| Review by jdmurray |
member for 12.2 years, 862 visits, last login: 9 days ago
updated 2.3 years ago
- Huntington Beach,Orange,CA
- $60 per month
- (12 month contract)
- about 23 days
- "It's sure a lot faster than frame relay DSL over copper"
- "It took a very long time and a lot of effort to get it running properly"
- "Really good availability at the advertised speed for a somewhat reasonable price"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
What other options did you consider for broadband?
I've had Verizon's copper DSL for nearly ten years with Flashcom, SurfCity, and HyperSurf as my ISPs. Verizon installed FiOS in my neighborhood in 2007, but I didn't like the packages and prices, so I never subscribed. In late 2009, I discovered that I could have FiOS installed and DSL Extreme (DSLX) as my ISP, so I jumped on it.
What SPEED/package did you order, at what monthly price?
Ultra 20M/20M residential fiber service for only $60/mo from DSLX. This is a much better bargain over my old 1.5M/512K copper DSL service for $33/mo.
How was the order & install process?
The installation and installers were great. The subcontractor that ran the fiber from the junction in the street to my house was very proud of the drill they used. No trenches needed to be dug in my yard, and the fiber was run to my side yard without me needing to be home. The patches in the street are very clean, and they removed all their spray paint from my walkways and driveway. A very professional job.
The Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) installation of the ONT and router did require my presence to let the Verizon installer into my garage. The whole process took about 2.5 hours. A very clean installation, but I wish the coax inside my garage was a little longer. The 2' run out of my wall doesn't leave me with many options for positioning the router.
The installation of the fiber and CPE cost me nothing.
What brand/model was the supplied equipment?
The original router installed was a Westell 9100EM. Due to troubleshooting (explained below), an Actiontec MI424WR was what I ended up with.
What good or bad experiences most struck you?
Getting actual, full-speed connectivity over the Verizon network was a nightmare. I have friends who had DSLX/FiOS installed in their residences and they had full service immediately. I still had no service 18 hours after the installation, and only a yellow Internet light on my router. I called DSLX tech support and they said that, "Technically, Verizon has 24 hours to turn on their service." With still no service after 24 hours, I called DSLX back and, after eventually talking with a Verizon guy, they blamed it on some sort of "72-hour outage" occurring in the Verizon network, and that was causing my connectivity problem. This didn't give me a good feeling about the reliability of FiOS, but residential customers don't have an SLA, so I waited.
72 hours later, I called back DSLX/Verizon and reported that the Internet light on my router was now green, my router now had a DCHP address from the WAN, and could ping its gateway, but I had no connection to the DNS servers, and I could not ping any hosts on the Internet by their IP address. It took Verizon several more days to fix why I couldn't get out on to the Internet, and I have no idea what the problem was. Anyway, I was now able to ping the likes of yahoo.com. However, I now had a new problem: the fiber connection speed was worse than dial-up!
I called back DSLX/Verizon and the Verizon tech now decided that because no one else in my area was complaining about poor connectivity, either my brand new, fresh-out-of-the-box router, or ONT, was bad. The router was the easiest to replace, so they shipped me out one; it arrived four days later. I replaced my Westell 9100EM with an Actiontec MI424WR, but it could not get a DCHP address from the WAN. The Verizon tech didn't realize that the ONT is keyed to the MAC address of the router, and that the ONT needed to be reprogrammed for the MAC address of the new router. I could have fixed this by cloning the old router's MAC to the new router, but the ONT is apparently easy to re-provision from the network side. My new router's Internet light finally went green, but my connectivity was no better.
I again called back DSLX/Verizon and another Verizon tech perform very lengthy tests and concluded that my CPE was likely not the problem (as far as he could tell). He put in a trouble ticket to "The Juniper guys" and I waited for several days. During that time, I received numerous "try your connection now" voice mails and emails from DSLX, but the problem was never corrected.
Finally, exactly two weeks after my CPE was installed, Verizon fixed the problem and dslreports.com now displayed blazingly fast in FireFox. I ran a Java-based speed test from a direct-wired PC and got approximately 19000/15000Mbps, where before the dslreports speedtest Web page would never come up. What most DSLX/FiOS customers experience immediately from their new fiber connections only took me two weeks from the installation--or 23 days from when I placed my order--and many late night/early morning hours on with telephone tech support to achieve.
Here are a few technical things to note for people thinking of the DSLX/FiOS combo:
Verizon owns the FiOS network and totally controls OSI layers 1 through 4. DSLX is only a bit of fluff on top that handles layer 7 stuff, like passwords and email addresses. DSLX techs can do very little for real network problems and must enlist the aide of Verizon techs for this.
You cannot get tech support by calling Verizon directly. If you do, you will be told that a DSLX representative must always be on the line because you are a DSLX customer, not a Verizon customer. You must call DSLX tech support and suffer through the questions and on-hold time to be connected to the Verizon peiople that can actually troubleshoot and solve your connectivity issues. (I can still hear DSLX's Windham Hill on-hold music in my brain.)
You cannot get meaningful reports via email of your trouble ticket status from DSLX--even though they say they will give you such. They want to talk with you on the phone; through email you will only receive form letters. In my experience, DSLX tech support does not respond personally through email at all.
All of the DSLX phone tech support people that I dealt with (at least eight) were courteous and knowledgeable. The Verizon techs were very good too, but varied considerably in their understanding of how Verizon CPE works (e.g., router capabilities, MAC authentication between router and ONT, how DHCP works).
And my story does not end there...
My Actiontec router on its 2-foot coax leash does me little good in my garage, so I bought a Linksys WRT610N to blast 802.11g/n throughout my house using WPA/WPA2-PSK/AES. I had read that the Actiontec MI424WR can be put into bridge mode, allowing the Linksys to DHCP with the Verizon network directly. However, Verizon does not support this configuration, so their techs will not help you in this regard. The thread on this subject at dslrepots.com (»How-to: make ActionTec MI424-WR a network bridge) was of great help, but there are a few things I needed to discover on my own to get it working:
Clone the MAC address of the Linksys to be the MAC address of the Actiontec so the ONT will talk directly to it.
Change the MAC address of the Actiontec so there will not be two devices with the same MAC address on the network to jumble the APR tables. (I simply incremented the last octet of the MAC.)
Cable the Internet (WAN) port of the Linksys to the switchport of the Actiontec.
You do not need to setup the Actiontec to be a DHCP relay.
I'm not sure why, but over my home wireless connection, the dslreports Java speedtest will report the upload speed is twice that of the download speed (e.g., 7500/15000).
More updates to follow as I test this DSLX/FiOS combo over the next three months before shedding my slow, Verizon Frame Relay DSL for good.
UPDATE (18 July 2010):
I received DSL Extreme's "Verizon has opted to discontinue our long term Fiber contract..." email on 21 June 2010. After reviewing the DSLReports.com forums, there seems to be no solutions to this other than choosing Verizon as my ISP to keep my fiber Internet, or staying with DSL Extreme and backing down to copper DSL. I have never needed more than 5/5Mbps for Internet, so if I can near get that with DSL Extreme then I'll stay. I've heard that Verizon is rather Draconian" in their ISP policies, and as to what Internet services they allow their non-business customer to run. I'd like to have the freedom to run whatever services I like on the Internet, and will highly favor any ISP that allows me to do so.
UPDATE (20 January 2011):
Yesterday, I successfully negotiated the switchover from DSL Extreme to Verizon Internet Services while keeping my FiOS service. The actual transition was very quick and painless with only a brief loss of Internet service during the day while nobody was at home (except for my servers, and they handled it well). However, is was a bit of a game getting the switchover scheduled.
I originally contacted DSLX to schedule my transition to VIS. They said that I would need to contact Verizon to schedule the actual switchover, but I would need to formally request from DSLX that my service be canceled too. I contacted Verizon and scheduled the switchover to occur at midnight. The next morning I was still on DSL Extreme (my service speed was still 20/20Mb and not 15/5Mb as available from VIS). I received a call from Verizon saying the switchover didn't occur because I hadn't yet canceled my service with DSLX. I guess neither the representative from DSL Extreme nor Verizon knew there was a specific order that must be followed in the switchover (yes, I felt like I was the only DSLX customer doing this).
I contacted DSLX and the rep directed me to the Web site link where to submit a cancellation request (/cancel). The rep also told me that it takes TWO WEEKS to process a cancellation request, but most go through in 7-8 DAYS! I put a comment in the cancellation request form explaining my situation and asking for ASAP service. I was never contacted by DSLX, but two days later I received an email indicating that my DSLX service would be canceled that day (no time given).
I called Verizon FiOS support and asked that my service be switched after midnight, but by the time I got home that day the switchover had already occurred (as verified by DHCP addresses and speedtest.net).
Here are a few tidbits that might help others in this process:
Cancel your DSLX service BEFORE having Verizon switch you to VIS. You don't need to wait for your DSLX service to be terminated before contacting Verizon.
If you call DSLX tech support and ask to be canceled, they will direct you to the sales office, which is only open during weekday business hours (800-774-3379 if you want to try).
The person you talk to in the DSLX sales office will only direct you to the cancellation link on their Web site (which you will need to log in to).
You must call Verizon FiOS service and not Verizon DSL service or tech support. There is no hot-line that I found, so 888-553-1555 is your best hope (better than 866-868-9367 or 800-483-3000).
Write down your "Master Order Number" when Verizon gives it to you. Having this number will get you the quickest service when you need to call back Verizon about your switchover.
I've been on Verizon Internet Services for less than 24 hours now, but all of my servers and Roku box are working exactly the same as with DSLX. This is the last update for my DSLX review, so look to my future VIS review for further updates.