Your All Inclusive Guide to Cincinnati Bell Fioptics Hello all, I would like to welcome you to my all inclusive guide for Fioptics.
After a long struggle to get things installed properly at my location I learned quite a lot about the deployment of fioptics and the way the services are installed by the techs versus the way it could(and should) be installed. So my intent is to put would be customers as well as current customers in the know about what they have installed (or will have installed) in their homes and how also they can avoid the common issues and also how to resolve some of their current standing issues.
To Begin there are terms that I am going to use that might confuse you but the remedy to that is to explain them here so that we are on the same page once you start reading through this.
Different types of fiber Deployments and their Environment uses:
FTTN(Fiber to the Node/Neighborhood) -Residential-(Most Common)
FTTC(Fiber to the Curb) -Might be used Residentially-
FTTP(Fiber to the pole/Premise)-Business-
FTTH(Fiber to the Home)-Residential-(common)
there are others but i have decided to leave them off as they are out of scope for this guide.
ONT (Optical Network Terminal)-On the side of your home- +Your Modem+
STB (Set Top Box)-The box you use to watch TV-
IPTV (Internet Protocol TV)
MOCA (Converts Ethernet Cable to Coaxial Cable)
List of Complaints that will be discussed:
Freeze Frames on Video
Not getting advertised speeds
Customer Service Issues
Fioptics router is not supported for bridge mode.
Common Sense Section:
There are some things that you should know in this world of technology and Telecom networking that you may have not been told and probably wont be told as a subscriber. First, You will not in most cases ever get your full advertised speeds and its not because companies are gouging you or lying to you, its because there are a lot of factors that define a person bandwidth such as distance(Attenuation) from the server/Node, Line quality, Network Design, and Equipment Quality and Configuration. Those are the main variables that determine a customers network speed and to be honest Distance is leader of those variables.
Things to consider Section during use or before use:
Cincinnati Bell is a SMALL FRY in a Pond full of BIG fish (TWC,Comcast,Etc), with that being said Money becomes a big factor in how things are organized and what decisions are made. So, you have to consider a couple of things A: Deployment of services to your area most likely is going to be slow. B Mistakes will be made in regards to the implementation of said neighborhood services. The reason for this is that any time a company jumps into a new environment/Market (granted C-bell has been doing DSL-broadband for a while) there is going to be some learning involved from the mistakes they make. C-bell Started Deployment of Fioptics residentially a Little over 5 years ago so compared to TWC who has been in the advanced broadband game for 20 years expect things to not go as smooth for C-bell. The upside to this is that the cost of service Vs the competition for me at least is like night and day (50 Bucks). 50/10(more upload)w/TV
Another Topic to consider is the Equipment used because again money plays a big factor in this sink or swim market. I have firsthand knowledge (from a good friend inside) that C-bell has a big contract with ZTE (Chinese Company) to use their equipment for C-Bell's Residential services. The equipment includes the router and the STB box and if you check the Model Number you will find that it is indeed a ZTE product. As you all know, mostly all products that are made in china are crap. If you cant trust simple household item such as a blow dryer to work right, you are most certainly are not going to trust a router or STB to work correctly and to remind you, this is the equipment that you are paying a rental fee for on a monthly basis.
Standard installation of this service from an FTTH Perspective:
If you are FTTH:
[Fiber Segment] Telephone Pole>ONT> [Ethernet Segment] Ethernet Cable> ZTE Router>[From Router]Computer(wireless/Wired)>[From Router]MOCA>STB for TV Viewing.
If you are FTTH (without MOCA):
[Fiber Segment] Pole>ONT> [Ethernet Segment] Ethernet Cable> ZTE Router>[From Router]Computer(wireless/Wired)>[From Router]Ethernet to LAN port Directly on STB
If you have existing Time Warner Cable installation coax cables then the C-Bell techs will in some case use the coaxial cables already at the home to install service.
As you can see your service hinges upon the ZTE router doing its job effectively
Ideal installation design for this service:
When i had my service installed the install-tech did not understand how i wanted to have the equipment installed although at the time I did not know some of the essential important information as I do now.
So this is the best practice for installation of this service for optimal quality/performance from both video and internet.
-Router that does IPTV: I use/cherish my RT-AC66U which is a $200 router. Now you don't have to spend that much but you are going to need a router that can handle the IPTV protocol
-A long Ethernet cable if not supplied by the Cincinnati Bell rep.
What you are shooting for with your install is to have the ONT box Ethernet cable go directly to your own router(that you bought). That router should supports IPTV and your router will connect directly to your STB and provide your TV service. That method is how the freezing and halting of TV channels stop completely because again your not using their equipment that is made in china. Provided your router configurations are correct you should not see any speed drops outside of the norm. If you do see speed issues with this setup then its a good chance that fi-optics is to blame.
Re: Your All Inclusive Guide to Cincinnati Bell Fioptics I don't really have a problem with their service (I've been pretty happy with it so far).
It's when I have to talk to a person there that things go sideways... Even with simple requests, they end up messing up my account, canceling service, changing my bill, etc, when they shouldn't. The installers always seem to be friendly and relatively knowledgeable. My two complaints are:
1) The routers they 'rent' to you are not very good. I previously had 50mbps Fioptics, and was given a 54mbps wireless g router that wouldn't work at the speeds I payed for via wireless, and crashed when making simple configuration changes.
2) Customer service is poor. The problem isn't with getting routed to overseas call centers, etc. I honestly don't care who I talk to, as long as I can hold a coherent conversation with me, and they can actually help. No one seems to be cross-trained, so simple requests result in multiple transfers, and me explaining the situation to each person.
Fioptics Install report - FTTN / Initial FiopticsTV thoughts Fioptics was installed on Monday and took about 1 hour. Our neighborhood in Fiber to the Node with copper as the last mile. We already had fioptics internet at 20 down and it was rock solid. In the year we have had it, I dont believe we had any outages and we have been immune to the VDSL lighting interruptions. When we built the house in 2000 I ran cat5e from the demarc into the house and had them put shielded 5e from the street to the demarc. Our fioptics internet install last year took some time, but what the tech did was use a dedicated pair for fioptics since I had all four pairs ran from the node to the house - 2,000 feet. All they did this time was re-provision the line for 50down. Since I did most of the inside work, the tech replaced the posts in the demarc and street with some gel filled, no strip necessary wiring connectors.
I chose MOCA for the distribution instead of putting it on the house network. Luckily the house was fairly well wired from the original directv days when you needed 2 rg6 runs. So each tv has 2 rg6 - one for directv and one for ota. For the 30 day "test" I just disconnected the ota and used it for fioptics. Since everything comes to a distribution point in the basement, installation was simple. While the tech did his outside stuff, I took their splitter and hooked all the boxes up. The line tested out fine and we were good to go. My max attainable speed is shown to be 64 down and 20 up.
My initial thoughts (after 2.5 days):
The picture quality is good and we have not experienced any picture quality issues. the boxes are ok, no where near directv's genie. The interface is ok, again, directv is much better. Everything from trick play to live tv to the dvr interface, directv wins. But, Fioptics is adequate. Time will tell...
The way it stands right now we can record 9 streams with directv and only 3 with bell. 9 is overkill, but its nice when you want to fill the dvr up with kids shows. The 320 gb drive in the dvr is weak, but its something to get used to. Hopefully they will allow for more than three streams down the road and allow you to go above 50. So far everytime we have had 3 hd streams on the tv, the internet has not slowed down. Been locked to 20 down with no problems and the ping has stayed below 15ms. Good stuff.
How we came to have Fioptics:
Last week a bell representative was going door to door singing the praises of Fioptics TV. (Un)Fortunately we were outside playing with the kids and he went into his spiel. He gave me the pros and I gave him the cons based on what I know and what I know DirecTV can do. At the end of the discussion he said we really want you to try it - I said, make it worth my while - They came back with free installation, one free month and $85 a month for a year of TV and 20mb internet. At that point, I figure there is nothing to lose as it will save us almost $500 a year. I know we will lose alot by not having directv, but that savings is too good to pass up. I will see if I can beat directv down some more, but there is no way I will get $500 out of them. What I need to figure out is what the level of savings needs to be to justify the switch.