04-08-2011 8:32 AM - edited 04-08-2011 8:49 AM
I currently use Bell South ADSL Xtreme 6.0 for internet service, Comcast for TV with two HD 1 TB TIVOs, and AT&T land line telephone service with two phone lines. AT&T has been pushing U-Verse very hard in my area but I have avoided considering it because what I have now works very reliably and very well, it is not broken, and I see no reason to change anything. However, I am toying with considering using U-Verse first to replace my reliable ADSL service and then maybe telephone. The big reason holding me back is my concern about not understanding how it will be wired. I have the following questions:
1 - There is fiber in my neighborhood so I would like to know does this mean a fiber connection is brought directly to the U-Verse interface unit or does the fiber terminate in something like a NID and then either cat5e or coax is run to the U-Verse interface unit?
2 - Do I need to install a 120 VAC outlet at the point where the fiber terminates if it does not run directly to the U-Verse interface unit.
3 - In a picture I saw, it appears there are four side by side RJ45 connectors on the back of the U-Verse interface unit. Does this mean the interface also has a built in wireless router with a four port switch? Is the wireless signal strength at least as strong as say from my Linksys WRT54G?
4 - Does the wireless use WPA2 AES security? What is the maximum key length I can use?
5 - If I opt to also use it for land line telephone service do the two RJ11 connectors simply provide a standard hard wired signal that I can easily use to feed the existing telephone network in my house? In other words can I use this as the source of signal to the existing 110-block?
6 - Is land line telephone as reliable as the existing POTS system is?
7 - If I let AT&T install the U-Verse interface unit how will they wire my house? Any chance they will do it right and run the wires through the attic?
8 - If, in the future, I decide to use U-Verse for TV, how does the single U-Verse interface unit feed the seven TVs in my home? Does it simply have a coax output that can relatively simply tie in with my existing system or do I have to run a Cat5e to each TV? If I do have to run a new Cat5e to each TV, are these fed from the existing LAN requiring another 8 port switch?
I would appreciate help better understanding the mechanics of the installation. At this time it sounds intriguing but I am very insecure about the quality of the AT&T installation wiring and want to understand it well enough to prewire for it myself if I decide to use it.
04-08-2011 11:05 AM
Hi my name is eric an im in tier one tech suppor (my opinions are my own) anyway the service comes over RJ-11 , the installation tech will place the modem/router closest to the box on side of the house . Fiber terminates at the DSLAM which copper goes from your house to our equipment then fiber to network. however there are some rare instances where there are houses that have fiber to the actual house. from the modem if you decide to have TV with the interenet , tv signal will go over coax or ethernet, i recommend ethernet to each set-top box. the modem will be inside the house either a 2wire 3600 (internet & voice) or 380x (all three or internet and TV) and the wireless can use wpa2 TKIP and AES and usually the key is at minimum 10 charactors, if you have any questions let me know
04-08-2011 11:48 AM - edited 04-08-2011 11:51 AM
Eric, Thank you very much for your response.
I also called AT&T and spoke to someone in tech support. Based on that call, your helpful answer, and other postings I have found, the big picture is comming into focus. I am interested in the fine details because I want to significantly change the existing network infrastructure in my house and I want to have it prewired before the installer arrives. Right now I have the network equipment set up in my home office at a far corner of the house. This makes for a weak wireless signal in other areas. I want to move the network modem and wireless router (or the new U-Verse box) to a more central location and then hard wire from that central location cat 5e to all the locations that will need a hard wired connection. It also means I need to pull a line to the new central location with the incomming signal from the NID (or whatever the NID becomes with U-Verse).
Please let me know if the following perception is correct.
1 - Although I am still not sure, it appears the connection to the house will be fttn meaning nothing will change from my existing ADSL connection. I just need to pull a Cat5e from the NID to the new location or just swap the new U-Verse box with my existing ADSL modem.
2 - If I choose to add two VOIP lines to replace my two standard POTS lines then I can use a single Cat5e to tie the two RJ11 jacks to the existing telephone network, only a few feet away in the attic.
3 - If I choose to add TV, I need to pull a Cat5e from the new location to each TV which will then need a U-Verse set top box of some kind. I assume each TV set top box will be fed from a switch just like any other hard wired Ethernet network device. No coax will be used. This will be a pain because we have seven TVs in the house.
4 - Can the same Cat5e used to provide network access to say a printer be also used for TV service in that room if I install a local switch?
4 - The main U-Verse box at the new central location will have DVR capability for all of the TV sets in the house. We now have two HD TIVOs with 1 TB hard drives. Will my wife and I still be able to independently watch and record programming as we do now with two independent TIVO HD DVRs?
Thank you again for your help.
04-08-2011 3:32 PM
1. Correct, incoming wire from the VRAD to your house will be over your existing copper pair (or pairs, if you are at a long distance).
2. Yes, you can do it that way or you can run 2 Cat5e wires from the NID to the location of the gateway, and use the 2nd Cat5e to backfeed the voice pairs out in the NID. This will avoid having to run the 2nd Cat5e to the attic as a separate run.
3. Yes, set-top boxes can run from Cat5e and yes, the can be fed from a switch if the switch is 802.1p compliant. Gigabit switches are recommended because in general, they meet this requirement. The NetGear GS-105 and GS-108 switches are known to work well with U-Verse.
4. You can with the aforementioned Gigabit switches mix computer and IPTV traffic on the same network, but some networking devices don't like the constant multicast traffic that they get exposed to like this. To avoid unforseen problems, it is recommended that the IPTV network and computer network be separated, either physically with separate wiring and switches, or logically using VLANs. The NetGear GS-108T switches have a VLAN implementation that has been verified to work correctly if you want to segment the network like this. (Warning: The NetGear GS-108E switches do not function correctly for this application).
5. Actually the gateway that is at the central location is not a TV device and is not where the DVR functionality is located. The gateway is a combination modem/router/firewall/switch/VOIP terminal adapter/wireless access point. One of your TV locations will have a set-top box that is the DVR unit, the other TV locations will have non-DVR units. The Total Home DVR (THDVR) functionality of the U-Verse system allows all non-DVR units to schedule and play back recordings from the DVR unit. The maximum number of recordings that can simultaneously be streamed from the DVR unit to non-DVR units is 3, with a maximum of 2 of those in HD.
04-09-2011 5:52 AM - edited 04-09-2011 6:40 AM
My wife and I are now exploring other alternatives for our existing telephone, cable, and internet services. Although I am comfortable with what we have now, and am reluctant to change because everything works so well and reliably, recent changes associated with our homeowners' association and Comcast's TV service may make transfering to U-verse less expensive with the bonus of faster internet service. I am concerned about the loss of the flexibility and capacity of two independent 1 TB HD TIVOs but this might not be a show stopper as I can probably replace the U-Verse harddrive to a 1 or 2 TB drive. I am starting out with an almost zero knowledge base of U-Verse so I appreciate everyone's patience with my questions.
SomeJoe stated: "To avoid unforseen problems, it is recommended that the IPTV network and computer network be separated, either physically with separate wiring and switches, or logically using VLANs. The NetGear GS-108T switches have a VLAN implementation that has been verified to work correctly if you want to segment the network like this."
Does this mean I will need two switches, each connected to one of the four Ethernet ports on the back of the RG; one switch will be dedicated to feeding the seven TVs and the other the various hard wired computer network nodes (computers, printers, AT&T Microcell, NAS, etc.)?
I was just talking with someone that lives about five blocks away. He stated a team of three installers used the existing coax to the new set top boxes on each of his seven TVs and did not run Ethernet connections to them. This contradicts my limited understanding as I thought an Ethernet connection was required to allow the local set top box to communicate with the main DVR set top box (which obviously has to have a Ethernet connection to the RG).
Interestingly he said his is an ftth installation even though AT&T tech support assured me it would be a fttn install. If it is indeed an ftth install, is it then an Ethernet connection to the RG?
Again, I appreciate the help.
04-09-2011 6:42 AM
There is a long history of people trying to change the hardrives on the DVR, I have not seen any success. Maybe you need to plan on using the TIVOs - either by downloading in real time or an IR blaster to record live.
You will get a DVR included, but must pay $7/mo for an STB for each of the other six TVs. There are some ways of sharing an STB for low usage STBs, but that may not be attractive.
Only four TV streams come into the house at any one time, maybe less than that are HD. You will have contention on seven TVs and trying to record multiple streams - all of these can only access up to four different incoming channels at the same time.
04-09-2011 7:17 AM
If you want to run the DVR and non-DVR set-top-boxes on Ethernet, then yes, I would recommend separating the IPTV and computer networks.
You do not have to run the DVR and non-DVR set-top-boxes on Ethernet, however. They will also run on coax with the same functionality, provided that the coax network is installed and conditioned properly.
You will not be able to change the hard drive in the DVR unit. Drives larger than a 320GB will not format, and since the unit will come with either a 250GB or 320GB, it isn't worth it.
04-11-2011 11:17 AM
Does Comcast not offer internet in your area? I would think you could get faster speeds for the same price, if not less than what AT&T offers...
Seven TV's and two TIVO's? Yeah, stick with what you have, if you switch to uverse I don't think you would be happy... As posted above, you get a MAX of 4-streams, and how many can be HD will depend on your signal/distance from the VRAD... That 4 is for anything, watching tv AND recording... Depending on how many people you have watching TV at once then it can be a struggle to watch live tv. Also each TV requires a box, which I'm sure comcast also does too.
uverse voice reliability varies by area... Ask yourself the question of "how often does my power go out, and for how long?"... then ask, "how criticial is a land line for me in those times?"... You can get uverse voice unlimited for $35/mo, or for $5 more you can get the AT&T call vantage or whatever which is unlimited over a regular phone line. Likewise remember that the phone service will eat a little bandwidth when making calls... Likewise watching TV eats bandwidth so if you are doing that, plus talking on phone, plus hoping for a high-speed package... put two & two together...
P.S. I have the u-verse tv+internet+phone and I'm happy thus far. Comcast signal where I live in an older neighborhood is HORRIBLE, ironically (and thankfully) the AT&T signal is awesome. I only have 3 TVs hooked up, and the 6Mb internet package. The voice works great, can't tell the difference. But being in Houston I'm sure when a hurricane hits I will loose my phone service (along with the other two)... But that's also what cell phones are for.... I would consider myself a "light" user of the service... A household with 4-6 people would be a different story I'm sure.
04-17-2011 6:53 AM