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[SLUG] Networking advice please.

I have 3 pc's networked to an ethernet switch, which is connected to the 'Net via a modem router. All works well.

My house was cabled for LAN with cat5 cable when it was built.

I have connected a pc to each of 2 LAN wall outlets ( in different rooms) with a straight-through (ie not crossover) cable, and have tried connecting the ethernet switch to each of the 4 outlets at the LAN outlet point at the other end of the cabling in my "Den". The appropriate set of lights on the ethernet switch fail to light up, no matter which of the 4 outlets at the wall junction I attach it to, even though the other end of one of these outlets has a PC (in another room) attached.

Either all of the LAN cabling in the house is defective (unlikely as the other cables for Cable-TV and TV Aerial work), or I am doing something wrong re connecting the remote PC's to the ethernet switch.

Should I be using straight-through cable or crossover cable from the wall point to the ethernet switch (I asume straight-through)?

How can I test the cabling, short of purchasing an appropriate cable tester?

Thanks in advance.