Signals and Telegraph

Telephone Connection to the Public Switched Telephone Network
Data connection to the Internet
Internal Telephone
Internal High Speed Data
Internal low speed data
Driveway Safeworking

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Telephone Connection to the Public Switched Telephone Network

I had lived on land with a long driveway before. The idea of having the "Services Cupboard" at the front boundary had been gestating away long before this building project started. The setting up of the Services Cupboard is not a Signals and Telegraph matter, but it provides the connection between the utility's system and my own system for all the services. One of these is the phone. I made provision for underground phone connection and the location of a telephone socket for each of two lines. Pairs in the cable along the road are running short, and allocation seems to be on a "first come, first served" basis, so I had two lines installed. It seemed that rental on two lines would be a small price to pay to have all this in place and all the bureaucratic delays behind me as the house neared completion. I didn't realize how long the house building would take!


It was the intention to allocate one line to a speech circuit, and use the other for internet and fax. Since then, technology moved on, and ADSL allows both on the same pair. Nevertheless, as Susie and I were a team during the house construction, and it looked as if we would both be living there, it seemed worthwhile to keep the two phone lines. As the house building project faced extended un-planned-for delays, the second line rental was abandoned. So, the hardware is all there (pair from exchange to house) if any future owner requires it.

The shared services trench carries a white pvc telecom "pipe". This contains one RG11 coaxial cable and three polyethelyne clad "quad" telephone cables. One of these is allocated for the switched network connection to the site.

Building Site Connection
About 20 years ago, I had an opportunity to acquire a multitude of short lengths of aerial telephone cable. This was the stuff that has one steel wire and two copper wires molded in black plastic. This is the style of cable that is commonly used for the aerial link from a pole in the street to the barge board on the house. From the lengths I had, I guess that my pieces had all seen service and had been pulled down during telephone system maintenance. These lengths were carefully joined with each copper conductor soldered and encased in heatshrink tubing. The steel wires were joined with a reef knot and the whole joint encased in another layer of heavy duty heatshrink tubing.


A commercial telephone extension lead was procured, cut in half, and the two halves attached to the ends of the concatenation. I thus had a 150 metre telephone extension cord. As an item, it didn't have Austel approval, to be sure, but it was carefully assembled and unlikely to bother the switched network owners.


Years ago, soon after I bought the land, I built a cabinet with a wooden frame and old corrugated iron cladding. This was for the purpose of a "builder's pole". It was fitted with a kilowatt hour meter, and mounted on a pole near a neighbour's house. An extension cord was run from the neighbour's house, and the idea was that I was to buy electricity from him. I buried the extension cord a couple of inches under the ground. This did not constitute a proper underground cable, but provided protection from ultra violet and from vehicle parts such as steel tyred wheelbarrow wheels. The neighbour built a huge bonfire over the cable, which seemed to be his way of saying that the arrangement was "off", so the cabinet was moved aside in the hope that it would find some use someday.


When the current building project was started, I was wondering if it would be of value or a distraction to build a site office. The LandRover was used to stow the tools, so a tool shed was not required. I set up the old meter box cabinet beside the drive near the house site on a stand made of steel pickets, and attached a solid hasp. It was then dubbed the "Phone Box". The 150 metre phone extension cord was run from the network boundary socket in the Services Cupboard to the phone box, and a Dick Smith phone installed there.

The Phone Box


The cable runs along the property boundary. Along the fence where there is one, and through the trees in other places.


When the Barn reached the "Lock Up" stage, another phone extension cord was run to a phone on a shelf above the fitter's bench.


Later, the extension cord was rolled up and the phone connection to the house transferred to the permanent wiring.

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Data connection to the Internet

The second phone line had been provided with this in mind but later abandoned (see above). A location in the Study (Barn small room) at the Anne end of the desk has been chosen for the ADSL modem and LAN Router. Both phone lines will have outlets on the wall here.

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Internal Telephone

An internal telephone system will be required. Studio, Workshop, Study, Kitchen, and front gate are all locations that people will need to communicate from.

The front gate will be particularly important. Whilst the house is under construction, visitors are aware that they are visiting a building site, and do so with the appropriate sense of adventure. When the house is a home, a much wider range of visitors will have to be catered for. A visitor who finds on arrival that all she can see is a driveway disappearing into the bush might need reassurance before driving in. The function that would be performed by a doorbell on a small property needs special consideration.

I have procured a unit that is designed as a public switched telephone network simulator. Although it provides no switching facility, It will provide a link between two points. Combined with two Dick Smith or supermarket phones, a two line house phone system is established. It was proposed that this would be installed to provide communications between the front gate and the building site. As I have stated elsewhere, this facility is already available to site workers and key holders, as there is a phone in the services cupboard on the second line, and this can be used to call the house on the first line. This trick is not suitable for untrained visitors however.

It is interesting how the community take-up of a new technology changes the ground rules for providing a solution for a requirement such as this. The new owner has a sign at the front gate calling on the visitor to call a particular number from her mobile. These days it can be pretty well assumed that any visitor will have a mobile phone to hand.

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Internal High Speed Data

A location at the Anne end of the desk in the study had been chosen for the ADSL modem and router. On Saturday 19th of March 2005, CAT5 cable was run from 10 different locations in the house to the router location. It is not imagined that all ten of these will be used, but the installation of the wires before the plaster board goes in does allow some flexibility. Computers will be able to be connected to the LAN and the internet at any of these ten locations. If we have a router with provision for less then ten connections, then an "active subset" will have to be selected at the patch panel adjacent to the router. It is easy to change the patching if a computer is moved in the house: much easier than providing new wiring after the plaster board is in.

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone had said to me:
(From people who I will categorize as “Group 1”.)
"Don't worry about CAT 5. Do it with wireless"
(From people who I will categorize as “Group 2”.)
"Put in loads of CAT 5 wherever you can while you can".

Why don't you two groups fight it out amongst yourselves? You don't need me as a middle man! For the record, my decision to install the cable for the LAN is based on some carefully thought out factors.
1. I have two buildings, both lined with Alfoil covered sarking. The two buildings are quite well shielded from each other at rf.
2. I got the CAT 5 cable for nothing.
3. Deciding whether to put cable in in a house that has no plaster lining in yet is a very different question from deciding to install cable in a finished house. It is easy and cheap now: it would be difficult and time consuming after the plaster is in. If I want to later, I can even use some of the cables for non-LAN purposes.
4. I have both cable connection and wireless connection to the server at work. The cable is quicker and more reliable. I could not tolerate a situation in which Susie kept asking me to stop welding so she can get on line.

I was wondering how to terminate the CAT 5 for the LAN and my mate Michael Bauer came up with a good lead as he often does. He pointed me to a web site with helpful info. On 25-06-2013 I checked this out, and there is no longer a site at the url I had used.

Here is what my mate Michael said:
You can buy RJ45 (8-pin "Modular") wall receptacles with Krone block (insulation displacement) terminals. Try Jaycar, Radio Parts, Middy's, etc. Only 4 wires (2 pair) are used, so the unused 2 pairs may be put to other uses while a receptacle is not being used as a PC network node.

IEEE 802.3 10/100BaseT (UTP) Ethernet uses a "star" network topology, i.e. there is a "central" modem/router/hub from which a separate cable is run to each end-point node. You probably already knew this, but no harm in a little redundant information. You don't need to terminate unused nodes -- each node in a router/hub has its own line driver/receiver. Unconnected nodes are automatically detected and electrically disabled.

There is a single 1:1 cable connecting from each router/hub port (wall receptacle) to each PC in use. You can buy these pre-fabricated, in various lenghts, quite cheaply. Line termination is made inside the router/hub and inside the PC LAN card. No external termination is required. Upstream sockets are wired in reverse to downstream sockets (i.e. TX/RX pairs crossed over), so that all cables are wired pin-for-pin (1:1). You only need a special "cross-over" cable if, for example, you are trying to inter-connect two nodes of equal rank, e.g. 2 PC's together.

Don't worry if it's not all in place when Susie moves in -- you can run a temporary Cat5 cable to her computer room (and yours) from your modem/router.


You can soak up more MJB wisdom here, although the scope of material at that site is much less extensive than it was when this page was first written.


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Internal low speed data

I have been forced to think about this as I install wires in the house in the hope of meeting every need before the plaster board goes in. I envisage the need for an extensive network to provide for a multitude of very simple outstation devices. I have designed such things before. The wayside stations in the Hytco Driverless Tractor system were connected in a current loop. The Nilsen meters in the "MeterNet" system were connected in a current loop. In the case of very simple peripheral devices, it is desirable to provide peripheral power as well as data transfer over the network. The question of whether to put peripheral devices in parallel (bus) or series (current loop) is one that needs careful attention. There is an advantage in the case of peripheral devices out in the yard, in using the parallel connection. An open wire line can be run around and connected to at any point. The current loop has advantages as well. This is yet to be resolved.

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