FiOS Impressions: The first 3 months

{ Posted on Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm by Steve }

It’s been three months now since I had Verizon Fios Installed. I am very happy with it compared to Comcast. The service is much better overall than I hoped it would be. But as with most things, you take the good with the bad. 

The internet portion of the Triple Play is very good. As stated in an older blog post, I have the 20mb download and 5mb upload tier. The speeds are great, and for the most part constant. Certain times of the day when Comcast would start to lag are pretty much non existent with my Verizon service. As much as I like the quality of the service there is one major problem…the hardware. The included Actiontec router is decent, but has some major flaws. I was lucky enough to get the Gen 2 (rev. E) version of the Actiontec hardware but it still has major problems. There is a NAT table limitation that practically makes the router useless. When trying to connect to torrents or even Steam server lists, you hit the connection limit and the router locks up. Usually closing out of the program will fix it, but sometimes a restart of the router is needed. The only way around this is to run ethernet cable through the house to where the router is placed.

By installation default, the ONT  is connected to the router via coaxial cable. Because of this, you need a router such as the Actiontec to take the MoCA connection. MoCA is needed to give IP Addresses to all of the set top boxes throughout the house. Like I said, I could run an ethernet cable through my house and up to the 2nd floor where the router is, but that is a lot easier said than done. If I ever feel like taking the time to do so I might, because then I could use my own router. Even if I use my own router (D-Link Dir-655) I would still need to connect the Actiontec to it for the MoCA bridge. Currently I have my D-Link connected into the Actiontec because the wireless signal is much better and everything wired here is gigabit.

As for the television portion…I couldn’t be much happier with the service. The picture quality is amazing. It’s quite obvious how much better the quality is of FiOS over Comcast. The channel lineup is great. Having over 100 HD channels is definitely nice. The Multi Room DVR works fairly well. The main problem once again though is the hardware. Thinking 

The Motorola boxes seem to have a problem with HDMI connections, primarily with Samsung televisions. Of course I only buy Samsung LCDs. I have 4 through the house in varying sizes all HD and connected to HD boxes. One of them in particular, of course the one with the Multi Room DVR, has a major problem when trying to connect to HDMI. The image blacks out frequently because the signal is lost and it takes a few seconds for it to work again. Also, after the latest firmware update (that I also blogged about) when using Component cables the signal is occasionally lost. It much less frequent and takes only a fraction of a second for it to return, but there is definitely a problem. It just sucks to see such dodgy hardware when the service itself is so great for both the TV and Internet.

Without a doubt I am happy to have made the switch from Comcast to Verizon. The cost is much less per month and the overall service is much better. If Verizon can fix the problems with the hardware I wouldn’t really have much of anything to complain about.

I hope this post helps answer any questions of those people who are thinking about switching. If you have any other questions or comments please post them below…


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18 Responses to “FiOS Impressions: The first 3 months”

  1. Kat says:

    Again, your knowledge base is impressive. I am sure that I would be thoroughly impressed with your skills if I had you come spend an afternoon at my house!

    Thanks for sharing, now to wait for FiOS to arrive in my neck of the woods!

  2. Duane says:

    The hardware is a bummer. At least the motorola boxes get the job done way better than those pesky scientific altantic boxes most cable providers use, and the interactive media guide is a lot better than anything from cable. I’ve seen some discussion on Dslreports.com about ditching the actiontec router, so that may be an option.

  3. Steve says:

    Yeah, I post over at dslreports occasionally. I know how to switch out the routers, but like I said, wiring an ethernet cable through my house to the ONT would be a major pain. A call to Verizon would be needed also, because it’s disabled by default. You need to call them and have them activate it.

    It wouldn’t be such a big problem, but the on demand content is web based, as is the guide data. So when the router locks up the on demand playback will stop working also.

  4. Rob Miracle says:

    I wish we had FiOS or AT&T’s Uverse here. I refuse to give Time Warner Cable a dime of my money and after the company I worked for dropped our free home (which sadly was TWC) I had to go to Earthlink which is still using TWC’s lines but I can tell myself I”m not paying TWC.

    As soon as we get a fiber option I plan to move to it. Thanks for the info.

    Rob

  5. daveedt says:

    I’m considering the FiOS triple pack installation. I have AT&T Internet/phone and Directv. It takes 4-5 seconds to change channels. I was told by people, here at work that it takes approx 1.5-2 seconds, between channels. I’ve heard all good things about Verizon, thus far. They’re offering a Free Netbook with the package. Can someone give me guidance, before I renew Directv or go to Cable…

  6. Steve says:

    I am very happy with the services from Verizon. They recently updated their bundles with faster internet speeds. You might want to look here on the Verizon Policy Blog at this post.

    That gives a little information regarding the free netbook also, and the taxes that would be included in receiving one.

    Currently, I wouldn’t even consider switching back to cable. FiOS is just too good to even think about it.

    I think you would be very happy switching over to a Verizon bundle.

  7. daveedt says:

    Steve…one more question. (im a techno-retard)….Will verizon be able to set me up with the wifi, for my laptop, plus my other computer? thanks for your replies…

  8. Steve says:

    When they do the initial install they will set up an Actiontec or Westell (depending on your location) router. They will want to wire the connection for the initial setup of the router. You will be given the information of the SSID and password for the wireless that is already enabled on the router when you get it. I wouldn’t have them do any of the actual setup of the WIFI on your individual computers because they are allowed to charge you for that. Connecting to the wireless itself will be fairly simple for you. Like I said though, the wireless on the Actiontec router they gave me was all set up. I use my own router though for wireless and disabled it on the Actiontec.

  9. JoeD says:

    Steve,
    Thanks for all the helpful information you and the others have posted here. I’m already with Verizon home phone and dsl for the internet but they are scheduled to come on Thursday to install & upgrade everything to the triple play FiOS (currently using Comcast HD) and while I’ve generally been excited about the upgrade, I now am quite a bit anxious over some of the comments I’ve seen regarding the SD picture quality being so poor.

    I do appreciate that FiOS has more HD channels but is the SD picture quality really noticeably “bad” as some have posted here? It is really causing me to have second thoughts about switching off the Comcast and committing to FiOS for two years.

  10. Steve says:

    The latest firmware update made the SD picture quality a little better from what I understand by sharpening it some. The newer boxes (7xxx series) that you will most likely get don’t seem to have those problems anyways.

    You can also try a few different settings to decide which is the best on your television. You can have SD override turned off and the box will do all of the scaling, or you can turn it on and let your tv do the scaling by setting it to show the SD channels in 480p or 480i.

    The SD quality is no worse than with Comcast. I personally think it is better, but I very rarely watch SD channels. We have about 130 HD channels now so I really don’t have much reason to watch SD often.

  11. JoeD says:

    Thanks very much. I sure appreciate hearing that from someone who knows what he’s talking about. You’ve got a great site here and I’ll be checking it often. Keep up the great work!

  12. Kenny Z says:

    My only issue with FIOS is the Percent Used on the Home Media DVR. If you look at the amount of time recorded and the amount available it is never right. I have seen other postings on some things to try and nothing seems to work. This has burned me a few times with things getting deleted because the system thinks it doesn’t have enough room. Hopefully one day it will get fixed.

  13. Kevin N. says:

    I find that cartoons look alot better on Fios, there is no scaling on the picture. We pull our SD channels out to full screen. I am on my third router, I don’t blame them entirely for that problem, I think they need to come up with a better provider for hardware.

  14. Chris says:

    Steve, thanks for all the info! I’m getting my FiOs installed on Sunday, and have a few questions. I am a bit leery about what you mentioned for torrents. Does that happen because of the wirelessness of the router? My main computer does not have a wireless card so it is hardwired to my current router. Will that stay the same, and not effect torrents?

    Thanks for all the advice you have posted. I am looking forward to the 60-70 more HD channels I currently have with Comcast.

  15. Steve says:

    Hey Chris, the same problems still apply to a wired connection. The issue doesn’t have anything to do with the wireless.

    You can still download torrents, just set the max connections to a reasonable amount and it won’t choke up the router quite as fast.

  16. Chris says:

    Thanks, so then it shouldn’t be a problem since I usually only have one torrent going at a time then?

  17. Steve says:

    It all depends on the torrent really. If there are thousands of people seeding and downloading then yeah, it’s possible. Like I said, just set the connection limit of the torrents fairly low. Around 200 or 300 seems to work fine. I can still max out the downloads with it set that way.

  18. Chip Dizard says:

    Just got the door hanger today about FIOS and I found your blog. I will be writing my review on my blog as well. I am tired of Comcast and I am ditching DirecTv as soon as these lines are out. Thanks for the posts!