Question New fiber optic customer - trying to plan ahead for connectivity

Mar 4, 2019
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I've done some forum searching but haven't found an answer that I can wrap my mostly novice tech brain around. I am getting fiber optic service in a couple of weeks and am trying to prepare for the best (and simplest) way to utilize it.

What's coming: 300mbps internet only service. Fiber run to a company provided ONT, at basement corner of the house. I wish to avoid renting/purchasing the companies modem/router.
Current setup: Spectrum cable service, run to the same spot in the basement. Using existing coax (house built 2005) at uppermost and furthest (from basement point) room. Coax to Motorola Arris SB6141 modem, modem connected to TPLink AC1750 wireless router with ethernet cable, TP router connected to a desktop PC with ethernet cable.

I currently use wifi for my smartphone, some tv, and guests laptops, so pretty low demand.

What I want: get that signal to the pc and wireless router at that top corner of the house. The fiber provider (TDS) has only confused me more when I ask. I'm told I could (or the installing tech) connect to the ONT using the existing house coax for the signal, but that would slow the speed down and/or degrade the signal. There are also existing ethernet jacks in most rooms (Cat5E) that could be used? Or I could purchase another wireless router, to be mounted next to and connected to the ONT and use it to communicate with the existing wireless router. The only thing I feel I actually understand at this point is I can use my Motorola modem (I own it) at the ONT versus purchasing the T3200 Action-Tec that TDS offers.

I know this is "easy" stuff for most of you, so please have mercy on me! Any education and tips on what I should do will be most appreciated!
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
First thing to ask the installer if ethernet directly out of the ONT is an option. If not you can use your modem.

If you have ethernet ports in most rooms, then they must converge somewhere. You want to put your router where the ethernet converges. Then use the in-wall cabling to connect everything and add supplemental WIFI access points wherever you want WIFI.
 
Mar 4, 2019
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The ethernet converges in an ETCON DDI phone distribution device, mounted right near where the fiber will most likely enter.

So if I understand you correctly, the first and best option is if the ONT has direct ethernet out have the tech connect the ONT to the Cat5 convergence point, and utilize the ethernet port upstairs for the pc/wireless router. No need for my modem anymore or to move my wireless router or buy a second one.

Option 2 is if the ONT is not direct out, have the tech connect the ONT to my modem and then the modem to the now relocated wireless router. Then the wireless router is connected to the Cat5 convergence point? The pc upstairs would simply use the ethernet port?
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
If you have a ETCON DDI, then your cat5 is not setup for ethernet. It is setup for phone. You would need to configure the convergence point for ethernet. With 300Mbit service, converting several of the wall plates to ethernet would be the best way to utilize your infrastructure. Every TV should be on a wired connection. That will provide the most bandwidth for handheld devices. An ethernet switch at the convergence is the best answer. Leave your current router in the basement and allow as much as possible to be wired connected to it.
 
Mar 4, 2019
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Alright. So move my router to the basement. The hardware I need to buy is an ethernet switch. The tech will somehow connect the ONT to the ethernet switch, which will be connected to the router. Modem won't be needed. Use ethernet ports for tv and pc to maximize available bandwidth off of router. Am I somewhat close?
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Your configuration would be
ONT -> modem if required -> router -> optional switch. Then using the in-wall cabling you can connect to any room. Put a WIFI access point where you need it most (living room, bedroom,, etc), with one per floor. Connect stationary devices (TVs, destktops, Xbox, Roku, etc) to wired connections. If you only need a couple rooms wired, then use the LAN ports on the router and you won't have to get a switch.

What you are trying to do is create a "home run" wiring for your home. I would recommend you get an ethernet cable tester so that you can use it to troubleshoot any in-wall wiring problems.
 
Mar 4, 2019
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My router has 4 ports and I'm thinking I'll only need three rooms wired ( 2 for stationary devices and the 3rd for a potential access point), so I'll plan on using the router as the switch. If a switch does end up being required, I'll look into models and prices at that point. I don't think I'll need to create an access point as I seem to have strong coverage throughout the house right now (that may change with moving the router to the basement though). Thanks for the detailed help - much appreciated!
 
Mar 4, 2019
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Following up with how my install went. The ONT is direct out and thus connected to my router. The tech was kind enough to disconnect/confirm CAT5e routing for the three rooms I want ethernet ports in. What I thought were existing CAT5e ports were actually phone jacks. I replaced the wall plates and wired them with RJ45 modular plugs. I'm using the LAN ports on my router for the 3 rooms. Wifi range is middling once upstairs and farthest from the router. I am planning on using one port upstairs for a wifi range extender. Hope this helps others - thank you!
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Following up with how my install went. The ONT is direct out and thus connected to my router. The tech was kind enough to disconnect/confirm CAT5e routing for the three rooms I want ethernet ports in. What I thought were existing CAT5e ports were actually phone jacks. I replaced the wall plates and wired them with RJ45 modular plugs. I'm using the LAN ports on my router for the 3 rooms. Wifi range is middling once upstairs and farthest from the router. I am planning on using one port upstairs for a wifi range extender. Hope this helps others - thank you!
Since you have WIRED connectivity, you don't want a WIFI range extender, you want a WIFI access point. They are different devices. A WIFI access point creates a WIFI signal and uses the wired infrastructure to tie those WIIF devices back to the rest of your network. An extender uses WIFI to tie back to the rest of your network.
 
Mar 4, 2019
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I get confused about switch, bridge, ap, repeater, etc. Thanks for pointing this out to me. I looked at some AP devices. The Ubiquiti Lite seems popular but may not be best for a novice like me. The TP Link N300 or N450 may be easier for me, along with available tech support. And they are priced reasonably as well as include the PoE adapter. Do the TP Link models seem like a good choice for my setup?
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
I get confused about switch, bridge, ap, repeater, etc. Thanks for pointing this out to me. I looked at some AP devices. The Ubiquiti Lite seems popular but may not be best for a novice like me. The TP Link N300 or N450 may be easier for me, along with available tech support. And they are priced reasonably as well as include the PoE adapter. Do the TP Link models seem like a good choice for my setup?
Another option, that works well is to get a used Asus router from E-Bay. The RT-AC68U is a great choice and is available for around $60. If you go the router approach you get a built-in ethernet switch so that you can easily connect multiple wired devices.
 
Mar 4, 2019
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I don't need to connect additional wired devices at this time. A used device that I probably can't figure out how to configure may not be best. A new-in-box ap with a warranty and tech support sounds better for me. Any thoughts about the two TP Link models mentioned?
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
I don't need to connect additional wired devices at this time. A used device that I probably can't figure out how to configure may not be best. A new-in-box ap with a warranty and tech support sounds better for me. Any thoughts about the two TP Link models mentioned?
I have never used TP-Link. Looking at their web page, I am not impressed. There is no reason to have only 2.4Ghz WIFI today. Dual band should be mandatory. All new handheld devices are dual band capable. The AC1200 would be OK since it is dual band.
The Asus routers have a one-button toggle to access point mode. They are many users on this forum and on SmallNetBuilder.com forum that can help with Asus. I would not be intimidated by a different vendor. The user interfaces are pretty easy and there are YouTube videos that will give you an overview. Google "asus router user interface" and you can see lots of info.
 

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