Originally Posted by drill
Does anyone in this forum have ATT fiber with uverse TV? I am thinking about switching to it. I have a bunch of questions about it.
- Do you get advertised speeds?
- How is the picture quality?
- How does the modem/gateway inside the house connect to the box mounted on the outside of the house?
- How does the main DVR connect to the modem/gateway? (ethernet, co-ax, other?)
- How do the wired TV boxes connect to the main DVR? (ethernet, co-ax, other?)
thanks in advance.
I am going to respond to my own questions here since I took the plunge and signed up for ATT Fiber/Uverse in case anyone else had similar questions. I have had ATT for 3 weeks now. Before that I was using DirecTV for 16 years, and a cable modem for internet (Earthlink service that was just a reseller of Time Warner Cable).
I signed up for 300 Mbit service. I routinely get 360 up and down. I have had 0 issues with data service. Pretty awesome actually. I was expecting a few bumps. But, no problems so far.
Picture Quality is good, but not great. Comparing to DirecTV side by side (I had both for a couple of weeks) they are similar, DirecTV is better sometimes, Uverse is better others. On the whole, I think DirecTV is better more often. Uverse appears to be sharper while the DirecTV picture is soft. Perhaps DirecTV is encoding at a lower resolution or with softer filters to mask some of the artifacts. On fast transitions Uverse seems to have more macroblock artifacts than DirecTV. But when there isn't a fast transition, the Uverse picture is definitely more detailed. This is a general observation, but it is also channel dependent. e.g. DirecTV seems to do locals better than Uverse. Uverse seems to do better with HBO/Showtime and NBCSN (Formula One). They seem very close on NFLN.
The UI is good. There are things I really like about it compared to DirecTV, but there are also some things I miss from DirectTV. The UI is fast compared to DirecTV. Changing channels with Uverse is fast. DirecTV channel changes are super slow ... so slow that channel surfing is basically not possible. Channel surfing with Uverse is definitely possible. DirecTV has a "jump to tick" capability that allows jumping 15min or 30min (depending on the show length) forward/back in a program. Uverse doesn't have that functionality. Uverse also doesn't have slow motion or frame advance. That really sucks for replaying sports. DirecTV has a better search for programming function. Uverse has a 30 second "slip" function similar to DirecTV. It plays a few frames of the program as it fast forwards 30 seconds. But DirecTV has a 30-second "skip" option that can be enabled via secret keyword searches. I like the DirecTV "skip" much better because it doesn't fast forward and show frames as it goes, but instead instantaneously jumps 30 seconds. The "skip" is much quicker jumping over commercials than the "slip". I find it easier to manage recordings (finding things in the playlist, scheduling, etc.) with DirecTV. I am sure I will get used to the Uverse way of organizing things, but for now, I find it a little cumbersome. But in general, the UI on Uverse is much more responsive than DirecTV.
I can record 6 HD streams at once (which is cool). Though the interface slows down when recording that many things. The harddrive in the DVR is pretty large. It says I can record 350+ hours HD (can't remember the exact number).
As far as how everything is connected ...
- NIB : Fiber comes from the street to a network interface box AT&T installed on the side of my house.
- ONT : From the outside box, fiber runs to the ONT (I think this stands for optical network terminal). The ONT is a small box mounted somewhere inside the house and requires a power connection. The ONT converts the fiber into ethernet.
- Gateway : The ethernet output of the ONT goes directly to the Gateway. They gave me a Pace 5268AC gateway (but I think there are others that can get installed). It is a little bit smaller than a 8.5x11 sheet of paper and about 1 inch thick. The gateway has 4 ethernet port outputs, does 5GHz and 2.4GHz wifi, phone output (if you get phone service, which I don't), and a coax cable output.
- DVR : The DVR connects to the Gateway via ethernet. They gave me a Pace IPH8010 DVR. It is a tiny thing. Amazingly small. Its about the size of an 8" tablet, but about 1" thick.
- Wired TV set top box: The set top boxes are pretty large. Much larger than the DVR (which makes no sense except they are older). I got Motorola VIP 1200 set top boxes. The set top box connects to the Gateway via ethernet (or Coax, but more on that later).
- Wireless TV set top box: To get wireless, ATT connects a WAP (wireless access point) to the Gateway via ethernet. Then a set top box connects wireless to the WAP. I have an Arris VAP2500 wireless access point, and a Cisco ISB7005 wireless set top box.
I initially signed up for 4 wired TV's. When the installer got here, he told me that they like to do only wired ethernet or wireless. They don't want to use existing phone lines or coax cable for distribution as they have had problems with those. He also said that once the installation was done and provisioned, the boxes were locked into whatever distribution mode they started with (wired/wireless/coax). This turned out not to be
true (more on that later).
For the first remote TV, he used an ethernet cable that I had run many years ago to distribute video via an HDMI extender.
For the second remote TV, he decided to use a wireless box (at no cost to me) because it would be difficult to run ethernet to that location. I was a bit wary of using wireless for TV, but so far it has been great with no issues. It appears to be using a 5GHz signal based on the wifi scanner app on my phone. I do not live in a densely populated area (single family homes on 1+ acre lots). I don't know how well wireless TV would work with more wireless interference.
For the third remote TV, a new ethernet run was required. The installer didn't want to pull ethernet cable through the attic and fish it down the wall (and said they weren't equipped or allowed to do that). I don't think that is true, but I didn't want to argue with him. He offered to swap that box to wireless also, but I didn't want another wireless box as I was skeptical of how well they would do. So I had him install the last TV box in the same location as the DVR, and planned on running the ethernet later myself. He did give me a bunch of ethernet cable to do the install later.
Given that the wireless box is different than the wired box, the installer was probably correct that switching connection modes would not work. The wireless box has an ethernet port, but I haven't tried it to see if it works.
The wireless box also has an ethernet port that allows it to be used wired. I had to unplug the WAP and power cycle the wireless box to make it look for a connection on the wired ethernet port. But once I did that, the box booted up and worked great over wired ethernet. To get it back into wireless mode, I had to power on the WAP, unplug the ethernet cord from the wireless box, and power cycle the wireless box. When I did this, the wireless box went into wireless pairing mode. I then followed the instructions to press the WPS button on the WAP and hit enter on the wireless box. Back to wireless. The wireless box does not have a coax in, so HPNA isn't an option. Wired ethernet or wireless only.
However, while poking around in the Gateway's UI, I noticed there was a toggle for turning on HPNA. I made sure it was on, then I connected one of the wired boxes to the Gateway using coax instead of ethernet. It worked perfectly. My house was built with homerun coax for each room that all converges in 1 location. So instead of running ethernet to the third location, I used the house coax by connecting the Gateway to the coax at the wall. At the convergence location, I connected the house coax that goes to the DVR location to the coax that goes to the third TV location using a coax joiner. I connected the wired set top box to the wall with coax. Everything works great. Yay! No wall fishing ethernet cables required. So converting between wired ethernet and HPNA over wired coax works fine (so the installer wasn't right on this one). HPNA is specified to work over wired phone connections (RJ11) as well as coax. There is an option in the Gateway UI to use RJ11 instead of coax. However, I have not tested that, and have no idea if that works or not, and if it requires that you also have phone service through AT&T.
The gateway has a good UI, and the wifi radios seemed to be pretty good. I had good coverage throughout my 2800 sqft house. However, it didn't have all the functionality of my Nighthawk R7000. And I really wanted my network to be behind a firewall that I control, not one controlled by AT&T that may or may not be updated with security patches. So I investigated how to put the gateway in bypass/bridge mode so my R7000 would be directly on the internet like my previous setup with my cable modem. But before I went through all that, I connected the R7000 WAN port directly to the gateway via an ethernet cable. The R7000 detected that the Gateway was using 192.168.1.xxx domain, and asked if I wanted to switch the R7000 to use 10.0.0.xxx domain, which I did. Everything works great. I didn't have to put the gateway in bypass/bridge mode. I didn't have to change anything on my R7000. The R7000 gets a 192.168.1.xxx "external" IP address from the gateway. My home network is isolated from AT&T. All my devices are on the 10.0.0.xxx domain. I didn't have to change anything on my devices ... they see the same network they always did, but now they get served a 10.0.0.xxx IP address instead of 192.168.1.xxx address. The TV boxes remain connected to the Gateway ... i.e. they are not on my network, but instead on the gateways network on the other side of the R7000 firewall. I turned off the wifi radios in the gateway. So now, AT&T can get to all their boxes through their gateway, but all my stuff is behind my R7000 firewall (hopefully isolated from them and the rest of the world).