dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
28398
share rss forum feed

pseudomaniac

join:2012-07-07
Burlington, KY

FiOptics Review and Disappointments- From an IT Professional

Had FiOptics installed yesterday under the guise of beautiful picture on the televisions (which is true), an all digital streaming solution (also true) and uber-fast, low-latency internet....which is a swing and a miss.

Issues "punch" list so far:

DVR does not work. Never did. Can't pause, rewind, playback, or record anything on either tuner. Calls to support have all been handled in the Philipines, and exercises in futility. Their ACD supposedly called my AT&T iphone (with full signal and no connection issues) today on my scheduled appointment and got no answers. Basically - I've got nothing working right, and they don't care.

Tuner GUI is abysmal; very slow, very non-intuitive.

Channel selection is so-so, but most of the HD basics are covered.

-----

We're here for the net though, right?

I purchased (what I was told) is 20mb down, 5mb up. I believe this is actually 20/2 - but I'm holding them to it.

My install was done with all new cat5, no coax. I have a cat5 run to one tuner, and a split cat-5 run to the other DVR and my personal Cisco E1000. We have no home phone, nothing else is on the copper. ORM is less than 200 yds from my demarc. Zyxel DSL modem/wifi is inches from demarc. All cables are home-runs, except for the non Hard Drive tuner, as dude measured the cable about 20 feet too short and snipped an RJ45 jack and RJ45 socket on two cables to build a connector. I'm sure there's some DB loss there, but he would hear nothing of it.

Wired speedtest: 30ms latency, 16mb down, 1.6mb up.
Wireless (using the Zyxel only) speed test, 4mb down, 1.8mb up.
Devices: iphone4s, ipad3, MacBook Pro i5 N, Dell Latitude E i7 N. Consistently AWFUL wireless.

Wireless (using my Cisco) 8MB down 1.5 MB upload.

Reconnected to my Insight 20MB cable.

Insight - Religiously on wireless or wired - 22-24MB download, 1.1 - 1.3 mb upload.

---

Price difference: FiOptics is about $45 a month cheaper than Insight equal package, and should offer double or better upload speed.

---

Conclusion: Cin Bell support sucks. It's pathetic they've shipped it all off shore.

Cin Bell techs not available after 4PM on Saturday or on Sunday at all.

DVR/Tuners Suck.

Zyxel wireless device, even when limited to 20mhz or 40mhz only and locked down to N wireless only - sucks.

-----

Would be curious if anyone has Zyxel access point info they'd share on the proper config for ideal throughput and latency, and any familiarity with these POS tuner boxes and how to vary on the DVR functionality of the units.

For the price separation, I'll give them a chance; at least if after I talk to Insight Monday, they elect not to drop my bill by $30 or more per month and up my I/O. I'd pay more for the Insight stability AND US based support.


CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH

1 edit

Do you have the ZTE set top box? The interface is now better than it used to be but ZTE still have some learning to do!

As regards the speed - at one point CB advertised 20/5 and 30/10 services but they changed that to 20/2 & 30/5 on the web site a couple of months ago because they were not provisioning the higher upload speeds on FTTN (copper to house) installations.

It is possible to put the ZyXel in bridge mode but you would need a router which supports IGMP proxy to support the IPTV. Alternatively, just shut off its wireless and use your own device.

Yes the offshore call center is terrible and doing the company significant brand damage. Indirectly it also caused CB to abandon many of their social media activities because they were getting too many online rants - often by people whose blood pressure had been pushed up by the offshore call center.

If you login to the ZyXel you can see the actual line speeds that the VDSL modem has trained to (up and down). Typically the trained download will be significantly higher than your internet download speed because the IPTV needs (mainly download) bandwidth too.



DeathK
Premium
join:2002-06-16
Cincinnati, OH
reply to pseudomaniac

I really wish CBT didn't lump their FTTN offerings under the Fioptics brand. It devalues both the brand and their actual FTTH product. They should have branded their FTTN DSL differently from Fioptics and kept them separate. It's too late now though...
--
Photos By Greg Strong



CincyBell

@cinbell.com
reply to pseudomaniac

Hi pseudomaniac,

My name is Katie and I work for Cincinnati Bell. We're happy to look into your Fioptics issues for you. Can you please email me your account # and a convenient contact # so we can investigate? Email me at cincinnati.bell@fuse.net

Thanks,

Katie
Cincinnati Bell Social Media Team


CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH
reply to DeathK

said by DeathK:

I really wish CBT didn't lump their FTTN offerings under the Fioptics brand. It devalues both the brand and their actual FTTH product. They should have branded their FTTN DSL differently from Fioptics and kept them separate. It's too late now though...

Yes it causes confusion. Some customers figure out the difference but the common name doesn't make their job easy.

It is also annoying that the data being reported to Connect Ohio as fiber now seems to include CB VDSL:

»connectohio.org/interactive-map

That map claims fiber availability in all sorts of places that only have the VDSL service.

It sounds as if bonded copper lines will be the next development on the FTTN variant. That might help people further from the DSLAM but the more pairs with VDSL there are the more opportunity there is for crosstalk etc. - so give me actual glass any day....


loopster

@fuse.net
reply to pseudomaniac

I am also an IT Profressional and had FiOptics installed about a week ago. So far, I have had mixed results.

I had the CB tech install the DSL modem/router and MOCA converter in the corner of my basement where all of the coax in the house is home run to. The tech reused the old cat3 phone line. I was concerned about this because of the multiple splices between the demarc and the modem, but the tech said it would be ok.

I ran a new CAT6 home run from my personal wireless router to the CB router and disabled wireless on the CB supplied unit. I subscribed to the 10Mb option. Speed tests reveal that I am getting 9.7Mb down, 900Kb up, and about 25ms latency. I am happy with this.

The cable service is a different story. I should mention that I am switching from DirecTv. Channel changing is fast, but as pseudomaniac stated, the menus are painfully slow. (The power-on time for the cable boxes is very slow too.) The tech explained that the menu performance is due to having to route the request from my house to servers in the CB data center on West 7th street downtown. He said they were adding servers to the COs and that the response time should get better in October.

The other main issue is the quality of the HD. I am experiencing a lot of pixelation/blocking during movement. Also, there are occasional image studders where the image freezes for a split second and then catches up. This happens maybe once or twice an hour.

I suspect that part of the problem is signal loss with all of the splices in the line. Apparently the DSLAM is about a quarter mile from my house and it is copper from there to my house, as well as that terrible cat3 run in my house. I'm tempted to run a new cat6 line direct from the demarc myself.

The other thought is that they are just compressing the signal too much. It concerned me when they said that a HD stream was only 7mb. That may be an average rate, but is definitely way too low for motion.

Has anyone else experienced this issue?



Cincy_Ron

@insightbb.com

Loopster, your experience sounds about identical to my GF's install in Ft. Thomas.

I really didn't get to check out her internet access, but I did get to check out the quality of the HD programming and it was poor to say the least. She constantly had to reset the router and cable tuner, audio lagged the video, extremely slow guide access, and major pixelation on moving scenes (sports esp) just like you mention.

I think Bell is counting on people not really noticing, and studies have actually shown that your average consumer has a hard time picking up on this stuff. Maybe I have some kind of autism spectrum disorder but I can sure tell when HD video sucks, and her HD TV service via Cincy Bell sucked.

According to her, they couldn't really use both TVs at the same time and surf the internet or things would come to a crawl. She had technicians out 5 times to try to straighten things out and finally the last tech told her that Bell was overselling what they could offer. She ended up going back to Insight Cable here in N. KY and hasn't had any issues since.

I do know that it was a fiber to copper install and she says that the sales guy that talked her in to switching told her it was fiber optic to the house. In either case, neither of us was really that impressed with what Cincy Bell has put together. The whole thing seemed pretty marginal to me and reminded me of being one of the initial Zoomtown DSL subscribers back when I was in college.

Anyway, hopefully they get things worked out. They just ran fiber on my street and I know a couple of my neighbors have had it installed. I need to talk to them, see how they like it.


CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH
reply to loopster

The short stalls on the video sound like impulse noise on the VDSL line. You can see that effect quite clearly during a storm when the short stalls follow the lightning flashes visible outside and a look at the VDSL modem stats usually reveals higher impulse noise.

Incidentally, the basic tier channels are not encrypted so can be viewed on a PC using the likes of VLC but you need to use a sniffer to see which multicast address each channel is calling for.



loopster

@fuse.net
reply to pseudomaniac

Thanks for the feedback, Cincy_Ron and CeltecComms.

Cincy_Ron- you mentioned another issue that I forgot to mention - the audio is just slightly behind the video. I think your assessment of Bell's strategy of providing a service with a lower quality picture is dead on. From time to time, I help people out with their AV setups and find they got their brand new HDTVs hooked up with RCA cables... Heck, the Bell receivers came with Component Video cables?!?!

CelticComms - Thanks for the insight on the stalls. Is there a specific stat I should look at in the modem?

I have tried to correlate the pixelation and studders with other activity going on (other TVs on, high Internet bandwidth usage), but it doesn't really correlate. I have the issues even with virtually nothing else going on.

As I said in the original post, I have all 3 STBs hooked up via coax. Would it be better to switch them to Cat5? I could switch 2 of the 3 pretty easily.

I ended up calling CinBell and they are sending a tech out again on Thursday. I'll provide an update after that.


CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH

1 edit

That type of freezing would probably show up in the ES or Error Seconds figures for the VDSL link *if* they are caused by uncorrected data blocks.

Depending on which modem you have you should be able to find such a figure for periods like:

Last 15 minutes
Last Day
Since link last restarted

You mention multiple splices on the CAT3 to the current VDSL modem location. I would suggest getting the circuit from the demarc to the outlet used by the modem as clean as possible as the highest priority. Personally I would put the VDSL modem on the shortest new cable possible from the demarc to an inside location and then run either CAT5 or coax from there to that other distribution point.



loopster

@fuse.net

Here are my DSL stats - ES is 0:

Mode: VDSL2
Traffic Type: PTM
Status: Up
Link Power State: L0

Downstream Upstream
Line Coding(Trellis): On On
SNR Margin (0.1 dB): 166 209
Line Attenuation (0.1 dB): 119 56
Output Power (0.1 dBm): 179 -131
Attainable Rate (Kbps): 67428 11238

Path 0 Path 1
Downstream Upstream Downstream Upstream
Rate (Kbps): 50015 1023 0 0

B (# of bytes in Mux Data Frame): 237 120 0 0
M (# of Mux Data Frames in an RS codeword): 1 1 0 0
T (# of Mux Data Frames in an OH sub-frame): 64 4 0 0
R (# of redundancy bytes in the RS codeword): 16 16 0 0
S (# of data symbols over which the RS code word spans): 0.1514 3.7403 0.0000 0.0000
L (# of bits transmitted in each data symbol): 13474 308 0 0
D (interleaved depth): 4 1 0 0
I (interleaved block size in bytes): 255 144 0 0
N (RS codeword size): 255 144 0 0
Delay (msec): 6 7 0 0
INP (DMT symbol): 19.00 22.00 0.00 0.00

OH Frames: 81667622 939513 0 0
OH Frame Errors: 0 0 0 0
RS Words: 931734828 1855745 0 0
RS Correctable Errors: 132 0 0 0
RS Uncorrectable Errors: 0 0 0 0

HEC Errors: 0 0 0 0
OCD Errors: 0 0 0 0
LCD Errors: 0 0 0 0
Total Cells: 1913997410 0 0 0
Data Cells: 1167889594 0 0 0
Bit Errors: 0 0 0 0

Total ES: 0 0
Total SES: 0 0
Total UAS: 21 21


CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH

Dup.


CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH

1 edit
reply to loopster

Here is an ES example from a ZyXel modem just after a storm with a high level of lightning strikes. Note that ES (Error Seconds) is:

9 for the previous day,
538 for the current day (so far),
1 in the previous 15 minutes,
20 in the 15 minutes before that.

At the time of the snapshot the storm was largely past the modem location.

Note that SES (Sustained Error Seconds) is zero throughout which is pretty typical for this sort of lightning induced noise - the errors don't last 10 seconds even in the fairly intense rate of strikes seen during this particular storm.

Also note FEC values - these are the corrected errors and also spike during the storm.

Latest 15 minutes time = 2 min 30 sec

FEC: 3433 0
CRC: 19 0
ES: 1 0
SES: 0 0

Previous 15 minutes time = 15 min 0 sec

FEC: 29431 0
CRC: 240 0
ES: 20 0
SES: 0 0

Latest 1 day time = 7 hours 32 min 30 sec

FEC: 662021 36
CRC: 4037 0
ES: 538 0
SES: 0 0

Previous 1 day time = 24 hours 0 sec

FEC: 36672 0
CRC: 58 0
ES: 9 0
SES: 0 0


West Chester

@fuse.net

Has anyone noticed atmospheric interference with CBT fioptics? I have had screen freezes (signal loss) during electrical storms since initial install 3 months ago. Normal speed test is between 9-10 mbps. Speed test during the signal loss drops to less than 2mbps. As I expected CBT sent a repair tech out and found nothing wrong with the signal. I had told them it only occurs when electrical storms were in the area. He installed new cat5 cable in the house because the previous install tech had used the wrong cat cable.
Had a another storm go through and same problem occurred. Sent a email to CBT and got this reply.

Thank you for contacting Cincinnati Bell Technical Support. We apologize that you are having problems with your service.. I'll be more than happy to assist you.

Customer has Fioptics over copper which is susceptible to weather changes. however, Picture freezing is not normal, may need a technician to come out and resolve the problem if issue is recurring even after basic troubleshooting.

If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at support@fuse.net. We are also available by phone at 513-565-9890 we are open 24 hours.

Thanks,
Cincinnati Bell Helpdesk

My reply:
Fiber optics technology is not susceptible to atmospheric interference. It's supposed to be one of the benefits of fiber optics over other technologies. So you are saying you installed a type of fiber optic network that is by design susceptible to atmospheric interference.

I have a couple other people I know using CBT Fioptics to find out if they have seen the same issue. Both said they have seen the issue occur.



DeathK
Premium
join:2002-06-16
Cincinnati, OH

1 edit

^
What you have is fiber-to-the-node which uses "last mile" copper to get to your residence (effectively reducing the apparent distance between you and the CO (central office) allowing higher speeds). It is just as susceptible to electromagnetic interference as vanilla DSL because you're still on copper line to the node. If you had actual fiber-to-the-home then any EMI issues would just be at the fault of your own wiring/setup in your residence.

Just another example of why branding the FTTN offerings as Fioptics as well was a huge mistake. It causes confusion and the spread of misinformation.
--
Photos By Greg Strong



West Chester

@fuse.net

I understand that it's not a 100% fiber optic network. The cabinet is less than 100ft from my house. Twisted wire to the house connection box. All cat lines in the house are new and were installed by CBT. The signal loss occurs most during storms but do occur even if the the sky is clear. The storms can be miles away and it still affects the signal. Even as I write this the signal has dropped twice.


CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH

The impulse noise interference on that last 100' of copper should only normally be noticeable during storms which are close enough for you to hear the thunder and see the lightning.

More distant storms may affect CB's reception of certain satellite channels, but they shouldn't affect your internet download speed.

Something doesn't smell right...



DeathK
Premium
join:2002-06-16
Cincinnati, OH
reply to West Chester

said by West Chester :

I understand that it's not a 100% fiber optic network. The cabinet is less than 100ft from my house. Twisted wire to the house connection box. All cat lines in the house are new and were installed by CBT. The signal loss occurs most during storms but do occur even if the the sky is clear. The storms can be miles away and it still affects the signal. Even as I write this the signal has dropped twice.

If you understand that you aren't on 100% fiber to your residence then I can't wrap my head around your supposed reply back to CBT. It makes no sense, other than you are confused on what you have and how it works.

To get back to the issue at hand, they clearly stated that the picture freezing isn't normal behavior despite the interference. You should have a tech come out to diagnose the problem again (as the support email said). Don't let them off the hook until the issue is resolved.
--
Photos By Greg Strong


mad2012

@fuse.net
reply to pseudomaniac

I switched to Fioptics from TWC. Have no complaints about picture quality or internet speed BUT...... Their DVR SUCKS.... It is aggravatingly slow and is just the bottom of the line when it comes to user friendliness and function.
Example:
I select a series to record. I decide to have only NEW episodes recorded. OK Done.... Now I realize that I have not seen some of the reruns on this channel so I would like change the recording to "record all". CAN'T BE DONE... You CANT'T EVEN DELETE the series recording so you can start new. There are MANY problems with the DVR as far as functionality. You cannot find info on channels you put into your favorites so you have no idea what episode is playing only the name. Etc....
This is my 5th DVR and all have been far superior to this one. This one is just junk when compared to the others.
I hope they are going to upgrade it soon.


CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH

1 edit

said by mad2012
Example:
I select a series to record. I decide to have only NEW episodes recorded. OK Done.... Now I realize that I have not seen some of the reruns on this channel so I would like change the recording to "record all". CAN'T BE DONE... You CANT'T EVEN DELETE the series recording so you can start new.



Which DVR is this? The ZTE units should be able to modify the settings and delete the series recording. It seems to work on the following sequence:

Menu / My Recordings / Recording Schedules / Select Recording / Yellow Button / Change recording Options

*But* I think I have sometimes seen that last box appear without some of the change options although I am not sure which specific sequence causes that to appear - probably a bug.

Rad358

join:2012-08-19
Cincinnati, OH
reply to mad2012

OK, So we all in agreement that the DVR service provided by CB Suck!!! I need to have a DVR on my system and I do not want to pay any more money to CB!

Can anyone tell me if there is a dvr I should buy that work for CB FiOptics??

I also switched from DirecTV and I now I regret that decision. I have 2 DVRs that worked well for the Directv. They are the old Huges, HD system. I cant get them to work by just plugging it inline with the cable. This box was designed for 2 cable system...
Can this box be used with FiOptics?

Thanks for any help!



Glen

@freegroups.net

Is anyone hearing that Cincy Bell has begun offering the CPE that supports bonding yet? I have a need for more upload bandwidth, and currently am using the copper-fiber combination, giving me only 1.6Mb up.


CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH

Which service are you getting 1.6 Mbps upload on? The 20/2 service? The 30/5 service should offer up to 5 Mbps upload. Which part of town are you in?



Glen

@freegroups.net

Hi - yes, it's the 20/2. I asked for the 30/5, but my distance to the CO was too far, the installers said. They suggested that the only way to improve was the upcoming bonded capability.


CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH

Unfortunately CB has chosen to have only a limited numbers of service combinations available and they are choosing to favor download over upload so that they can sell IPTV. Have a look at your VDSL modem and you will probably find the download path trained at well over 20 Mbps.

You might want to consider TWC if they offer 30/5 service in your area. TWC's 30/5 service is available in many areas and it seems to get closer to 5 Mbps upload than CB's VDSL service even though TWC are often using fairly old General Instruments fiber nodes and C-COR line extenders in many areas.

If you are in an area served by Cincinnati Communications, they offer symmetric BPL service up to 3/3 but you can get multiple modems and push more than 3 Mbps up.

The main downside to TWC and CC is that their services are dependent on power for their nodes/line extenders/gateways/bridges whereas CB's service usually has many hours of power protection built in to the remote DSLAM cabinets.



Glen

@freegroups.net

Thank you for your helpfulness. Cincinnati Communications isn't servicing Fairfield yet, and when I tried TWC Business Class last year, they misrepresented their capabilities - did you know that their metrics are based on THEIR internal network speeds (not across the Internet)? I benchmarked performance, and for interactive sessions, it was worse than CB's DSL.