VDSL adaptor faceplate


for NTE5 Masters

(works with all ADSL types)







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BT ADSL Adaptor Faceplate for NTE5 Masters
(modified for hardwiring of ADSL connections)


The genuine BT article as used by BT/Openreach engineers on fully-fitted professional ADSL installations. Straight-forward design using top quality filtering components and also easily consumer-installable.


Before we get in to the detailed write-up, here's the essential suitability list:


This part is for use with all DSL-based services:



  • ADSL
  • ADSL "MAX"
  • ADSL2+
  • VDSL (Also called "FTTC", "Fibre To The Cabinet", "BT Infinity")



Here's our guide to the frankly brilliant BT ADSL faceplate adaptor which we prised from the jealous grip of BT back in 2002 to bring to the masses and supply both retail and wholesale, complete with subsequent vital design modification for even better extension cable hardwiring ability.

As with all such articles here, this isn't intended to instruct people with absolutely no technicaly savvy whatsoever - we'd respectfully suggest that if the below is all gibberish, please pay for a professional installation. If it's all sensible and clear, then please click an "ORDERS" button and get your order underway!


Terminolgy used here

ADSL and VDSL: are for our purposes the same - both are DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) data services, with VDSL (Very fast DSL) simply being a higher-speed variant of the ADSL signalling method.


POTS: Plain Ordinary Telephone Service. This means everything which isn't DSL equipment which is connected to the BT telephone line; Telephones of all kinds, Fax machines, SKY boxes, dialup modems and alarm panels which have modems in them - these are all POTS devices.


BT Infinity: Is BT's marketing brand name for their own VDSL product. This is the thing which has fibre optic cabling all the way to your street cabinet (hence the term Fibre To The Cabinet - FTTC). Your street cabinet is a big green metal box with hinged doors on the font, and there's one usually within a couple of hundred yards of your property. Street cabinets serve the individual telephone lines to anything from a few hundred to a couple of thousand properties. Most ISPs now offer an FTTC product for areas which have had their street cabinets upgraded to a fibre feed, and give it a name of their own. I like the sound of "Super Zoomy DSL", but apparently none of them agreed with me. From the cabinet to your premises, they still use the same copper wire telephone line. Because copper's an excellent conductor, the signal loss between the cabinet and your DSL router is minimal over just a couple of hundred yards of cable.





On this long-ish page...

PART I - What does this product actually do?



PART I - What does this product actually do?


In summary;
It replaces the standard customer-detachable bottom half faceplate on "NTE5" type master telephone line boxes, and gives you separate Voice and ADSL sockets instead. It also filters all your extensions on the line so that you can keep all your standard telephone equipment and devices plugged in as and where they are. The "filtering" or "splitting" job it does is the same as a microfilter (indeed, it contains a high quality microfilter device) - except that by doing this job centrally at the master box this negates the need for multiple dangly microfilters at each one of the phone points in your house/office. And as the filtering parts themselves are BT's own tight design specification, the actual job of filtering/splitting the POTSand DSL broadband services from each other is quite excellent. Which is nice.


If you want to know more about why and when ADSL filters are necessary at all read THIS article


It gives you connection points for either or both ADSL and POTS extensions

It's quite possible, indeed likely, that your computer and router isn't in the same place as your BT master socket. Well, good news - most of us are in the same boat. So this part provides what you need to serve those extensions too. I think this is an appropriate time to mention that in these cases, you'll need to use an appropriate cable type for the ADSL extension job and not an old stinky telephone extension cable bought from Woolies (God rest its soul) in 1975. I've discussed this at length in this article and by completely coincidental chance Clarity also provides the exact ADSL extension cabling packages used by your friendly Openreach engineer during an often-costly, paid-for BT/Openreach ADSL installation) which will plug into the ADSL socket on this ADSL Adaptor faceplate OR if you practice neatness and professionalism, are a technogeek, or it suits larger cabling plans, can be directly wired to the terminals on the rear.


So instead of just a single standard telephone socket on the front as per the standard fit voice-only faceplate on BT NTE5 master line boxes, the (modified) BT ADSL Adaptor gives you two sockets AND hardwiring terminals. Read on for more detailed, um, details...





What it provides

THE BT SOCKET is a standard "BT-style" telephone socket (or type "631A" socket if you like to be correct/pedantic) which is now filtered so that the noise of ADSL is removed from it and so that it in turn doesn't overlap the ADSL signal.

On the BACK there's a small IDC connector block for extensions to be neatly hardwired onto, so that all your extensions, once transplanted to this new faceplate, are once again made safe and correct for voice equipment use, having had the ADSL signal stripped off.



Just to be ultra-clear:

All telephones of all types, faxes, SKY boxes, dial-up modems, alarm panels which use modems - ALL these things need to work behind an ADSL filter to keep them isolated from the ADSL signal on the line. So any of these things connected to the phone line need to either be plugged in via the filtered telephone socket on the front, or via extension cabling connected to the filtered hardwire terminals on the back*. ADSL hardware (i.e. the ADSL router or ADSL modem) is never filtered, and can never be connected on the filtered side of a microfilter. For this, see about three paragraphs down...


*And/or you can also provide another filtering device at an extension location if you send only an unfiltered cable to it but still want to serve any POTS hardware there - more about that in our Extensions Guide.

THE ADSL SOCKET is an RJ45 socket. Importantly, an RJ45 socket can happily accept both RJ45 plugs and RJ11 plugs, so either is fine there. Most modem cables (both supplied with ADSL modems/routers and aftermarket) have an RJ11 plug on each end, so that's handy.


On the BACK of this modified version we've now also provided extra terminals for direct connection of a wire pair to serve an ADSL-carrying extension cable. An ADSL-serving cable is not filtered (remember only POTS hardware should be on the filtered side of an ADSL filter). It's absolutely possible to still serve a telephone or other POTS device on this extension, but in that case you will need to provide a filtering solution at the far end for it. Luckily we have all the bases covered and sell the parts you'll need if you'd like to do that. READ about it HERE and GET the parts HERE


An alternative method equally often used is to send both a filtered wire pair (for POTS) and unfiltered wire pair (for ADSL) along the extension cable together. Again, we have the bits you'd need to do this, and indeed I've written it up and discussed it in some detail in that link at the end of the last paragraph.


Already sound about right for your cunning plans?

OK, here's a button to order one:





What's this "NTE5" you're on about, and how can I tell if my master's an NTE5 or what?

Pretty much every BT Master linebox installed for yeeeeears (since the mid-late 80's - 1986 rings a bell in my head) has been the NTE5A form. "NTE5" is a standard registered design. There are a couple of NTE5 variants in the world, but the detachable faceplates are all totally interchangable - that's the point of them. The variations are only related to the type of connectors they use on the back of the main box, where the actual BT line is connected, and which you shouldn't ever even see.


In a very tiny percentage of cases a non-NTE5 master may still have been used for some reason; it would usually be when two separate lines are being provisioned at the outlet and they put a double-master faceplate on. I'll stop writing this now because I'm sure I'm only confusing things...)

This is an NTE5. Actually if you want to be exact it's an NTE5-A, but we just call it an NTE5, OK? Good.


What's that? The abbreviation? Network Terminating Equipment. Happy? Can we move on now? Sheesh, you people.

Now, notice if you will that the lower half is separate from the rest of the body. The main body is also referred to as the "backplate" and the separate lower panel is the always called the "faceplate". Unless you'd prefer to call it the "front-plate" if you really must, just to be difficult.

*NOTE: If your BT master isn't this type, then an ADSL NTE5 adaptor faceplate is of course NO USE to you.

If you'd like to acquire and fit your own NTE5 line box, all is not lost - you can still legally do so. We sell the correct NTE5s as used by BT/Openreach HERE, to connect up yourself, and it's well discussed in THIS ARTICLE







Right, you're with us so far? And you've bought one of our excellent BT ADSL NTE5 Adaptor Faceplates? Good. Let's now get stuck in to our NTE5 with an appropriate screwdriver and get it fitted.  I think you'll be able to find a small flat-blade screwdriver on your own alright. Don't disappoint me.

How to attack your NTE5 and get the faceplate off it etc.

All you have to do is undo the two handy screws on the front, and pull the faceplate straight off. Don't yank it off, because you may well have extension wires connected to it back there! Gently does it. Here's a dinky little picture of an NTE5 here in Clarity Towers being dismembered yesterday.

As I say, yours will very probably have some of those wires that you see there attached to the IDC connector block(s) on the back of the faceplate. Those wires run off to your extensions, wherever they are in the building. You can release them from the faceplate with a good solid upward tug away from the connector block, or of course if you're feeble (or they're stuck fast), you can nip them off with wire cutters. Always, always, be conservative when you snip wires here - many are the times a poor installer has been defeated or at least gravely inconvenienced by some goon having left no slack in the wiring at all. Always leave some excess. There's plenty of room back there to tuck it all away neatly!

And if you do have extensions to other telephone outlets in your own scenario, then you may want to have a read of our Extensions Guide too.

By now it'll make sense if I tell you that the faceplate is the part which YOU, the SUBSCRIBER, are allowed to work with to wire extensions into. The BT Master line box is the official demarkation point between BT's network and your scruffy mess of a home telephone system.

Everything on THEIR side of the NTE5 main body, and especially the wires on the BACK of the NTE5 main body, is BT's. No fiddling, leave well alone. "Nicht Fur Touchen Auf Dem Fingerdabben" as they say in Germany.

Everything on YOUR side of the NTE5 main body, including the removable faceplate, is YOUR domain. (the faceplate is BT's legal property, if you want to be precise so I suppose you should keep it, probably in your shed - which we both know means "never to be seen again".) Anyway, that means telephones plugged into the master, extensions whether plugged in or hardwired onto the back of the faceplate, all these things are yours to play with.

See how the detachable consumer faceplate principle lets you do things without actually tinkering with the wires which come in off the street, i.e. BT's actual Exchange Line? An excellent and handy concept.

Now let's get a better look at this great BT ADSL Adaptor faceplate. As you can see, the back is more or less the same stuff as was on the one you just removed. You can see the IDC connector block where you'll connect the wires that run to your extensions for example. If you do have extension wires and you'll still be wanting them to serve POTS - that's anything telephoney, or "anything that isn't an ADSL router/modem" - then you would simply transplant them terminal-for-terminal onto the same numbered terminals on the new faceplate. whichever was in "2" goes in "2" and so on. Simple as that! A and B there will serve an extension which is still going to carry ADSL though, so in that case that extension cable's line pair would go on A and B. Again, much much more about that in our EXTENSIONS article


Remember these are IDC terminals, so you need to use an insertion tool. There's a couple of different options for you in our shop HERE. I'd always advise the proper punch-down one that's there for about a tenner because it makes sure you use the correct pressure and it also trims the wire at the same time. But you can get away with the little cheap plastic one if it's just for this one-off job.

Once you've made any connections you need to, you're almost done. If you recall at the top of the page, I said that this is a direct plug-in replacement for the original voice-only faceplate. So as you probably guessed, all you do now is plug it in and put the screws in. That's it.


Time to order one yet? Here's a handy button to do so:



A Note About The Screws


Because the ADSL adaptor needs longer screws, the short ones you've just removed are replaced by two longer screws, provided in the packet.

BUT... Originally the backboxes for the NTE5s installed by BT had little brass inserts in the screwholes for the faceplate. They take machine screws (electrical screws), thread M3. For about a decade or more BT started fitting cheaper (typical!) ones which don't have those brass inserts, and instead of nice neat machine-screws, you have to horse a pair of self-tapping screws into bare plastic instead.


Now, this ADSL faceplate is the genuine BT article, and it comes with what BT now consider the standard screw for their NTE5's - self-tapping screws.


I felt it would be helpful to get hold of some suitable screws for those older NTE5 types, since they're still perfectly common. But we've only ever found the right size available in large quantities and very expensive as measly screws go.  We gave in shelled out for a wheelbarrow full of the bloody things, so you can now order a couple for a few token pence extra when you're ordering your ADSL adaptor.  They're offered as a "Related Product" for these adaptors on their shop page.  We should make the cost back in a few years...





what do you mean "about time"?? Shut up!



So there we have it - pop it onto your NTE5 backbox, screw it into place, and you'll be all set and ready to surf. All your POTS-only extensions are now filtered, and the ADSL socket on the front can either accept your modem cable directly, or one of the BT Engineer's ADSL Extension Kits which we also have for you too. Alternatively your ADSL-serving extension cable might be hardwired, as discussed above.

On the right there, is a shot of another couple of NTE5s at Clarity Towers. The ones in my own office as it turns out.

As an interesting point of note actually, the NTE5 on the left is in a flush-mount mounting box put in by the builders so the NTE5 is flush with the wall, while the one on the right was a recent addition and used a surface mount wall box. By lucky chance both units now sit pretty much level! COMPLETE FLUKE!





"Well, now that I've learned all about this magnificent device, I want one! In fact, I NEED one. So how do I buy one?"


And I should think so too. If you had any idea how long it's taken me to write this up, you'd feel honour-bound to reach for your wallet, purse - or if you're stuck in the early 90s, bum-bag -straight away.

Here's a handy "BUY" button for you - click it to go directly to this product in our smart and super-paranoid-secure online shop.





And of course you can also acquire the whole cheeseboard of associated hardware such as BT's own ADSL extension cable kits, tools for fitting all of these things, and a full assortment of line boxes and Secondary filtering parts for more varied and versatile site installations.




If you still have any questions about using this part, EMAIL US AND ASK!

we reserve the right to sarcastically jibe you if you just haven't bothered reading
the stuff above and elsewhere on the site which would've given you the answers.

Seriously though - go ahead and ask. Be as detailed as possible!