Light bulb! moment with FIOS

Speed test while wired into the FIOS box

Every now and then I recall the words that one of my friends always asked when we were doing some work.

“Right. What are you trying to accomplish exactly?”

I had migrated a while back from Optimum Online to FIOS and put my new cable model where the old one was in the basement. I hooked it up to my Linux home server/firewall. At the time that was a good arrangement since Optimum did not provide me with a firewall like device.

The design from Optimum at that time was very simple. You hooked up your PC to the cable modem and got a valid IP address. If you wanted, you could replace that PC with a Linksys like device with Wi-Fi and hide your PCs behind that device. But you had to provide that device yourself.

My old setup had the PCs in the basement hooked up to the cable modem and a pair of draft-N wireless AP used to bridge the basement and the second floor. Once of those PCs was a Linux box doing double duty as a NAT’ing firewall.

This worked out only marginally well and my transfer speed was ~12 Mb/s download from my main PC upstairs.

FIOS comes with a cable modem/4 port hub/802.11B/G access point. It also doubles as a RFC 1918 private network so you can hide many IP devices behind it.

When I upgraded from Optimum Online I just replaced the old cable modem with the Verizon one and turned off the Wi-Fi and enjoyed the same slow speeds upstairs and contemplated running Ethernet cable from the basement to the attic. Running cable would be the best solution but unlike my previous early 20th century homes, this house has no straight runs from the basement to the attic. That translated into a lot of work and I was not really looking forward to that task.

The light bulb moment occurred when I realized that a) no one used the network in the basement, and b) I already had TV cables running upstairs.

Speed test using Wifi from another floor

All I did was turn off my 2 draft-N APs and moved the FIOS box up to the second floor. My main PCs run directly off of the FIOS device (and get amazing kick ass speeds!) while the rest of the house gets 802.11G. The Wi-Fi speeds are not bad at all (see graphic) and peace and harmony once again resides on my network.

This does mean that for the time being I do not have any network connected PCs in the basement. But except for an occasional goofing off in the basement that is not a bad thing.

The Linux firewall was suffering from a lack of updates and patches. I was running an old distribution and updating to something newer has been on my to-do list for months. Now all access is via the Verizon box. It’s one less moving part and should be easier to support than my old setup.

And in the meanwhile I get to enjoy the benefit of the speed that I’m paying for from FIOS. It also means I have to rip out all the cables from my main PC setup. It’s a huge mess and screams “FIRE HAZARD!” just looking at it.