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When my parents had their house built about 10 years ago, the wiring guy told them that he should install some fiber in the walls, saying that it would be good for future use. So there is some kind of fiber-optic cable connected to several rooms throughout their large house.

They have never had a need for it and so it has sat untouched. I was wondering if there would be a way for me to use it to extend their Ethernet network (which is just wireless now, with a Linksys router). I'd like to move the router to a better location, but the desktop still needs to be connected to it, so I thought I'd try to use the fiber.

My questions are:

  • Is this possible (without spending a ridiculous amount of money)?
  • What would I need in terms of equipment?\
  • If this is not feasible, can you think of some use I would get out of having fiber in the walls? Seems like kind of a waste.

There is a wiring box in my dad's closet and there are six connectors there (3 pairs of 2) hooked up to some wire that is looped and run into the walls. I THINK the connectors are ST connectors, but I need to do some more research. Still don't know what the wire is, but I'll look more closely at that as well.

FWIW, I have a huge amount of experience with PC repair and general computer applications and programming, as well as plenty of experience with Ethernet networking on a small scale. But I've never worked with fiber and know very little about it (obviously).

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I don't think this would be possible without spending a decent chunk of $$$. –  Troggy Aug 22 '09 at 19:56
    
This is hard to answer without a picture of the connectors/wire in question. Is it possible to add a link to one? –  Troggy Aug 22 '09 at 19:57
    
I see you posted this on SF also. That could be a better place to get answers with fiber. serverfault.com/questions/57465/… –  Troggy Aug 22 '09 at 20:02
    
Yes, I realized that after I posted this. Thanks for the info; I can't get a picture uploaded now because I'm not at my parents' house anymore (I live in a different state). –  johnnyb10 Aug 27 '09 at 2:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You can use a pair of Ethernet media converters. Expect to spend about $100 each (to buy them new). Less used, of course.

You could also use a pair of Ethernet switches with fiber uplinks. This will probably be more expensive if purchased new, but may be cheaper used.

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Thanks, these were all helpful suggestions, but I think this is closest to what I was looking for. –  johnnyb10 Aug 27 '09 at 2:53

You never know if fiber will eventually become more of a consumer product, but at this time Cat5e and Cat6 rule. About 10-15 years ago, fiber was the most cost-effective way achieve 100Mbit and gigabit speeds, but that's not true anymore.

The installer was making a good educated guess about the future, but it ended up not becoming a reality.

If the fiber is encased in conduit, consider running Cat5e or Cat6 through it, too. The cable itself is inexpensive. Pulling it through takes some work and you can mess things up if you don't know what you're doing, but any competent installer can do it in no time.

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You'll need a switch that can handle whatever type of fiber you have and those are usually pretty expensive. If you want to extend the network, I'd say the cheaper and better bet is just get another WAP and set it up as a repeater.

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