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Rural Broadband Internet

Star Home-brew way to get better internet when you live outside town.


Depends a lot on your situation

If you live in a rural area it is quite possible that you have a DSL internet connection that only gives about 3Mbps if you are lucky on a good day.  The typical definition of broadband is a minimum of 5Mbps, and really it is good to have about 15Mbps so that eg Netflix works at a good resolution.  Typically a cable company such as Comcast will provide decent internet inside city limits, but they are typically not be willing to extend it to rural areas where the housing density is low.

There are various possibilities for getting better rural broadband internet, but the solution is likely to be very dependent on your particular situation.  What's described below is the scheme I came up with to get high bandwidth internet to my house.  In my particular case there is a 1 mile private home owner association road (with an easement) from the nearby town (Carnation, WA, USA) to my plot and my solution is designed around that.

Road to my house


My scheme


There are lots of ways that things could be organized depending on how many households are interested, and that significantly affects the implementation details.  If there is only mild interest from others then the following scheme is the best way...

Every household has an independent setup including their own three quarter inch conduit and their own modem box.  The only thing that is shared is the shallow ditch.  Other households can add their own conduit to the ditch either when it is first dug or by scraping off the disturbed soil, adding their conduit, and pushing back the soil.  48V power for the modem box is fed from each individual household down two 12awg cooper wires that are with that household's twin fiber in their own conduit.  There are no joint costs and no joint maintenance issues.  It is clean from a legal perspective because it only uses the road easement, and so the plot can be sold with guaranteed high bandwidth internet.

Each household has their own 1 foot square watertight modem box in the easement near Entwistle Street down in town.  From there they have their own 3/4" conduit to their house that has a 6" square watertight box every 1000 feet.  The small boxes every 1000' make it easy to pull fiber and allows for repeaters to be fitted if needed.

Because every household has their own 48V power in their own conduit, they can place inline repeaters in the 6"x6"x4" plastic boxes that are every 1000' along the length of their own conduit if they are found to be required to handle the distance to their particular house.

In rounded up numbers the cost is $400, plus another $600 for every 1000 feet along the road, plus that householder's own labor.  The rounded up cost to add a repeater is about $200 say every 6000'.

Modem box with all equipment is $40 + $50 + $25 + $20 = $135
Box with equipment at house end is $40 + $55 + $50 + $60 + $12 + $8 = $225
Repeater equipment (if required) $160
Conduit with repeater boxes is $1.90 x 100 + $25 + $10 = $225 per 1000'
Fiber cable with connectors costs $150 per 1000'
Power cable costs $210 per 1000'


Optical Converter

Fiber Optic Converter 

Cat5 - SC optical converter

TP-Link MC210CS Gigabit Single-Mode Media Converter

Power Supply  9 V/0.6 A - 5 V/1 A

Up to 9 miles


Can only connect to GigabitEthernet (not 100 or 10Mbps)

Operational temp range 0 - 40 deg C

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?sku=1060615&Q=&O=&m=Y&gclid=Cj0KEQiAhuSzBRDBoZfG56bK9-YBEiQARiPcZca5muHdmqKnTnq34DV5Pe2ENmFTlEcHVjRvm6LI8RwaAvQZ8P8HAQ&is=REG&ap=y&A=details  $47.99 + $0


Datasheet: http://www.tp-link.com/resources/document/MC210CS_V2_Datasheet.pdf

Manual: http://www.tp-link.com/resources/document/MC210CS_V2_User_Guide_71065036.pdf

Dimensions: 3.7" x 2.9" x 1.1"


Fiber optic cable

Fiber Optic Cable 

Singlemode 9/125 fiber optic cable

Need 1300nm

If one armored cable per household then it is about $150 per household per 1000 feet.

Strength is provided by aramid yarn, but still need to be careful when pulling it through conduit.  Buying the required length of fiber to a house without

One household twin fiber

Singlemode, 9/125


1310nm (or 1550nm)

1000' twin $136  + $15 shipping


Diana Goodman    dgoodman@cablewholesale.com
6000ft spool - $732.48/ea
(That's a $84 saving over 6x 1000' and saves connector costs and unreliability)
Lead time: 5-7 days


Fiber optic connectors

Fiber Optic SC Connectors 

SC connectors

Must be for 9/125 single mode fiber

SC 9/125 Fiber Optic connector assembly.

http://www.amazon.com/Shaxon-FCSC-SM-10-B-Fiber-Connectors-Single/dp/B006IKH3I8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450851423&sr=8-1&keywords=SC+9%2F125+Fiber+Optic+Connector   $25 for 10 http://www.fiberinstrumentsales.com/connectivity/fis-bobtail/fis-sc-bobtailtm-pre-polished-connector-singlemode.html   9/125 superglue $5.95

SC-SC coupler

Fiber Optic Coupler 

These can be used to make a passive connection between fibers (after first fitting SC connectors) but there is significant loss of light signal relative to using a continuous fiber of the right length.

http://www.cablewholesale.com/products/fiber-optic/fiber-optic-connector/product-31f1-cc400.php   $2.50


http://www.cablewholesale.com/products/fiber-optic/fiber-optic-connector/product-31f1-cc410.php   Twin $4


DOCSIS modem

Docsis Modem 

TP-LINK TC-7610 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Does 1Gbps ethernet (which means the better converter can be used).

12VDC at 1A

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16825165010&cm_re=docsis-_-25-165-010-_-Product   $57.49

 https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjfmvKBx-7JAhXB0h4KHX7WAMAQFggsMAM&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.manualslib.com%2Fmanual%2F973038%2FTp-Link-Tc-7610.html&usg=AFQjCNFiYs3WWo_prHqFJ_JO2qfd-ypnGw&sig2=udkwjmExUldZd1khHVC96Q&bvm=bv.110151844,d.dmo   pdf

Dimensions: 5.6" x 4.5" x 2.3"


Modem weatherproof box

Electrical Box For Modem 

Per household waterproof box in easement.  This avoids the box being big and visible in the easement.  Each homeowner is responsible for their own internet connection with no need to involve other households.

Modem is 5.6" x 4.5" x 2.3"
Optical converter is 3.7" x 2.9" x 1.1"
DC-DC converter is 3" x 3" x 1.5"

Cantex 12 in. x 12 in. x 6 in. Junction Box

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Cantex-12-in-x-12-in-x-6-in-Junction-Box-R5133713/202043349    $35

Could line the box with half inch polystyrene, but no need as the warmth from the electronics will prevent freezing and will allow it to cool better in the summer.  Being below ground also helps.


Powering modem box

Romex Wire 12-2 1000 feet 


For modem and converter need about 2.5A at 12V.

Also need a DC to DC converter to make 7.5V from 12V for optical converter unit.

Also need a way to power cycle power to the modem.

Homeowner provided power - selected option

To avoid code hassles it is best to keep under 50VDC to count as low voltage.

Use DC to DC converter to get 12VDC and then 7.5VDC.

Use 20 amp 12awg wire with 48VDC.

Need 12awg because of multiple 1000' sections.

12awg is 1.6 ohms per 1000'.  http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm

For eg 6000 feet the resistance is 9.6 ohms.  At 1A this a volt drop of about 10V.  Probably also need to allow for volt drop in the return earth wire, so might double volt drop to 20V.

The 12V converter can handle a 28V voltage drop from 48V to 20V.

12awg romex is $210 per 1000', ie for eg 6000' it is $1,260.

 http://www.homedepot.com/p/Southwire-Romex-SIMpull-1000-ft-12-2-NM-B-Wire-Yellow-28828201/202316226  $201

Using romex gives an earth wire to help mitigate volt drop in the return.

For shorter distances you could reduce the cost by using 14awg romex.

For longer runs a source power supply of 60V could be used (still can just about be called low voltage and the converter can handle up to 72 volts).

In my case I would put the 48V power supply at my gate so that I have 115V power to my gate for a lamppost and the 48V distance is slightly shorter.

At the house end

Power Supply Brick 48V 

Use a 48VDC power supply

http://smile.amazon.com/WS-PS-48v60w-power-supply-injectors-approvals/dp/B00N6W1HGU/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1450812769&sr=1-4&keywords=48VDC+power+supply   $24

48VDC at 1.25A

In modem box first use a 48VDC to 12VDC converter

Dc Dc Converter 48 to 12 

http://smile.amazon.com/SMAKN%C2%AE-Synchronous-Voltage-Converter-Waterproof/dp/B00VURN6YE/ref=sr_1_24?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1450993442&sr=1-24&keywords=60VDC+power+adapter   $39.60

Input: 20VDC - 72VDC

Output: 12VDC at 10A

Efficiency: 90%

Dimensions: 3"x3"x1.5"

In modem box then a 12VDC to 7.5VDC converter

Dc Dc Converter 12 to 8 

This is for the optical converter unit

http://smile.amazon.com/DROK-Regulator-Converter-Transformers-Adjustable/dp/B00C4QVTNU/ref=pd_sim_23_4?ie=UTF8&dpID=51WzeCwgO5L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=1R69QNBP416XTBCGXY5Z   $12



These are formed from two optical converter units back to back with a Cat6 patch cable between them.

These may or may not be required and can be easily retrofitted to the 6x6x4" $13 plastic boxes that are every 1000'.

You need to cut the twin optical fiber, fit SC connectors and put the repeater between them.

The 48V to 12V DC-DC converter and the 12V to 7.5V DC-DC converter is also required in the repeater box.

Voltage drop calculations for the increased current need to allow for the extra load of the repeaters and might require an increase in power wire diameter.

Total cost for a repeater is about $150 (not counting any increase in power wire diameter).


Other useful links and info

Other fiber options

Could use a 12 fiber cable as it is only $58 per household per 1000 feet, but that potentially introduces joint maintenance issues.

Supposedly there is a 24 fiber version, but it is hard to find at a good price.

Three household twin fiber

Singlemode, 9/125


1310nm (or 1550nm)

1000' six fibers $197 ($66 per house) http://files.cablewholesale.com/pdfspecs/10f3-006nh.pdf

Six household twin fiber

Singlemode, 9/125

1/4" outside diameter


1310nm (or 1550nm)

1000' twelve fibers $350 ($58 per house


When the required optical cable lengths and number of fibers has been figured out then contact cablewholesale.com and get them to quote for the exact length you want.