The FiOS Chronicles

I will chronicle my experience with FiOS. I just got it installed yesterday. Verizon FiOS provides a fiber optic line right to the house. The technology has moved a rung down the social ladder. As a kid, I remember long distance telephone companies advertising that they now use whisper-quiet fiber optic lines, and now the end user has this technology.

I can’t believe I’ve gone to Verizon for my Internet, but there you go. A guy called and told me I could get 20mbps down, and 5 mbps up, upgradable to 20 mpbs up. That sounded great, plus telephone and television would all come on one bill. I love Speakeasy, but they have a nightmare accounting department, and I just can’t battle with them every month. Mom got FiOS and loves it, though of course we have very different computer usage patterns. I held my nose and entered the labyrinth of Verizon FiOS!

I wanted a static IP of course, since I actually do things. I also didn’t want any port restrictions, which a tech support person confirmed exist – port 80 outgoing and port 25 incoming. Nice. So beware: if you actually use your Internet connection for servers, you’ll want the business FiOS Internet, as opposed to the residential FiOS Internet. You will still want residential television and telephone services, however. This makes things nice and confusing. Originally, the guy pitching the promotion told me I could get all three for $145 or so. I asked about getting a static IP and he said I just had to call ahead of time. Wrong’o! I called over the weekend before the installation date, and they told me that I needed the business Internet. They had to cancel my original order, then make separate business and residential orders, then join them together on the same day, moving it back to the morning. So now with the services as described I pay around $200 for all three.

I feel amazed at the Internet speeds. The business connection gives a guaranteed speed, and it appears to deliver on that. The telephone sounds great. I worried that they’d just use some crappy Vo/IP, but they assured me that they use real fiber optics, suitable for data use even. I do feel worried that it has a battery backup, giving me eight hours of talk time. If the world comes to an end I won’t have telephone. It sounds great, noticeably better than copper. The same applies to the television, going from old-style Comcast crappy cable to fiber offers a vast improvement in audio. I don’t care about picture. I don’t care about HD! I feel absolutely overwhelmed with the television channels and can actually use the DVR to at least pause and rewind shows in real-time. This takes the stress away of missing your favorite show. Too bad as a blind user I can’t access the nifty neato functions which require using a menu. Come on, guys!

I do have to bring up another issue for tech savvy folk: the moronic router they tell you that you have to use. Don’t you believe it, though I still do as I write this, that may soon change. Sure it works, but I have already started getting errors going to one of my machines. I also had some trouble changing the initial admin password, which annoyed me, so we had to reset it, then reenter in everything, which necessitated a call to tech support. We had to enter in the info in the Ethernet as opposed to the Coax network, if that saves someone out there some trouble. I also felt confused by the port forwarding setup. Protocols have rules, and you have to configure it from the point of view of the router, i.e. you want to configure the incoming ports for most services. You then have to go and apply the rules, the protocol, then go back and select your protocol in the forwarding rule, then apply that and then apply your changes to the application which you have just applied. It always bothers me when designers

try to make something for advanced users so simple that a fool can use it, but obfuscate it so those of us who know what we want to do and how we want it done can’t. Give me some textfiles and a simple console interface any day!

Despite all this router monkey business, I definitely love the speeds I have started getting. I started downloading a 10GB torrent at around 1500KBPS at its peak! wow! amazing! I remember getting DSL for the first time, and a friend downloading music with Napster, and us feeling amazed that we’d get speeds around 100K. Now it has moved to the next level. Just watch that router, and to quote Hunter THompson: “Don’t take any gup from those swine!”