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I'm having gigabit Sonic Fiber installed soon in a newly purchased, remodeled house, and I need to figure out how best to configure my networking setup to distribute a wired (& wireless) connection throughout the house.

  • House has individual Cat5e jacks in several rooms (over 3 levels)
  • All the cable runs appear to end in the garage, coiled up unterminated in a white box
  • Fiber install location TBD, but probably into garage, near my unterminated cat5e cables
  • Previous owner had cable internet, which came into an interior (house) closet via Coax and was distributed wirelessly; same closet has a single Cat5e jack (leading to garage, I presume)

I need to prep cables & get the right equipment so that it's ready to test/use when the fiber installer comes, so I'd love any & all advice/suggestions on the best way to set up my network.

What I want to end up with:

  • Wired connections to all the rooms with jacks
  • Ability to connect multiple wired devices in some rooms (via switch plugged into wall?)
  • Wifi throughout house (3 levels), ideally via hard-wired routers in bridge mode
  • I do NOT want to use the wifi capability of the Sonic-provided gateway/modem (not least because it won't be powerful enough for the whole house from the garage). I want to use my own wifi devices (likely wired Eeros, unless you have a better suggestion)

My tentative plan: network concept diagram

  • Fiber drop to transition box to ONT in garage
  • ONT to Gateway (modem) in garage
  • Gateway(modem) to Eero (or other router??) - in garage
  • Eero (router) to Switch (garage)
  • Terminate & plug cat5e cables into Switch (garage)

In theory this should distribute wired connections to each jack in house, and I can attach additional Eeros and switches to jacks in the house to distribute further.

Questions:

  • I'm not a fan of putting all of my networking equipment (ONT, gateway, router, switch) in the garage. I'd prefer to have most (if not all) in the house, but I can't think of a way to get a wired connection inside and then back out again to all the cables dangling in the garage.
  • Does it even matter if I have all my networking equipment in an (insulated) garage? What's the best way to enclose/protect it?
  • Any suggested improvements or modifications to my plan above? (see attached diagram for tentative plan)

Thanks a million.

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Without knowing more details, your plan is reasonable. Network equipment in the garage is not ideal, but not terrible, especially if insulated. On the other hand, if you live in a hot climate, the heat in the summer will be terrible for the gear. Cold is much less of a problem, though extreme cold would be.

One minor change is to add a patch panel between the switch and the drops to the rooms. This allows you to punch down all of your cables, rather than terminate them with jacks by hand; punching down is much easier for the novice (and the extra cost is minimal). You then run short cables (you purchase, not make) between the patch panel and switch. See my answer to a similar question for more details about using a patch panel.

Depending on how the house is laid out, and how much slack there is in the unterminated cables, you could take the whole bundle and move it somewhere inside the house. If there's little slack, you may just move them to the other side of the wall they're currently on. All my network and CATV stuff is in the master closet for this reason.

Brand recommendations are off-topic here, so I won't comment about specific routers or equipment. As far as testing the network, you should just need the gateway connected to test the fiber install. The rest is on you and can be done later. A simple network tester (example only, not a recommendation) will verify all your punchdowns are made securely, though that won't verify gigabit speeds.

As for multiple wired devices in one room, yes, a small 4-8 port unmanaged switch will work just fine.

  • Thank you very much for the suggestions. I'm in San Francisco, so heat is rarely an issue. I'm mostly worried about moisture & dirt. I had considered a patch panel, but wasn't sure. After reading your answer I think I'll get one. I'll also need a larger enclosure to contain all the networking equipment. Unf. not enough cable slack to move indoors. Follow-up Q: to test the fiber, should I just run a patch cord from gateway to each of the patch panel jacks & test 1 room at a time? Also: how can I verify gigabit speeds in the cable runs? Thanks! – Peter B. Oct 25 '17 at 18:46
  • To test the fiber, just connect a laptop or desktop directly to the gateway and run speedtest. Test the cat5e runs separately, by transferring large files between two computers, for example – mmathis Oct 25 '17 at 21:12

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