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Johntechwriter

New Member

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15 Messages

Thu, Nov 12, 2020 3:03 AM

Fiber installation from my condo's outside corridor into my home office -- how should I prepare so all will be at hand for the AT&T techs?

Hi, all. I live in a three-story, 34-unit condominium. Some months back, AT&T ran fiber optic cable along the ceiling of each floor's corridor, with a white rectangular plastic box through which the cable travels in front of each apartment door. (Please see the photo of my front door with outside junction box at the bottom of this post.)


The Saturday after next, an AT&T technician (or two, I don't know!) will visit my condominium to run fiber optic cable from the white plastic junction box attached to the wall outside my apartment's front door (I'm assuming!), into the home office of my apartment. 


I have a few questions about how to prepare for the technicians' visit but have found no guidance from AT&T's consumer information pages. Our condo's management people are also unhelpful, only saying the techs will require access to our building's "fiber room".


To those who have been there and done that, may I pose a few questions about installing fiber from outside our unit to inside my home office? 


- Will the AT&T techs need to drill a hole from the junction box (I'm assuming that's what that white plastic box is) outside my door to the interior of my apartment to get the fiber optic line into my home?


- Once the cable is inside -- I'm assuming via a hole above my entrance door -- it needs to be run to my home office, ideally by tucking it under the crown molding that runs along my ceilings. I don't expect the AT&T techs to assist with this, but how will they be able to get the end of the cable into my home office for connection to the router they will install? Will they just run the cable along the floor and let me tidy it up later?


- Since we live in a condo with 34 units, what are the AT&T techs going to need to do in the "fiber room"?


- Our home WiFi network (currently Comcast) is pretty straightforward. Before the AT&T installers' arrival I'm planning to disconnect and remove the Xfinity router but leave the Ethernet and other connection cables in place so the installers will simply pop the AT&T router into the spot where the Xfinity router was, and connect the cables. Is this really the way it is going to happen?


- Will the installers use one of our PCs to create a WiFi network so our iPhones and iPads will have access to the internet via the router? Or will that be my responsibility?


- Is there anything I haven't mentioned that I should have on hand for the AT&T installers when they arrive? From reading posts on this forum I'm aware that everything needs to be just right or they will cancel the appointment and go on to their next one. I do not want this to happen!


Thanks to all who reply with the information I need to get this fiber installed right the first time.


- John M., Oakland, CA 

Responses

Accepted Solution

browndk26

ACE - Professor

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3.4K Messages

a month ago

Don’t waste your time with the support number. 

go here

https://investors.att.com/

scroll down to executive customer care

fill out and submit the form. Hopefully you get a quick reply and an attempt to help you. 

Award for Community Excellence 2020 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
my thoughts

Employee

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16.8K Messages

2 months ago

For pre wired installions, every unit will be set up exactly the same, often the fiber line will be placed on an interior wall in the living room unless you have a wiring panel in one of the closets. 

This is were the ONT will be installed, from there is a question of using cat5e or better to provide for the gateway. Often the gateway is colocated with the ONT unless you have existing wiring already in place. 

Result is more of the same that is in the hallway... fiber along ceiling, down a corner with another white box installed that has the fiber to connect to the ONT.

The ONT and gateway are installed by UVERSE PREMISE TECH, generally 1 person only. For units that are pre wired, the installation time is usually under an hour. Install bracket, Ruby Red Fiber, install gateway, testing. 

Either this 

New Apartment: Do I have ATT Fiber available or not? : ATT

or this...

How to hook up AT&T Fiber?? : ATT

PTCondo.com|AT&T Fiber Project – MORE FLOORS SCHEDULED

(edited)

*I am an AT&T employee, and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.
dave006

Scholar

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1.4K Messages

2 months ago

@Johntechwriter are you the first unit to have Fiber installed if not you might ask the mgt office who might have already been installed.

Do you currently have any Ethernet wall jacks or maybe just Coax from Comcast?

Now stop, do not remove your Comcast setup just yet just in case anything goes wrong with your install and your new Fiber can't be activated on your install date. You will also have Internet while the tech is installing Fiber which may take up to 4 hours.

The tech will need to check the Fiber light levels in the Fiber room and verify your port assignment. Do you have a key or will there be someone on-site to open the door?

The cable will not have an end connector until the tech completes routing the fiber drop. You should get an AT&T branded Fiber Jack (picture 1) that @my thoughts posted. If you look closely at the picture the very thin fiber comes out of the hole in the wall in the middle of the picture and then goes to the left and up and around the little spindle to allow for some extra cable to be stored there and then down to the green fiber connector that is where a fiber jumper cable will be plugged in to and then go to your Gateway.

If you don't get the new style as shown in picture 1 then you will get a setup like picture 2.

The Wi-Fi comes pre-setup. You should download the AT&T Smart Home Manager app from your phones online store to complete the setup of your network. Just scan the QR code on the front of the Gateway if you get a BGW320. If you get a BGW210 just get the SSID and access code from the sticker on the side of the Gateway.

You don't have to use the default SSID settings but they are simply set to be unique so they don't overlap with other customers.

By default the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz radios are set to the same SSIDs to allow your devices to change bands as them move further away from the Gateway. May not be an issue in your Condo but now you know 2.4 GHz signals travel farther but are slower.

Not everything you read on the internet is true. The tech will not leave if everything is not just right. However there are things that can prevent the initial install.

Best thing is to just relax and don't hover over the tech as they are working. Spend a few minutes up front with the tech discussing where the best location will be for your Gateway. Note it might not be exactly where you have your Comcast Modem/Gateway today.

Good luck and let us know how it goes of if you have any follow-up questions.

Dave

New Member

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15 Messages

2 months ago

Thanks for replying. I've owned this condo since 1999 and its telecommunication hardware consists of a twisted-pair AT&T landline (long since disconnected) and a coaxial cable from Comcast, which I've used for Xfinity internet access over the past five or so years.

The AT&T people installed fiber optic cable along the corridors several months ago, but to my knowledge (and I should know), they did not install any hardware inside my apartment. This is why I am puzzled about how they will get that outside fiber line into my apartment without drilling and other messy operations.

According to the manager of our 8-building condo community, connection to AT&T's recently installed fiber is a simple and straightforward operation, something to do with the AT&T installer accessing the building's "fiber" room. I still can't understand how installation can be so simple when there is no fiber-related hardware inside my apartment.

>> Are you the first unit to have Fiber installed if not you might ask the mgt office who might have already been installed.

Many units in my building have opted for fiber installation, but not me until now. 

About your recommendation not to disconnect Comcast's router:  I will take your advice and not disconnect the Comcast router until the AT&T tech is right beside me and has everything he needs to complete the fiber installation.

>> The tech will need to check the Fiber light levels in the Fiber room and verify your port assignment. Do you have a key or will there be someone on-site to open the door?

Our building manager told me a caretaker will be on duty on the day and time of installation. That caretaker has access to the fiber room. But this is a big complex and I don't want to be hunting for that person with the AT&T installers standing around.  I asked the building manager by email for a contact number for the caretaker but as yet have received no reply. If necessary I will visit the building manager in person and ask why he is being so mysterious.

>> You should get an AT&T branded Fiber Jack (picture 1) that @my thoughts posted. 

There is nothing in my apartment that resembles this. 

>> If you look closely at the picture the very thin fiber comes out of the hole in the wall in the middle of the picture and then goes to the left and up and around the little spindle to allow for some extra cable to be stored there and then down to the green fiber connector that is where a fiber jumper cable will be plugged in to and then go to your Gateway.

Nope. Nothing like that in my place.

>> If you don't get the new style as shown in picture 1 then you will get a setup like picture 2.

That looks like a fairly major operation. Particularly considering that I have no Ethernet or other port in my apartment, other than some ancient and unused landline phone jacks.

I understand the ONT is a kind of modem that links to the router. There isn't a trace of an ONT in this apartment.

>> The Wi-Fi comes pre-setup. You should download the AT&T Smart Home Manager app from your phones online store to complete the setup of your network. Just scan the QR code on the front of the Gateway if you get a BGW320. If you get a BGW210 just get the SSID and access code from the sticker on the side of the Gateway.

Thanks, I've taken your advice -- which AT&T never hinted at when I signed up for fiber -- and installed Smart Home Manager on my iPhone, whose cellular connection is provided by AT&T. I won't be able to log into my AT&T internet account until I have completed the setup process, but emailed messages from AT&T await me describing how to do exactly that so it should not be a problem.

Creating the WiFi network that links my devices to AT&T's router on a cell phone sounds like a tall order for that little screen. But then one of my neighbors down the hall is completely technophobic and has managed to get his AT&T fiber installed. I will quiz him about the details.

I've copied your complete reply and saved it as a Word document. I will refer to your suggestions as I encounter the situations to which they relate.

About the WiFi aspect of this little adventure, my dining room PC is a fair ways distant from my current router and has experienced WiFi dropouts on Comcast's Xfinity setup -- one of the reasons I'm going to AT&T.

I solved that problem by running a 50-foot Ethernet cable between the router and PC. I am assuming this ancient but effective hardwired hookup will remain the primary link between that PC and the new AT&T router.

This whole experience has brought back to me with the anxiety so many people experience when confronted by technology that is new to them. Over 30+ years as a technical writer, I have documented tech hardware and software products not by describing their features and benefits, but by structuring the doc around the tasks the user wants their new gizmo to help them carry out.

New users tend to relate to and actually read documentation when it is presented from their point of view, as opposed to "product-centric" references that predominate. Most such docs assume far too much knowledge on the part of the end user -- and that is because they're written by engineers, who themselves disdain documentation of any kind and make it a point of honor never be caught "reading the manual".

Thank you again for your ideas. I will let you know how things work out.

New Member

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15 Messages

2 months ago

Just a comment on the response from "my thoughts", below. This board doesn't appear to give me a way to reply to him directly, so in this space I will say thanks for replying, and no, the scenarios you describe do not in any way resemble my current situation.

ACE - Expert

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17.7K Messages

2 months ago

@Johntechwriter   Use the @ to tag another poster.

Don't mess with old people.  The older we get, the less "Life in Prison" is a deterrent.

Award for Community Excellence 2020 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
dave006

Scholar

 • 

1.4K Messages

2 months ago

@Johntechwriter 

>> You should get an AT&T branded Fiber Jack (picture 1) that @my thoughts posted. 

There is nothing in my apartment that resembles this. 

>> If you look closely at the picture the very thin fiber comes out of the hole in the wall in the middle of the picture and then goes to the left and up and around the little spindle to allow for some extra cable to be stored there and then down to the green fiber connector that is where a fiber jumper cable will be plugged in to and then go to your Gateway.

Nope. Nothing like that in my place.

No you don't currently have an AT&T Branded Fiber Jack. A new one should be installed as part of your new AT&T Fiber service.

Is is possible the local maintenance person could unlock the fiber room or give you the key that you could return after your AT&T install?

Dave

New Member

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15 Messages

2 months ago

Dave, one of my neighbors recently had AT&T install fiber optic installed in his apartment and even though he is not a technophile, he took me through what they did.

On my inside wall above the door, lined up with that rectangular white plastic box on the outside corridor that the cable goes through, the tech drilled a hole. Then he installed a smaller plastic box over the hole (I'm assuming this is the ONT), and ran a very thin, nearly invisible cable along the right-angle where the ceiling and wall meet, and into my neighbor's home office.

He also drilled a hole to my neighbor's TV through an interior wall.

Then he installed the router and hooked everything up.

There was a visit to the "fiber room" but I didn't get the details.

AT&T emailed me, requesting that I load an analytical app from them on my PC so the tech can evaluate the performance of my connection. I signed up for their 300 Mbps plan.

My PC is connected to my current router via an Ethernet cable so I'm looking forward to a solid link with the router, and great performance. 

With my Comcast (Xfinity) coaxial connection, my WiFi network frequently lost its connection to the router.

We've already got a hole in the wall from our home office to our TV. Our TV has two connections to the router: to the television itself, a Sony running a terrible Andriod variant that we never use, and also to our Apple TV, the source of all our streaming media.

I'm wondering if changing internet providers will in any way affect our Apple TV. I don't see why it would. We are not getting any TV service from AT&T. So, I'm assuming, as long as our Apple TV is connected to the new WiFi network that links our devices with the new fiber optic router, I'm hoping all the content I've subscribed to will come through as before. 


As a retired tech writer, I find it amusing how the telecom services and software developers we give our money to have reduced their in-person customer support to nearly zero, instead opting for YouTube tutorials, and as a last resort, user forums where nice people like you provide AT&T's customer support so they don't have to pay employees to do it.

I think the installation process on Saturday will go okay. But I won't close out this query until I know for sure and, for the benefit of other newbs, leave a brief concluding report.

New Member

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15 Messages

2 months ago

Oh, and about accessing the fiber room, tomorrow I'm going to visit our condo management guy in person and get a contact name and number I can use on Saturday when the installers arrive.

browndk26

ACE - Professor

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3.4K Messages

2 months ago

@Johntechwriter if you get the latest gateway, the ONT is built into it. The white box is or only just a place to connect to fiber cables. See the bottom of the thread attached  for a photo.

https://www.dslreports.com/forum/r32605799-BGW320-505-new-gateway-with-integrated-ONT~start=450

Your pc will stil connect via Ethernet to the gateway. Fiber connects to the newer gateway and then converts the fiber signal to a copper signal. 

Award for Community Excellence 2020 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

New Member

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15 Messages

2 months ago

Brown, is any internet speed degraded because of the conversion of the fiber signal to coppper?

browndk26

ACE - Professor

 • 

3.4K Messages

2 months ago

No. Cat5e cabling is rated to 1000 mbps for 50 meters. 

Award for Community Excellence 2020 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

New Member

 • 

15 Messages

2 months ago

WOW! I had just completed a long post on this thread and clicked the image icon to upload a screenshot. My image request was interrupted by a dialog box requiring me to log in. How could I not already be logged in, seeing as I'm writing from my own thread? So anyway I logged in and then after a couple of screen flashes I was taken to the top of my thread. My entire new post had been deleted! What IT (Edited per community guidelines) allows this bug to remain in place? Thousands of customers must have gone through what I just did!

I was reminded of when, the other week, on one of AT&T's many, many internet support pages, I was given a Search option, and I gladly used it. I typed in two words, like "fiber" and "installation". (I forget the exact words.) The search engine then did something I haven't seen since the early 1990s -- because that's the last time I encountered a search engine so primitive it separated my search words and returned thousands of links, some with one word in them, some with the other, and none with both!

This was unbelievable -- that a telecom company would have so little understanding of what their users go through, they leave anachronisms like this search engine in place that would embarrass the tiniest startup!

And another thing. Two weeks ago I got a letter from AT&T's credit department stating that due to my poor credit history, I would have to do one of several things before obtaining an internet account, as in, pre-pay for installation, pay up front for monthly service and be subject to instant termination if my check was not processed on time, and other delightful possibilities. I was thunderstruck.

Not only is my credit rating gold plated, I've had an active account with AT&T Wireless for years, and never have I missed a payment. My spouse and I currently own two recent iPhones because we bought them through AT&T Wireless. That side of the company has taken excellent care of me so I was unprepared for what I was about to go through with the internet side.

I was very distressed by this letter and the next day called the phone number of their credit department, which was included in the letter. The woman who answered listened to my question about why I was considered a credit risk, and breezily replied, "Oh, don't worry about it! New customers get these letters all the time!" She seemed puzzled when I replied (politely, of course) that for people like me with an unblemished credit history, getting this kind of letter from the credit department of a big corporation was highly stress-inducing. Had my bank account been hacked? Or my wireless account? No, she said, don't take it personally. It happens all the time. And then she wished me a nice day!

Now consider the above and then read about my fiber installation experience. In a nutshell (because I've described it before and the post was deleted), an installer guy turned up on time, but was completely unaware of our condo complex's fiber setup, done last year by stringing fiber cable along our apartment corridors.

When I told him that from my neighbor's experience, he would have to drill from inside our apartment to the white plastic box outside our door, he was shocked. "I can't drill through a building's outside walls!" he said.

Then he told me he was unaware of our 8-building, 432-apartment condo complex because he had just come up from Bakersfield, a farming community hundreds of miles away, and he was assigned to handle my connection without a word of prior instruction about the setup here.

Worse, the cable be brought along with him, thick and white like co-axial cable, would have stood out like a sore thumb when strung along our ceilings. My neighbor's installer had come supplied with a thin, neutral colored interior fiber cable that would not be noticed if it wasn't pointed out.

At that point I cancelled the installation -- politely, of course. I was by now under the impression I was dealing with a contractor who was totally out of his depth, and I did not want to be part of his learning curve. He said he understood about the inappropriate cable and told me he'd inform his supervisor about my complex's setup and that they would email me within a couple of days with a new installation date. This was eight days ago and of course I've heard nothing.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to reach a human at AT&T, something I've been unable to do so far. Oh, I've logged into chat lines to speak with a technician via chat, told to wait for 32 minutes, and after I did, the system hung with one minute to go and would not budge. I tried the same line the next day with the same result.

In another support room I was instructed to chat with an "associate" that turned out to be an AI system and was unable to decipher simple phrases like "make appointment". I gave up on that, too.

Among my dozen or so bookmarked AT&T internet support sites -- who seem unaware of each other's existence -- I encountered something called "AT&T ConnecTech". That sounded promising. But I could find no links to ConnecTech on AT&T's internet-related pages. Later I found out it is a PAID support service, and there is no way I am going to pay a service provider to correct their own mistakes!

If you're still reading, thank you for allowing me to vent. Dealing with the internet division of AT&T has been a nightmare so far, and I haven't even been connected yet.

I've worked in tech since the '80s -- I'm retired now -- and remember a similar situation when Xerox, at the time a mighty corporation, came up with a personal computer division to cash in on the boom of business microcomputers, led by IBM's PC and Microsoft's MS-DOS operating system.

Well, the PCs Xerox were trying to sell were dinosaurs even by 1980s standards, running the CP/M operating system and whose applications, about three of them, were unbelievably bug-riddled and primitive. And PC shoppers at ComputerLand next door were being given demos on Microsoft Word! It hit me that this new division was probably run by copier-heads, the entrenched executive class at Xerox who disdained the PC. Xerox ran their PC division into the ground, folded it, and slowly ground the rest of their operations down to the point of their current status: the shell of a cone-great company that was founded on innovation.

I don't expect that to happen to AT&T's internet division, they're making too much money. But I am a believer in the "once warned, twice shy" dictum. This company is trying to tell me they do not want my business, and in doing so are giving me the opportunity to bail before I have entrusted them with my vital internet connection.

I should probably take their advice and stay with Comcast. All my instincts of dealing with tech companies over my career as a technical writer are telling me to do just that. But darn it, I've got fiber right outside my front door -- something I've dreamed of for more than 20 years -- and I can't quit when only a few feet separate my home network from an inexpensive 300 Mbps connection to the internet.

So I will give AT&T a few more days, and if I can't schedule another appointment, I will terminate the process. And probably I'll feel relieved. But despite that little voice saying "No!, Don't do it!", I'll probably end up scheduling another installation and from that moment until my home network is operational on the fiber line, will be constantly stressed out about the whole thing.

Within a few days I'll know which way to go, and if I decide to pursue this elusive fiber connection no further, I will leave a closing post on this thread. If I manage to get another installation appointment I'll leave a quick post about that, too. But it's fair, I think, for other prospective AT&T fiber customers to be aware of what I've gone through, and that's why I'm documenting my experiences thus far. Nobody will be happier than me if it all ends well -- and if that happens I will dutifully report it.

(edited)

browndk26

ACE - Professor

 • 

3.4K Messages

2 months ago

You won’t get a call or email to set up the install. Go online and sign up for an install again. Check your credit report. There may be an error on it.  Not an uncommon thing to happen. If a credit check was run and denied, you should get a notice from the credit bureaus. 

Award for Community Excellence 2020 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

New Member

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15 Messages

2 months ago

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