Made the decision to switch from my current cable TV and ISP provider to Verizon FIOS (Triple Play offer). I originally noticed this past February that Verizon was working on the telephone pole in the front of my house. He said FIOS was coming to my area in about 6 weeks, I had already signed up on Verizonís web site to notify me via email when FIOS was available, 6 weeks came an went, no notification via email or in my phone bill. So in late April I called Verizon and they said FIOS was available, they gave no reason why I wasnít notified.
I signed up for the two year package which included a $200 dollar American Express gift card as part of the package. I turned down the Security Suite option since I already have more than enough AV, Spyware, Rootkit detection and other malware software and I didnít need other package that might conflict which what I have running already.
I was scheduled for the install in two weeks, told them not to show up before 10:30AM. I had numerous reminders via phone and email that the scheduled install would be between 8AM and 12:00 Noon on the date specified. Each time I called them back to remind them of the not before 10:30AM request, each time they had no record of my previous request. Finally a day or two before the install date they called again and this time it was the group that actually does the installation so I again reminded them and this time they agreed to the time I requested.
Installation day is here, really bad weather outside; electric power goes out around 10:15AM and not scheduled to be restored until 4PM according to the electric company. Around 15 minutes later the FIOS guy shows up, I inform him of the power outage but he does string the Fiber line from the pole to my house and installs the outside box (called an ONT), which is where the fiber cable ends. Inside my house they use the existing phone wiring, TV and Internet cables. Two addition boxes are mounted inside the house right next to where my existing Internet cable enters, one of which is a battery backup unit used to provide phone service for about 6 hours should I loose electric service like I did today. Without AC power he has no choice but to stop work, he does leave his cell phone number I should get power restored before 6PM. Power does come back on at 6:15PM so I had to reschedule the remaining work, earliest date is two weeks from today.
Sure enough, two weeks later heís back (different person); completion of the work goes smoothly. The TV works fine, picture quality is far better than Comcast. Phone service is switched to FIOS, with a battery backup (in case I loose electric) unit that lasts for about 6 to 7 hours with one hour reserve for emergency use.
Internet service was specified as 20Mb download and 5.0Mb per second upload. I did not expect to get this speed as my network card was rated at 10Mbps which was more than enough for 6Mbps I received from Comcast. As it turned out the best the install technician could get was about 6.5Mb/4.5Mb, he made a call to his support group and the end result was that they have a problem somewhere between the Central Office and my house.
Overall score for Install Technician is an A+ as they took the time to answer each and every question I asked, they explained what they were doing and why. They did not do a rush job but took the time that was needed. Only down side was the slow internet connection speed which could not be fixed due to the Central Office issue.
Two days later the phone rings but I canít get to the phone in time, notice it was from Verizon, I call them back immediately. Their Tech. Support group shows no record of who or why the call was made to my house or for that matter did not have any record of the reported issue with FIOS service from the Central Office to my house.
So I start over with Tech Support, spent more than an hour on the phone trying different things including their ďSpeed OptimizerĒ utility. I explained that the network card was only rated for 10Mbps but that 8.5 to 9.5Mbps should be obtainable and not just the 6.5Mb I was currently getting. They agree I should be able to get better speed and ship me a replacement modem/router.
The replacement modem/router arrives first, both modem/router units are the same ActionTec model, but the replacement unit has a slightly larger case and no Verizon logo. Again I work with Verizon Tech. support to get the modem to be recognized as a valid connection, this takes several tries before an Internet connection could be established, but the replacement unit is actually slower than the one that was originally installed. Both units also lack one feature that the Comcast model had, a kill button that keeps power on but disconnects the PC from the Internet, in my old setup it kills the connection to my external router, which is no longer needed or in use as the ActionTec modem is also a four port router. I used this kill button (as an extra measure of protection) prior to shutting down the PC and did not enable the internet connection until after I logged on to my account the next day. This way my AV software and firewall were up and running prior to establishing a connection to the Internet.
The new Network card arrives the next day. First I create an image backup of the drive partition that Windows XP is installed on. Next I download the latest drivers for the card, shutdown the PC and remove the old Network card and install the Intel card. Reboot the PC, run the installation wizard and bingo Ö Windows needs to be reactivated, this is one piece of hardware that Windows does not like to be changed! Activation goes smoothly so that Image backup I made of the Windows partition is not needed.
Speakeasy reports between 18.5 and 19.5 download and 4.5Mbps upload speeds. Downloading Windows SP3 several times each day over the next several days results in a fairly consistent speed of 18.5 Mbps.
Note that using Verizonís Speed Optimizer did help in achieving a small increase in getting the best speed out of the new Network card. Windows task manager shows my CPU is 100% utilized, so I suspect if I had a faster processor my speed would have been even better. I reported this information to Verizon and shipped back the extra modem/router using the prepaid UPS shipping label.