RSF Connect Case Study

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The Association announced that the first RSF Connect customer was live on July 16th, and on August 8th the second customer was connected.

Vahé Guzelimian, located in the first zone being worked on by Race, the Jacaranda zone, was contacted by Race about 2 weeks ago. The site visit appointment was scheduled about a week after the call, followed by the install a few days later. The site visit identified the physical path for the conduit under his lawn, what services Vahé wanted, and how the new Internet service was going to integrate into his network.

Orion Replacement

Vahé had been using Orion for several years. He had paid about $3,000 to Orion for the cable installation, and $200 a month for a 200 Mbps downlink, 20 Mbps uplink. Vahé was generally satisfied with the Orion service, except for occasional outages, and occasionally uplink speed would slow to a 1 or 2 Mbps crawl.

RSF Connect Installation

Fiber conduit by house
Fiber conduit by street

Vahé had Race dig the conduit trench for him, at a cost of less than $2,000. They were quick and efficient. They used the same kind of continuous roll orange conduit/duct as used in the roadways and terminated it outside his house into the shown gray box. As you can see from the pictures showing both ends of the conduit (roadway and house), the installers leave the conduits exposed meaning that over time water will get into and settle in the conduits. The fiber cable is waterproof, but I’m a belt and suspenders kind of guy, so I’ll be sealing my exposed conduits with conduit putty after my installation.

Since Vahé already had a robust wired Ethernet network in place (see below for more on that) and a good Google WiFi system, the inside installation wasn’t much more than turning off the cable router and plugging the fiber Optical Network Terminal in its place.

He decided to not have a fiber connected phone line or the TV service, opting to stay with copper AT&T and DirecTV respectively. 

Performance

Speed tests show 930 Mbits down and up, which is the theoretical maximum for the inside wiring gigabit Ethernet. Vahé already had the latest technology Google WiFi Mesh system, with eight wired access points and that allows him to get almost 500 Mbps speeds from a laptop, which again, is about the fastest you will see from a WiFi connection. A typical Smartphone will get around 200 Mbps from WiFi.

Cost

At $135/month for gigabit Ethernet, Vahé will be saving $65/month or $780/yr over his previous Internet connection, meaning that he will break even on his installation costs in about two years. Of course, he will also have a far more reliable and faster Internet connection.

Inside Wiring

Optical Network Terminal with fiber, Ethernet and power connections
Outside black fiber on left and inside white fiber exits the right

Inside the house, Race installs another smaller white box as the inside/outside fiber demarc. If you do not need telephone or TV, you’ll get a small Optical Network Terminal which accepts the fiber cable, power, and outputs a gigabit Ethernet cable as shown.

Many people in the ranch will have to upgrade their inside wiring and networks to take full advantage of gigabit Ethernet. It all comes down to your cable specs and the network switches you have. Older homes that had been wired for Ethernet many years ago might only have Cat 5 cable, which only supports 100 Mbps speeds, one tenth that of gigabit. You need Cat 5e or better cable to support gigabit Ethernet. In addition, your network switches must also support gigabit Ethernet. Older switches might only support 100 Mbps. 

If you are upgrading your wiring, install the newer Cat 6a cable to eventually be able to migrate to 10 Gbps. 

Final Thoughts

Faster please! It is a bit disconcerting that only two houses were connected as of August 8th, with almost a month between the first house and second house. I trust that Race will pick up the pace and has been calling people for site visits. If you are in the Jacaranda zone (zone 1 from this map) hopefully you’ve already received a call from Race.


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