I can't say I've had major problems with Comcast Internet, but we did have a lot of problems with their VOIP service, so since we were switching back to Verizon for voice, I decided the switch the Internet access also. At the low end, it's $10.00 a month cheaper than Comcast, though we lose the bundled discount for having all three (voice, tv and Internet) with Comcast, so it will probably end up about the same. On the horizon, Verizon will be offering TV over FIOS soon, so if this all works out we may not have Comcast at all.
There was plenty of confusion about whether we could get FIOS. I've seen Verizon trucks in the neighborhood laying fiber, but my neighbor said that a Verizon rep stood in their front yard and told them flat out that FIOS wouldn't be here for a year or more. Maybe he thought they were asking about TV, because when we called, they immediately scheduled an appointment.
The tech actually showed up the evening prior. He said he'd finished up early at his other jobs and wanted to just get the line run to the house and that he'd be back at 9:30 AM unless some emergency came up.
The line they run is pre-fabricated and of course they only have certain lengths with them. The back of the box that they mount on your house is actually mostly empty: it's for winding up the extra wire not needed to reach the house. He did that much and then left.
The next morning he arrived at 9:20. I kidded him for being "late". He finished up the rest of the installation, including a battery backup unit in the garage. This is time consuming stuff: it was a good three hours all together.
As it happens, my office is right where all the phone and utility wires enter the house, so he drilled a hole through and installed an ethernet jack at the baseboard. That wasn't quite where I wanted the router, but I have plenty of long patch cords, so I put it where I wanted it. The tech said he could have made a cable for me if I wanted him to. However, he didn't have CAT-5 testing equipment (and I didn't want to dig out mine) , so I said I'd stick with my cable.
The router is a D-Link AirPlus Extreme G (DI-624). At defaults, it has an address of 192.168.0.1 and hands out DHCP addresses starting at 100. For some strange reason, my MacBook couldn't get an IP address from it, so I manually programmed 192.168.0.2 and accessed it with Firefox. The tech then told me I needed to go to "https://activatemyfios.verizon.net". I did, but it immediately barfed, telling me I needed Safari. I switched to that, and it downloaded some program which led me through creating an account.
I don't know if this was really necessary. It looks to me like most of that is just assigning an email account - I don't know if it actually does anything else (though it might register your router with them also). I'm not using their email, so I probably could have skipped that part.
The first thing I did was change the default passwords - it has two accounts, "admin" and "user" with "password" as the default. Next I changed it to match my existing internal LAN addresses. The MacBook still didn't want to claim an address until I rebooted, but it was fine after that. I told the tech I was happy, and he left.
I then locked down the wireless access. I found it interesting that the "Wizard" leaves the wireless wide open - it does offer to do encryption, but of course asks for hex digits: will Joe Consumer understand that? Probably not, so he'll get a wide open, unencrypted network. Shame on Verizon, but no doubt everyone else is just as bad.
The MacBook wasn't happy with wireless unless I rebooted with the LAN unplugged. That's unusual behavior, but it got worse. I had to reboot the Mac because of some new Apple patches, and the MacBook complained that its IP was already in use. That IP was in fact being used at my wife's machine, but I couldn't persuade the Mac to give up the idea that it wanted it. To fix this, I had the router assign specific addresses to each Mac address and it's been no problem since then.
I went with the low speed offering: 5 Mbps/2 Mbps. They also have 15/2 and 30/5 (always remembering that it is "up to", of course). I tested at dslreports.com and got 4919/1780 at 2:30 in the afternoon, which is pretty close.
But wireless remains difficult. Wireless always worked with my Linksys WAP, but it's very troublesome with this D-Link. I can make it work (by rebooting), but it's apt to go away or not come up at all. I don't use wireless all that often, but it is nice to work on the porch sometimes, so I may just disable this puppy's wireless and hook up the Linksys again. Come to think of it, I can probably put back my original router.. I just called and checked, yep, no problem. Which also means that they don't register or record anything about the router. I mentioned the wireless problem to the tech when I called; I could almost see him shrug his shoulders like he'd heard it a hundred times before.
Oh well. Life is never perfect, is it?
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2012-07-12 Anthony Lawrence
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