The Transition to Fiber

General discussions and other topics.
11 posts Page 1 of 2
by ewhac » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:40 pm
I've been a very happy customer for several years of your bonded Fusion DSL down here on the San Francisco peninsula, but I have been looking forward to gigabit fiber ever since Sonic first announced they were pulling it up in Sonoma years ago. Last week's service expansion announcement filled me with squee. I've told my landlord about it, and I've also told a couple who are moving in next door about it so that they can hopefully avoid signing a two-year contract with AT&T.

However, after speaking with a customer service rep, I get the impression that the transition may not be a smooth or complete one, and so I'm hoping to get some answers (some of which you may have answered hundreds of times already).

Since we have the bonded Fusion service, that means we have two hard-line POTS circuits, both of which we use, and both of which we will want to keep. However, it appears the fiber service only offers one VOIP voice line. How is this normally handled?

I currently have static IP with my Fusion service (it's a teensy-weensy /29), and I have a registered DNS name pointing at it. No matter where I am, I can 'ssh' in to the machines sitting on my desk and check on stuff. I am informed that static IP is not available at all on the fiber service. I find this astonishing. Is this because of the shortage of IPv4 addresses? How do you meet this need with businesses?

Keep in mind I'm an existing, happy customer, but it looks like I might lose some critical functionality if I switch completely over to fiber. Realistically, what are my options here? Should I convert only one line to fiber and keep the other copper line running as plain DSL/POTS? How have you transitioned other customers in the same or similar situation?

  • How many hard lines can the ONT drive ring voltage on? More than one (i.e. will I have to unplug phones)?
  • What happens to the voice service during a power outage? Does the ONT have its own battery backup, or will I have to get a UPS for it?
  • I have a pfSense box at the end of my DSL line that runs all my firewalling and NAT (the Zyxel modem is configured as a dumb bridge; thank you Sonic tech support). Based on what I've read so far, it looks like I can keep this setup by just plugging the pfSense box directly into the ONT, and eschewing the usual home router. Is this correct?
  • Have you considered bonded fiber? (Only half kidding.)

Thank you very kindly for any solutions you can offer.
by LG12 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:09 am
I can answer some of your questions.

Sonic does not offer static IPs for their FTTH service, not even the small business variant, a number of their customers have been asking for one, even at extra charge to no avail. If all you are looking to do is have easy access to your home machines you could handle that with a dynamic DNS service, basically a service that tracks your current IP and points it to a static IP. Its typically not ideal for web hosting or anything that needs 100% uninterrupted downtime as there may be short periods where the IP has yet to be refreshed on their end but it will work for your needs.

What happens to the voice service during a power outage? Does the ONT have its own battery backup, or will I have to get a UPS for it?

You will need a UPS for the ONT, sonic does offer one that they can install at the same time as the ONT but I would recommend getting your own as they overcharge quite a bit for it.

I have a pfSense box at the end of my DSL line that runs all my firewalling and NAT (the Zyxel modem is configured as a dumb bridge; thank you Sonic tech support). Based on what I've read so far, it looks like I can keep this setup by just plugging the pfSense box directly into the ONT, and eschewing the usual home router. Is this correct?

Yes, this is correct. I have my pfsense router plugged directly into the ONT.
by ewhac » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:58 pm
So, one day soon-ish, a person carrying a spool of glass will come walking up my driveway to install gigabit fiber, and s/he will need to... What, exactly? How should I prepare for a fiber install?

Should I have some sort of approval paperwork from my landlord? Where will they want access? What, if anything will they want to attach to the wall? (Inside? Outside?) Should there be nearby power outlets? How many? How close?

What do they do once the ONT is in place and running? Do they also pull Cat.6 through the house to the gateway, or is that my job? Will the existing Fusion DSL remain up and running? For how long? I imagine the POTS cutover is a little tricky; how does that usually happen?

About how long does the physical process take? Should I plan to stay home from work that day?
by dane » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:40 pm
Here's a video we put together that provides an overview of the installation process:

Regarding landlords and renters: you have a right to the telecommunications provider of your choice, so landlords cannot bar you from obtaining Sonic service. But, we recognize their totally appropriate interest in the work we are doing, particularly as to any holes we'd be drilling in the property. Generally speaking we will take a similar path to the one that existing phone/cable lines take, and the new fiber will have lesser or similar impact. For example, the box on the outside of the premises is smaller than typical Cable or Telecom boxes, because fiber is smaller. And the fiber cables themselves are smaller. Sometimes we can re-use existing holes to enter, but sometimes we must drill new ones - it varies. We cannot remove any existing phone/cable wires, as we do not own those, FYI.

Fiber is the future, and it's a positive development for tenants and building owners alike. The availability of fiber increases the value of homes and the rent-ability of apartments. It's a win/win, for everyone, when fiber is deployed.

I hope these items help!
Dane Jasper
by ewhac » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:42 pm
Does the Adtran 411 ONT have remote monitoring from the LAN side?


I have pretty much all the home network gear in my office -- DSL modem, gateway/firewall, switch, etc. So, on those occasions when there are hiccups and my sweetie asks what I've done to break the network this time, I can glance at all the LEDs and at least get a pretty good idea where the problem isn't.

For DSL, having the modem in my office is reasonable, since all I need to do is patch the existing copper wiring that's already running to that room. But for an ONT that makes less sense. It feels like the ONT "wants" to be down in the basement in or near the demarc, where I can't see it.

So: Are there tools/tests I can run from my side to tell me the status of the ONT without me having to actually look at it?
by dane » Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:15 am
It doesn’t present any management on the LAN side, but you could ping the gateway on the other side to see if it’s up.
Dane Jasper
by ewhac » Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:29 pm
Necro! (No point in starting a new topic...)

I've scheduled a date for installation. Now I have to do the prep work. It turns out that there's already an unused hole in the side of the house through which copper phone service used to pass. It'd be awful convenient to use, if the fiber cable fits.

So: What is the outside diameter of the fiber cable that needs to pass through the wall?
by dane » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:11 pm
The cable itself is smaller than a copper telephone cable, but the connector is larger. And because we cannot enter the building due to Covid safety, they may need to enlarge the hole. But don’t worry, your installer will figure out the best way, they’re really good at this work.
Dane Jasper
by ewhac » Sat Oct 31, 2020 5:37 pm
I would like to plan out where the iPhotonix 7251G ONT is going to be mounted, and what kind of UPS to feed it with. Yes, I know Sonic offers a PS18L-32 12V UPS for $99, but what little info I can find on it resolutely refuses to state any capacity or run time. If you zoom in on the images, you can just make out that the battery is 14.8V @ 2600 mAh. As we all know from electronics class, P = IE; therefore P/E = I. If we assume the ONT normally consumes 5 Watts, then 5W/12V = 417mA. 2600mAh / 417mA = 6.2 hours, which is a bit on the short side for my liking (would prefer 10+ hours). Intriguingly, the PSI Web page above makes an offhand reference to stackable batteries, but offers no details on whether this unit actually supports that or how it's done.

However, I can't find any hard documentation for either the ONT or the UPS, so I'm resorting to guessing. So, could someone please tell me:
  • What is the typical/peak power consumption of the iPhotonix 7251G?
  • What are its overall dimensions?
  • Likewise, what are the dimensions of the PS18L-32?
  • Can either/both units be wall-mounted?
  • If so, is there a template available for siting the mounting screws?
  • Are clearances required for heat dissipation (seems unlikely)?
  • What are the dimensions/polarity of the 12V barrel connector on the ONT?
by ewhac » Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:33 pm
Fiat Lux.

Props to your field service tech Michael, who handled the install very well, and helpfully explained the peculiarities of this particular ONT.

(Now to hook it up to the rest of the house.)


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