I finally got FiOS

I can’t write a review of it yet or anything, but the installers did, in fact, come yesterday and managed, more or less, to complete the installation. I must say that these installers were some of the most professional and friendly people you could every hope to meet. To say they knew exactly what they were doing would be an understatement. I cannot praise them enough. There were four installers, which seemed like a really smart move, since three of them worked on the wiring while one of them worked on mounting and testing the ONT (which turned out to be defective, though they had extras with them).

The installers were scheduled to arrive between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM. They arrived right on time at about 10:00 AM to look around the apartment before unloading and bringing their equipment inside. Unfortunately, Con Edison was digging up the street for some reason. Meanwhile, some other construction crew was digging up the street for an unrelated reason on the next block. It was bad timing because it meant that the Verizon installers didn’t have anywhere to park their truck. Since all of their equipment was in the truck it ended up taking an hour and a half for them to load it all up onto some handtrucks and wheel the stuff the several blocks from the truck to my building.

So if you include the time it took them to get the equipment from the truck to my place the whole installation took about 8 hours. But that’s not a complaint really, it wasn’t their fault that it took that long.

They actually finished most of what I expected to be the difficult bits of the installation in about an hour or two. That is, they ran fibre from the hole in the wall through which it enters the apartment to the place where they ONT was going to be installed. They finished that in about an hour. This was really where having four installers was a great idea, since three of them worked on running the fibre while one of them mounted the ONT, which presumably sped things up quite a bit.

Of course, I already had coax in all the rooms as well as in the hallway from Earthlink, so that also sped things up considerably (it was also cheaper since they may charge for running coax around an apartment, depending on what exactly they need to do). They actually got me a working Internet connection in only about two hours (four hours if you include the time spent waiting for them to get all their stuff into the apartment).

The rest of the time they spent doing various things, such as finding out that the ONT was somehow defective. I missed exactly how they figured that out, since the Internet connection had, at least, worked using the first one, but the guy said that one of the other installers had told him that he had performed some sort of test and that he had determined the ONT was no good. So they went ahead and got another one from the truck which was apparently working.

Once it was determined that the second ONT was working, it was just a matter of connecting it to the existing coax. Setting up the set top boxes was very easy; as soon as they were connected to the coax they did some sort of automatic activation procedure that took about ten minutes per box (had to restart that procedure for one of the boxes). I wasn’t actually required to do anything for the activation; the STBs just did it automatically without any user interaction being necessary. Afterward they all worked fine.

There are three telephone lines here. Two should be POTS and one should be what I think is called “FiOS Digital Voice”, which, to the extent that I understand it, is similar to VOIP but it never actually leaves the Verizon network, so it’s not exactly ever reaching the Internet. In any case, the digital one worked as soon as they replaced the bad ONT with the good ONT, but that’s the fax line. The two other lines are for voice calls. They didn’t work while the installers were still here. The installers said that it was not a problem with the setup here in the apartment or with the ONT but rather a bureaucratic issue that can only be fixed by someone essentially “turning on” the two telephone lines by changing some records in a database somewhere and that I should more or less just wait and see what happens. Though I was skeptical at first, the installer said to call him directly if the phone lines didn’t start working some time tomorrow (since by that point it was ~5:00 to 6:00 PM) since he could get through to the proper department that could make the fix more easily than I could. Sure enough, the phones did start working this morning. At this point the only thing that is not working is caller ID.

Now for the most important part: the speed tests. When the installer did a test using Verizon servers he got about 42Mbps downstream and I think 40Mbps upstream. Now that’s obviously amazing, but it wasn’t a proper speed test since it never left the Verizon network. Actual tests that I’ve been doing to non-Verizon servers are much lower. I like this website called Speed Guide, since it lets you look at results from other people based on hostname. So, for example, if I wanted to only see speed test results from FiOS customers in and around the New York City area, I could filter the search results to only view speed tests from people with RDNS ending in “nycmny.fios.verizon.net”. It also lets you save your own speed test history, so now I can look back at my results from my ADSL connection and marvel at how I didn’t kill myself. The top six tests below were from yesterday, right after the installers left at around 6:00 PM.

FiOS Speed Test

The nwrknj tests were not done with my connection. They were done elsewhere with a 15Mbps/5Mbps connection.

So I wasn’t getting the best results even when I used the New York test server. At other speed test sites I was getting mixed results, which were often much better than my results at any of the SG servers. I got carried away and ended up taking 40 speed tests at speedtest.net using servers in various places around the world. I was really surprised at the 42Mbps download speed from Nuuk, Greenland.

The router they gave me was an Actiontec MI424 WR Rev. F. It seems fine so far. They even let me keep my old ADSL modem/router that they initially gave me when I got the ADSL connection, not that I have any use for it now.

Torrent upload speeds vary. I have not yet hit 4MB/s, as I should theoretically be able to do based on some of the speed test results I’m getting. I did hit 1.7MB/s upload once though. The fastest I have uploaded to a single peer so far was 800KB/s to another FiOS customer in Syracuse, NY, but I’ve also managed to upload to a few Japanese peers at a sustained ~700KB/s. I still think that I need to do some reconfiguring of my client, such as increasing the maximum number of peers I connect to per torrent and the number of upload slots per torrent.

I’m not sure how uTP will work with this router yet. It always crashed the old Westell ADSL modem/router as well as my Linksys WRT54G with DD-WRT. I haven’t gotten around to trying uTP yet since I tend to have it turned off in uTorrent by habit.

All in all, I’m really very pleased with this.

UPDATE: Oct. 20 at ~4:00 PM caller ID started working. Now there’s not a thing at all that’s not working properly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *