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I've just gotten an FTTH fiber optic internet provider in Canada. The problem I'm having is that the technician would only install the router/modem by the back of my apartment where the fiber comes in. He said it was completely not possible to have it next to my desktop where I wanted it so that I could connect to my computer via ethernet rather than WiFi. In the end I had to let him install it in the back by the back deck.

The apartment is in a large mansion sectioned off into apartments and goes: back hallway with the modem on the wall with access to a back deck -- bedroom -- small kitchen -- living room. It'll be 20-30m to where the desktop will be from where the modem is right now. So... questions:

  1. Is this true that this modem really can't be moved to a more convenient place in my apartment? This makes no sense to me. What if you want your desktop hard wired to a modem? I upload videos to my website all the time that are several GB in size. I dont want to do that via WiFi on this 50mbps Fiber signal.

  2. The fiber cable is a thin white cable (not ethernet) with a small green plug that comes out of a hole in the wall and goes into the Homehub3000 modem. Can I extend this cable with a coupler or a hub or something and run more of this same cable the length I need to get to my living room, about 20m?

  3. If I run one Cat6 and split it in the living room with some hub device, can I run the fiber signal effectively to four devices at the same time the way I would with four SEPARATE ethernet ports and cables or are they essentially going to be sharing one port. And will that cause I conflicts on each device?

  4. The four ethernet ports on the back of this thing are useless to me because I'm not gonna run FOUR Cat6 cables 20m each through my bedroom, through the kitchen, into the living room to where they need to go to connect to different devices. How do I effectively "put" the four ports in my living room if moving the modem isn't an option?

Thanks!

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The basic problem with installing fiber is it's glass, and glass doesn't bend well. That thin white fiber cable has a minimum bend radius of somewhere around 10 cm, so if you pull it tight around a corner the glass inside it breaks. And splices are not easy.

The typical solution is install the fiber modem in the best place for the fiber, and then run a single ethernet line to your router. If it's an all-in-one box you can probably get it changed.

30m is hardly unreasonable for ethernet, but I would buy good cable and avoid running it parallel to electrical lines. By "good" I don't mean "says cat-6 on the bag", I mean good quality cable from a known manufacturer. Go to a supplier not in a shopping mall or main-street-front. You want the industrial-park places.

  • Thank you!! That explains fiber cable perfectly. I didnt know the extent of its flexibility. And, of course, with all things related to audio, video, or computing, I never shop from any big box, mall, or retail shopping place, I go to prosumer shops online. Thank you! – tinpanalley Oct 17 '16 at 17:12
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You can run a single cat6 cable from the modem to a more convenient location and then put a simple network switch or (wireless) router to 'split' the cable into 4 or more ports. If you already have a router, you'll want to configure a new router as an access point (essentially assign static IP and turn off DHCP). Cat6 will give you at least 1 Gbps speed.

Note that if you get a switch or another router, you'll have 4 ports but those 4 will share the connection to your isp. If you only have 1 device, no worries, but if you have 4 connected at the same time each will run at about 1/4 speed.

The installer could of course have put the fiber drop wherever he or you wanted, though the place he chose was most likely the most convenient for him - fewer walls to drill into and such. It may be possible to get an extender fire the fiber, but cat6 is easy to work with and prosit cheaper.

  • Do you have any idea what kind of cable that is that comes out of the wall that he said was the fiber? It's super thin, reminds me of the cable for the Wii wireless receiver, it's white with a small green plug on the end. – tinpanalley Oct 16 '16 at 22:11
  • Also... Let's say you get 50Gbps, you have four ports on a modem/router.. as you plug different devices in, you lose more and more of that 50gbps. But is the use of the bandwidth exactly the same if you pull a signal JUST from 1 port and split it later or does that cause more problems, conflicts, speed issues etc? – tinpanalley Oct 16 '16 at 22:14
  • @tinpanalley it doesn't matter where it's split. Unless you get a second drop from the isp your total bandwidth out is 50 Gbps. Unless you have a server or something that's always transmitting a lot of data this usually isn't an issue with fiber speeds in the average home environment – mmathis Oct 16 '16 at 23:48
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    @tinpanalley and you don't lose more and more of that 50 Gbps, it's just spread out over more devices. But only when those devices are actually using data...just being connected doesn't change your usage – mmathis Oct 16 '16 at 23:50
  • Ok, cool. I just thought 50gbps, downloading something: drop X amount in speed, using online services for a console: drop X amount more... is that not how it works? Sort of related question... when you only use ethernet to send SMB shares from your desktop to a media player that doesn't affect your internet bandwidth at all, right? Because the media is being accessed and played from your own home network and not the internet. Correct? – tinpanalley Oct 17 '16 at 0:15
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I'm probably sure that you're talking about Bell installing FTTH inside your apartment as most other providers use coax. The technician should have installed a termination outlet which is single mode fiber. From there, there is an optic fiber cable that connect to it and into your modem. That cable is simplex, single-mode, single connector. You can buy it online and route it through your apartment to where you'd like your modem. It isn't cheap, it's a PITA, but it can be done.

However, as other have said, fiber doesn't bend well. Unless you have more than gigabit connection, you'd be better to route Ethernet or simply buy a very good WiFi router instead.

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