Thread Links Date Links
Thread Prev Thread Next Thread Index Date Prev Date Next Date Index

[EFM] User perspective


The message was actually sent over an Ethernet in the first mile and I
thought the group might benefit from hearing an end user experience out on
the bleeding edge of Ethernet to the home. The good news is that it hasn't
been very bloody.

After months of people working on the street with those horizontal drill
rigs to put in conduit followed by a month of putting in and fiddling around
with vaults, the network is hooked up.

The provider delivers voice, video, and data. The video comes to our street
on fiber but they convert it to coax for distribution to the houses. The
voice and data share a point-to-point optical fiber from a switch to the
house. They are selling it as a 10 Mbit/s data connection, but they are
delivering it over 100 Mbit/s 1300 nm optics which they convert to
100BASE-TX and run to a gateway. The gateway breaks out the voice over IP
signals and converts that to regular analog phone. It also has terminals for
a battery which they install for lifeline. The rest goes to a 100BASE-TX for
data service to the home. They apparently throttle the data service at some
point in the system to 10 Mbit/s.

The 100BASE-T connection was the one thing that let me know I was out on the
front edge of this technology. Go to a store and try to buy a home
gateway/router/NAT server with a 100BASE-T WAN connection. Most of the boxes
identify the WAN connection with some combination of "RJ-45", "802.3",
"Ethernet" but they don't say what the speed is. The documentation for the
gateway we were using said nothing about the data rate of the WAN
connection. As long as it connects to a cable or DSL modem why would anyone
care? I was eventually able to identify two gateways from one vendor that
support 100BASE-TX to the WAN connection and are sold in local stores. Their
boxes don't mention that capability - you just gotta know which ones to use
because other boxes in the product line are 10BASE-T only. I also found one
SOHO gateway that one can order over the web if one looks hard enough for a

Once the router was obtained, things went pretty smoothly. I can't tell any
difference in my phone lines. The network seems to be more reliable than the
broadband cable service we were on. With cable, we would loose connection
every few days and have to reset the cable modem and sometimes the gateway
to get it back. We haven't had that problem with the new network and I have
achieved over 8.5 Mbit/s to one of the speed test sites.