Saturday, February 14, 2009


This post is coming to you from a super-fast Fiber Optic internet connection. It won't make things any quicker at your end, I know, but hopefully me having faster upload times will encourage me to post more frequently, more imaginatively and with more photos. Lets start by recalling the process of having FiOS installed.

The 3Mbps down and 1Mbsp up I was getting with DSL was probably sufficient for my needs, but then Verizon screwed up my account and I got stuck with 768Kbps which really sucked. Then my landline inexplicably packed in and I decided it was time to upgrade to the 21st century. I canceled all my previous Verizon services and signed up for FiOS online. I was pleasantly surprised to find that a technician was available two days later to come set up the service. He arrived right in the middle of his allotted window, at 3pm. I showed him around the house and he seemed to think it would be a simple job getting me hooked up.

The thing with FiOS is that they don't tell you about all the hardware you're going to need until you already confirmed your order. The next thing you know, you get an email that explains what you have to do before the technician arrives. This includes running Verizon's virus and spyware scanner on your PC, and also finding a location in your home for the terminal power source. You see, the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) they install has to plug into a regular three-pronged outlet. This turns out to be a tricky proposition since the obvious place to put the ONT is where your existing telephone terminal is, but since telephone don't need a power supply, the telephone terminals usually aren't conveniently located near an outlet. I get the feeling that how smoothly your installation goes depends on how inventive your technician is. I sussed out the situation a little beforehand, and with my suggestion and his ingenuity, we came to an easy solution that looked like it would work well.

Dude set to work installing the power supply and battery backup in our bedroom closet. He did a really nice job of stapling the power cord to the base board and up to the outlet. That accomplished be went out and installed the ONT on the back wall. I was quite impressed that he took the old AT&T terminal off, since the evidence suggested that all previous technicians had left old, obsolete hardware in place. He used an existing Coaxial run to get from the ONT to the router. I realized too late that the router didn't need to be in the bedroom as well, but dude had seen the coax there and I guess jumped at the chance to make the install job as easy as possible for himself.

Once it was all hooked up, we connected my laptop to the router with an Ethernet cable and begun the software side of the installation. Dude plugged a USB dongle in to run the setup program. I respected the fact that the technician unselected most of the dumb stuff that Verizon tries to install on your computer at this point. It went really smoothly, and the router comes WEP enabled so that reduces the hassle of trying to set up wireless security yourself. Once the internet connection was up and running the job was done and dude went on his merry way. I made sure to ask some ambiguous questions about what would happen if certain items were powered down, just so I could play around with them if I wanted. This morning I moved the router to my office, which involved opening the ONT and swapping over the coax. I had to go under the house to find the right cord, and was shocked to discover that dude had screwed my crawlspace hatch shut. Not only that, but he had snipped off the head of the screw, making it virtually impossible for me to open the hatch. I don't know if this is common practice, but it pissed me off. In the process of trying to open the door, I snapped the handle off, but in the end my tenacity and a variety of levers got me in.

I was very please to find that once I hooked everything back up and powered on the router, my connection was instantly restored. All my other experience with cable company-supplied router is that they are totally unreliable. Verizon supplied the Actiontec MI424, which I've never heard of, and is kinda big and ugly, but as long as it works. I can probably find someone to give my old D-link router to.

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