BTO Flat Networking Singapore

Networking for Singapore BTO Flats

A few years ago, I wrote about how I set up my home network with the laying of CAT6 cables, RJ45 keystones and patch panels etc. You can read about them here and here :)

When I did up my home network, I had to lay CAT6 network cables in casing all over the home and let the renovation contractors lay his cement and flooring over the network.

But nowadays, it is NOT necessary as many BTO flats come ready ! Almost ready ….

Recently I have the opportunity of doing up the network for a new BTO (Build to Order) flat in Sengkang/Punggol area in Singapore.

These recent flats actually came with network cables lay all over the home already. Yes, they are already nicely set up for a home network with CAT6 cables. Wow.

The only issue ? The catch ? Well there are 2 issues
(1) The network was not laid with data network in mind. It was laid for telephone network. Every room is cabled up but yet they are all terminated with a telephone jack and not a network RJ45. This is how it looks:
BTO Flat Networking Singapore

To be fair, there is a data point but only one and it is at the living room area where the TV usually is. This is how it looks:
BTO Flat Networking Singapore

(2) The network points end points are housed in an utility cupboard where the fibre optic ONT point is too.. which is great.. Except they are all hidden and not available to use easily. This is how it looks:

BTO Flat Networking Singapore

And to be fair, this is BRILLIANT compared to the older flats. You even have the Fibre Optic internet point already in place and they have thoughtfully placed a power point for your router and even a big enough space for the router to be wall mount. Basically you are ready to go to have ONE (1) data point at home. Most people will end up using wifi then. But this is such a waste as the whole flat is actually wired up with CAT6 but only 4 wires are used up for telephone. It is a waste.

So I decided to redo the network to the whole place to be data network ready. To do so, rather than trying to do it myself, I engaged the services of a company called BTO Networking (Facebook page here). I am very pleased with the results from the owner of the company who came down and fix up the network.

Here’s what he did for me:

(1) Replaced all telephone points with RJ45 keystones and convert the telephone points to data points. Photos:
BTO Flat Networking Singapore

The sharp eye in you will notice that this is a CAT6 cable but only a few wires are used for the telephone. The rest are just lumped up and kept. So he removed the telephone jack and use up all the 8 wires !
BTO Flat Networking Singapore
BTO Flat Networking Singapore
BTO Flat Networking Singapore

And the face plate:
BTO Flat Networking Singapore

Tata.. I converted all 5 telephone jacks to data points. Dining Room + 3 Bedrooms and yes, even the Bomb Shelter room. HA HA :)
BTO Flat Networking Singapore

(2) Next, he worked on the utility box and converted it to a mini network patch panel area :)

The trick is to open the top left box where all the cables are kept.
BTO Flat Networking Singapore

The cover.
BTO Flat Networking Singapore
The behind of the cover.
BTO Flat Networking Singapore

What’s behind the box… all the cable ends points ! Used as telephone lines now ! Going to change that ! :)
BTO Flat Networking Singapore

And then he has to pull out the cables and find the RIGHT cables (there are some spare ones). He also need to relocate (moving one of the cable) to the lower right part as he has a faceplate for 4 RJ45 but I have 5 telephone points. So we need to use 4 on the top left and then 1 on the bottom right. You will understand when you read on :)

Each cable has to be painstakingly converted to a RJ45 keystone:
BTO Flat Networking Singapore
BTO Flat Networking Singapore
BTO Flat Networking Singapore

Finally when completed, he did the testing using a network cable tester. His is so much more complicated than mine :) Very good piece of mind when saw the testing results ! HAPPY LIKE MAD.
BTO Flat Networking Singapore

And now it is all done up ! 6 points in all. 6 points in a nicely done patch panel “look alike” :)
BTO Flat Networking Singapore

So these are my 6 points:

Left top box

1 : dining room
2 : common room 1
3 : common room 2
4 : store room (where I am going to fix a network printer for the whole family to use)

Right bottom top

5 : master bedroom
6 : living room (the original only data network point)

Here’s some comments of mine to help you along too.

(1) I think the price is very reasonable. There are many other companies advertising such services but I think BTO Networking (the company I used) is good. One man show but he does the work really carefully and well. I personally highly recommend BTO Networking.

(2) Do not use the wireless fibre optic router that will be placed in the utility point. Instead, switch off the wireless of that router and use it only as a router. Why ? Cause the utility cupboard is closed by nature and very far from the bedrooms. So the wifi coverage will be bad. Instead, buy another wireless router (e.g. this Asus is my choice) and use it as a WIRELESS ACCESS POINT (note, not a router.. but as a WAP). Place that router in one of the bedrooms (preferably the ones in the middle of the house e.g my case it is Common Room 1) and plug a network cable from the “telephone point-become-network point” you have paid to convert into the WAP and ta ta, you get greater coverage :)

(3) Consider using the store room as your IT centre … I am going to fix a network printer for the whole family to use.. Some people place their NAS here too.. Like a Synology DS1813+…mmmm)

(4) Do these before the renovation starts (or after you have discussed all your telephone/network needs with your renovation designer.. their carpentry might affect the location of your RJ45 points as well as the painting of the house might want to be take place AFTER you changed the point. Also consider all your networking needs (E.g. which rooms might be your entertainment room, do you need network for your bedroom TVs etc)

(5) Lastly, changing the telephone points DOES NOT make it not possible to use a telephone point ! In fact, it makes it even better. Usually we use a DIGITAL VOICE now and that comes from the router in the utility box. So that means that we can just connect a telephone line from the Router to the exact LAN point where you want the phone line to be. For example, you might want to place the phone in your study room and just plug a phone line from the router to the LAN point stated as “study room” in the utility room. At the other end, in the study room, the LAN point can just plug in a telephone line to the telephone :) But that also means you gave up a LAN point, yes ?

By popular demand, readers are asking how this looks AFTER i set up ? Okie here’s how it looks with the ViewQWest fibre optics set up and cables running to the points:

ViewQWest Fibre to Zhone Router in BTO Flat

49 thoughts on “Networking for Singapore BTO Flats”

  1. Don’t you need a switch for the network? I heard if we did that, we would be daisy-chaining the LAN points.

  2. hello, can i connect a switch each (NETGEAR GS108NA ProSafe 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Desktop Switch) at the living room, bedroom 1 & bedroom 2 respective area data point, and i connect the devices to the switch namely the wireless router, smart TV, etc?

    how would data transfer be affected as compared to what you did in 2011 where each area was wired up through a single central switch?

    1. Yes you can….. definitely.

      I don’t feel the difference but then the needs are different. In 2011 place, I do a lot more data-intensive staff… at this new place, it is just entertainment stuff. I do copy files from another location to the NAS in this location through remote FTP (NAS to NAS copying) and feel the performance is pretty good….

      1. hi again… does the router (i.e. brand, price) that is connected to the ONT at the utility box affect the data transfer speed of respective devices to be connected at living room, bedroom 1 & bedroom 2, say wireless router coverage, HD video streaming on smart TV, network switches data distribution, gaming console HD video streaming etc?


  3. Hi. Just want to know if we can lay extra cables into the existing trunking from the DB to the rooms?

    My main intention is to double the amount of points in each rooms.

    Living Room x4
    Both Common Rooms x2 each
    MBR x2
    Store Room x2

    1. Wow. You should check with the guy who did it for me. Me no idea. Sounds like a huge job as the original trunking is done and hidden already in the HDB flat

  4. i am currently using Singtel MIO with MIOTV, and am thinking of following your topology setup with a few differences.. TP to ONT to Singtel Pace Router, where 1 port goes to 8 port switch for MIOTV and XBOX at the living room console, another port goes to MBR and another port goes to the ac68. however I am concerned of placing the asus ac68 behind the Singtel Pace Router even though the wireless is turned off, will the Singtel Pace Router be the bottleneck for wireless traffic? Will it be an overkill by using the ac68 as an WAP?

  5. How’s your bittorrent working in such a setup? Mine is not performing very well.. hitting only around 350k. speed test is good though

    1. ViewQWest is an internet provider just like Singtel/Starhub/M1. Only better (in my opinion). So this Zhone comes from them.

  6. “…switch off the wireless of that router and use it only as a router…”
    Does this mean that there is very little significance on the spec of this router? Cheap cheap one good enough?

      1. Thank you. I really appreciate your help with this topic, the information given here is exactly what I was looking for!

        I am signing up with MR and they offer the AC68U router. Will heed your advice on using it as a WAP. Any suggestions on which model to use as the actual router? Is another AC68U overkill?

          1. Let me answer this question for everyone else’s sake: The non-Wifi router can be ANY model, as long as they are gigabit routers!

  7. Hi, if I am going to do the same thing as you to set up a WAP (2nd router in common room), wouldn’t there be clash of IP addresses ? Did you do any settings for the 2nd router ?

    1. It is a WAP (wireless access point). it is just a point in the whole network. The router will give it a IP address and all the connections to that WAP will get their own IP address (all IP address issued by the router, not the WAP).

  8. Sorry, I am a networking noob. There are still some things which I am still unsure.
    Firstly, after setting up the 2nd router, am I able to use its ports for my laptop, printer and NAS through wired cable connection ?
    Secondly, is the security of your first router WPA or WEP ?

    My main intention of getting a 2nd router is to not only extend the wireless signals around the house , but also to have a wired connection for my laptop , printer and NAS. I have read a bit online, some are saying that most of the routers can perform this function.

    Hope you can help ! Thanks !

      1. You have 5 telephone points but its only a four face plate. So how was the 5th cable shifted down to the bottom? Cause the cables are all behind the panel? Need to take off the panel to shift the cable down?

        1. Hi, sorry for the confusing question

          You mentioned in your post “And then he has to pull out the cables and find the RIGHT cables (there are some spare ones). He also need to relocate (moving one of the cable) to the lower right part as he has a faceplate for 4 RJ45 but I have 5 telephone points. So we need to use 4 on the top left and then 1 on the bottom right.

          How is the relocation done?

  9. Hi Jarod, your post is a god send, many thanks. Can you help me with 2 queries pls?

    1) Do you know if the starhub fiber plan’s router will be small enough to able to be mounted like your view quest’s one? i.e. stick to the wall?

    2) if the casement is closed, is the wireless really very bad? If so…..

    3) If i set up a WAP, what does it mean? Does that mean just placing a router (that i buy) that is connected to a data cable from a data point? If so, say I have no such data point in my mbr, does it mean i need to ask technician (or BTO Home Networking) to help me create one?

    4) For (3), can it be the last part after all reno? Or has it to be the first?

    Many thanks Sir

    1. (1) No idea.. don’t have a star hub router
      (2) I think the wireless reception is bad as I read many such comments on the Facebook page for my estate. But you should try out
      (3) Yes…
      (4) Up to you :).. u don’t mind messy then after reno is fine, right ?

  10. thanks bro Chinese. Is the whole process of (3) gona be messy? I thought its just screwing out the sockets, twist some wires, put them back in and screw back socket?

    1. Mike.. not messy at all :) Only reason that I said do during reno is some people might want to do some kind of work etc (e.g my case, my bedroom has a bed frame and it covers the faceplate so need work with reno contractor to open a gap in the bed frame etc).

  11. I am looking for something like this. Great post!

    Just a question, it seems like you’ve knocked off all the previously installed tiles to lay the trunking, before you set the cement.

    Does this result in any noticeable trunking on top of the tiles? I am curious as how this is done..

    If there’s any issue with the cables in the trunking in the next few years, how can it be rectified? (i.e. replacement)

    Thank you!

    1. Nope.. no way the trunking will affect the tiles as cement are poured all over it before the titles are laid

      I run multiple cables so there are redundancy

  12. hello, how does digital line lopback works ?

    let say at living room
    is it at the Utility Panel there, there punch down at cat6 keystone then go to living room..punch down cat6 keystone jack then can get digital line?
    i could not understand how does digital phone line loopback works..

    1. I believe you mean the digital phone line ?

      So at the utility panel, I have a ViewQwest router. ViewQwest provides digital phone line. Where does that phone line come into my place ? From the ViewQwest router. You can plug a normal telephone line to one of the CAT6 keystone in the utility panel. Then at the other end (e.g living room), you plug a physical phone with a normal phone line. So you used up one of your CAT6 ports that you have set up in your place.

      Or in my case, which does not make use of the digital network as my TV console design allows me to run a traditional normal telephone line into the utility panel to plug into the ViewQwest router

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