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FTTN - Spaghetti Cables to Simplify

fiberhunger
I'm here a lot

Hello y'all

I recently got Ignite 1.5Gbs and I'm awaiting my modem.  I live in a condo in midtown Toronto. The previous owner had installed Cat 5e, coax, and cables for phone and a security system. I do not use the coax(no cable) or the phone or the security system (I have a big dog, better than any security system).

The wiring closet in my 12yo condo is a mess, and I would like to clean it up reflecting my actual use, before my modem arrives. I first looked at the coax cables, which are a tangled mess. The Rogers signal comes in via, I believe, the black cable. My first question is, is the black cable the line in from Rogers? Currently, the black cable goes into a splitter  and one of the attached cables from the splitter runs into the modem, the rest to the Coax cable network. I want to attach the black cable (direct from rogers?) directly into the modem. Second question - will this work? 

Third question, I do not want the coax cable, it adds no value. Can I attach a Cat 6 cable to the closet end of a coax cable and pull from the outlet end to replace coax with Cat 6?

Thanks for your input!

 

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11 REPLIES 11

Re: FTTN - Spaghetti Cables to Simplify

RogersTony
Moderator
Moderator

Hello, @fiberhunger 

 

Welcome to the Rogers Community Forums!

 

I can imagine how confusing it would be trying to figure out what all the wires are for and where they go.

 

Can you provide us with some images? As many as would be appropriate to help the community assist you in getting those wires more organized.

 

You can post the images directly to the community using the posting tools above the text box when creating a post or replying to one. A moderator will have to approve the images so please be patient after posting.

 

We look forward to reviewing the images! 

 

RogersTony

Re: FTTN - Spaghetti Cables to Simplify

fiberhunger
I'm here a lot

Hi y'all

Added some pics below to illustrate. The cables are a nightmare, I try to avoid looking at them.

Turns out the black cable does not have the Rogers signal. If I plug it into my modem(both the old Hitron and the new XB7), no connection. I've elected to just duplicate the pre-existing setup for now until I get more time to experiment. And I'm getting fair download speeds, generally over 900Mbps going through the cat5E to my desktop. Beats what I was getting before on an old Ignite 250Mbps plan by a big margin.

IMG_6067.jpegIMG_6066.jpeg

Re: FTTN - Spaghetti Cables to Simplify

@fiberhunger, your comms closet is definitely a mess.  Ugh!  Your post title indicates FTTN. Is that to indicate that you actually have Fibre to the Home (FTTH) and that you possibly have a fibre Optical Network Terminal (ONT) that feeds the modem? 

 

And now for the rest of the questions and observations:

 

  1.  Does the modem reside near the comms closet, or is it located in another room, connected via cable to one of the splitters in the comms closet?
  2. If its in another room, then I’m assuming that your using ethernet to backfeed to the Tp-link switch or router.  Is that correct?
  3. What exactly is the tp-link device?  Router or switch?  If it’s a switch, what does it have for ports on it, only 1 Gb/s or are there multi-link ports capable of running 2.5, 5, or 10 Gb/s?
  4. What modem do you have now?  Here’s Rogers current modem line-up:  https://www.rogers.com/support/internet/setup-install
  5. What internet plan are you one, 1.5 Gbs down, 50 Mb/s up, or another plan.  If your modem is an XB7 or XB8, it has a 2.5 Gb/s ethernet port (port 4 with orange mark) which can be used to support the 1.5 Gb/s plan.  If your switch has a 2.5 Gb/s port, then it can connect to the modem at 2.5 Gb/s and that will support Rogers current 1.5 Gb/s plan.  From there, getting multi-gig data rates out to any other device depends on the switch ports and device ports.  Using Cat5e, you shouldn’t have any problem running above 1 Gb/s by using the modem’s and switche's (?) 2.5 Gb/s ethernet port.
  6. You have two surface mount telephone connectors in the picture of the comms closet, one just to the left of the closet and one inside the closet sitting just above the blue Cat-5e(?) ethernet cables.  Are you actually using the telephone cabling at all or are you using a cell phone, which makes any telephone cabling useless at this point?  Typically, the telephone cabling might actually be the blue Cat-5e cabling.  That depends on how old the apartment is.  If that’s the case, the Cat-5e can be repurposed to ethernet cabling by swapping the connectors from RJ11 to RJ45.

 

Food for thought:

  1.  If the modem is sitting in another room, connected thru the spaghetti RG-6 cabling, then you can determine which cables feed the modem by slowly disconnecting the RG-6 cables from the splitters, one by one.  After you remove a cable, check your pc to determine if you still have internet service.  When you determine that a removed cable results in loss of service, reconnect it and let the modem sort itself out.  Leave that cable connected.  When you have internet service again, continue removing the other cables in the splitter, again, one by one.  I suspect what you will find is that there will be two cables per splitter that are required for internet service.  They will be a splitter input, and a splitter output.  The goal here is to determine which two cables on each splitter are required to maintain internet service.  One of those cables should be an interconnect cable between the two splitters.  When you have that figured out, you should be left with one cable that runs off to the room where the  modem is located and one Rogers feed cable.  The end goal here is to connect the modem cable with the Rogers cable using an F-81 connector such as the following: https://www.homedepot.ca/product/ideal-3ghz-f-splice-adapter-10-pack-/1000751479
  2. That’s a 3 Ghz connector which will support any frequency increase that Rogers may have planned for your area in the future.  That page shows a 10 pack but, you can probably buy those in 5 packs (?).  You should also replace the connector on the wallplate that feeds the modem.
  3. That should leave you with a number of RG6 cables that run to other rooms.  Don’t cut them!!  You never know if you might need them at some point down the road, and, whomever moves into your condo after you might need them.  Roll them up individually and use string or tape to keep them in individual rolls.  Just let them hang at the back of the closet. At least that way they’ll be out of the way. 
  4. In the location where you want to run Cat-6, does the wallplate with the coax port also have a telephone jack or possibly a Cat-5e ethernet jack?
  5. Pull that wallplate off of the wall and take a look behind it to see what cables, if any, are hiding behind the wallplate.  That will depend on whether or not there is an existing cable port and telephone or ethernet jack on that wallplate.  If there is only a cable port and telephone jack, you can repurpose the ethernet cable by replacing the telephone keystone with an ethernet keystone.
  6. Does the wallplate itself use keystones, or is this an old fashioned wallplate where the individual wires from the Cat-5e cabling is actually screwed down to connection points on the back of the wallplate?
  7. If there is Cat-5e cabling that isn’t used, hiding behind the wallplate, or Cat-5e cabling that has a telephone keystone on it, or is screwed down onto a connector, you can use that cabling to support ethernet data by installing an RJ45 keystone or replacing the RJ11 connector with an RJ45 keystone.  You would need an RJ45 connector at the other end of the cable.

I would check all of the wallplates and take stock of what is connected and at what location, cable, telephone and/or ethernet. 

 

Don’t cut any of the cables!!

 

In order to use any of the cables as a pull string, the individual cable in question would have to reside in a low voltage conduit.  That’s a hollow conduit, either ¾ or 1 inch in diameter that is used to provide an “easy to install" cable run from one location to another.  Looking at your comms closet picture, it doesn’t appear that’s the case, in which case, the cables would run thru holes in the wall studs.  If you pulled on any of those cables in an attempt to pull a Cat6 cable thru, they probably won’t move, and even if they did, you run a big risk of losing the Cat6 cable within the walls somewhere.  That’s a minor disaster in the making.  Cables within walls take unexpected turns and you can’t be assured that any of the cables actually run from the comms closet to any other room in a straight path.  I’d bet that they don’t. Any connection point between an RG6 cable and a pulled Cat6 cable would probably hang up on a stud somewhere, most likely at a turn point, and the connection point would fail, leaving the Cat6 cable stranded in a wall somewhere and with no way to correct the situation other then ripping the walls open.  That wouldn't be any fun to say the least. 

 

When you are able to sort out the RG6 cables and clean them up, you might be able to pull the comms closet off of the wall and have a look behind and above the closet to see where the cables run off to.  That closet it probably held to the wall with wood screws so it probably isn’t that hard to move the closet off of the wall just enough to see what’s above it and behind it.  I’d be that there isn’t any sign of low voltage conduits, but, you never know until you look.  Typically, any installer running low voltage conduits would run the conduit right into the comms closet so that you can actually see them and the cables that run thru them.  If, when you pull a wallplate off of the wall, have a look to see if the electrical box behind the wallplate is connected to a low voltage conduit, or if the cabling simply enters the electrical box thru one of the box entry points.  Take a flashlight and look for any sign of a low voltage conduit just beyond the electrical box.  It might be visible if its there. 

 

Check the blue Cat-5e cables that lie at the bottom of the comms closet.  Do they have RJ-11 (telephone) jacks on them, or wider RJ45 jacks for etherent?

 

One item that can help identify cable runs is a network tester such as the following:

 

https://www.homedepot.ca/product/sperry-instruments-cable-test-plus-coax-utp-stp-tstr-tests-for-open...

 

That can be used to test individual RG6 cables and Cat-5e/6 cables with either RJ11 (telephone) or RJ45 (ethernet) connectors.  Its actually meant to be used as a cable tester, but, its handy to identify cables when you don’t know which cable run is which.  There are cheaper versions and more expensive versions of these, just depends on how much money you want to spend. 

 

If you find that you need to repurpose that ethernet cabling to run actually run ethernet instead of telephone data, you will need a cable crimper and RJ45 jacks.  My personal suggestion is the Klein cable crimper which uses pass thru connectors.  With these connectors, the individual wires pass thru the connector when you thread the wires into the connector, and when you crimp the connector onto the ethenet cable, the extra length of wires hanging out beyond the connector are automatically cut off by the crimper.  There are crimper made by other companies which use normal connectors, or which also use pass thru connectors.  I’ve used both types of connectors, the typical connectors where you have to get the wire length just right and the pass thru connectors and I’ve found the pass thru connectors easier to install, personal opinion.  Here are the Klein versions, which I have, and have used for our house:

 

https://www.amazon.ca/Pass-Thru-Modular-Crimper-Reliable-VDV226-110/dp/B076MGPQZQ/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2N...

 

Here are the connectors:

 

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B076PRM7W8/ref=emc_b_5_t

 

That page is selectable for both Cat5e and Cat6.  There are also smaller packs, so you don’t have to buy 50 at a time unless of course you can actually use that many. 

 

If you happen to know anyone who was the crimper, maybe you can borrow it and save the cost of buying it. 

 

If you have to install keystones at the wallplates, you will also need a punch down tool, which can be seen on the following amazon page:

 

https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=Punch+Down+Tool&i=tools&crid=2CGKJNB94SY21&sprefix=punch+down+tool%2Ctools...

 

Once again, it depends on how much money you want to spend.

 

The wallplate for keystones are seen on the following link:

 

https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=keystone+wallplate&i=tools&crid=KXH1KRSJZAXV&sprefix=keystone+wallplate%2C...

 

They come with different keystone capacity, from a single keystone to multiple keystones and hold different keystones from RG6 cabling, to Cat 5e / 6 cabling for ethernet.

 

The Cat 5e keystones can be seen on the following page:

 

https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=keystone+cat+5e&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

 

At the end of the day, with all of the cabling identified and cleaned up, what you should be able to do is:

 

Inbound Rogers ->    F-81     -> apartment -> wallplate -> short -> modem -> short ethernet -> wallplate ->

    Cable                   connector         RG6           RG6 port       RG6                                cable                 jack            

 

apartment -> tplink switch  -> outbound ports

  ethernet       inbound port    to apartment wallplates

 

That would allow you to park the modem somewhere in the apartment where you would get the most use out of the modem’s wifi, and run ethernet back to the tp-link switch (?) so that you can connect other runs out to the other rooms in the apartment if that is what you’re trying to do.  If you have cable service, not Fibre to the Home, getting rid of the two splitter will result in a huge improvement in the modem’s signal levels. 

 

Hopefully this provides some food for thought and useful instruction.  Yes, you can do what you want to do, but perhaps not exactly in the manner that you were thinking of. 

 

Re: FTTN - Spaghetti Cables to Simplify

@fiberhunger, thinking about the splitters again this morning, when you start to disconnect the cables from the splitters, one by one, you might find that only one splitter is involved in connecting the inbound Rogers cable to the modem cable.  The other splitter might turn out to be totally out of the picture.  It all depends on what happens when you disconnect the cables.  You'll either end up with a single splitter that is required, or two cross connected splitters.  In any event, that will help you to finally eliminate the splitters and simply connect the inbound Rogers cable to the modem cable using an F-81 connector.  With that done, you can tuck the other RG6 cables neatly away in the back of the comms closet and move onto the ethernet cabling.

Re: FTTN - Spaghetti Cables to Simplify

fiberhunger
I'm here a lot

Thank you @Datalink for your answer. Your responses to this and other posts really embody the best of Internet help - complete, nonjudgemental, and very helpful!

  • I have FTTN, likely a marketing term - presumably the fiber comes in up the road in the neighbourhood, then gets sent on copper to my condo building and distributed through the boxes in the hallways, then to my unit. I have RG6 connectors on the cables, no ONT in sight.
  • My modem is actually in the same closet with this mess. The modem is an XB7 (Arris TG4482).
  • My setup is XB7 -> Deco X60 in Router mode -> TP-Link SG108E -> patch panel(behind the cable mess) -> cat 5e -> wall plates.  There's a QNAP NAS in the closet also, plugged into the switch. The wall plates feed a desktop, 2 Deco X60 in access point mode,  2 Sonos 1 speakers, and an Apple TV box. The wifi feeds phones, iPads, laptops and a printer.
  • My plan is Ignite 1.5Gbps down 50Mbps up. The 1Gbps ports on the Deco and the switch are a bottleneck. My plan is to upgrade to XB7 -> Router w/ 2 x 2.5Gbps ports -> managed switch w/ 2.5Gbps ports -> 3 x access points for wifi >= 6. Such a system should give me maybe 1.2Gbps on wired connections and fast connections on wifi. It should  keep me going for another 5 years or so by which time hopefully there will be actual FTTH at my unit and 8-10Gbps plans at reasonable cost, as well as lower priced up to 10Gbps devices.
  • One telephone wall connector is for a security system (DSC Power 832) which I will pull off the wall and put on kijiji. Let them try to get past the German Shepherd! The other I am investigating.
  • Thank you for your comments about pulling cables, I will investigate to see if there is conduit behind the drywall. I actually have a cable tester which works with RJ45 and RG6 cables so I can investigate the cabling further
  • I will try the method you suggested to isolate the incoming Rogers cable. Your point about higher signal levels without the splitters is exactly what got me started on this, good to see my intuition confirmed.
    Since the XB7 is actually in the closet, I will not need the the F-81, am I correct? I will just plug the live cable into the XB7.

Thank you again for your help! I will be busy over the next few weekends, but it's good busy!

Re: FTTN - Spaghetti Cables to Simplify

Hi @fiberhunger, the FTTN pretty well describes the typical installation these days in neighbourhoods.  The Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) which controls and provides data services to its connected modems, connects to the neighbourhood node via fibre.  The neighbourhood node has several line cards with ports that connect to the copper hardcable that runs into the neighbourhood.  If you walk around a typical residential neighbourhood with underground cabling, you'll see nylon green pedestals, about waist high, maybe a foot and a half square.  Inside that pedestal is a local tap, essentially a big splitter that connects to the hard cable.  That local tap feeds up to 8 homes that are located around the tap, depending on the number of ports on the installed tap. 

 

In the case of condos or apartments, you have a Multiple Dwelling Unit, essentially another version of a large splitter that provides services via copper cable to all of the condo / apartment units.  

 

Here's what a local tap looks like.  They are found within the pedestals or mounted on a utility pole in the case of overhead cabling:

 

https://www.antronix.com/products/multi-taps/

 

Here's one version of a condo/apartment Multiple Dwelling Unit, of the type that feeds your condo unit:

 

https://www.antronix.com/solutions/multiple-dwelling-unit

 

Your thoughts about connecting the inbound cable directly to the modem are correct.  That is the best solution possible.  But, one question however.  The comms closets in a condo/apartment are usually located at the front of the unit near the entrance, and that location is probably the worst location for a wifi transmitter.  Are you seeing satisfactory wifi performance with the access points?  I'm assuming that the main Deco X60 is also parked in the comms closet. 

 

You indicate that a patch panel is present.  Does that also mean that every wallplate has an ethernet jack or keystone installed?

 

If you have any questions as you work thru this, post pictures as well.  That will really help in terms of understanding what your attempting to do 🙂

 

Fwiw, Amazon.ca has the GT-AX6000 on for a reduced price.  Not that you're looking to buy something like this at the present time, but it does have two 2.5 Gb/s ethernet ports, WAN and LAN.  

 

https://www.amazon.ca/ASUS-Rapture-Gaming-Router-GT-AX6000/dp/B0BG9LTWSW/ref=sr_1_1?gclid=EAIaIQobCh...

 

One more food for thought, watch the temperatures in the comms closet.  With the modem, Deco X60, TP-Link SG108E and QNAP NAS all running in the closet, over time, with the closet door closed, you're going to get some amount of heat generated in the closet.  You don't want to cook anything, especially anything that could be rather costly to replace.  You might find that you have to leave the door cracked open, just enough to keep the closet at a reasonable temperature.  

 

Edit 1:  Looking around the internet, the modem should have a white LED showing at the top and front of the modem, indicating that its online.  When you disconnect one of the cables that might feed the modem, that LED should turn red, indicating that there is no coax signal present.  When you reconnect that cable, eventually the modem will return to its online status.  That might take 5 minutes or more to lock the OFDM channels.  In any event, with the modem in the comms closet, you can watch for the modem's reaction when you go about disconnecting the cables from the splitters.  That should make this process fairly easy to accomplish. 

 

Edit 2:  Can you post a picture of the patch panel at some point?   

Re: FTTN - Spaghetti Cables to Simplify

fiberhunger
I'm here a lot

Hi @Datalink so there was a Rogers cable outage in my area this afternoon, I thought I had overheated the modem leaving a light on in the cabinet...but it was actually widespread as I found out chatting to neighbours while taking the dog for a walk. The TP-Link Deco X 60  does indeed show a red LED when the WAN signal is lost, so it was pretty easy to get the live cable identified using the method you suggested. It turned out to be the black cable, I must not have let it settle long enough on my previous attempt. At any rate the black cable is plugged straight into the modem and I get the SpeedTest result shown below - from my desktop, ie through the router and switch. Tomorrow I'm going to test with a 2.5Gbps RJ45-to-USB C dongle on a recent MacBook Air to see if I can break the 1 Gbps barrier...
Buried under the RG6 was indeed another telephone wall connector floating around, which was previously connected to the security system. And there's a Cat5e cable coming out of that connector, so maybe they used Cat 5e to the wall jacks also, gonna check that tomorrow as well. Fun!Speedtest.jpg

 

Re: FTTN - Spaghetti Cables to Simplify

Two thumbs up 👍   Were you able to disconnect the two splitters, remove them and tuck the rest of the RG6 cables at the back of the cabinet so they're out of the way? 

Re: FTTN - Spaghetti Cables to Simplify

fiberhunger
I'm here a lot

So @Datalink  I've organized the wiring cabinet a bit. The RG6 cables came together nicely except for one cable which comes from the bottom of the box. I've looped them all together and put them outside above the box.

At some point I will pull the box off the wall and try to ease it forward, pull the RG6 cable bundle up through its entrance hole in the box and just toss the entire bundle behind the box so it's completely out of the way, then reattach the box to the ?studs. That will give me a better idea of whether there is conduit, also. I have not been able to spot any conduit behind the wall plates. 

SpeedTest still giving me good results but I need to turn off any QoS features on the Deco router to get speed above 250Mbps...

IMG_6073.jpg

 

Re: FTTN - Spaghetti Cables to Simplify

@fiberhunger thats looking better.  If you manage to tuck those RG6 cables behind the cabinet, consider placing a sign at the back of the cabinet that the condo RG6 cables are tucked in behind the cabinet and to access them, whomever requires them in the future will have to pull the cabinet off of the wall.  Just trying to think ahead, 5, 10, 15 (?) years down the road .....

 

Are you running Rogers Ignite TV by any chance thru your Deco router?  If so, you'll need IPv6 running in order for the Xi6-A or Xi6-T set top boxes to run correctly.

 

When you're running anything, gigabit or over, you don't need QOS.  In fact, it will definitely slow you down as the router processor has to process all of the data to determine what priority to assign to the data packets.  If anyone really wanted to use QOS for gigabit or above service, you would have to have a lot more horsepower in the router to make QOS useable at those rates.  

Re: FTTN - Spaghetti Cables to Simplify

fiberhunger
I'm here a lot

I hear you about leaving a sign for the next owner! No Ignite TV. I'm unlikely to benefit from QOS so my current router will do for now, but I'm investigating OpenWRT and one of those fanless minipc boxes with multiple 2.5Gbps ports  as a router solution.

 

Thanks for all your help and encouragement @Datalink I will continue to post as the project progresses!

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