Fibre Optic Internet DIY

Discussion in 'Computers & IT' started by static, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. static

    static Member

    So, broadband here is very poor and not likely to get much better. One alternative would be to get satelite. But this is really too fast for me. But looking at how some have used a mole plough to put drain pipes in, I wondered how feasible it would be to lay my own fibre optic cable underground through my own land to say my brother's house so we can share a very fast connection? It would also be useful for things like CCTV. Any thoughts on the feasibilty? Anyone put their own fibre in anywhere?
  2. sleepy

    sleepy Member

    Devon, UK

    Yes it is not that difficult to do, we have fibre between our office and the other buildings around the farm all sharing a decent broadband connection.

    Wireless is far easier and way cheaper if you have line of sight.

    But if line of sight is a non starter fibre is the only option.

    Fibre is normally 'blown' through conduit, so you would need to plough in a decent size conduit, probably with a drawstring, and then pull the fibre through.

    You would then need a couple of media converters at either end to go back to copper wires. What sort of distance are we talking? Big difference between a few km and 10km.
  3. All the stuff sleepy points out is completely correct. I'd add that single mode fibre is cheaper than multimode per metre. Also you will get much greater distance with singlemode, multi is only good for around 500 metres odd. Whereas singlemode can run a few kilometres on cheap GBIC or SFP type transceivers.

    The easiest DIY option point to point is to run a pre-terminated fibre (the connectors are factory spliced and tested) though its a bit more cumbersome to handle. Blown is pretty economic these days too, but you will need to get a data contractor in to blow it down the conduit and terminate it.

    If its going across fields and the like I'd be inclined to recommend going with direct buried armoured cable, either pre-terminated or the traditional field terminated variety.

    Wireless is good and cheap if you have clear line of site. It also won't have the bandwidth of fibre, so less future proof if you decide to run IP based CCTV down the link for instance.
  4. static

    static Member

    Thanks for the help. Just what I needed.

    No LOS.

    IP CCTV is one of the goals, and ideally a camera at a point between the sites too, so was thinking conduit and fibre, and would use the same conduit for power too. Total legnth would be c1km, with the camera about half way down. What media converters do you use for the fibre - just something simple to put a Cat5 cable into or more complicated?
  5. I have used Netgear GS110TP 8 port gigabit ethernet switches at either end of my my link. They have Power over Ethernet for all 8 copper ports and 2 SFP slots for the fibre transceivers.

    The switches are about £100 each and I bought cheaper, non-Netgear, but still perfectly compatible single-mode SFPs for about similar money. I think they were Finisar SFPs

    If you are running power over a km you need to be wary of voltage drop
  6. I'll dig up all my fibre stuff when I get back to my computer and let you know where I sourced it from. Various places, all have internet shop fronts.

    The fibre will be cheap to run compared to the copper for the power, trust me. You may be better off with a small solar panel, battery and inverter to run the mid span switch, camera and associated gubbins.
  7. Ok here is my shopping list, for a single point to point link with PoE Ethernet switches at either end:

    2 of Netgear GS110TP-100EUS - 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet PoE Smart Switch w/2 Gigabit Fibre SFP
    £113.70 each inc. VAT from either Amazon UK or LambdaTek

    SFP Transceivers/Modules for switches:
    £52.22 each inc. VAT from LambdaTek
    At a bare minimum you only need 2 SFP modules. 1 for each switch at either end of the link

    Pre-terminated Fibre:
    Pre Terminated 4 Core Loose Tube Steel Wire Armoured 9/125 OS1 Single Mode Fibre Cable with LC type connectors
    The grade of fibre is single-single mode with a 9 micron core, 125 micron cladding, known as OS1 9/125. The connectors are "LC" type which are the small form factor used for the Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP) transceivers in the switches.
    Here are the two cable styles I would recommend for direct burial. I bought my pre-terminated fibre from the guys at Paragon Networks.
    - Plain fibre (for field termination by data technician)
    - Pre-terminated fibre (just lay it in the ground and plug it in to your equipment)

    At a bare minimum, you will need 2-core fibre (1 core for transmit, and 1 core for receive) for an Ethernet link. 4 cores gives you some redundancy/spare capacity, you can go up from there. Plain fibre that is field terminated will be cheaper per metre than pre-terminated fibre for longer runs (over 500m), however you will need to budget to get a data contractor to come and terminate the ends with suitable connectors for you and test it.

    If you decide to run your fibre in a conduit, I would opt for external grade fibre construction which is known as 'loose tube' fibre, rather than the cheaper indoor variety which is known as 'tight-buffered' fibre. The fibres run inside small plastic tubes inside the cable, which adds an extra degree of protection. Also it greatly helps to avoid crushing the fibres or running them in too tight a bend radii - death for fibre.

    For direct burial, my preferred method, I used Steel Wire Armoured (SWA) fibre with loose-tube construction - pretty strong stuff. It also meant I didn't have to cost in conduit and it is much faster to lay cable direct burial with a mole plough than running the stuff in a conduit. Just buy the right construction of fibre.

    I would speak to your friendly local sparky, about running power underground that distance. The main obstacle I reckon is going to be voltage drop, so you will need a higher gauge copper cable. If the voltage drop is really bad, you may need corrective transformers ££££! Think a small solar panel, battery and inverter in a outside cabinet will be more economic.

    IP Network Cameras:
    Panasonic WV-SW175E
    These are pretty good value for a High-Definition 720p 30fps outdoor IP camera with Pan and Tilt function.
    I bought mine from PremOne Computers for £272 +VAT
  8. need_more_internet!

    need_more_internet! New Member

    Hi Guys

    I can't get a decent internet connection and am currently trying to price up improving matters myself. The current plan is to have new broadband line installed at a mates place 800 meters away (across fields) and then run a fibre link between his and mine. Is it ok to mole plough in the armored fibre? My concern is that the process would be too violent and would break the tiny fibre, rendering it useless and I wouldn't know until the job was pretty much done!
    Has anyone any experience of mole ploughing these in?
    Any hints or tips?
    Anyone fancy a little job.... in im Warwickshire?!

  9. sleepy

    sleepy Member

    Devon, UK
    We do this sort of stuff every day, mainly for wind turbines but also for milking robots and CCTV.

    We have the gear to fusion splice fibre (don't ask what that little machine cost!) and can make up whatever length you want ready to be pulled through a conduit. We can do the armoured stuff but that tends to work out expensive.
    I'd recommend always going with at least 4 cores if not 6 or 8, if you go with 2 cores and one breaks you are stuffed.

    The media converters are relatively simple but it's a matter of getting the right connectors on everything (there are about 10 different designs of fibre connectors).

    Generally we just put together a complete 'kit' with everything you or a sparky needs to set a complete link up with a full instruction manual written in simple language. We also have a few contacts who can install but it pushes the price up.

    But I'd still recommend wireless, 150Mbps is enough for 10- 50 IP cameras depending on settings and you can get WiFi links that will push 1.5Gbps if necessary...

    If you need an intermediate station just use an extra transmitter, solar panel and a camera.
  10. need_more_internet!

    need_more_internet! New Member

    Hi Sleepy, thanks for the response, i may well take you up on that. I have ruled out wireless as would need at least two intermediate stations and i don't own the land that they would need to go on! I guess my main questions are:
    What is the cheapest way of getting 4 or 6 cores, 800m in the ground via mole plough? I.e. am i better to lay armored direct with a mole plough and take the risk of breaking it, or better to lay a duct and blow it though / pull it through after?
    If i duct it what is the maximum distance i can pull or blow through in one go?
    Can you give me a vague idea on cost of the actual fibre? Im really struggling on the total cost of this whole project.
  11. sleepy

    sleepy Member

    Devon, UK
    If you budget £2/meter you won't be far off.

    Personally I would run conduit and use non-armoured fibre, I expect the price would end up similar.

    I think @Badshot was quite successfuly in mole ploughing in some drainage pipe and put pictures on here. Basically just a big old subsoiler leg with a piece of pipe on the back which you can feed the conduit into:

    Badshot and eulb like this.
  12. JNP

    JNP Member

  13. sleepy

    sleepy Member

    Devon, UK
    You no like my artwork?
  14. JNP

    JNP Member

    Love it, I hope it makes it into your instruction booklets
    Steevo and sleepy like this.
  15. eulb

    eulb Member

    Would it not be easiest to mole some mdpe in as a ducting?
  16. Wonderfully hightech!
  17. need_more_internet!

    need_more_internet! New Member

    Cheers for the info, and brilliant artwork mate!
  18. I'd caution against using indoor grade (tight buffered) fibre in an outdoor situation. Always choose a 'loose tube' design, even if your dropping it in conduit; there will be less mechanical and temperature stress on the fibre.
  19. For those residing in South Lincolnshire a group of residents are coming together to build and manage their own fibre broadband service (modelled on the B4RN project) -
  20. static

    static Member

    Thanks all. Radio broadband to my house has suddenly become very fast and very cheap, so that's job done.

Share This Page