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Outside of my house - where does my signal go?

Outside plant street view coax cable TV plant signals

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#1
Dillinger

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Where do/did my bullets go?

 

I think we have all been there, haven’t we?  Playing our favorite online shooter and suddenly you are shooting what appears to be confetti and marshmallows at your opponents.  As we have learned by joining the [Duma] Army; “Ping is King”.

 

But what really goes into that Ping?

 

This is going to be a multipart thread where I am, hopefully, going to try and explain a few things that you CAN control, and a few things you CAN’T control, when it comes to the caliber of your gaming and internet browsing experience.  This will start looking at your house, and then expanding to the street, down the street, and then into the ether where the “magic happens”.  I hope it helps. J

 

Who the hell am I?  (Nobody really J ) What’s my background?  Great question.

 

In my previous work experience I was a cable TV, Phone, Internet and fiber technician for various companies (TCI, AT&T Cablevision, Comcast) before joining the contractor ranks.  I have worked in 6 States (Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, Illinois, Indiana), along with British Columbia (Canada) and S. Korea (DoD for the military) building plant that carries all those precious 1’s and 0’s.  At last count, crews that have worked with me had built in excess of 15,000 miles of the cables and wires you see running from pole to pole, or pedestal to pedestal, around cities, neighborhoods and military bases.  I was last active in 2006, so if there have been advancements or technological breakthroughs specific to this work, I missed them, but please feel free to share or update the information.

 

The first part I am going to tackle is your home wiring.  Not that jumble of wires and cables you have cleverly hidden behind your entertainment center…

 

Yeah_like_this.jpg

 

Everyone has a version of this mess to contend with, trust me. J  Believe it or not, this exists all over the place around the country because wiring correctly is one of those “never time to do it right, but there is always time to do it over” cases.

 

Yeah_This.jpg

 

“But the inside of my house is all wire tied up and looks awesome”.  You are literally in the 3% club.  In all my years of going into people’s homes (rich, poor, other) about 3 homes in 100 would have a ridiculously awesome wired system that looked like it belonged in a picture definition and the problem was rarely, if ever, there. 

 

But let’s say you wired everything inside yourself and it is picture perfect.  Everything has been tested and you have the tightest house in the state for data.  You are the shining example of “wiring awesome”.

 

Congratulations.  You have done what you can to insure your signal is top quality!  Everything should be golden, right?

 

Not so much. 

 

But let’s have a bit of a primer here.  I am going to cover Co-ax or Coaxial Cable first, which is the standard cable used in about 85%+ of the standing structures’ wiring for “TV/Satellite” customers and about half of the internet subscribers.  I can tackle Cat-5; “Fiber to the Curb” and “Fiber to the Home” later on if there is interest, but odds are good this will apply to most users.

 

This is a Coaxial Cable ( stripped back for fitting installation):

This_is_coax.jpg

 

And here it is with a fitting correctly installed:

Connections.jpg

 

Now, you have to realize that your house got a slightly skilled worker, who had a route of 20+ jobs to do that day as part of their normal route. The person that came to your house wired the place up like s/he has done to 1,000 other homes in the course of their career. 

 

Your home/apt/condo wasn’t special.  You didn’t get the “magic wire” or the Installer of the Month winner who was wiring your house for a photo-shoot.  

You got the person who was trying to get in, get done and get out of your driveway in less time than s/he was given to do the job.  If s/he went over in time on your house, the rest of their appointments are going to be pissed.  So if they had 40 minutes to work on your house, they most likely tried to be out the door and down the road in 30.  Real talk.  If you live in an apt or condo, you got about 10 mins of attention outside when it was “turned on” for your unit.  If you were REALLY lucky, the installer cleaned up some fittings and changed some aging equipment outside.

 

This is the first part of what you CAN’T control (without filing a complaint with the company, or having the tools & knowledge to rework it yourself).

 

That reoccurring fact is where you get shit like this:  (Note – There is something wrong in each of these pictures that would lead to “less than ideal” signal transmission conditions)

All_too_common_cable.jpg

 

Standard_Apt_style_box.jpg

 

You_are_Effed.jpg

 

Wrong.jpg

 

This is the connection at the side of the house.  For most cable, phone, internet provider companies, this is the “end” of what they consider “owner maintained plant”, where “owner” represents the company and “plant” represents the physical wiring/connections, etc.  If the line from the pole or street pedestal is damaged (unless you dug it up or your massive RV/Boat combo ripped it down – both true stories) the company accepts this as part of doing business and will usually replace it free of charge. 

 

Tree branches fall in a windstorm?  Free replacement.  Big rig/truck rip down a few lines because he was too tall for residential work?  Free replacement.   Act of God lightning strike?  Free replacement.  This is owner maintained, so having a quality outside line (this is called a “Drop” in the industry) is part of the service you are paying for, so it SHOULD be good quality. 

 

That doesn’t mean that it’s always brand new and in pristine condition.

This_doesn_t_work_well.jpg

 

Dig_up.jpg

 

The_wrap_around.jpg

 

Melted_Cable.jpg

 

Any of the pictures above could be replicated by most people that have worked on the “in home service call” aspect of cable/phone/internet service.  

 

These are all really common “home fixes” that lead to horrendous signal quality, poor internet quality, pissed off customers and a lot of them are self-inflicted by the home owners themselves.

 

Ideally you have to think about the wiring at your home or place of usage as small water lines.  If they have a break, a cut, an open point in any way, this will lead to INGRESS (which is a term for outside Radio Frequencies/other signals getting into the 1’s and 0’s you are trying to send or download - This is bad) and EGRESS (which is a term for the 1’s and 0’s you are transmitting getting outside of the cables and into the open air – THIS IS REALLY BAD).

 

What can cause INGRESS & EGRESS?

 

Animals:

 

Marder_closeup.jpg

 

squirrelmuncher.jpg

 

chew_power_cord.jpg

 

Customer “Improvements”

facepalm.jpg

 

Local "projects"

 

Yep_that_easy.jpg

 

http://www.theguardi...cuts-web-access

 

“Local” Ingress and Egress, meaning this happens AT YOUR HOME, makes up about 75% of the trouble/service calls that are filed (or used to be when I was active).  I doubt that number has changed much as people LOVE to do shit themselves, even if they don’t have an idea of what the hell they are doing.  :huh:

 

These are just some "common" examples of small stuff at or near your home that can effect your internet and video services.  Having little breaks, or open ports, or flat damage (animal, natural or "man oops") to any of the wiring infrastructure actually at your residence can seriously negative effects on your quality of service.

 

One additional item to ALWAYS factor in!  Just because the wiring at your house is BRAND NEW and looks like the shining example of a perfect installation, it was still done by a human.  Shit happens when you build things.  Failures right out of the box do occur for cable, fittings and splitters.  

 

And the same is true for EVERY OTHER PLAYER HOST out there!

 

Let's see how this is received, then I can start plotting the follow up posts.  I don't know if this is too technical, or too simplistic, and I haven't offered any solutions, because even if you see about 1,000 of these problems, you can't really diagnose them in a broad brush stroke, one-tip-fixes-all sort of way.

 

However, if you have something that looks like a picture above, or have specific questions, I am happy to try and help.

 

JD


Las Vegas - Early R1 Adopter | CoD Player | 1911 aficionado
 

"Improvement usually means doing something we have never done before" Shigeo Shingo


#2
Netduma Crossy

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Wow, that was really interesting. If you have time, I would be really interested in the FTTC and FTTP and DSL (if you know stuff about that) as in the UK, I don't think we have cable for broadband (although I could be wrong). It's so awesome you've taken the time to do this :)



#3
Dillinger

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Wow, that was really interesting. If you have time, I would be really interested in the FTTC and FTTP and DSL (if you know stuff about that) as in the UK, I don't think we have cable for broadband (although I could be wrong). It's so awesome you've taken the time to do this :)

 

Thanks Crossy.  I'll be honest, I haven't been to the UK yet, but it's on the list.  I don't know what you all do for home wiring over there, but I suspect you use Coax or a type of Ethernet cable from the fiber connection to your wall, and then from there to the devices in question.  I don't know that for sure, but I bet I am pretty close.

 

FTTC and the FTTP are newer versions of transfer medium that effectively do the same thing.  Using them creates a much smaller delivery pocket from a "communication endpoint" called a "Node".  It will be a lot clearer when I show you what happens a little further up the street, but sure!  I can include Fiber backbones of delivery as well going forward if there is even interest in this thread.

 

Other wise, you and I can catch up in chat and leave the tech talk for another day here on the forum.  :-)

 

Thanks for you help Crossy!


Las Vegas - Early R1 Adopter | CoD Player | 1911 aficionado
 

"Improvement usually means doing something we have never done before" Shigeo Shingo


#4
Alex49H

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I need you to come and check my line. My ISP Cox is whack. I am supposed to get 150 down 20 up but was getting 90 to 83 down and 9 up. They came and changed some of the coaxial cables, two 2 way splitters to one 3 way splitter. That didn't help because it is stilly he same speed.

Last night they retested the signal and it seems better but still the same speeds. These condos are like 32 years old so I think it is the same black wiring all through the community rg59 I think the tech said?

But pretty interesting work Dill!
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#5
toby jugs

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just when you thought you were optimized ..........................

 

 

 

 

 There really needs to be a thread of the month competition.

 

you've certainly put some effort in to this one.



#6
Dillinger

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I need you to come and check my line. My ISP Cox is whack.

 

What part of Kali you in?  I already worked about 20 cities down there.  :P


Las Vegas - Early R1 Adopter | CoD Player | 1911 aficionado
 

"Improvement usually means doing something we have never done before" Shigeo Shingo


#7
Dillinger

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just when you thought you were optimized ..........................

 

 

 

 

 There really needs to be a thread of the month competition.

 

you've certainly put some effort in to this one.

 

Too kind My Friend, too kind. :)


Las Vegas - Early R1 Adopter | CoD Player | 1911 aficionado
 

"Improvement usually means doing something we have never done before" Shigeo Shingo


#8
Alex49H

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What part of Kali you in? I already worked about 20 cities down there. :P


Southern Cali in the County of Orange city of Lake Forest. 😋
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#9
Netduma Crossy

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Thanks Crossy.  I'll be honest, I haven't been to the UK yet, but it's on the list.  I don't know what you all do for home wiring over there, but I suspect you use Coax or a type of Ethernet cable from the fiber connection to your wall, and then from there to the devices in question.  I don't know that for sure, but I bet I am pretty close.

 

FTTC and the FTTP are newer versions of transfer medium that effectively do the same thing.  Using them creates a much smaller delivery pocket from a "communication endpoint" called a "Node".  It will be a lot clearer when I show you what happens a little further up the street, but sure!  I can include Fiber backbones of delivery as well going forward if there is even interest in this thread.

 

Other wise, you and I can catch up in chat and leave the tech talk for another day here on the forum.  :-)

 

Thanks for you help Crossy!

 

Well I've had a standard line and now have a FTTP line. When I had the normal line it was an ADSL line. It was the same as a phone plug (RJ11 I think? photo here). So it was a normal phone line and then that plugged into the phone socket and into an ADSL modem that then turned it into ethernet. And then for FTTP it was a fibre cable to the inside of the house to a modem that was fastened to the wall which then has one ethernet that goes into your router. I don't know if that is what you meant by "home wiring" :)

 

Yeah, it would be really interesting to know about FTTP and FTTC :) What ever you think is best, if you want to talk about the more techy stuff in chat and keep your posts on the forum like above then thats understandable as it keeps them engaging (I'd still like to know the more techy details and how line quality is measured and all that stuff) so if you get a chance to make a post or explain that stuff that would be awesome :) Thanks again for taking the time to make this post - as Toby said you've put lots of effort into it and it looks and reads great!



#10
Dillinger

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Southern Cali in the County of Orange city of Lake Forest.

 

Nope.  Never made it that far south I am afraid.  Roadtrip? :)


Las Vegas - Early R1 Adopter | CoD Player | 1911 aficionado
 

"Improvement usually means doing something we have never done before" Shigeo Shingo


#11
Alex49H

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Roadtrip!
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#12
Dillinger

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Well I've had a standard line and now have a FTTP line. When I had the normal line it was an ADSL line. It was the same as a phone plug (RJ11 I think? photo here). So it was a normal phone line and then that plugged into the phone socket and into an ADSL modem that then turned it into ethernet. And then for FTTP it was a fibre cable to the inside of the house to a modem that was fastened to the wall which then has one ethernet that goes into your router. I don't know if that is what you meant by "home wiring" :)

 

Yeah, it would be really interesting to know about FTTP and FTTC :) What ever you think is best, if you want to talk about the more techy stuff in chat and keep your posts on the forum like above then thats understandable as it keeps them engaging (I'd still like to know the more techy details and how line quality is measured and all that stuff) so if you get a chance to make a post or explain that stuff that would be awesome :) Thanks again for taking the time to make this post - as Toby said you've put lots of effort into it and it looks and reads great!

 

That is what I was talking about with home wiring.  All the gear that is basically, on or about your premises.  I got you covered, I think I know what you are looking for on this one.  This will take a few days next week, but luckily I have some time. :-)


Las Vegas - Early R1 Adopter | CoD Player | 1911 aficionado
 

"Improvement usually means doing something we have never done before" Shigeo Shingo


#13
Netduma Crossy

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That is what I was talking about with home wiring.  All the gear that is basically, on or about your premises.  I got you covered, I think I know what you are looking for on this one.  This will take a few days next week, but luckily I have some time. :-)

 

Awesome, really looking forwards to it  :)



#14
Dillinger

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These condos are like 32 years old so I think it is the same black wiring all through the community rg59 I think the tech said?

But pretty interesting work Dill!


RG59 was being phased out when I was a working installer in the 90's. If you still have old RG59, even the quad shield, you are fighting an uphill battle against attenuation.

If they can run new lines, they should.

Can you take a couple of shots of the wire with a dime next to it so I can see what you have Alex?

Las Vegas - Early R1 Adopter | CoD Player | 1911 aficionado
 

"Improvement usually means doing something we have never done before" Shigeo Shingo


#15
iAmMoDBoX

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Very interesting to read... I'm no Comcast tech, but I'm 90% sure I know more than every tech that was ever sent to my house. One actually wired the outside of my house with two 2 way splitters because they didn't have a 3 way so that picture made me laugh lol

 

Curious, what do you feel is the optimal power levels for a cable modem?


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#16
Dillinger

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Hey Mod Box - thanks. Believe it or not, it sounds like the installer did the "right thing" if he truly was out of three way splitters. The electrical diagram of a three way splitter is actually a 2-way split, losing about 4db per leg, with one leg going to the primary room (TV, entertainment) and the other leg feeding another 2-way split, with those legs being down just under 8db (3.8 first split and 3.9 for the second split) to feed secondary rooms like bedrooms or the kitchen/den.

Las Vegas - Early R1 Adopter | CoD Player | 1911 aficionado
 

"Improvement usually means doing something we have never done before" Shigeo Shingo


#17
Dillinger

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Curious, what do you feel is the optimal power levels for a cable modem?


This varies drastically and the variables are all over the place. I can kind of explain in a short post now, or include it with the larger "street view".

Basically this: The manufacturers follow a standard pre-set "window" for both the incoming signal window in terms of strength, but it is also variable by frequency. A set signal strength at one frequency low in the spectrum, would vary greatly if it were carried at the same strength higher in the spectrum.

In a nutshell, you wouldn't really know unless you had the manufacturer's spec book and a magic 8 ball, or you transferred in and asked this as part of the "8 New Guy" questions. :-)

Las Vegas - Early R1 Adopter | CoD Player | 1911 aficionado
 

"Improvement usually means doing something we have never done before" Shigeo Shingo


#18
iAmMoDBoX

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Hey Mod Box - thanks. Believe it or not, it sounds like the installer did the "right thing" if he truly was out of three way splitters. The electrical diagram of a three way splitter is actually a 2-way split, losing about 4db per leg, with one leg going to the primary room (TV, entertainment) and the other leg feeding another 2-way split, with those legs being down just under 8db (3.8 first split and 3.9 for the second split) to feed secondary rooms like bedrooms or the kitchen/den.

 

I wrote 3, I meant 4. I'm high on cold medicine all week from being sick... What he did was a 2 way to two more 2 ways, which for someone who was complaining about modem issues you shouldn't do lol


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#19
Alex49H

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Here you go Dil
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#20
Alex49H

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This is the cableAttached File  FullSizeRender-2.jpg   272.28KB   0 downloads
Alex49H