Charlottesville hardware upgrades - improving your network

Author: Chris Bulbulian // Last updated: Sept 18, 2019

Ting's fiber optic network in Charlottesville has been unique in comparison with our other Ting towns--it's actually two distinct networks that often overlaps. Both networks have also used different equipment from different manufacturers.

To make things easier for users, we've decided to phase out one manufacturer's equipment and simplify the network. If we've asked you to upgrade the equipment in your home or business, it's because it's the type we're phasing out.

The piece of equipment installed in your home or business is a fiber access point. It's typically quite small (about the size of a deck of playing cards) and connects to your router. This is the piece of equipment we're replacing.

They look a little like this:

Note: We're replacing the little black box with the smaller white one. The iPhone 4S on the left is for scale.

What will change?

Not a lot that would be visible to you. Currently, you have a fiber access point from the manufacturer Calix (likely looks like the top one in the picture above). We'll swap this for a fiber access point from Adtran (the lower one, in white). It is a bit smaller and has the same 3 connectors (fiber, power and Ethernet).

Will changing my equipment affect my performance?
Not at all. The service remains exactly as it is now and changing the equipment won't make anything faster or slower.
Will there be any exterior changes on the outside of my property?
Yes, and this is actually a change we've wanted to do for a while. The grey utility box on the outside is typically an older style in Charlottesville. A small flaw with this style of box is that there can be rare occasions where the seams holding both pieces of plastic together are not tightly sealed--this flaw allows nature to make its way in and cause potential fiber damage. When we come to swap your fiber access point, we'll also upgrade your fiber utility box to the new, smaller style that's sealed more effectively against the elements to prevent them taking your internet offline.
Do I have to pay anything for this equipment change?
Nope! The fiber access point has always been included as part of your monthly plan, as a necessary piece of hardware.
Can I refuse the upgrade?
You would eventually lose service if you didn't switch equipment, so no. Decommissioning the equipment from the old manufacturer means it won't work later. As there's no impact to speed or service reliability, there's no downside to the upgrade.
Do I need to be home for it?
Yes. Someone aged 18 or older will need to be present for the upgrade.
How long will it take?
We book a 1-hour appointment for this equipment upgrade. The technician will arrive at the start of the agreed upon time and should be finished in 45 to 60 minutes.
Do I have to upgrade my equipment ASAP?
While we'd prefer that, it's not extremely time-sensitive. We'll be performing the upgrade over the next several months so if the current timing doesn't work for you, just ask us to try you back in a few weeks. We're pretty flexible!
What are the available timeslots for the upgrade?
The earliest appointment time is 8:30am - 9:30 am, and the last slot each day is 3:30pm - 4:30pm. These appointments take place Monday to Friday only.
I'm paying an additional fee on top of my monthly service for a Static IP address from Ting. Will this upgrade change my IP address?
It might. As this change will feed back to different equipment on our end, there's a chance your static IP may change. Our team will check with Ting network engineers to determine this on a case-by-case basis before you change your hardware.
I have a much larger piece of equipment than that pictured above. What will change for me?

Some customers in Charlottesville may be using a legacy piece of hardware known as the Calix 844G which is a larger vertical unit, about 14 inches tall (pictured below). This unit serves as both the fiber access point and the wireless router all-in-one and also needs to be swapped out.

The end result will be the newer white fiber access point paired with a separate wireless router. All purchase or rental fees Ting charges are for the wireless router portion. If you're currently renting a legacy844G, then we will supply the fiber access point at no cost and you can rent our newer separate router at the same $9/mo fee. If you purchased your 844G, we'll swap the fiber access point and upgrade you to our current wireless router (the ZyXEL EMG3425-Q10A) at no cost. We'll also provide you with a new 18-month warranty starting from the day we upgrade your hardware.

In some situations, you may be using the legacy 844G as just an access point with the Wi-Fi functionality disabled and have your own wireless router hooked up to it. In this case, we can swap the 844G to the newer white unit above and you can continue to use your own router solution.

Calix 844G

My hardware is different from either of those. Will it still need to change?

Maybe. In rare exceptions, you may be using other legacy hardware. In most of these cases, this can also be a straight swap and you won't notice any real-world change. We'll discuss this with you beforehand, so we're sure what hardware you actually have to know if changing it is needed.

Anything else I need to know?
We'll also replace your fiber drop. The fiber drop is the outdoor fiber cable attached to your property (usually aerially off a utility pole). This will be swapped to a different line that feeds back to different equipment and should be a fairly invisible change to you.
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