i'm looking to connect my detached shop to the network in the house. goal is to have a fast (1 Gb+) and reliable connection in the shop, that can be connected to in the shop by wifi and ethernet.

existing network is what centurylink fiber setup:

  1. mystery box on the outside of the house, i think the excess optical cable is simply spooled in here
  2. i think this is an ONT - fiber in, ethernet and phone ports out
  3. router they provided, apparently a c3000z

my plan is to dig a ~150' trench and run direct burial fiber from the house to shop, and connect it to the ONT. my assumption is that i need a media converter in the house, something similar to a TP-LINK MC220L and an SFP e.g. something like TL-SM311LM. what type of interface do i need on the other end in the shop, e.g. simply another SFP that can plug directly into another router/computer? what type of fiber cable should i get (single, dual etc)? does the type of equipment outlined here seem correct?

appreciate any feedback! i don't have much networking experience outside of plugging in a router.

  • I assume the equipment that will use the network runs on electricity. How does the electricity get to the shed? (I'm fishing for 'buried conduit'). Also, product recommendations are not what StackExchange does, so you might want to edit to remove that aspect of your question. Apr 17, 2021 at 21:03
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica yeah shop has a subpanel, it gets 60amps through conduit from the house. I was worried it wasn't safe to run fiber in the same conduit, and that powerline ethernet wouldn't be as stable as I'd want, but definitely interested in info on these or other power conduit options! Thanks for the note on product recommendations: tried to edit the question to ask "what type of thing" rather than "what model"
    – schpet
    Apr 18, 2021 at 5:54
  • 1
    Fiber in the power conduit is totally legit provided the fiber is non-conductive. NEC specifically allows this. That's the way to do this thing! Apr 18, 2021 at 5:57
  • How big is the existing conduit? Apr 18, 2021 at 17:44
  • would be awesome to re-use the existing conduit! i will explore this. existing conduit is about an inch in diameter, i've uploaded a bunch of pictures of it all here: imgur.com/a/6UP8lxO i'm worried there's no pull string, so i'm not sure how i'll run a new cable through it 🤔
    – schpet
    Apr 18, 2021 at 19:22

3 Answers 3


With the help of the posts here I've successfully setup the network! Ran duplex single-mode fiber through the existing power conduit from the house to garage. There's a new switch in the house, and a new one in the shop.

Posting this diagram, in case someone finds this question and was as clueless as me:

diagram of network

my initial test run:

photo of the computer connected to fiber etc

and finally, success in the shop: fast internet in shop

the equipment I ended up going with:

  • Cisco GLC-LH-SM-20 Compatible 1000BASE-LX/LH SFP 1310nm 20km DOM LC SMF Transceiver Module #48929 (fs.com)
  • 30m (98ft) LC UPC to LC UPC Duplex OS2 Single Mode PVC (OFNR) 2.0mm Fiber Optic Patch Cable (fs.com)
  • MikroTik RouterBOARD RB260GS (balticnetworks.com)
  • MikroTik RouterBOARD RB260GSP (balticnetworks.com) - this one has POE which i plan to use to power the wifi access point coming in the mail

Direct burial is a mistake, IMHO and IMProfessional, less H, O. Trenches are expensive, conduit is cheap, and things with teeth that burrow can and do find direct buried cables. Dig the trench once.

Fiber is far preferable to wire for electrical isolation alone, not to mention potential capacity, if ever needed.

In most cases (shopping is off-topic and I haven't shopped lately) a small switch (4-8 ports) with an SFP or SFP+ slot is less expensive than a "media converter" - unless you need a larger switch anyway, then get the size you need with SFP or SFP+ slot(s).

The usual constraint for home projects is termination - you either need conduit large enough to pass a pre-terminated cable, or you need to hire someone to come terminate the fiber, or you need to invest a good deal of money and time in becoming equipped to terminate the fiber yourself. I did the latter on a "non-home" project where it paid off to the tune of 10's of thousands of dollars, but that won't be the case for 2-4 terminations at your home.

My personal recommendation on fiber is to use single-mode (9um core) not multimode (50µm core, or severely outdated/slow 62.5µm core) - "used to be" the SFPs were far more expensive for single-mode. That price dropped a lot, and decent multi-mode cable costs MORE than single-mode cable. Singlemode has essentially no speed limit, while multimode has sharp speed limits.

Be sure to use cable rated for wet locations. An indoor-type patch cord may work for a while, but it will fail eventually in wet service. "Drop" cable may be particularly good for the purpose, as it's designed for "pole to house" service and somewhat more rugged than the average fiber cable to withstand handling. Be sure to get the fully non-conductive sort (no tracer wire, or removable tracer wire that you remove) if putting it in with the power wiring. "All Dielectric" is a term that means the same (Usually seen with ADSS - "All Dielectric Self-Supporting" which is commonly more expensive than drop cable, even though the drop cable is technically also self supporting and all dielectric...since you are putting it in conduit (or the ground) you don't need self-supporting at all.)

Get whatever works out best when you shop - you can do it on a single fiber with "bi-directional" SFPs that use different wavelengths, or the more normal 2-fiber method. But you may find 6 or 12 fibers costs no more, or even less.

RBR (reduced bend radius) fiber is typically available for almost no cost increase from a good cable supplier, and makes the fiber installation much less sensitive to how tightly it's bent (the sales-dudes like to wrap it around a pencil.) Don't be a sales dude on your install, but if you can get it without an absurd up-charge, it's better to have it than not.

  • OM3 multi-mode will happily do 10GE (SR) over hundreds of metres and even 40/100GE over the distances that matter for the OP, so those "sharp speed limits" are unlikely to be relevant here (or are you talking about OM2?). Multi-mode is also much more forgiving of not-exactly-to-spec terminations, so I don't really think there's a compelling reason to prefer single-mode in this situation.
    – TooTea
    Apr 18, 2021 at 18:46
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    OS1/OS2 that were installed in the dark ages will run as fast as the electronics connected allow, now and into the future. OM1/OM2 won't, and neither will OM3/OM4 when rates increase. The OS cables cost less than OM3 and considerably less than OM4. Since I remember when 10Mbit was "fast!" I don't assume that 10Gbit will always be "fast!"
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 18, 2021 at 21:47

I'd wait for a pro to answer, but if you're running <200ft(150 trench + runs indoor) I don't see a need to bother with fiber. Cat 6 should easily handle 1Gb+ and is rated for 100 meters. You should be able to just get some direct bury cat 6 and run it from your home to a switch in your shop with no trouble. That being said, I enjoy over kill myself and will follow this thread to see some fiber suggestions, but the plan is on the right path.

  • 4
    Cat6 can indeed handle the distance, the issue you get when running copper to outbuildings is lighting danger. Fiber isolates from this issue very well and many people install fiber anyway for "future-proofing". If future-proofing is important, a buried conduit is way better than direct-burial cat6. Apr 17, 2021 at 22:10
  • would totally consider cat6/ethernet, but was worried about safety. ground loops, lightning sounded scary.
    – schpet
    Apr 18, 2021 at 5:57
  • 1
    Cat6 requires primary protection if going outside the house in most areas... Apr 18, 2021 at 17:43
  • Direct burial twisted pair is a future maintenance nightmare. The cable is much more fragile than your average direct bury power feeder, and even those occasionally get damaged one way or the other. It takes just a single hit with a shovel or a couple of chews by some curious underground animal and you have to dig it all out. Going with conduit should be a no-brainer unless you plan to sell the house in a few years anyway and hate the next guy.
    – TooTea
    Apr 18, 2021 at 18:33
  • 2
    I've seen plenty of burned out ports from copper connections running between buildings and lightning. It's not "silly" at all, and the protection required to meet code is expensive and prone to failure from the job it does. Fiber takes that out of the equation very nicely, and often at similar or lower cost.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 18, 2021 at 21:59

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