Orphaned data jacks


If you look around your home or office, you’ll probably notice that the power and data jacks are clustered together. In other words, for every Ethernet, phone, or cable TV outlet on the wall, there’s a power outlet no more than a few feet away. This approach makes sense, since virtually everything that uses a data connection will require a power cord as well. (Power-over-Ethernet is a notable exception, but is typically limited to large offices.)

With this in mind, I’ve always been surprised that one of the rooms in my apartment has a cable outlet, but no power outlet anywhere on that wall. You have to cross over a doorway or closet to reach the nearest one. Even stranger, the other side of that wall has a power outlet, so it would have been very cheap to add the outlet during the original construction. Perhaps someone just screwed up.

As a rule of thumb, whether you’re the builder or the resident of a property, always do a reality check on the power and data jacks. For every data jack, including phone and cable, there should be a power outlet nearby. If there isn’t, you’re basically wasting time and money to install the data jack, since the user won’t be able to connect anything there anyway.