Doing homework before move to an AT&T Fiber service area

  • In 2006, I was signed up with my current Internet Service Provider with a synchronous active optical network at 20 Mbps. A few years later, I upgraded to 50 Mbps and then a year or so later 100 Mbps. I moved from that house to another house in 2011, about two miles away. During the time at my first house, I only had one unexpected network outage. I was able to continue receiving 100 Mbps service at this new address. A year or two later, they changed the network to a 1 Gbps passive optical network (GPON). I’ve only had one unexpected network outage since going to this service address as well. With their service, the fiber comes to my house at the utility demarcation location, where a fiber gateway was installed. On this fiber gateway, there are six RJ45 and a couple of RG12 jacks. The first RJ45 port goes directly to my router’s WAN port. Setup is very easy and straight-forward to enable Internet service with my ISP. The remaining five RJ45 ports are to go to TV set-top-boxes, if I chose to go with their “cable” TV service and the RJ12 ports are for landline telephone, should I chose to use it; these ports are all unused.

    As you can tell, I have been very happy with my service, but I am about to move again… in April. I will be moving yet another two miles further west; in the same city, but my current ISP does not provide service to this new section of town. Instead of my current ISP, the area is serviced by AT&T. I have no beef with AT&T, per se, but I’m a little concerned about my setup. I am told that the new address is fiber-ready for synchronous 1 Gbps service and that static IP addresses are available in blocks of five. I’m told that by having my cellphone service with AT&T qualifies me to have truly unlimited networking (I have one line of FirstNet and four lines of traditional AT&T phone service). I average around 500-550 GiB outgoing traffic and 1.65-1.8 TiB of incoming traffic a month; yes, this is all for personal use, not a business.

    As I am getting ready for this move, I’m trying to do my research on AT&T’s service and it appears there are issues others have had, that are not currently an issue for me. One such issue is that instead of having one device from my provider, I’ll need TWO devices; an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) and a residential gateway. It is this residential gateway that causes me concern. My current provider has essentially combined these tasks into one device. Apparently, the provisioning takes place in the residential gateway instead of the ONT, if I understand things correctly. I understand provisioning is important, as it associates who I am and what services I pay for, but I don’t need nor want the other functions of the residential gateway; i.e., router and wireless access. It also appears that customers are charged for this residential gateway, which seems wrong when I don’t want it in the first place.

    In my research, one solution is “IP Passthrough” on the residential gateway, but I’m told there could be issues with this method. Another is using a small, managed, network switch and using port-assigned VLANs to alternate pfSense and the residential gateway from connecting to the ONT. The third solution I’ve seen is using My pfSense is built on a Jetway NF9HQL Mini-ITX motherboard, which sports four gigabit Ethernet ports, so it appears using pfatt will not add any expense.

    At this point, I am leaning towards employing the use of pfatt method of “getting around” the constraints of AT&T’s residential gateway. I am hoping to do this as painless as possible when I move to my new house. Any advice? Will this in any way effect the process of routing static IP addresses? I do not have any plans of adding landline telephone service or video service with AT&T if that matters.

  • I have been using pfatt since July during which time I have moved about a half petabyte on ATT’s 1gb fiber. I don’t however use any static IP’s. Pfatt works fine and is stable.

  • @jasonsansone
    I just acquired a sg-3100 and currently struggling to identify how to implement the hardware. Preferably I would rather replace the Pace hardware from AT&T with the 3100.

    Note: Currently, I have the Pace in use with a netgear router in bridge mode.

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