Tuesday, March 18, 2008

B: additional compgeek input...

As some additional info to Mandy's post let me add that this router thingy currently has a fiber optic input and APC battery power back-up source. It has sufficient ports to support 3 LAN and 4 phone lines. The phone lines use traditional 2 wire indoor telecom connectors (ie old school phones). Whoever installed this thing appears to have been sloppy or lazy because they they have tied all of the household phone lines together into a single line on one port. The wiring job is for shit, but that is just my low tolerance for half-assedness.

My big questions are:

  1. The router does not have a co-ax output, but the 426 page incomprehensible instruction manual suggests that it may support digital video. Does that mean that the video feed is through the LAN and there is a converter box to hook up to the TV? How does this typically work?
  2. To get a wireless network from this system would one simply buy a wireless bridge to connect to one of the LAN lines?
  3. How do people feel about the VoIP phone service? Other than extended power outages where you run through your backup, what are the other issues?
  4. Rather than restoring our phone system and DSL service with the unused telecom hardwire, should we switch to this VoIP Broadband service? It looks like it may be cheaper to switch if we can return the POS router that AT&T made us buy.


Kevin W said...

Hey guys! You hit the nail on the head. It's just a router for handling fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) internet/cable/voice packages. Not sure who your local provider is, but it's probably worth checking their history/prices. Some providers are awesome. Others may not be. You might be able to find yours at http://www.dslreports.com/search.

I doubt you have Verizon, since they do use coax to distribute video throughout the house. Some other providers transmit the video over ethernet and have set-top boxes that accept it (which it sounds like you might have to do). Typically, the set top box is configured on a separate VLAN from your general internet connectivity and its traffic is prioritized over your web surfing. Same for the voice traffic.

As for wireless, the router is totally configurable so it can definitely be screwed up, but if properly installed by the provider, yes, you should just be able to plug an access point into one of the LAN jacks to get your fix.

Although I haven't been fortunate enough to get FTTH yet, everyone I know who has (including my parents and sister) just loves it. They aren't able to tell it's all going over fiber. Then again, when the power goes out long enough to exhaust the APC, you're going to be without phone service.

Good luck! Especially with getting that $$ back from AT&T. And let me know if I can help with any of the wiring!

Lefty said...

Thanks Kevin!

I likely will have several questions in the next few weeks. Given a primmer on network wiring and configuration from you and the internet, I think I can figure that part out. The software configuration of the router leaves me totally in the dark. The manual reads like a college level text book on network software configuration.

One question for you: The installer did some things like tying the phone line to one of the wire pairs (blue) on the only LAN port that is currently wired, and they left brown un-used. This suggests to me that only 2 pairs of the Cat5 are being used for data. I haven't looked, but I would guess that they just did this as a convenient way to get phone to that room without running seperate phone cable, but I have to wonder, how is this affecting data transmission?

kevin w said...

Both 10Base-T (10Mbps) and 100Base-TX (100Mbps) actually only use 2 pairs. In standard 568A or 568B wiring configs, they are even the orange and green pairs. So it sounds like you're actually wired correctly for up to 100Mbps data. Even really high-speed FTTH isn't likely to break about 50Mbps in the next few years, so you should be totally fine.