Mostly about my amusement

Tag: FIOS (page 1 of 1)

Light bulb! moment with FIOS

Speed test while wired into the FIOS box

Every now and then I recall the words that one of my friends always asked when we were doing some work.

“Right. What are you trying to accomplish exactly?”

I had migrated a while back from Optimum Online to FIOS and put my new cable model where the old one was in the basement. I hooked it up to my Linux home server/firewall. At the time that was a good arrangement since Optimum did not provide me with a firewall like device.

The design from Optimum at that time was very simple. You hooked up your PC to the cable modem and got a valid IP address. If you wanted, you could replace that PC with a Linksys like device with Wi-Fi and hide your PCs behind that device. But you had to provide that device yourself.

My old setup had the PCs in the basement hooked up to the cable modem and a pair of draft-N wireless AP used to bridge the basement and the second floor. Once of those PCs was a Linux box doing double duty as a NAT’ing firewall.

This worked out only marginally well and my transfer speed was ~12 Mb/s download from my main PC upstairs.

FIOS comes with a cable modem/4 port hub/802.11B/G access point. It also doubles as a RFC 1918 private network so you can hide many IP devices behind it.

When I upgraded from Optimum Online I just replaced the old cable modem with the Verizon one and turned off the Wi-Fi and enjoyed the same slow speeds upstairs and contemplated running Ethernet cable from the basement to the attic. Running cable would be the best solution but unlike my previous early 20th century homes, this house has no straight runs from the basement to the attic. That translated into a lot of work and I was not really looking forward to that task.

The light bulb moment occurred when I realized that a) no one used the network in the basement, and b) I already had TV cables running upstairs.

Speed test using Wifi from another floor

All I did was turn off my 2 draft-N APs and moved the FIOS box up to the second floor. My main PCs run directly off of the FIOS device (and get amazing kick ass speeds!) while the rest of the house gets 802.11G. The Wi-Fi speeds are not bad at all (see graphic) and peace and harmony once again resides on my network.

This does mean that for the time being I do not have any network connected PCs in the basement. But except for an occasional goofing off in the basement that is not a bad thing.

The Linux firewall was suffering from a lack of updates and patches. I was running an old distribution and updating to something newer has been on my to-do list for months. Now all access is via the Verizon box. It’s one less moving part and should be easier to support than my old setup.

And in the meanwhile I get to enjoy the benefit of the speed that I’m paying for from FIOS. It also means I have to rip out all the cables from my main PC setup. It’s a huge mess and screams “FIRE HAZARD!” just looking at it.

FIOS channel guide not updating?

I examined the logs for my visitors and noticed a couple of hits for the search “FIOS channel guide not updating”. When my FIOS was installed last week, I had that exact problem and here is what I found out.

Make sure your FIOS cable modem is working. Log into with the default admin password combination (look it up) and make sure that your set top boxes are listed.


See that column in the middle of the web page? That lists your PC and your set top boxes. On my installation they are labeled IP-STB1,2,3, etc. and they are all Connection Type: Coax.  The setup boxes need the FIOS Internet gateway to communicate via IP to Verizon and get the guide data. If they do not show up there then they are not getting any updates.

One of the Verizon people I spoke with mentioned that some people hardly use the Internet portion of FIOS and were not aware that the service needs both to work. After two weeks all the guide data was expired; once that customer switched on the Internet gateway the guide data came back.

Of course, that wasn’t my problem.  For me it was that the splitter installed in my cable line was not up to speed and was interfering with my set top boxes getting the guide data. The tech replaced the splitter and everything started working. That splitter was from my Cablevision installation and the first tech should have replaced it. No hard feelings and I’ve been enjoying the service including the ability to remotely schedule recordings.

What you get with FIOS

My Internet and TV viewing works well but for some reason the guide data is not being loaded onto the set top boxes. While I am waiting for the (hopefully) Monday morning fix to my TV guide data, here is what you get with FIOS.


1. A weather sealed FIOS box that performs the hand off from fiber to copper telephone line and cable TV. This was mounted on the outside of the house.

2. A battery backed UPS unit. This is solely for the Verizon FIOS box and it’s to maintain the phone line in the event of a power outage. The POTS lines are on a separate power circuit so when the town goes dark the phone lines still work. Since the fiber connection does not have electricity this is necessary so that the phones are always on.

3. A very cool cable modem with built in 802.11b/g wi-fi and 5 Ethernet ports (1 WAN and 4 internal LAN). This plugs into the cable line and provides a very complete turn-key solution.  I turned off the wi-fi since I already have a wireless network and don’t feel like redesigning my setup.  But for the non-technically savvy customers this is a good fire-and-forget solution.

4. And of course all the set top boxes.

Each of the set top boxes is assigned a DHCP address from this router on the network.  I connected  my Internet gateway to an Ethernet port and was also assigned a 192.168.1.x address.  I like to access my basement remotely so I setup TCP port forwarding on specific ports on the Verizon box to my gateway. Initially I had all ports forwarded but I narrowed it down to a few specific ports and it’s all working. I did have to change my ddclient.conf settings but that was very easy.

The setup boxes get their configuration data via the Internet router.  If the router goes dead, the TV signals will still work but the guide data will stop updating. No guide data means that the DVR is kind of pointless.

FIOS is a work in progress

595186561The phone is flawless and the Internet connection is amazing.  See the SPEEDTEST.NET results to the right.

I just have a small problem with my digital TV service.  At the moment I have no picture at all.  Earlier I had picture and all my channels but I did not have the channel guide.  An hour later, no channel guide and no picture.

I’m not really worried and here’s why: everyone I have dealt with on the phone or in person has been polite and professional. The installer arrived around 11 AM and wrapped up the install before 3:30 PM. He did mention that the programming data might take as long as Monday morning, but all the channels worked and I could live without the guide for a weekend.

I just got off the phone with Verizon and they are working on getting my service back.  I’ll see how it goes.

I want to believe (in FIOS that is)

Since Verizon messed up my order yesterday, they informed me that my order was set for 8 AM – 12 noon today.  That sucked but it was better than waiting till next week. And I have to dial into work around 10 AM today so what the heck, I’ll just go with it.

Before 8 AM I called and wanted to confirm that my installation was on track.  The person I spoke with was polite and professional and informed me that someone would call me back. I just got that call and my appointment is still on for today.

All day today. They can come at anytime today and screw the 12 noon thing.  Oh, but I’m not to worry since they “requested” that the install occur before noon. I informed the polite and professional lady that I’m not thrilled about being held hostage to Verizon’s schedule and that this is NOT what I was told yesterday.

This is how a solid service offering gets ruined.  I’m assuming that once I have FIOS installed it will be rainbows and sunshine but getting there is really amateurish on their part. First impressions are important because they set the customers expectations going forward. If they continue to mess up, I lose nothing by just canceling the order. As I mentioned yesterday I don’t have an axe to grind with Cablevision and the money I save with Verizon is not that significant.

I’m hoping that this afternoon I’ll be able to post how fast my new connection is and how happy I am with the service.

Getting FIOS installed today

Update: FIOS install delayed. Tomorrow is the new confirmed install date. Just like today was confirmed. Not a good way to start.

593958304[1]I’m currently on Optimum Online and I’m having FIOS installed in my house today.

It’s not that I have any real problem with Cablevision (I don’t) or have had support problems (Cablevision has always fixed any problems I had) I just feel like trying a new offering.  And I do save a few dollars each month even with the install. The contract time period doesn’t bother me so I’m a good candidate for moving to FIOS.

The graphic is from the SPEEDTEST.NET website.  When I have FIOS working I’ll post another test results.