Sooo, I’m getting AT&T’s Uverse package installed at my house in two days and moving from Time Warner Cable.  I am getting television and internet.  I’d thought I’d document this process because I was looking for this same information online and was unable to really find a good article (I found a few) documenting the entire process.  So with that said here we go. Note: AT&T U-Verse is a three-in-one IP solution for digital television, VoIP, and internet services.  The infrastructure is probably way more complicated that I am about to describe.  From what I understand, AT&T runs fiber optic cable to a neighborhood VRAD (Video Ready Access Device) (picture of a VRAD) from a central office.  A VRAD splices the fiber into the copper twisted pair line going to each home.  In order to have access to U-Verse, you must be within 3000 feet of a VRAD.  Outside of this range, service quality diminshes, hence why you are unable to access U-Verse.  This is what they call FTTN (Fiber To The Node).  Verizon FIOS currently runs the fiber optic cable all the way from a central (regional?) location to each customers home.  This is called FTTP (Fiber To The Premises).  As you might imagine, going the FTTP route is very expensive, hence why Verizon has indefinitely suspended new FIOS installations.  However, you do get more throughput over fiber vs. copper.  I think U-Verse tops out around 40Mbps or so over the copper portions of its network whereas FIOS customers can get 50Mbps+ service.  40Mbps is good enough to provide the ability to surf the internet at up to 24Mbps/1Mbps download/upload and watch/record 2HD and 2SD shows at a time. The Pre-Install AT&T came out today and checked the phone line running into the NID (network interface device, where a phone company terminates its connection, and the customer begins) and the NID itself.  I looked at it some time ago and it looked like it was added when the house was built in 1971…lol.  So they replaced it.  They replaced the cable (which was just regular untwisted 4 conductor phone cable) with twisted pair CAT5 cable since VDSL (Very high bitrate Digital Suscriber Line) requires twisted pair.  They also removed the NID from the back of the house and added a new NID right next to the NID for Time Warner Cable.

And because I’m always getting into stuff, I had to open the NID to see whats in it.  I opened the customer access portion which is empty.

And the Time Warner NID for good measure.

From looking at the picture it appears that the AT&T U-Verse tech installing the equipment in the house will run a CAT5 cable from the NID (on the customer/empty side). through my crawl space, up to wherever I have him install the RG (residential gateway).  The most likely spot for this is my laundry room as this is where all my network equipment is located. A little bit about my network setup.  Last Spring, I ran two runs of CAT5E cable to each of the following: my living room, master bedroom, guest bedroom, and office.  Oh it was a pretty intense job, as I had to crawl through my crawl space, which was about 3 feet high to drill the holes.  I also ran coaxial cable into 3 bedrooms as it wasn’t available in any of them when I purchased my house last Spring.

They all terminate in the laundry room into a patch panel.  From there they connect to a Netgear 8-port GigE switch.  The data to the switch is provided by a Linksys WRT54G2 wireless (802.11b/g) router.  Finally, the TWC supplied Motorola cable modem is plugged into the WAN (wide access network) port for internet services.  Right now, I’m using the network for my Playstation 3 (living room), desktop PC (office), 2 laptops (personal & work), and whatever wireless devices I have.  Works great all the time.

My guess is like I said before, the tech will pull CAT5 from the AT&T NID through my crawl space and into my laundry room and terminate it.  From there, it’ll be plugged into a residential gateway.  The residential gateway is the “hub” for U-Verse services.  It routes data to the STB for IP (internet protocol) television service and data services.  The RG can also provide VoIP (voice over IP) services, but I am not getting that at the time of installation since I have no need for a home phone.  The RG is going to sit between the AT&T NID and my Linksys router.  I have a roommate, so that explains all the TVs.  I am going to get a DVR STB (settop box) for the TV with the TWC HD DVR STB and another non-DVR STB for my roommates TV.  And I’m eliminating the TV in my bedroom….meh.  I am only getting one DVR STB because you can stream, over your home network, recorded shows to other STBs in your house…which is outstanding.  I’ll also be able to stream music/pictures from my desktop PC to any STB as well.  I currently stream music, pictures, and video from my desktop PC to my Playstation 3 and laptops….works pretty well.  The new STBs will also be connected to the RG via CAT5 instead of the existing coax.  I have CAT5 in all the places I have TV so that is no problem. I’ll update this after installation in two days.  Hopefully, I don’t become addicted to NFL Network HD first…lol.