Installing Fiber Optic Cable at Home

Installing Fiber Optic Cable at Home
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    Soon, adding fiber optic cable to a home renovation may become the norm. Here’s what you need to know about installing fiber optic cable at home.


Fiber optic cables are cheaper, lighter, and they carry more data quicker than copper. While fiber optic is not yet available to homes in many areas, odds are your ISP is thinking of ways to get it to your area. 

If you’re considering installing fiber optic cable at home as part of a renovation project, the first thing to do is verify with your service provider whether or not “fiber to the premises” (FTTP) or “fiber to the home” (FTTH) is available in your area. 

If you’re in an area that uses a “fiber to the node” connection, that means that your provider runs signals over single or multi-mode fiber optic cable to a distribution box in the neighborhood, depending on the distance covered.

But an FTTN network uses coaxial cable to connect from the node to customer homes. To upgrade to FTTH, they must extend fiber optic cable from the node to the home, or you’ll have to do it yourself or hire someone to do it, if the provider and local codes permit (which they may not.)

Installing Fiber Optic Cable

But, if your area has FTTH capability, then the provider will run fiber optic cable to the outside of the home and will install an optical network terminal (ONT) on the inside, usually in the garage or the basement. The ONT receives and transmits the network signal to your fiber optic capable modem, and in turn, your modem connects to your router.

Think about how the placement might affect the quality and range of your home’s wireless network. All these devices—ONT included—need electrical power, so they must be situated near a power source. 

You’ll need a new modem, because traditional cable or DSL modems can’t decode fiber optic signals. You’ll need a new router that can handle fiber optic speeds, too, and probably a new set-top box for your cable TV.

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Aerial vs. Underground

The installation outside the home can be either aerial, using preexisting telephone poles, or underground. Obviously, digging takes longer and creates more mess. The fiber optic cable can transmit signals for phones, Internet, and TV, as long as compatible wiring and devices exist.

Older phones won’t work with fiber optic cabling. For internet access, you’ll need speed-compatible Ethernet cables to connect the modem and router, and cable television boxes connect with compatible coaxial cable to bring the signal to your new, fiber optic speed-ready box.

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Decide on Ethernet Lines & Ports

Lastly, decide if you want to install new Ethernet lines and ports throughout the home to connect to your speedy new fiber optic network directly.  This means figuring out how to run Ethernet cable within walls or ceilings, if possible, and the associated hardware to manage and protect the cabling.

As FTTH spreads, more specialized service companies will arise to handle conversions for older homes. Contractors doing remodels and renovations should start thinking about how to “future-proof” their projects by staying abreast of the next big thing in Internet connectivity, speed, and bandwidth when installing fiber optic cables in homes.

Image credit: by Pixabay

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