FAQ: Charlottesville Equipment Upgrades

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

What is the equipment upgrade? 

For quite some time, Ting's fiber optic network in Charlottesville has been unique in comparison to those in our other Ting towns, namely that it's actually two distinct networks, rather than one, often overlapping each other. On one network, the equipment we're using in your home or business and inside our data center is of a specific manufacturer, and the other network another manufacturer. We've decided to phase out one manufacturer's equipment to simplify and consolidate our network, which will help us grow more consistently. If we're asking to upgrade the equipment in your home or business, it's of the type we've decided to phase out.

The piece of equipment installed in your home or business is called an ONT, or Optical Network Terminal. It's typically quite small (about the size of a deck of playing cards) and connects to your router, either one you've purchased or rented from Ting, or one you are supplying on your own. The ONT is the piece of equipment that we'll be replacing.


Different ONT hardware, with an iPhone 4S for scale. If you have the black ONT at the top of the picture, it'll be replaced by the smaller white ONT shown at the bottom.



Q: What will change?

A: Not a lot that would be visible to you. Currently you have an ONT from manufacturer Calix (likely looks like the top one in the picture above) and we will swap this to an ONT from Adtran (the lower one, in white). It is a bit smaller and has the same 3 connectors (fiber, power, and Ethernet).


Q: Will this affect my performance?

A: Not at all. The service will remain exactly as it is now, and changing the equipment won't make anything faster or slower.


Q: Will there be any exterior changes on the outside of my property?

A: Yes, and this is actually a change we've wanted to do for a while. The grey box on the outside (known as a NID) is typically an older style in Charlottesville. A small flaw with this style of NID is that there can be rare occasions where the seams holding both pieces of plastic together are not tightly sealed, allowing for nature to make its way in and cause potential fiber damage. When we come to swap your ONT, we'll be taking the opportunity to also upgrade your NID to a new smaller style that is sealed far more effectively, so that the elements can no longer cause havoc and risk taking your internet offline.


Q: Do I have to pay anything for this equipment change?

A: No you do not. The ONT portion has always been included as part of your monthly plan, as it is a necessary and required piece of hardware.


Q: Can I refuse the upgrade?

A: Because we will be decommissioning the equipment from the old manufacturer, you will eventually lose service if you do not switch things over. As there is no impact to speed or service reliability, there's no reason to refuse the upgrade.


Q: Do I need to be home for it?

A: Yes someone 18 or older will need to be present for the upgrade.


Q: How long will it take?

A: We book it for a 1 hour appointment. The technician will arrive at the start of the agreed upon time, and should be finished in 45 to 60 minutes.


Q: Do I have to do it ASAP?

A: While we would prefer that, it's not extremely time-sensitive. We will 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!


Q: What are the days / hours available for the upgrade?

A: The earliest appointment time is 8:30am - 9:30am, and the last slot each day is 3:30pm to 4:30pm. These appointments take place Monday to Friday only.


Q: I am paying an additional fee on top of my monthly service for a Static IP address from Ting. Will this upgrade change my IP address?

A: It might. As this change will feed back to different equipment on our end, there is a chance your static IP may change. Our team will check with Ting network engineers to determine this on a case-by-case basis.


Q: I have a much larger piece of equipment than that pictured above. What will change here?

A: 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 ONT and the wireless router all-in-one, and would need to be swapped out.

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

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

Calix 844G


Q: My hardware is different from either of those. Will it need to be changed?

A: There are rare exceptions where other legacy hardware is deployed. In most of these cases this can be a straight swap and you won't notice any real-world change. This will be discussed with you beforehand. 


Q: Anything else I need to know?

A: We will be replacing your fiber drop as well. By this we mean: the outdoor fiber cable attached to your property (usually aerially off a utility pole) will be swapped to a different line that feeds back to different equipment. This should be a fairly invisible change to you.

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