POTS: Plain Old Telephone Service Wiring

The issue: The wire coming out of wall doesn’t match the color code on my jack. What should I do?

So you’ve decided to wire your own phone jack. Well, good for you do-it-yourselfer because honestly, there’s really nothing to it. But maybe you’ve already hit a snag. Are you staring at some wire coming out of the wall that doesn’t match the colors on your jack? Not to worry. Read on and it will all make sense.

X1 diagram

What Is POTS Wiring?

You have “POTS” wiring if you have two or all of the following colored wires coming out of the wall: Green, red, blue, yellow, black and white. “POTS” is an acronym that means: Plain Old Telephone Service.

The Wiring Color Code Doesn’t Match. Now What?

Does the color code on your jack show different colors like blue, striped-blue, orange, striped-orange, green, striped-green and brown, striped-brown? Don’t be confused. Take a look at the wiring diagram below and everything will be fine. But suppose you have the solid / striped wires coming out of the wall and a jack color coded with red, green, blue, yellow, black and white. Well, just cross reference the wire colors as mentioned above and it’s the same difference.

What Do I Do With the Brown Pair of Wire?

If you have category rated data cable (blue, blue-white, orange, orange-white etc…) you may notice that you have an extra pair of brown, brown-white wire. Unless you are doing gigabit ethernet for data, don’t worry about the brown pair. Just count it as an extra pair and you can safely tuck it back into the wall.

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