Problem using splitter/amplifier with FiOS - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 51 Old 12-19-2012, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
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ok so we installed a centralized media closet with all 4 Verizon Fios cable boxes. I took a drop from one of the rooms and moved it into the media closet. i then tried using a 4 way digital spliter....all the TV's have picture, but none of them have a Guide or on demand as each box isnt getting an internet connection. So i removed the 4 way splitter and installed the drop direcftly to one box and it works fine, get the guide/VOD and everything....so i thought it might be a weak signal so i purchased a 4way amplifier....and same problem! is there anything i can do to split this drop 4 ways? oh the wire that i dopped into the media closet is coming out of a 2way splitter from our Gym (the gym gets the guide/VOD and evertyhing else too)...so the problem lies with splitting it in the media closet. i also tried just splitting it 2 ways and i had the same problem in the closet. i hope this all makes sense!
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post #2 of 51 Old 12-21-2012, 03:42 PM
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Did you make sure that the 4-way amp you installed has a return path? The return path is 5-42MHz. If there is no return path, there can be no VOD and possibly no guide either.

CIAO!

Ed N.
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post #3 of 51 Old 12-22-2012, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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yes it has a return path...should i give that radioshack one a try? does it use active return or passive return?
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post #4 of 51 Old 12-22-2012, 10:38 PM
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Passive return should be fine. The only time the return path needs to be amplified is if there are a ton of outlets; say more than 8.

CIAO!

Ed N.
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post #5 of 51 Old 12-23-2012, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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the one im currently using is passive return, and im not getting VOD/Guide at all...when i take out the splitter it works fine, but as soon as i install either a splitter or amplifier i get no guide or VOD...
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post #6 of 51 Old 12-25-2012, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
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any more advice?
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post #7 of 51 Old 12-26-2012, 06:57 AM
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I'm afraid I can go no further without actually being there. Perhaps it does need an amplifier with an active return.

CIAO!

Ed N.
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post #8 of 51 Old 12-26-2012, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
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thats fine, do you know if that radioshack one has an active return? here is the url: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103093&filterName=Type&filterValue=Amplifiers

btw, this is one that im trying right now and it didnt work either: http://www.pctstore.com/RF_amplifier_CATV_amp_4_port_amplifier_PCTMA24P_p/pctma24p.htm
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post #9 of 51 Old 12-27-2012, 08:33 PM
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That Rat Shack has a passive return. Drop amps with active returns are not that common.

CIAO!

Ed N.
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post #10 of 51 Old 12-28-2012, 03:09 AM
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Cable companies strive to avoid the need for upstream amplification because excessive upstream signal strength throws their system out of whack. One way they get around this for internet modems, which have to send a lot of data upstream, is to standardize their installation architecture by always having the internet modem come off an initial two way splitter. That consistent installation architecture limits the variation in upstream signal level.

I don't know the signal strength parameters that FIOS uses for its upstream signal, but you say that the four way splitter comes of a "drop". How much more splitting is done upstream in your house? I would expect that there is a two way split for your modem, and then another multiple split, with one leg going to the garage and then to this media cabinet and the rest going to other drops in the house. You might try reconfiguring, such that the modem still comes off the first split, but then put in a second two-way splitter with this garage/media cabinet line getting one port of that second split. Or you might even put in a balanced, three way (labeled -5.5 per port) and have one leg for the modem, one for this garage/ media cabinet line and one for the rest of the house.

Do FIOS boxes allow you to access a test screen? I believe that with some modems, there is a way to access a screen that reports, among other things, the strength of the return signal making it back to the cable company. If a similar screen can somehow be accessed for a FIOS box, then if you accessed that screen while connected directly to the drop, bypassing the 4-way split, you could learn whether you had enough surplus or margin to withstand the additional 7dB of loss you incur when the splitter is in place.

You might help yourself a little by putting a -9dB tap in the gym . It will reduce the insertion loss seen by your media closet by another 2dB.

Have you called Verizon to see what they would charge to come out and professionally address this for you.
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post #11 of 51 Old 12-28-2012, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
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hmm thanks for the info, right now as far as i can tell regarding splits its like this:

From the main verizon box it splits into 2 (1 goes to modem, 1 goes to another a 4-way splitter. from that 4-way splitter, 1 goes into my living room, master bedroom, bedroom 1, and gym. the gym has a 2 way splitter installed which is where the media closet drop is coming from. i tried connecting the amplifier for the media closet to bedroom 1's drop and i had the same problem with no guide/vod. i will see if i can find the diagnostics to find out the actual signal strength for upstream...
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post #12 of 51 Old 12-28-2012, 06:38 AM
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You have 21dB of splitter loss plus cable loss. Put a 2-way between the first, 2-way splitter and the master 4-way (edit) to create a strong line for the garage/media closet. That gets you back 3.5dB. Put a -9dB tap in the garage in place of that 2-way. That gets you back nearly 2 more dB. And you might even exchange the 4 way media closet splitter that is giving you trouble for the master 4-way splitter. And if you go with a balamced 3 way in place of the first two 2-ways, that gets you another 2dB.
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post #13 of 51 Old 12-28-2012, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
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what do u mean a -9dB tap in the garage?

if i put another 2way b4 the first 2way, is that going to cause any problems for my modem or the rest of the cable boxes in the house? wouldnt a active return amplifer fix this issue or would it make it worse?
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post #14 of 51 Old 12-28-2012, 07:29 AM
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A -9dB tap, often called a directional tap, directional coupler, or back-matched tap, is a device that looks like a splitter, but it is really a valve that gives about 10% of the signal power to the "tap" port and passes about 90% through to the next device. You can't get on from a local store, but you can get one on the internet for about $3.

Here's one for $.85 but I don't know this supplier's minimum order size or shipping rates. When I tried to learn the shipping and handling on a single unit order, its checkout doesn't generate shipping and handling charges until after I have entered my credit card info, which I wasn't willing to do. http://www.nctwo.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=598



First splitter: one output leg to internet, one for TV distribution path. Second splitter, to be installed on TV distribution path: one output to garage/media closet line, other to 4 way. In garage, replace 2-way splitter with 9 dB tap. And consider swapping your two 4-ways just in caser there is some problem with the one in your media closetr passing the return signals.
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post #15 of 51 Old 12-28-2012, 07:41 AM - Thread Starter
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ok and just in case i cant split straight from the source (2 story house and gym is upstairs while main fios split is downstairs...can i use a active return amplifier or no?
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post #16 of 51 Old 12-28-2012, 07:50 AM
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You can, but right now, you don't have one and haven't determined that you need one.
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post #17 of 51 Old 12-28-2012, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok so I tried to look at the actual splitter outside (the main splitter) but I can't get access to it... It's in a locked box. I did however go into my attic and use a direct drop from the main splitter to the media closet but that didn't make a difference... Still no guide or vod. (so basically it was only split at the main splitter and the media closet splitter. Should I order a active return splitter?
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post #18 of 51 Old 12-28-2012, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntAltMike View Post

You have 21dB of splitter loss plus cable loss.

I only count 14. 3.5 for each of the (2) 2-ways and 7 for the 4-way.

It would be really nice to know just what is inside the Verizon box.

In your browser on your computer, go to http://192.168.100.1. Look for and let us know what the downstream (receive) and upstream (transmit) signal levels are.

CIAO!

Ed N.
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post #19 of 51 Old 12-28-2012, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egnlsn View Post

I only count 14. 3.5 for each of the (2) 2-ways and 7 for the 4-way.
It would be really nice to know just what is inside the Verizon box.
In your browser on your computer, go to http://192.168.100.1. Look for and let us know what the downstream (receive) and upstream (transmit) signal levels are.

I think he has a 2-way for the internet modem, (-3.5), then a 4 wayhouse split (-7) then the garage 2 way (.3.5) then the media cabinet 4 way (-7)

My Verizon box can be opened with a thin-walled nut driver, and the initial split is outside the box. If it were my house and the splitter was inside a locked box on the outside of the house, I'd just break into it.
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post #20 of 51 Old 12-28-2012, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
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hmm ok let me check everything tomorrow and ill report back!...worst case, should i just order a active return splitter to see if that will solve the issue? i called verizon and they said it will cost me $250 for them to come out and do a direct drop to fix the issue...not really looking forward to give them $250 to do something i can fix myself lol...
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post #21 of 51 Old 12-28-2012, 09:51 PM
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Alright -- I missed the 4-way in the media closet.

21dB is an awful lot of flat loss. The cable probably drops it another 5 or 6 on the high end. Low end loses probably 1-2.

I'm pumping out ~46dBmV, and that's straight to the plant. My cable modem is the only thing connected to the cable system. If I even thought about introducing 23dB of loss, I'd be offline before I even got it all hooked back up.

CIAO!

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post #22 of 51 Old 12-29-2012, 12:05 AM
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Yeah, 21dB loss is a lot on the return, especially if you're connected to the first or second tap out from an active and need to overcome that 23dB too. That cascaded splitter setup can be improved upon. I'd start it out with a 3 way split (one leg to the modem, one leg to each of the two 4 ways). That would cut the losses to the 4 boxes in the closet by at least 7dB.
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post #23 of 51 Old 12-29-2012, 02:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

Yeah, 21dB loss is a lot on the return, especially if you're connected to the first or second tap out from an active and need to overcome that 23dB too. That cascaded splitter setup can be improved upon. I'd start it out with a 3 way split (one leg to the modem, one leg to each of the two 4 ways). That would cut the losses to the 4 boxes in the closet by at least 7dB.

He seems to be constrained by a pre-existing wiring path that goes through the garage, which is where he incurs another 3.5dB of splitter loss. That is where he can avoid most of that using a -9 dB tap. Holland electronics claims there DCG-9 has an insertion loss of 1.5dB at sub band frequencies. For some reason, the strong hardline trunk taps that olyteddy is likely more familiar with (commonly, -8dB) have a lot more low frequency loss than that.

http://www.hollandelectronics.com/catalog/upload_file/DCG-Series-1-Ghz-Directional-Couplers.pdf
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post #24 of 51 Old 12-29-2012, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
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but would that tap mess up the signal going to the gym?

can i really not use a active return amp? imma try breaking into that box today when its not raining to see what i can do...
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post #25 of 51 Old 12-29-2012, 08:12 AM
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The -9dB tap reduces the signal level of the gym cable box by 5.5 dB, but you will partially offset that by 3.5 dB if you also installed a 2-way splitter ahead of the main 4-way, or by 5 to 5.5 dB if you put a balance 3-way as the first split.
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post #26 of 51 Old 12-29-2012, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't know if I can install a split before then main 4 way just because it's a 2 story house and they did the wiring before the walls went up...
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post #27 of 51 Old 12-29-2012, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntAltMike View Post

For some reason, the strong hardline trunk taps that olyteddy is likely more familiar with (commonly, -8dB) have a lot more low frequency loss than that.http://www.hollandelectronics.com/catalog/upload_file/DCG-Series-1-Ghz-Directional-Couplers.pdf
Their 8-value hardline tap loses 3.6dB at the low end and 5.7dB at 1GHz. http://www.hollandelectronics.com/catalog/upload_file/Passives-GHT-P.pdf

CIAO!

Ed N.
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post #28 of 51 Old 12-29-2012, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Tried breaking into the box, it's impossible! Anyways I tried another drop from 1 bedroom hooked up to the media closet splitter and same problem. The OOD reads 17dB on my gym cable box... Can I just use an active return splitter?
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post #29 of 51 Old 12-29-2012, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

Yeah, 21dB loss is a lot on the return, especially if you're connected to the first or second tap out from an active and need to overcome that 23dB too. That cascaded splitter setup can be improved upon. I'd start it out with a 3 way split (one leg to the modem, one leg to each of the two 4 ways). That would cut the losses to the 4 boxes in the closet by at least 7dB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by egnlsn View Post

Their 8-value hardline tap loses 3.6dB at the low end and 5.7dB at 1GHz. http://www.hollandelectronics.com/catalog/upload_file/Passives-GHT-P.pdf
Out on the street there are amplifiers. These typically put out 40db to 60dB levels (depends on the cable system design). To ensure reasonable levels at the ground block the feeder taps closest to the amp have a higher insertion loss. In a modern CATV design taps range from 23dB loss (they actually make taps up to 32dB but they aren't used due to the ridiculously high levels required for return signals) to 4dB (end of line 2 way tap). As you can see, if you are closer to an active device you need to generate a higher level return signal and have less leeway for losses incurred by the premises equipment. I have about 14dB splitter losses but because I'm plugged into an 8 way end of line tap (11dB insertion) my modem return level is only 46dB. If I was fed by a 23dB tap that modem would be trying to put out 58dB. If that were the case I'd be looking at moving the modem 'closer' to the ground block by a split or two.
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post #30 of 51 Old 12-30-2012, 05:36 AM
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Am I the only one who understands that he is using a Verizon Fios GPON system with an ONT at the side of his house.? His video is RF Overlay QAM and Ethernet out of the ONT for internet service, The ONT is the gateway for WHDVR and there is very little tolerance in the return path for bad wiring,connectors and splitters. If the OP has gone too far with his wiring scheme and can not make his video work than needs to have Verizon come fix what is broken.

All Comments made are my own and not of my employer.
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