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jduffy
Premium
join:2006-08-20
Cincinnati, OH
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Fioptics - My Take

Since I am moving to a new house, and have some options now, I wanted to consider Fioptics. I've read all the complaints here on DSLReports about support, including the issues a friend had, but I wanted to see how the actual service performed.

My friend and future neighbor had it installed about a month ago and went through 2 weeks of agony with CB trying to get it to work properly. It does now work so he invited me over to take a look. I spent an hour playing around with it. Here's my take.

First, Internet speed he contracted for is 10/1. We measured on speedtest and he is getting about 9.5 down and about .96 up with a 21ms ping. So not too bad.

The television picture looked good. The menu system is much better than when it first came out when my daughter had it at their apartment about 3 years ago. That is good news. Boxes boot very fast compared to the boot time on my TW cable boxes which are like 5 minutes. The Fiopics boxes boot up in about 30 seconds. I liked that for sure.

I see several limitations.

The amount of bandwidth available for multiple TVs and multiple recordings if you have 30/5 as the Internet option. The CB tech said you need about 8Mbps for each TV and recording. Two TVs and one recording at a time is about all you can have with 30Mbps Internet. I know people have posted 6Mbps here, but my buddy said the CB tech told him they figure on 8 per connection.

Next, if you are trying to record multiple programs and there is not enough bandwidth, it does not warn you. So you are not sure if you are going to miss a recording.

Here's one of the biggest issues. I tested this while at his house. He has a DVR box and then two other boxes for his TVs - three total. If the power goes out, then comes back on, you have to boot up the DVR first, then the other two boxes. If one of the other boxes boots up before the DVR, the whole system gets "confused" and you get constant error messages on all boxes/TVs about not being able to find some server. You must then go around manually, unpower the Fioptics TV boxes, re-power just the DVR, then once the DVR has booted up, you can manually again restore power to the other TV boxes.

His wife is NOT going to tolerate that at all. If he is away and the power goes out and comes back on, she is not going to go around, un-power each box, then re-power the DVR, then re-power the other boxes. It's a pain, it's nuts, and Bell knows it's a problem but they have no solution. Are you kidding me?

Over that issue alone, he is most likely going to cancel the Fioptics TV portion and will go back to DirecTV. As a result, I will not be going with Fioptics for TV either. My wife will not put up with that and we do get frequent power interruptions in our current neighborhood.

The last issue is that CB still is not using shielded cable. So the wire coming into the house, and the CAT5 cables going to the TVs in the house are not shielded. Why does this matter? If you have a ham or CB hobbyist near your house, the RF from their transmissions can get into the lines causing the routers that CB uses to go off-line. Personally experienced this with Zoomtown in the past. I was hoping that CB would have started using better cable to provide a more reliable connection.

That was the reason I moved from Zoomtown to TWC Internet years ago. TWC uses shielded cable so interference from RF was non-existent.

In spite of this, I may try Fioptics for Internet. But as long as Fioptics has the issue with their TV adapters having to boot back up in a particular order, I will not go with their TV service.

--
Atheists swear there is no Heaven, but pray there isn't a Hell.

CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH
The download rates for HD on Fioptics vary roughly between 6.5 - 9 Mbps depending on the channel/format.

Remember that the TV can use internet bandwidth but not vice-versa. In other words if you need more than 3 HD streams it will start eating into your 30 Mbps internet download allocation.

The boot up issue sounds weird. Perhaps it affects specific configs. The DVR is not mandatory and I know of several STBs which boot correctly while being unable to (ever) talk to their related DVR due to network security restrictions.


jduffy
Premium
join:2006-08-20
Cincinnati, OH
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Vonage
·net2phone
·Cincinnati Bell
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·Callcentric
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OK, in my case, actually the upload speed of 5Mbps is very critical for me. Does anything with the TV impact the upload? I could tolerate the reduction of download speed, but have to have the upload.

As for the the booting sequence, he has been told by the CB Fioptics tech on site as well as the phone support, that this is indeed an issue and one of the biggest complaints they receive about the TV service. Maybe it is only an issue if you have the whole house DVR, but the issue is real, I saw it, we tried many different scenarios to see if anything changed. In fact, I forgot to mention, we did have to reboot the main router with all the TV boxes off, then the DVR, then the other boxes. The issue is real and he was told by CB support and the install tech, there is no way currently around the issue.
--
Atheists swear there is no Heaven, but pray there isn't a Hell.

CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH
The TV downstream is UDP multicast. There is a very small amount of upstream bandwidth used for selecting channels etc. but it is measured in a few kbps - hardly noticeable at all on a 5 Mbps upload. In fact not noticeable by other apps - you would really have to go and look for it to notice that it is intermittently there.


jduffy
Premium
join:2006-08-20
Cincinnati, OH
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Vonage
·net2phone
·Cincinnati Bell
·Skype
·Callcentric
·ooma

1 edit
I have decided we are just going to stick with Time Warner for now. I would have given Fioptics a chance if this crazy boot sequence issue was well, not an issue. However, given we lose power about four times a year, even if for a few seconds, my wife is just not going to run around the house rebooting the router and the set-top boxes in a given order. Too much of a hassle. When that issue is solved, if ever, I hope someone will post it here. Then I will be happy to give Fioptics a chance.
--
Atheists swear there is no Heaven, but pray there isn't a Hell.