal block:

This is a DSC Power 832 panel, but yours will also have a block with the same labelling. Connect as follows:

Ring: Blue
Tip: White/blue
R-1: Orange
T-1: White/orange

Plug in the RJ-45 plug into the security jack inthe distribution block, and you are done.

If you don't have a crimper, don't go buy one just for this, because they run $20-30. Instead, just go buy a CAT5 network cable, in whatever length you need to get from the panel to the block, and install it. At the alarm panel side, cut the plug off, and strip the outer jacket. Now, look at the plug you just cut off, with the wire coming out the bottom, and the clip down. If the first wire to the left is white/orange, then connect the wiring to the alarm's phone terminal block as follows:

RING: Blue
TIP: White/blue
R-1: White/Orange
T-1: Brown

If the first wire to the left is white/green, then connect to the alarm phone terminal block using this color code:

RING: Blue
Tip: White/blue
R-1: White/green
T-1: Brown

The reason for this is that there are two standards, T568A and T568B. B is much more common, but A is still used. With a pre-made patch cable, either standard will work in any jack, but since we are using it for a different purpose, the difference would mean nothing would work if you used the wrong color code.

Again, once you have it connected to the panel, connect the plug to the Security jack on the distribution block and test the system.

Once I did this, I did not have to do anything else to make my alarm communicate properly. Since my bandwidth saver is already on max quality, I didn't need to add *99 to the dialing prefix, but you may have to. I also did not have to call Vonage to change the packetization level.

I am using a Linksys PAP-2, with a Linksys BEF-SR41 router, and Motorola SurfBoard 5100 cable modem. When you have your security system connected through Vonage, it is EXTREMELY important that you have all of your equipment on the largest UPS backup that you can afford. I have an APC 1500VA unit, which powers all 3 devices for over 6 hours.

Good luck.

Matt 8)

Read The Full Thread:

How to properly wire an alarm for use with Vonage

Excellent post, yes I will sticky this - Thank you.
I was wondering if you could tell me if i were to just finish the alarm box setup and
This post is amazing. I just need a little help on something more basic. I am
Hello, and thanks for all the info on this forum. I just rewired with cat5 from my
This is a very comprehensive post and thank you for that. Right now, I am only interested
Great post!!!! May I suggest something a bit easier for folks to understand? Take
Great Post. I'm planning on buying this module, but I have a question If
Your VoIP adapter replaces your incoming Telco feed, so from the adapter, wire
I've got the same alarm system as original post but it is not connected to a monitoring

TaZMaNiaK posted "Mods might want to sticky this, since it seems to come up a lot. I just rewired" on 03/01/2005

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