Do I need all this coax for Fios?
May 16, 2014 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Yay--we bought a house! The house has what seems like miles and miles of coaxial cable in every room. I'm trying to figure out if we actually need it or not.

The house has a Verizon box in the basement with the Fios logo, so I'm assuming that's what the previous owners had (and the Verizon website confirms Fios is available in our neighborhood). We are strongly considering Fios for Internet (only Internet, we are not getting any cable TV or phone). I have only ever had cable internet before, so I am not clear on how Fios works once it is in the house.

Every single room seems to have coax in it--I have no idea why, I guess they had lots of TVs? Almost all of our devices are wireless, so I just need a few places with wired connectivity to connect to my routers. Is the coax what will carry the Fios signal in the house? If so, can I use my existing cable modem, or do I need something different for Fios (I have not been able to figure this out from the Verizon website). Or, alternatively, is there something better to carry the signal (Ethernet?) to the wired hotspots?

Basically I want to get rid of some of this coax, because it is in the way, but I wasn't sure if I can get rid of all of it, or if we will need it for Fios in some rooms.
posted by DiscourseMarker to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I believe FiOS will use its own special cable modem/wireless router that Verizon will loan you when you subscribe. If you aren't using TV in the different rooms, then you shouldn't need the coax there since you'll be using WiFi.
posted by dcjd at 11:42 AM on May 16, 2014

Best answer: I have FIOS now. The fresh installation on my house took about 6 to 8 hours. They didn't use the previous coaxial that had been installed for BrightHouse TV and Internet. We are cord cutters and only used Netflix, YouTube and HuluPlus wireless through my PS3.
DCJD is correct in that they give you brand new equipment.
Once FIOS is installed and you've got everything set up the way you want it, you will be able to strip out all the coaxial and replace all those ugly outlets.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 11:52 AM on May 16, 2014

Best answer: dcjd is correct. FIOS comes into the ONT box in the basement or wherever, then there's a coax cable run from the ONT out to the Verizon-provided wired/wifi router. On the other side of that router, all your client devices can be ethernet (if nearby the router, or you do your own ethernet cable runs) or wifi only, and you would need no additional coax. All the extra coax in your rooms would be for TVs.

Note that the ONT will likely also have an ethernet-out port, which is not enabled in a standard residential installation. If you want, you can ask Verizon to switch your ONT to use ethernet out instead of coax, and connect any wifi router of your choice to that instead. This lets you use a better router than the stock Verizon one. The main reason not to do this would be that it screws up programming guide info getting to any TVs in the house, but you're not using that, so you don't have to care.

You can have them switch the ONT from coax to ethernet over the phone, it doesn't need a service call (don't let them tell you otherwise). Or you can just ask for it to be set up that way on initial setup if a tech is coming to the house for any reason, but they too will do so by calling in to the main office.
posted by BlackPebble at 11:59 AM on May 16, 2014

One argument for keeping the coax would be that you could then buy something like these to get ethernet ports in other rooms without having to pull Cat5.

If you do decide to get TV via FiOS in the future, they could use the coax to feed the televisions. In both houses that I have had FiOS installed, all of the existing coax was used to get from the ONT to the televisions.
posted by dforemsky at 12:08 PM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

It might be cheaper just to buy more actiontec modem/routers, they're commonly on ebay for thirtyish bucks.

There's coax all over the place so that people can decide where to put tvs instead of having only one room with cable. I don't think anyone would expect all of them to be used.

Unless this is your forever house, you might think about resale consequences of yanking most of the coax... having to spend money to rewire the house would be a minor but noticeable negative to me.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:39 PM on May 16, 2014

Yeah, I had the same issue as you when we bought our house. I left the coax, though. One thing we do is like dforemsky's suggestion. Our ONT -- on coax through the Verizon MoCA router, not ethernet -- is in the basement. We don't have ethernet running between floors, but on the bedroom level, we have ethernet between the rooms. So in one of the bedrooms we have the coax plugged into an older FiOS MoCA-enabled router (kept from our previous residence, where we also had FiOS), and it picks up the FiOS connection from the ONT. The router is configured as a switch (and wireless access point) for the bedrooms, and it works great.
posted by odin53 at 12:44 PM on May 16, 2014

We have Cat5 and CoAx and POTS throughout the apartment and the FiOS ONT uses all three -- Cat5 for internet, POTS for the phones (even though we have digital phone service) and coax for the TV signals. Leave it unless you are sure you will never want Verizon to give you TV signal.
posted by The Bellman at 12:54 PM on May 16, 2014

Yeah... coax is a good way to get lots of interesting things from point A to B. I'd leave it, maybe coil up behind blank plates.
posted by werkzeuger at 1:46 PM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Leave it. If there is just wire sticking out of a wall plate with a hole in it, replace those with wall plates with an F connector on them will look better and leave the coax in place for your or a future owner's use at some point down the line.

Ripping out wire entirely is almost always a terrible idea. Hiding it behind blank wall plates is not.
posted by wierdo at 2:22 PM on May 17, 2014

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