My brother just moved into a barn on a largish piece of property. The property has cable running into the main house, about 400 feet from the barn, and there is already a pvc pipe running between the buildings for cable.

The question is, what is the most effective way to Internet from the main house out to barn. He's a gamer and wants a fairly hefty connection so it seems like just running cat5 and hoping the signal doesn't degrade too badly isn't the best solution. I've suggest a simple fiber setup to him but he's never run any kind of cable before and is worried about starting with fiber. Does anyone know what equipment would work the best for a setup like

modem --> cat5 --> fiber converter --> 500 ft fiber --> fiber converter -- cat5 --> router

Or is there a good guide to laying a simple point to point home fiber cable? In particular, what devices would work the best for such a setup? Is it possible to do for under $200? And is it simple enough that a fairly handy person with no experience could do it?

  • 1
    Fiber optic cabling is really expensive. Cat5e or Cat6 can go 100 meters, which is 328 feet. If its possible to place a device in the middle with electricity there (or near both end points to breach this 328feet) I would recommend placing a hub at both ends and a cat5e or cat6 cable in between. The hub will then work as an amplifier and will ensure the signals reach each side. Do note that there will be a little delay for online gaming. It'll be about 1 or 2 ms, which is really nothing, but it is there so I mention it. – LPChip Sep 19 '15 at 22:35
  • You'd probably want Cat 6a cabling. It's future-proof (capable of handling 10 Gigabit Ethernet) and more reliable, but you'd still need a repeater in the middle of the cable run, which would be expensive for 10GbE. – bwDraco Sep 19 '15 at 22:52
  • It doesn't look like he can run a signal booster in the middle, although it might be possible to add a box with power halfway down the pvc. Just doing a simple price out it looked like you could get 200 m of fiber cable for ~$130 and then the converter boxes for $40-$60 each, but I don't know if there are hidden costs involved or if these cheap converters/cables are a real long term solution. Does anyone know? – Carlton Sep 19 '15 at 23:30
  • Just a note. I have ran over the 100 meter limit for cat5e and didn't notice an issue. Not saying this would be your best bet, but it works. – Unfundednut Sep 19 '15 at 23:58

A quick check on Amazon showed a StarTech.com 10/100 Fiber to Ethernet Media Converter Multi Mode ST 2 km for ~US$37 (you'll probably need 2 of these) and 200M ST to ST Singlemode Duplex Fiber Optic Cable for ~US$200, so it looks like this should be "doable" for ~US$275. These items and prices are listed just for reference; you could probably do better with some research.

That said, how would you snake the cable through the pipe? Have you tried using compressed air (or a pet ferret) to run a light-weight nylon line through, to check that it's unobstructed? You might have to tie a cord to the existing cable, pull it through with the fiber cable attached to the end, and then pull it back again.

  • Ye gods,learn how to use a vacuum cleaner. Easy peasy line getter-inner. – Ecnerwal Oct 13 '15 at 2:30
  • For unobstructed run. – DrMoishe Pippik Oct 13 '15 at 21:34

You said you have cable, do you mean coax rg6?? If so a set of moca adapters will get you enough bandwidth for gaming, 50-100 Mbps. If you need more you'll want to order fiber from lanshack, comes preterminated, but these are $100 and worth the test.

Good Luck!


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