Verizon Fios - an update

Alan Percy : The SIP Invite
Alan Percy
| Observations by Alan D. Percy on VoIP enabling technology, industry and our personal reach for success.

Verizon Fios - an update

verizon_fios_250.jpgOkay, time to update you on how my migration over to Verizon Fios has gone so far.

Just a little background on the situation here: I work primarily from my home office in Orchard Park, NY in a neighborhood that was built in the mid-70's (pre cable and definitely pre- fiber-to-the-home aka FTTH).  When moving in seven years ago, I had then-Adelphia cable broadband, Verizon wireline phone and DirecTV for television.  A bit of a mish-mash of disconnected parts, but it worked (most of the time).  
  • Here in snow country, we regularly lost DirecTV due to ice and snow on the dish.
  • The long cable run between my house and the nearest telephone pole causes problems with the broadband internet incurring day-long outages that seemed to stymie Adelphia.  
  • The aging analog phone lines I used for both my wife's and my home office were noisy, which interfered with our frequent long conference calls and webinars.
  • To save money on the infrequently-used home phone I switched it over to Vonage about a year ago, which I must say has worked out really well.
So, when the Verizon trucks rolled through town this winter and installed the conduit and fiber infrastructure for Fios, I was literally first on the block to sign-up.

ONT.JPGInstallation started with broadband internet and two phone lines.  This went pretty smooth with mounting the Optical Network Termination (ONT) in the basement and a WiFi-enabled router.  Cut-over to the new 20Mbps broadband was literally as easy as moving an RJ-45 plug from one router to the other.  Frankly the hardest part was untangling all the old wires and moving them to the new router!  After a reboot of the computers in the house and the Vonage gateway, everything was back up and running.

Getting the phone lines configured correctly took a couple calls to Verizon.  I have my office line forward to my cell phone after three rings or if I'm on the phone and it took a couple support reps to understand how to configure the new switch correctly.  End result after one day - faster internet, no more noise on the phone lines and everything is working perfect

Router.JPGIt took a couple calls to get the guys to come back and bury the fiber-optic cable that laid across my lawn.   Frankly, it was a race between my 13 year-old son that mows our lawn and the Verizon crew.  Was my son going to mow over the cable and cut it to shreds or was Verizon going to bury it first?  Fortunately, Verizon won.

DTV_3D_DIRECTV_WHITE.jpgRemember that I was on DirecTV?  I loved the service and the new HD DVR, but we were averaging $85/month and still suffering from weather-related outages.  So when I caught wind that the town of Orchard Park finally signed the franchise agreement with Verizon to allow them to offer FiosTV, guess who called Verizon the same day to order Fios TV service?  Me.

Installation day for the TV started with a really nice technician surveying the coax TV cabling that already ran through my house and making a few quick additions for Fios.  He was able to add a splitter next to the entry point where the four DirecTV cables came from the dish outside and headed out to the three different rooms where we had TVs.  All the old DirecTV set top boxes were pulled out and set aside with new Motorola devices going in their place.  Lots of cables for our HD TV and audio system in the family room - component video, optical audio (5.1) connects between the DVR and my audio receiver. One surprising connection was between the TV cable and a coax jack on the back of the router - I later found out that the STBs use this to access the program guide information and relay purchases back to Verizon.  End of this day - and the TVs all worked and I was ready to figure out the new Motorola set top boxes and DVR features.

Now things get interesting.....

Later that same evening, I turn on the TV, DVR and audio system to find a great picture, but no sound.  Okay, what changed?  Cables are all okay and my receiver is showing the optical input is active, but still no sound!?!  Go to the DVR and start digging through menus - settings - sound - all of a sudden the sound comes back.  But I didn't change anything!?!  Weird.  Next time the DVR gets turned on, same result.  Okay this is screwy.  After doing some trial and error, I find out that upon power-up, the DVR doesn't activate the optical output for sound, you need to go to the menu each time to activate it.  Bug!  Unplug the optical cable on the audio system and live with just stereo sound for now.

Next day - the STB in the basement shows all dashes on the screen and no picture.  Now what?  Unplug, reboot, call Verizon and they send out a technician.  Remember that splitter in the basement?  One of the ports died.  It took him most of an hour to find a .99 broken splitter.

So at this point, I've had three separate visits from Verizon techs and finally have almost everything working, but still learning the ins and outs of the new DVR and STBs.  More on this in the next posting.....

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1 Comment

Hi Alan,

Not exactly, "it just works", eh?

I expect to do something like this when Verizon gets around to ripping up the streets in my neigborhood to put in FIOS. My current setup is Comcast internet, Verizon TDM phone and Dish Network. Dish has been pretty good, with few weather related outages, but it isn't cheap.

It will be interesting to see how this works for you going ahead.

I gather that you are still using Vonage?


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