Scott Hanselman

Wiring the new house for a Home Network - Part 3 - ISP Hookup

November 01, 2007 Comment on this post [31] Posted in Musings
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UPDATE: Here's a Bundled Link of the complete "Wiring your house for Gigabit Ethernet 5 PART SERIES."

CIMG7642The house is finished and the Verizon FIOS guy has just left. We're all set and I've tested at 15mbps down and 2mbps up. According to Verizon my account will be upgraded to 15 down and 15 up on the 19th of November. (You have to call if you want to upgrade.)

I've got details on FIOS from our first installation at the other house. At this house the installer came and and hooked up the ONT (Fiber Optic convertor) on the outside of the house. I had RJ45 cable pulled to the outside of the house but according to the installer they prefer to use Coax for the last lengths between the ONT and the router in the house. So he ended up going...

Street Fiber->ONT->Coax->Router->RJ45

...just like this diagram. We borrowed on of the extra Coax cables and put the new router (still an ActionTec, but a nicer model) into the hinged bracket at the bottom of the wiring closet. The router is a bridge between the Coax and the RJ45. We plugged it into the router and checked the house's network drops. I turned off WEP and turned on WPA for Wireless Security. Next I'll plug in our VOIP adapter and turn on QoS (Quality of Service.)

I also mounted a UPS (battery) on the wall below the closet to make sure we keep connectivity if the power goes out. The ONT outside has a UPS of its own, but that UPS is woefully underpowered. If you want to keep your FIOS up, get another wall-mounted UPS and plug Verizon's little one into it.

Open Closed

CIMG7640The wiring guys did a great job and labeled everything just like I like it. Nice and organized. That's the #1 tip in all of this - stay organized. We've got labels at the end of each cable marking what it's for as well as permanent ink written on the cables themselves.

The next step will be hooking up all the computers and running a traffic generating program to flood the network and see if the Netgear switch (the one folks in the comments were concerned was suboptimal) holds up.

This is going to be fun. It's odd how hooking up water and power and sewer are trivial and boring but when Internet gets hooked up, suddenly this empty house has potential. We'll move in completely in 10 days.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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November 01, 2007 3:44
Nice setup, Scott. Did they charge you extra for the upgrade to 15 MB? Also, where did you find the door/closet for your wiring? I need to do something better at my house since I have cables going everywhere. It's a really cheap solution but it works.
November 01, 2007 4:38
FYI... The router you have been given will die in a year. Happened to me and others... me --> 1 year + 1 day and Verizon wants $150.00 to replace it. Consider swapping out with something more robust ala Netgear...

Otherwise solid as a rock...
November 01, 2007 4:48
Looks like a very nice setup, Scott. I'm jealous. Since I live in an apartment, I've got to make do with Cat 5 snaking along the baseboards.

But I can read about setups like yours and dream . . .
November 01, 2007 5:16
same as what chris said. I've had to snake Cat5 through out the entire house to get connections to a few rooms, and a wireless router to pick up whats left. But hey, us common folk can dream
November 01, 2007 5:51
Don't forget to put a smoke detector in that wiring closet.
November 01, 2007 5:54
Also wondering where you got the door for your wiring closet.

I've already run several hundred feet of new cabling for my home network, and am still running it as we continue to renovate the house a room at a time. In the end I plan to put all of the equipment (router, switch, UPS, etc...) in a wiring cabinet, but I've had little luck finding something that fits the bill. I'll likely end up building something myself, which I'm cool with, I just don't know were to look for the parts.
November 01, 2007 6:13
I love your wiring cabinet and door. Please post a link to where you got it.

November 01, 2007 7:08
Did they terminate your cable runs into a patch panel or just put RJ45 connectors on the end?
November 01, 2007 7:50
@Javier - I think 15/2 is $60 and 15/15 will be $75.

@garibaldi - You're talking about the Verizon Router? It's an actiontec and I've had one since April at the other house and it's a GREAT router. It has all the features I need and actually got me off of the LinkSys firmware hacking scene. We shall see!

@John - +1 to the smoke detector...I'll do that!

@dk - The door and plates are all UStec. The door is their ProLAN Series (PDF). I believe it's the UStec ProLAN16, although I should have gotten the ProLAN24. It's a UX-1648 Rough-In Cabinent with the IX-410 Dover and a ProLAN16CB Panel Assembly. It's just a FEW inches too narrow though. The UStec guys REALLY want you to use their custom switches that are made to fit in the door but I'm happy with the way I velcroed the switch I have in there. I think in retrospect I'll have to drill some ventilation holes and make a vent out the side of the whole closet as well.

@Tony - Inside has Telephone, RJ45 and Coax distribution panels. I had a punch-down block in my last house and it was more trouble than it was worth, IMHO, so here I just have RJ45 connectors at the ends. There is a small distribution hub or module that acts as a block but I'm only using it for the telephone.
November 01, 2007 9:28
Just to preface. Verizon FIOS is an AMAZING THING. The 15/2 connection blows most all small business connection out of the water... I am watching COX start to do back flips getting concerned. i had FIOS at my "2nd" house at 15/2, mind boggling... i had problems with a VPN connection to the office via a Linksys RV082 router, software/ hardware problems were huge before FIOS! After FIOS, not an issue, non what so ever! You are going to be living large!!!

November 01, 2007 10:01

I've heard that FIOS service blocks all the incoming ports, making it impossible to host a website, ftp or even terminal in. Is this true? If so, what ports are not blocked?

November 01, 2007 10:35
Very nice! Way jealous... but then again, half the outlets in my house have 2 of the 3 holes required for most computer equipment... I'm sure this place was built in the 20's and still has the same wiring.

Dishwasher? Jealousy++
Garbage Disposal? Jealousy++

My current cable modem is ok, 11M/500K... but I miss the flexibility of picking your ISP on DSL. Same for FIOS or are you locked in with your phone company?

November 01, 2007 12:05
@Robert - Yes, it blocks most ports. The Port 80 block is my only real beef and I'm sure they'll work something out now that Home Server is out. Not being able to Terminal into my home server is a bummer. However, GoToMyPC and CrossLoop and Hamachi work, so it's not a HUGE deal.

@Rob - FIOS is Verizon. They also have Phone and TV. FIO TV is actually DirectTV over Fiber with great HD feeds. It's being turned on in Portland on December 26th, so we'll be without TV from the time we move in until then, but it'll be worth it to be rid of Comcast. We WERE going to use Verizon for the phone, but they can't/won't move my number over to the new city. We'll likely either use the Vonage box until Vonage dies (as a company) or we'll just use Cell Phones and Skype Phones.
November 01, 2007 12:19
Scott, you should be careful with wifi camera in the baby room. Some are saying that those kinds of waves are quite dangerous for the brain, especially for small kids. We do turn off wifi in the house during the night. Maybe we are being paranoid... Who knows.
November 01, 2007 12:46
Why do you need so much computers? And you really need UPS? If the power goes down, read a book I say. Close the laptops and have a good conversation, go outside for a walk, watch the night sky. Or do you really _need_ to sit in the "closet (under the stairs)" and browse the internet?

The past year I have been removing stuff like this from my house and I have to tell you, it's pleasant to have one computer and no wires. Just put it on eBay, you can live without it, I'm sure.
November 01, 2007 15:46
I'm so jealous. If only we could get FIOS down here in the South; I haven't seen any mention of it anywhere in Atlanta.
November 01, 2007 16:29
Looking at those pictures it'll be good to know that if you ever lose your job you can just start up an ISP.
November 01, 2007 17:56

I hate to say it, but if you loose power, the Fios system switches to "phone only" mode. At least thats how it works for us in Tampa. They say the internet draws to much current so it is not supported with no power.

Maybe it is different for you since you have no phone. Although, pluging theirs into another UPS will probably sove this issue.

BTW: FIOS TV is NOT DirectTV. At least not in Tampa.

November 01, 2007 19:02
What software are you using to flood/stress test the network?

November 01, 2007 20:18
This Verizon PolicyBlog video might be of interest to those wishing to geek-out and start the drooling machine:

20/20mbs Symmetrical FiOS Demo

Good display of the difference in speed (in this case a 20/20 configuration, but much more similar to 15/15 than the current speeds in Portland.
November 01, 2007 21:13
If you are paying $60, they are ripping you off. I am paying $44.99 for 15/2.

Also, they have been promising me an upgrade from 15 to 20 for no extra cost, but it never happens.

I love FiOS, but they still have a lot of things to work out.
November 01, 2007 21:35
@Mike- do you not realize what Scott does for a living? Seriously, its his job to be a tech geek! Not to mention, this is his home office!
November 01, 2007 22:52
I would look at a service called Grandcentral. It'll allow you to give out one number and it can call a bunch of numbers at the same time. You could give out that Grandcentral number and even if Vonage dies, you still have a phone number.

They were an independent startup, but recently were purchased by Google.

I use them and it works quite nicely.

November 02, 2007 2:42
Mike - I'm using GrandCentral now - it's the phone number published on this site - but I'm just not finding it more useful than a cell phone.
November 02, 2007 17:12
What VOIP service do you use? I want to make the switch to VOIP and can't find enough reviews of any provider to make me think it's stable enough for my wife to be happy with (after all, she's the one that's home to use it.)

I've got FIOS 20/5 and was going to go with Verizon Voicewing but read some horror stories. Then phonepower popped up on bbr with a lot of hype, but horror stories there too (and phonepower doesn't have anonymous caller rejection. I understand for the most part that happy people don't write reviews, only unhappy ones.

Someone mentioned FIOS dropping to phone only when the power goes out... that is why you get another UPS to plug it in to. The verizon UPS never finds out the power is out.

November 02, 2007 17:47
Jeff The Great says:

>If you are paying $60, they are ripping you off. I am paying $44.99 for 15/2.

You missed the part where Scott said he was getting 15/15 !!! Which is 15Mbps down AND UP!

November 02, 2007 21:03
I find GrandCentral useful (more useful than a cell only) in that I can have one number that reaches me (or my wife) anywhere we are. The phone number rings both of us on our mobile phones. If one is busy, the other can pick it up (especially if we are away from the house). I don't have a home phone, just two mobile phones, so it's nice to have a central number that can reach either one of us. It's like a home number, without the need to be "home" to get the call.
November 03, 2007 2:23

BTW: You have have them enable the Ethernet port in the ONT so you can use your own Router rather than the Actiontech. Of course in this case you will need the NIM100 to connet the MoCA network that the set top boxed use to the Internet.

Are you using the Actiontech as a Eth/MoCa bridge, or is it actually your router/dchp server? I've hear issue about the Actiontech having a small NAT table and having problems with BitTorrent etc.

November 03, 2007 3:15
Bob - Good tip about enabling the ethernet port.

I personally LIKE the ActionTec and haven't had any problems with it.
November 11, 2007 14:49
I'm about to order FIOS as well. I have DLink DGL4300, rock solitd gigabit router as a hart of my gigabit home network with WHS, 2x Vonage, and video streaming. ActionTech hardware isn't bad, but I really like to avoid it. Going with Actiontech will lower my internal bandwith to 100M, and most of all I hate custom Verizon firmware on it.

Is there anyway to avoid the Verizon router, or force it into a dumb bridge mode (no DHCP/NAT/Firewall)?

P.S.: Verizon ActionTech DSL modem/router in my other home makes TS connections from outside impossible (no proper forwarding, no IP reservation, internal blocks). Any guides out there how to drop Verizon firmware back to manufacturer's original, or better, make it a dumb bridge?

December 22, 2007 7:28
Bob brings up an excellent point with using the Actiontec as your primary router. I just had my FIOS installation completed at the end of November (15/2 subscription like yours) with my home network connected as below:

ONT > Coax > MI424WR (Actiontec) > CAT6 > DGL-4500

This inital setup, seemed to work flawlessly with errors. However, my DGL-4500 is a much more superior router than Verizon's MI424WR. The Actiontec was putting limits on my network because of it's small NAT table. Some believe this is to discourage the use of P2P and BitTorrents but whatever the case it logs a whole bunch of errors in the Actiontec (ex. No IP for NAT error).

I'm currently getting all 3 services through FIOS (Internet, TV, & Phone) and replaced it from Comcast. However, because I have FIOS TV I still need to use the Actiontec so it can send my STB's the guide data and VOD.

Therefore, anyone who is a heavy internet user and that has a more powerful router than the Actiontec should set their network up so that they are not restricted by it. I recommend having Verizon enable the Ethernet port on your ONT and setting up your router in front of the Actiontec. Not that I have anything against the Actiontec (personally I think it is more powerful than your average router and I like it), but if you truely want to get the best performance out of your home network then you might want to seriously consider it.

Just a few days ago I had Verizon enable the Ethernet port on my ONT and I ran a CAT6 line from it to my DGL-4500. On one of the DGL-4500's LAN ports I have the Actiontec plugged into its WAN Ethernet port and everything works flawlessly now. In my case, the DGL-4500 gives me Wireless-N range and speed for the laptops while the desktops/workstations/server are all wired with gigabit speeds.

This is now my current setup for FIOS and I even have noticed a slight bandwidth increase with having my DGL-4500 in front of the Actiontec.

ONT > CAT6 > DGL-4500 > CAT6 > Actiontec > Coax > STB's

Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.