Beware Verizon FIOS!

Discussion in 'Community' started by jsw, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Let me start by apologizing in advance to dial-up users, as you're already in a world of hurt and complaining about broadband isn't fair to you.

    Next, anyone with better than 2Mbps uploads can move on to another thread; you'll just jeer.

    For those of you who are jealous of Verizon FIOS (FIber Optic Service, or some such) users who have access to 15Mbps downloads and 2Mbps uploads, this might make you feel better.

    Verizon FIOS claims to have 5Mbps (or, for US$10/month more, 15Mbps) download speeds and 2Mbps upload speeds. As far as I can tell, this is accurate. I'm not complaining about the speeds; they're great.

    I'm also not complaining about the price. For about what Comcast charges here, you can either get much faster uploads or, for a bit more, vastly faster downloads.

    In fact, the first days I had FIOS, I was amazed. My upload speeds to my host for things like pics and home videos were fantastic. Blew me away.

    Then, the bad stuff became evident.

    First, Verizon blocks port 80 (and, I think, some others), so you cannot host sites in a trivial way from home. The ToS even explicitly says you can't host from home. Of course, I didn't thoroughly read the freaking ToS before getting the service. It had never been an issue before.

    Of course, you can get around this by hosting on other ports. It's a pain, but not a huge problem. I'm not talking about hosting a commercial site on a cheap plan. I'm talking about having family pics and vids available on a home server only a few people ever connect to. Yes, it's against the ToS, but I think that means the ToS is complete BS - I switched for the upload speeds, and the primary reason I'd use them (I don't use peer-to-peer stuff like BitTorrent) is to allow family and friends access to pictures, home movies, etc.

    So, that's a pain but not unmanageable. I could deal with it.

    The true pain is that FIOS switches IP addresses like a possessed monkey. While my Comcast IP was, technically, dynamic, I'm not sure it ever changed. If it did, it was very, very rarely. My FIOS IP changes - honestly - more than once a day. Some days, it makes it mostly through the day. Other days, it has switched four or more times. It's nuts.

    Why does this matter, you ask?

    Well, for one, it totally screws up VoIP. Not only can the call fall out from under you, but the epileptic fits the IP address throws make it hell on the router; often, it needs to be rebooted. In fact, I first thought I had a crap router and was annoyed that I needed to plug it into a timer so that, at night, it was off an hour in the middle of the night to force it to reboot (the timer I had had one hour increments, so it was the shortest time I could use). This started working (only because it latched onto the new IP), but then FIOS decided daily switches weren't enough. So now, often my phone works, but not always. Bastards.

    Second, it screws up uploads and downloads. Suppose I'm uploading a video I shot to my brother. Say it's 500MB - not exceedingly huge. Well, now, I can't always make it through before getting cut off. Also, if my brother's trying to SFTP something to me, it usually won't make it if it's fairly large because it doesn't survive the IP switch.

    Third, it's hard to connect in from outside (if, say, I'm on my PB and want to get a file from my PM) because, even though I use to have a dynamic IP address, and even though I have software installed on my PM (as well as that on the router), it changes so frequently that I often can't get the right IP to use to connect.

    Of course, by the time I figured all of this out (I got FIOS around the time my 2nd daughter was born, so I wasn't exactly alert or using the computer much for a while), it was past my 30 day trial period.

    I'm going to Finland for a week soon, then, once I return, I'm going to see just how much it'll cost me to switch back to Comcast, with whom I've had no problems in many years. I switched to FIOS only because the upload speeds were so much better. Well, there's a price to pay for that.

    If you're thinking of going to FIOS and don't want to fork out $$$ for a business-level plan, please reconsider unless you have no other options.

    If you're jealous of people with access to FIOS, don't be. It's better than dial-up, and probably better than low-speed "broadband", but anyone with even halfway decent broadband plans should not even begin to wish they had FIOS.

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