1500 foot LAN gap

By jjcanaday ·
I have a remote location that needs broadband internet access. Unfortunately, it is in a controlled access building. (Well, it's a State Penitentiary.) After dismal performance with a DSL line, we signed a contract for a T1 line.

Unfortunately, the Pen told the installer to terminate our line at their demarc - which is somewhere between 1500 and 1800 feet from where I need service.

I know I can't just run a CATx line that far, and I'm pretty sure fiber-optic is my only choice but, I have no experience at all with fiber. The PEN IT guy I'm working with will be responsible for running the line and, assures me that they have the experience to do so (they make some use fiber themselves). But I have to supply the equipment (including the fiber).

Can someone please help me plan out some (specific) hardware to bridge this gap from a Cisco 1941 router with T1 interface to my existing switch? If you could go so far as to include CDW numbers, that would be great. (Apparently their LAN/WAN expert is too busy to work with me on this any time this week.)

I'm looking on the CDW website now and I'm mostly seeing brands I've never heard of: Canary, Black Box, Omnitron, etc. I want quality equipment I can count on.

Thanks in advance,


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Account Manager

by patb071 In reply to 1500 foot LAN gap

I would check with your account manager and tell them you need to speak to a specialist. Who is the specialist? Gutierrez?

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Do you mean at CDW?

by jjcanaday In reply to Account Manager

That would be Vivian Peng. Her latest response to me was:

>>I have asked 3 people about this .

>>The first person is my lan/wan specialist who still has not responded to me yet. how am I doing business with this kind of response time?

>>2nd person is Cisco presale who doesn?t understand your questions. All he was saying is that you just need the Ethernet cable with 1500 ft

>>3rd person I asked was my customer whose job is in charge of Lan/Wan and he provided me with some important pieces of information.

>>Here are what he said

>>You will need to buy 2 switches to covert both ends from RJ-45 to fiber optical and ask your cabling guy to do the wiring for 1500 ft.

I suggested to her she tell #2 to go back to Cisco school. Other than that, this is not much help. I've been paying for this line now for 7 weeks and have gotten 0 use of it. I'm really starting to look bad to mgmt.


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by Fregeus In reply to Do you mean at CDW?

Do you know a cabling company in your area?

If yes, call them, they will be able to answer all your questions

If no, find one (for same reason above)

I figure the termination at the d-mark is RJ45. If so, you don't need switches, you just need media converters. The cable guy should be able to give you the info you need to choose one.

I'm a strong believer in you get what you pay for. So don't pick the cheapest one, but don't take the most expensive one either. See how long the company has been in business. The longer the better in cabling.

Good luck.


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Re: LAN extension

by christianshiflet In reply to Do you mean at CDW?

I assume you will be connecting the LAN port of your router to the switch, so you won't need a T1 specific converter. Something along the lines of CDW #1001901 should do the trick. If your switch has the ability to incorporate a mini GBIC fiber adapter you may only need one. Otherwise, you will need one at each end. I have used Black Box products for a while with great success. You will need to be specific with the type of fiber (multi mode or single mode) as well as the size (internal and sheath sizes) and connectors before you purchase the exact device, but something along this line should work. Let me know if you have questions. Thanks.

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Thank you

by jjcanaday In reply to Re: LAN extension

I purchased the router before I found out I was 1500' away so, yes, my original intent was to plug the switch into the router... an option no longer available to me. And no, the switch doesn't have a GBIC port - it's a re-purposed Netgear FS524 left over from when we upgraded our main office to Gbit switches.

Fregeus at least told me what I was looking for - a Media Converter - and that helped a bunch (thanks Fregeus!).

My brother (an IT guy in Iowa) suggested I get 2 HP Procurve 1700-24 switches with Gigabit-LX-LC modules - but that's almost (over?) $2000, not including fiber!

Now I know a little better what I'm looking for. I'm just unfamiliar with the brands I'm seeing. I'm more used to looking at HP or Cisco, but they don't seem to have anything as "stand alone" as the Black Box you recommended. I'll look at some more of them now. Thanks for the heads-up on the fiber selection, also. I am totally unfamiliar. I hope the specs are clear enough for me select correctly.

If anyone else would like to chime in on brands to favor or avoid, please feel free!


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Glad to help

by Fregeus In reply to Thank you

For your information

I like Allied Telesis myself. Worked with them for a long time, did not get any issues with them. DLink is also good.

Star tech, don't know them. Tripp, they're more speciallised in Power devices, not sure about their converters.

You need to know what type of interface your fiber will have. LC, SC or other. You should also know if you have single or multi mode fiber.

Good luck


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I get to pick the interface.

by jjcanaday In reply to Glad to help

I have to supply everything to bridge the gap. Converters, fiber, connectors, etc. As OH Smeg points out in Comment 2, it's not easy to get a cabling company in to do this as you suggested earlier. I do have to rely on the Pen and therefore, supply all but the labor.

And that looks to be my next stumbling point: the fiber. For example - when I look at the Allied Telesys AT-MC1011XL-10 tech specs, it says the (optical) Connector Type is 'ST multi-mode' and further down the Wave Length is 1310 nm. Is that enough info to select the fiber?

I appreciate all the help here - I am about as green as is possible with fiber. I know it exists and can go farther the copper but, that about sums it up.


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OK if I'm reading your question properly

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to 1500 foot LAN gap

All you need do is extend the Line into the Building to where you want it. This should be a 50 Ohm Coax Cable which can be run to your preferred location and joined to the incoming T1 Line.

At the end of this line you just fit the Router or whatever and distribute from there.

Most times Cable Guys are not allowed into Prisons because their tools have the possibility of being used as weapons so to maintain security the Prison Governess/Guards insist that their own staff do any internal work inside the security perimeter.

So it should just be a matter of extending the line to where you want it plugging in the Modem and then going from there.

Running Optical Fiber is both expensive and possibly unreliable in that type of environment as anyone swinging on the optical fiber cable can break it very quickly. 50 Ohm Coax is far more reliable in those circumstances not to mention quite a bit cheaper. That swinging bit also included the Cable Puller if they have limited or no experience with Optical Fiber.


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Huh. Coax.

by jjcanaday In reply to OK if I'm reading your qu ...

I rejected that out of hand thinking the run-length limit would be about the same as CAT5. Thanks for nudging me to look that up. First glance - that hardware looks a little more expensive but, the coax cable has got to be a lot cheaper than fiber!

And yes, you understand the issues of working in a prison. What a hassle.


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To clarify

by robo_dev In reply to Huh. Coax.

I think the coax recommendation was assuming that the broadband connection was a cable modem, therefore moving the demarc could be done with coax

A T1 connection would typically terminate in the telco-provided CSU/DSU which has an ethernet port.

From there you need to either put an ethernet switch with fiber-out, or a ethernet-to-fiber media converter.

My thought is to run a six strand single-mode fiber cable in conduit.

Technically you could use MMF, but you're on the edge of the distance limits of can only run gig-ethernet up to 550M on MMF.

They make six-strand direct burial single mode fiber which would be cheaper to install, but more expensive to buy.

Obviously installing a big conduit gives you better long-term never know what new devices will be needed down the road.

Direct-burial six-strand SMF is around $1 a foot.

I would not recommend coax. The cost-per-foot of coax is not much less than fiber and fiber is capable of carrying more bandwidth, immune to interference, and there are a vast number of choices with respect to converting from fiber-to-ethernet vs coax-to-ethernet.

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