No wonder I couldn’t get connectionDecember 10, 2012
When we moved into our current house nearly three years ago, we had a whole heap of electrical and data cabling work done. And we had Foxtel (cable TV, even though ours is via satellite) installed a few days later.
One of my electrical requests was for a data port near the TV so that I could ‘future-proof’ the area in case we could do internet things on the TV. The data cabling was to run through the conduit inside the wall, across the ceiling, and to a data port in the office where I connected the cable to the network hub. Well, I’ve never used this data port. Until last weekend.
Foxtel now has an option to connect their IQ box to the internet to get new release movies and to watch things we might have missed. As we’re coming into the drought time for TV series in Australia, I thought we should try this ‘On Demand’ service — it costs nothing to get it activated by Foxtel, though you do pay for new release movies on a ‘pay per view’ basis.
So I connected a data cable between the Foxtel IQ box and my handy dandy data port near the TV. Then I called Foxtel to get it activated. That was all easy enough, but even after activating, I couldn’t get the On Demand service to work via my IQ box. Next step was to check the cable, so I removed it from the IQ box and connected it from the data port on the wall to my laptop. Nothing. I tried two other network cables. Still nothing. I went back to the office and followed the data cable from the wall back to the network hub — it was all connected correctly; I even tried a different port on the hub and a different cable. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
After all this testing, I figured there was something wrong with either the wall data ports at one or both ends or with the cable inside the walls and roof space. Or perhaps the electrician had never actually put cabling between the two data ports and all we had we useless wall outlets!
I called another electrical/data cabling company to come and check the cable, as well as do some other small electrical things around the house. They put a tester unit on the data port near the TV — and got nothing. The electrician said that even if the cable was ‘live’ but not connected properly, he’d still get something. He got nothing. So he pulled the wall plate off and this is what he found:
He asked if we had Foxtel installed after the data port was in — I told him we had, and that I recalled the Foxtel installers being cowboys who wanted to cut our coax cable to the antenna for our free-to-air services. We wouldn’t let them do that, but it seems that they cut our data cable without our knowledge!
The electrician thinks that what they did was cut the data cable, attach the three Foxtel coax cables to the end and pull it up into the ceiling so they could do their connections back to the satellite dish on the roof. What they didn’t do was pull the cable back down again! And they didn’t tell us they’d cut the data cable. Cowboys. And yes, the electrician found a whole lot of data cable up there in the roof space.
The upshot is that the data port doesn’t work, and it’s now impossible to get the data cable back down the conduit. It’s a single brick wall, so chasing a new conduit into the wall is NOT an option (brick saw, dust, plastering, painting…). We could perhaps go in from the wardrobe in the bedroom behind the wall, but again, lots of mess and we’d end up with a conduit inside a wardrobe, then coming out into the room before heading back into the wall. Also not an option.
The electrician suggested that some cheaper options would be some sort of wireless dongle from the Foxtel box back to my wireless modem/router (no idea of cost), or the ‘data over the power line’ option (about $80-$100 from Foxtel).
Or we could do nothing. That’s always an option.
Meantime, I’m angry again about those cowboy Foxtel installers — I was angry when they did the initial installation as they took little care and almost no notice of the customer, and all that anger has bubbled back to the surface now. Of course, as nearly three years have passed, I have no proof that they did this, but as they were the last tradesmen working with cables in that area, there’s a pretty fair chance that my electrician’s assumptions are correct.