Yesterday I got the basic Verizon Fiber Optic Service (FIOS) installed at my house. The installation took about 10 hours to complete, primarily because the installer hung the cable too low over my street and had to start over after I complained, and he initially did not have a backup battery for the power supply and had to come back in the evening to finish.
2 things that stand out so far:
1. Performance is horrible. I am supposed to get 5Mbps download and 2Mbps upload speeds. In reality, I get something between 500kbps and 3.5 Mbps down and 50 kbps (!) and 100 kbps up. I troubleshooted my network thoroughly and can say with confidence that the problem is on the provider’s end. There is obviously something wrong and Verizon is trying to figure out where. Latency is abysmal – pings to Yahoo.com using the router’s internal diagnostic tool take 3000 ms and more to return, which is an eternity. Pings to my default gateway take over 1000 ms on average.
Tracing route to L100.VFTTP-45.BSTNMA.verizon-gni.net [184.108.40.206]
over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 1 ms <1 ms <1 ms Wireless_Broadband_Router.home [10.10.2.1]
2 619 ms 1352 ms 1177 ms L100.VFTTP-45.BSTNMA.verizon-gni.net [220.127.116.11]
A reverse trace also shows that the last hop takes a very long time:
traceroute to pool-71-184-141-242.bstnma.fios.verizon.net (18.104.22.168): 3-30 hops, 38 byte packets
3 rtr-dmz1-ger.slac.stanford.edu (22.214.171.124) 0.558 ms (ttl=253)
19 P15-0.LCR-02.BSTNMA.verizon-gni.net (126.96.36.199) 83.0 ms (ttl=239!)
20 P15-1.LCR-04.BSTNMA.verizon-gni.net (188.8.131.52) 219 ms (ttl=239!)
21 P1-0.VFTTP-45.BSTNMA.verizon-gni.net (184.108.40.206) 84.7 ms (ttl=110!)
....) 1441 ms (ttl=46!) !A
2. The hardware that was deployed in my house is impressive. There is a big box on the exterior wall with the fiber terminal and a somewhat smaller box on the electric panel in the basement with the power supply and the backup battery. The Actiontec MI424-WR router/wireless AP/4-port switch is 5 times the size of my Westell DSL router. The router is connected to the fiber terminal via Coax cable, i.e. there is no fiber in my house. I kept the router out of sight in the basement, since I will not use the wireless option. What all this will do to my electric bill remains to be seen.
Many people reported problems with FIOS and any 3rd party VoIP service. Despite forwarding all ports and protocols to the external IP of my Cisco Pix firewall and setting security to low, I was still unable to receive phone calls through my Lingo VoIP service. I had to shut down the Actiontec firewall entirely to make that work. I also turned off the DHCP and DNS features. This is fine, since there is nothing in the DMZ and I prefer the Pix (more difficult to configure initially, but zero migration effort when I changed my Internet service). I run DNS on Windows Server.
Because of the network latency, VoIP is still unusable. Callers are unable to understand me.
Note to self: after restoring the router’s default configuration, security must be enabled for the WAN connection. Otherwise the router will not connect to the ISP.
So far I have little reason for excitement about the product. Since so many others love the FIOS service and the speed, I can’t but assume that my problems will eventually be resolved. The only question is, when.
Update 4/26: It took 2 days and 3 calls with tech support for someone to figure out that my account was missing the service configuration. In other words, the information about the available bandwidth was not there. Once this was fixed, everything is working fine at nominal speed.
FIOS and 3rd party VoIP service
Even with the full bandwidth, my Lingo VoIP service was unable to receive incoming calls. Outgoing calls worked fine. A call to Lingo tech support resolved the problem. Verizon seems to be blocking the default VoIP port 5060. The rep was able to change the port of my Lingo DTS (Mediatrix 2102) remotely to 5065. I opened the new port on the Pix, recycled the Lingo device (through the admin interface – no need to unplug the power cord), and I was back in business.
Another note to self: I upgraded the Actiontec firmware to version 220.127.116.11.45.160, which no longer requires the security flag to be turned on – it is enabled by default.
Unfortunately, this version, which is branded for Verizon, keeps the administration interface exposed to the world on port 8080, despite the fact that I had disabled the feature. I did not like a few other things as well and I eventually reverted back to the original firmware version 18.104.22.168.45.120..