WiFi Extender over COAX? (newbie alert!)
bucky13
Enthusiast - Level 3

Hi there, trying to help out my non-tech neighbor, so apologies if my understanding of FIOS or his infrastructure is a little limited.  

He currently has a FIOS gateway (modem/router or the equivalent) in his home office, which is in a detached building from his house.  In his house, he has a Verizon set-top box which is coax attached.  His TV just died and we replaced it with a Samsung Smart TV.  I figured I'd hook it up to WiFi and set up Netflix for him, but the WiFi signal where the TV in is poor (-92dB).  

I've read in some other threads that there is a coax-attached WiFi "repeater" type thing available for this type of scenario, but I'm not sure what to look for from both a product standpoint and an infrastructure standpoint.  I'm pretty sure the fibre is terminated in his house in some sort of device which then "splits" into the coax drops in both his house (TV box) and barn (router).  Does this sound right?  And if so, is there something I could add at the TV to boost the network connection/WIFi?  Thanks.  

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dexman
Community Leader
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The second 1100 router operating in Bridge mode seems like the best option. They are fairly inexpensive online, but care needs to be taken to ensure that the unit is the Verizon version as opposed to the Frontier version.

I use a 66 block in the basement to terminate all of the telephone wiring in the house. Makes for a neater installation. 🙂

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dexman
Community Leader
Community Leader

Welcome to the forums!

First some terminology clarifications:

FiOS doesn't use modems. The service consists of an ONT, router, extenders & set top boxes (STBs).

FiOS routers & extenders can communicate with each other using Ethernet cables, coaxial cables or Wi-Fi.

Of the three options, Ethernet cabling is preferred. Next would be coaxial cable followed by Wi-Fi.

Now he can use coaxial cable to bring Internet service to the detached office with the understanding that if he subscribes to gigabit speed Internet, he may not experience full speed. Currently, Verizon supplies the G3100 router to customers and E3200 extenders. Depending upon how long he has been a FiOS customer, he may have an older G1100 router or even the now obsolete Actiontec 424.

Now having said that, because the office is detached from the house, any communications cables should be properly grounded to protect against lightning strikes. He can inspect cable connectors and hardware and replace any old/obsolete splitters and poorly applied connectors. He would also use a splitter to provide a feed to the STB in the office. Splitters should be MoCA 2.0 or 2.5 compatible.

His router could be connected to the ONT by either an Ethernet cable or coaxial cable. Ideally, that connection would be made using an Ethernet cable. The E3200 has two Ethernet jacks, so he could connect his computer to one jack and the TV to the other, or even purchase a switch, plug the switch into one of the extender jacks and everything else plugs into the switch.

If possible, could pictures of the Verizon ONT and maybe some of the existing cabling be posted for us to check?

Side note: posted pictures are queued for Moderator approval before they appear.

bucky13
Enthusiast - Level 3

Thanks for the reply Dexman!  Let me try to describe the topology I found and I can post pics if my description is lacking.

1- there's a box on the side of the house where it looks like the service drop comes in.   Two boxes, actually- a smalle "Network Interface Device"  box and a larger grey box.  All coax seems to terminate there.

2- A thick tan wire enters the basement and terminates in the "ONT".  The ONT only has this wire, a power cable, and another connector to a different large black box adjacent to the ONT.  

3- The coax from the exterior mounted box feeds both the set top box in the house and the router in the barn (this is via buried conduit).

4- The router is in fact  G1100.   There is no "direct" connection that I can perceive from the router to the ONT.  

Does this make sense?  In my ideal scenario, I'd have some sort of extender that I'd put next to the STB in the house and feed both the extender and the STB using a coax splitter.  Not sure if something like that exists though.  

Thanks again! 

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dexman
Community Leader
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Hi again!

There isn't a dedicated coaxial "input" for any of Verizon's routers. Typically, the coaxial cable output of the ONT goes to the input tap of a coaxial cable splitter. From there, one of the splitter's outputs is connected to the F connector on the back of the router.

An extender can be placed next to the STB. The coaxial cable feed from the house would need to go into a splitter. One output would connect to the back of the extender while the other would be used to connect to the STB.

Now the performance of the extender that was sold along with the 1100 is limited when it comes to coaxial cable connections. I believe that the 3200 will pair with 1100, but the SON feature will not work on the extender. If the 1100 is replaced by a 3200, that problem goes away.

A side note, Verizon is introducing a new router for FiOS subscribers. Right now, it is used for people who sign up for multi-gigabit Internet in New York City. That means that support clock for the 1100 is ticking away. 

I think this should fairly straightforward. Out of pure curiosity, could some pictures be posted? One thing I would like to gauge the condition of the coaxial cable connections. Things to watch for include:

Poorly installed "F" connectors: Twist on connectors are bad news and should be replaced. Crimp connectors are ok. Compression connectors are now the industry standard.

Old splitters that are not MoCA 2 or 2.5 compatible: Replace with new units. Avoid inexpensive splitters. Verizon sells some online. I, myself, prefer Ideal and Philmore branded splitters.

bucky13
Enthusiast - Level 3

Here ya go! Not much in the way of the coax connectors.  However, there's no DIY at all here (with the possible exception of the coax run being in place between buildings).  Verizon did it all (doesn't guarantee good workmanship I concede!).  And it does seem that there is an ethernet cable in the WAN port of the gateway!  So I'm really not sure what is feeding the gateway- the ethernet port or the coax port.  I would think that if they were putting ethernet in place they wouldn't have bothered with the coax?  Maybe if I get into the management interface I can glean some better information.  Or, does it even matter in context of the extender??   AHA- I think I see it now!  The WAN/LAN indicator next to the coax connection indicates LAN- does that mean that the ethernet port is WAN, and the coax port is feed the LAN via MOCA?

SON shouldn't matter here- it would simply be used to feed the Samsung Smart TV, which won't be moving around much :).  In fact, I just pulled up the TV's manual and it does have an ethernet port- I wonder if there's some sort of coax-to-ethernet MOCA device that verizon supports?  But now that I type more, I look more- I see the 3200 has two dedicated LAN ports, so it could be used to hardwire the TV and also serve up WiFI (for what, I don't know!  Other than the PC in his office, my neighbor has zero networked devices besides this brand new TV!).  But a MOCA/Ethernet would probably be cheaper, given there's no real need for WiFi.

And peeking at the 3200 manual- setup seems too easy to be true.  Just plug connect to the existing Coax (spili from the TV of course), plug it in, and wait 10 minutes and it's done??  Wow!!!  

imageimageimage

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dexman
Community Leader
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Good pictures (one is still pending review by a moderator). The big black box looks like a battery backup unit as there is a thin cable plugged into the side of the power supply around the corner of the support. My suspicion is that an Alcatel-Lucent 211 was installed inside the large external enclosure. The small external enclosure is the interface for the old copper service.

The battery backup for the 211 is of questionable value as it requires (12) Alkaline "D" cells, only supports the telephone service, and it requires the user to manually turn it on & off. Often purchasing a dedicated UPS and plugging the ONT's power supply into it will keep all services up & running long enough to finish-up work and casually shut down is a better way to go. Side note: AT&T uses Alcatel-Lucent (Nokia) ONTs for its fiber service. The battery backup for their ONT functions the same way as Verizon's does.

Switching out an 1100 with a 3100 is fairly straightforward. 🙂

Side note: It is rare to see a 66/25 block in a residential setting. One of the pictures looks like there may be a Western Electric KSU in use. 😮

The Verizon STBs need a connection to the router in order to update channel guides and a few other tasks. Reading that there is an Ethernet cable connected to the ONT and the router tells me that the Internet feed is using that cable....which is good.

bucky13
Enthusiast - Level 3

My fault, I left the serial number visible in the original pic, as well as the owner was in the background.  I cleaned it up now.

Yep, he has/had a full business phone system installed in his property.  His best friend (my former neighbor on the other side) owned an alarm business and wired up his house for both telephone and alarms (pre home networking days). 🙂  (Side note:  when I bought and rehabbed my first house in the early 90s, I installed a 66 block in the basement with two runs of Cat5 to each room for POTS lines and "future" DSL.  🙂  When I moved into and wired my current house, the more user-friendly and smaller Leviton wiring devices were on the market, so that's what I have here)

I don't think he has any appetite at all for swapping out his gateway at this point unless big V forces him to.  Heck, the main impetus behind this operation is only because he doesn't like the big yellow banner at the bottom of the TV on startup that's yelling that the network is not configured :).  So I'm trying to fix that for him and see if I can get him started on Netflix- he's always complaining that he has to watch the same movies over an over again.  He's a brilliant guy- he engineered and built sewage and water plants in his career- but technology is NOT in his wheelhouse!!!  image

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dexman
Community Leader
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The second 1100 router operating in Bridge mode seems like the best option. They are fairly inexpensive online, but care needs to be taken to ensure that the unit is the Verizon version as opposed to the Frontier version.

I use a 66 block in the basement to terminate all of the telephone wiring in the house. Makes for a neater installation. 🙂

bucky13
Enthusiast - Level 3

Hey, what do you think about one of these jobbies?  No WiFi of course, but that's not really necessary...

https://www.verizon.com/home/accessories/fios-network-adapter/

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bucky13
Enthusiast - Level 3

haha, but now that a looked, a verizon G1100 can be had for 40 bucks on ebay!

So maybe that IS the more appropriate solution here!  

I guess I could assign the same SSID/password to make it a poor man's mesh....

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dexman
Community Leader
Community Leader

I haven't run across the adapter so I can't say 👍 or 👎. There may have been some discussion about it here in the forums though. 🤔

Wi-Fi could become a benefit in the remote office down the road, so having that capability is a plus. 🙂

Cang_Household
Community Leader
Community Leader

FNA is solid and would give you 4 Ethernet ports without wireless.

A used G1100 can give you wireless. Regarding how to put it into bridge mode, I made an interactive guide on the right of the topic page, or scroll all the way down to the bottom on a mobile device.

One limitation here is that coax is capped to 500Mbps. This is a limitation of G1100. If you need full gigabit coax backhaul, you need two FNA or replace G1100 with G3100.

bucky13
Enthusiast - Level 3

Thanks!  Given the low cost of entry, I guess I'll do the G1100. 

That interactive guide is awesome!  I was thinking I was gonna set it up at home and just take it over and plug it in, but I guess it's gotta be connected to its "master" in order to configure.

And this will inherit the SSIDs/Passwords and act as a mesh of sorts??  

thanks again!  

Cang_Household
Community Leader
Community Leader

Regarding the SSID population, no, it won't automatically populate the SSID fields. You need to configure them manually. I could make a video about that, but G1100 is almost reaching EOL.


@bucky13 wrote:

... to its "master" in order to configure.


I would curb the usage of master/slave in terminology. Calling the first G1100 "master" is both technically incorrect and probably politically incorrect. The first G1100 router is called the router, the second G1100 will be reduced to a link device.

dexman
Community Leader
Community Leader

For descriptors, how about the "main router" & the "remote"? 🤔

bucky13
Enthusiast - Level 3

Well, the G1100 came today, and I set it up per the interactive guide while NOT attached to the "Main Router".    I'm pretty sure his Main is set to the default subnet address, so I picked something in that range for the secondary.   I let the SSIDs and passwords stand so if anyone has to figure anything out after me it's all on the sticker.  I was asking about the SSID and password inheriting from the main router because I had a duh moment and thought this was going to set up a mesh.  So now he'll have  distinct "house" and "office" SSIDs and passwords using the info printed on the labels.

So I assume all I have to do is disconnect the coax from his STB, connect that cable to the input of the splitter, connect the two splitter outputs (yep, it's a MOCA capable VZ splitter that came with the "new" G1100)  to the STP and the G1100, plug in the G1100, and connect an ethernet cable between the new Smart TV and one of the LAN ports on the G1100, and everything should be good to go!!  

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Cang_Household
Community Leader
Community Leader

Hello bucky13.

If you bridge a G1100 following the Interactive Guide, it won't copy the SSIDs and passwords from the primary G1100. You can configure them to be the same manually by going to wireless settings and set the SSIDs and PSKs to be the same.

Uplink by coax is fine. G1100 should automatically link to the primary G1100 through MoCA LAN if connected through coax. But only choose one uplink method, can't do both Ethernet and MoCA LAN. G1100 does not have Spanning Tree Protocol enabled.

bucky13
Enthusiast - Level 3

So when you say "Choose" only one uplink method- is that in step #3 where I need to select "Broadband Connection (Ethernet/Coax)" instead of "Network (Home/Office)" as it does in the guide?  

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Cang_Household
Community Leader
Community Leader

No. Uplink is simply how you decide to link the secondary G1100 to your existing network. It has nothing to do with configuration in the GUI. You can connect a LAN to LAN Ethernet cable, or a coax to coax using MoCA LAN.

bucky13
Enthusiast - Level 3

Thanks, will report how it goes once I get over there and hook up!  

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bucky13
Enthusiast - Level 3

SUCCESS, thanks all!  Plugged it in, and all worked perfectly! 

The only anomaly is that the Internet "Globe" remains red (which I think is an indication of "No Internet").  But after a little consternation, I verified the internet by connecting to the SSID and disabling mobile data on my phone.  We then plugged in the TV via ethernet and, despite Samsung idiosyncrasies,  we were able to get that connected up. 

The irony is that, although not really strong, the original existing wifi signal from the "main" router out in his detached office would have been sufficient to get the TV set up had I not believed the message, which said the internet signal was too unstable to download the Ts & Cs agreement.  We got the same response even when hardwired to the "new" access point, and a bunch of googling later found out there was another path to accept the agreement and that worked just fine.

Oh well, maybe I will eventually convince him to learn how to navigate netflix, hulu, and youtube!!