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Gamechief

join:2010-06-09
Cincinnati, OH

1 edit

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.

Here Goes!

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.

Technical Terms:
ONT (Optical Network Terminal)-On the side of your home- +Your Modem+
STB (Set Top Box)-The box you use to watch TV-
Router
IPTV (Internet Protocol TV)
MOCA (Converts Ethernet Cable to Coaxial Cable)

List of Complaints that will be discussed:

Slow internet
Freeze Frames on Video
Signal issues
Not getting advertised speeds
Customer Service Issues
DVR 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 won’t be told as a subscriber. First, You will not in most cases ever get your full advertised speeds and it’s 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 customer’s 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 can’t 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.

To Note:
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.

Needed equipment:
-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.

Hi and thanks for the info. I just got fiber today and have some comments and a question.

First let me point out what I think it a typo.

said by Gamechief:

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

I beleive "LAN port Directly on STB" should be "WAN port Directly on STB." It is (actually, was) in my case.

My experience so far...

I've wanted Fioptics internet for a while (paying $43 for 3Mb from TWC) and saw some CB vans around my street in the last month and sure enough about a week ago a door-to-door sales rep approached me, saying I was now fiber ready. He said I could get 10Mb/2Mb internet and TV with DVR (the "elite" tier of channels) WITHOUT renting a wireless router for $83 + taxes and fees for the first year. I had read something about people complaining that they force you to rent a wireless router and he assured me I didn't have to and this is what lowered the price to $83 (I think it was $87 or something before I told him this.) We scheduled an install for today.

The tech today ran a 125' fiber cable from the pole to the side of my house where the ONT is mounted. Coming out of the ONT is one Coax line (analog cable, not MOCA), a power cord into the house where it's plugged into a surge suppressor, a grounding wire bonded to my copper plumbing, and a Cat5e cable going into the house. The coax gets split to a few "non-main" TVs, which now get analog cable, with the main TV getting the HD-DVR. The Cat5e cable coming out of the ONT was plugged by the tech into the WAN port (actually labeled GWAN???) on the ZTE wireless router. I told the tech (but didn't pay close enough attention) that I wanted to use my own wireless router. So....he just plugged mine into a LAN port on the ZTE wireless router. FACEPALM. Then the STB's WAN port was connected to another LAN port on the ZTE wireless router. Everything worked, but the picture still sometimes studdered a bit and even froze up once (now I now the ZTE is to blame). The tech informed me about the studdering and freezing and said it is affecting 35,000 customers (I guess all with this PoS ZTE router) and that it was being worked on, and that I can't do anything about it.

He left and I looked more closely at the setup and saw an antenna on the ZTE and immediately FACEPALMED. Looks like the jerks are in fact forcing wireless routers on people, either by policy or by designing the system to require their hardware. Either way is unacceptable to me and if I am forced to keep and pay for the PoS ZTE router I will be forced to cancel all CB service.

Anyway I realize the ZTE is just a wireless router and so I think I might be able to just use my wireless router in an identical arrangement. I am not 100% sure though because the STB might communicate in some special way which requires a special modem. Gamechief clears this up above pointing out that you do in fact need a router that supports IPTV. Mine is a Linksys WRT-54GL running Tomato firmware, and upon trying it in place of the ZTE, I got internet access as expected, and the STB even gave me TV, but it always froze within a few seconds. So it won't be that simple...

While doing all this I notice the STB has a WAN and LAN port and think "Hot damn! This baby can probably bridge!." Well......... IT CAN! I plugged the Cat5e cable from the ONT into the WAN port of the STB, then plugged another Cat5e cable from the LAN port on the STB to the WAN port on my wireless router.

SUCCESS! I use the menu on the STB to see the STB has a public IP now (versus 192.168.200.x when behind the ZTE) and my router has its own different public IP (agian, vs 192.168.200.x when behind the ZTE). I suspect if I wanted to do whole-home-DVR or even just have another HD STB in the house that I couldn't have this setup, but since I don't I'm leaving it like this.

So....I'm happy that I don't need the ZTE router but concerned I won't be able to convince anyone at CB of this fact. I have working TV and DVR, and working internet, all with the ZTE PoS unplugged and in my hand. I call up CB telling them I don't want to pay for it and ask if I can return in. The rep is really not knowledgable and knows only to insist that I need the box that I want to return. (She keeps calling it a modem, and I believe it can act as a DSL modem so she's not totally wrong, but I'm pretty sure it isn't considered modem in my configuration.) I insist all works without the ZTE router. She says I should go to a CB store and figure it out, which I am going to do shortly. I make sure she realizes all I am concerned about is not paying ~$5 a month and she says that my account correctly declined the $5 a month wireless router and instead has the $5 a month "wired." DOUBLE FACEPALM.

So I will see how it goes at the CB store.

Finally my question for Gamechief is, are you still paying to rent the ZTE router? If not, was it as easy as returning it to the CB store? Thanks!

said by Anon80:

Anyway I realize the ZTE is just a wireless router and so I think I might be able to just use my wireless router in an identical arrangement. I am not 100% sure though because the STB might communicate in some special way which requires a special modem.

Correcting a typo....

"special modem" should be "special router"

Also, I forgot to include the following info. With the STB plugged in as described, there's no freezing or stuttering!

[Fiber Segment] Pole>ONT> [Ethernet Segment] Ethernet Cable> WAN port on STB
[Another Ethernet Segment] LAN port on STB to WAN port on my wireless router

CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH
A lot of stuttering on TV today could have been due to a major problem with multicast streams which occurred overnight. That is most likely the problem that the tech was referring to. It seems to have been resolved part way through the day.

The reason that the picture freezes after a few seconds on your Linksys router is that the first few seconds after a channel change are received unicast and the STP then looks for the multicast stream. If it can't find the multicast stream the picture will freeze.

To support the multicast streams the router has to support "IGMP proxy". Basically the STB can then tell the router which multicast stream it wants to subscribe to and the router subscribes to that stream and copies the stream to the relevant LAN ports.


Gamechief

join:2010-06-09
Cincinnati, OH

3 edits
reply to JustGotFiber
Hey Just got fiber,

I still have my ZTE modem/router sitting in the closest... I offered to give it back to the tech but he stated to me that i should keep it because he has seen where it was turned back in but, the system did not acknowledge it and therefore if you canceled your service it would say that you still "have" the modem in your possession. To avoid paying a hefty fee if i ever decide to drop fioptics i will keep it. Plus, if my Asus router craps out on me i have a backup that does IPTV.

First let me point out what I think it a typo.

said by Gamechief:
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

I beleive "LAN port Directly on STB" should be "WAN port Directly on STB." It is (actually, was) in my case.
Well, based on my Router actually using NAT with all devices in my network. NAT would have to be disabled in order for the STB to effectively transmit data out of the WAN port and if NAT was not disabled the STB will look for a WAN IP address from the router to send out multicast data and since it wouldn't get that address TV service would not work. I believe the WAN port is used for customers who don't have internet and therefore don't really need a router and may be using the ethernet directly from the ONT to provide TV service to the address and in that case a WAN IP would be needed .


JustGotFiber

@fuse.net
First an update... I got some stuttering today despite not using their ZTE router, so please disregard my idea that the ZTE router was solely to blame.

Thanks to gamechief for the info. I am no expert but I think I understand why your STB is connected to the router through the STB's LAN port and not WAN port. Also I also feared returning the ZTE box for the very reason that guy gave you. Still not sure what I'll do.

Re: your theory on when the WAN port on the STB is used, I am a customer with internet and the installer plugged the Cat5 from the ONT to the GWAN port on the ZTE, and then a Cat5 from a LAN port on the ZTE to the WAN port on the STB, so I am not sure about your theory but I'm in over my head at this point

One last update.

I got my first bill and it's around $100 but includes a few days plus the first month, so by my math the monthly total will be around $88. It's accounted for as $70 (TV and 10mb/2mb internet) + $10 HD DVR + $3 Fioptic High Speed Modem + $5 fees and taxes.

So I am paying $3 for a "modem" I don't need and don't use, but my bill ended up about what the sales guy said.

It should be noted that Time Warner raised my 3mb/1mb internet from $42 to $45 so it's hard to be too upset at my current deal.

atrpm

join:2013-09-25
Mason, OH
reply to Gamechief
Hello Guys, I just sign up for CB fibeoptics and have a few questions that maybe you can help answer. I have zero experience with IPTV and fiber optics so please pardon my ignorance.

Like mention above I also think the service is not bad but the Chinese equipment used by CB is garbage and I would like to invest some money to improve quality of service (is worth base on the savings).

(This by any means is not a technical explanation; I’m going to explain how I see the installation inside the house.)

They CB technician ran a phone line (maybe Ethernet connection) from the outside to the house that is connected to into ZTE modem (modem that CB provides) DSL socket, from there he connected a coaxial cable from the ZTE modem (MoCA) to the Time warner distribution box that feeds all of the coaxial outlets through the house and from there he connected all the crappy boxes they provide.

Everything that is mentioned above is setup in the utility room which is good because there are no visible cables running around the house. I would like to replace the modem CB provided with a premium modem (price is not really an issue) but I would like to keep the same or similar setup if possible.
What are your thoughts on this and which devices would you recommend for this setup.

Thanks in advance.


Gamechief

join:2010-06-09
Cincinnati, OH
reply to Gamechief
Hello all im going to resurrect this thread here as it still needs to known. I believe in my opinion that there is nothing wrong with Fioptics. Expectations for a lot people is set way to high with the equipment they initially give you! Please read through my initial forum post. I will be updating to reflect what i have found with further use.


xur172

@fuse.net
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.

Crispin

join:2003-06-04
Fairfield, OH
reply to Gamechief
If you don't need your ZTE modem/router, you can take it back to the CB store and they'll give you a return receipt for it. Keep the return receipt in case they try to bill you for the modem in the future. At least that's what I've done.


Gamechief

join:2010-06-09
Cincinnati, OH
reply to Gamechief
Bump for credibility

WhartoX

join:2004-01-18
Cincinnati, OH
reply to Gamechief
I'm currently a TWC customer but have FTTN available in my area. What are the chances of it being upgraded to FTTH? I would like the gigabit service but there's no chance of that happening on FTTN.

CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH
It really just depends where you are. Having FTTN currently in place does not necessarily mean that they will not install FTTH. In the past year CB have installed FTTH in several areas which already had FTTN running.

mtnagel

join:2014-08-13

1 edit
reply to Gamechief
I'm trying to avoid the $5/month charge. Do I need to use a special modem for Fioptics? Would something like this work? If not, what do I need? Thanks

CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH
That is an ADSL2+ modem - it can't handle VDSL. It would be OK for basic DSL service but not for Fioptics branded VDSL services.

mtnagel

join:2014-08-13
Thank you very much. Very helpful. Any recommendations for VDSL modems?

CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH

Re: VDSL Modem

I have not noticed any obvious "new" bargains recently though there are usually replacement candidates on ebay. If you think that you are in an area which might see FTTH within 12 months then I think it limits what it is worth paying/risking to buy one.


Gamechief

join:2010-06-09
Cincinnati, OH
reply to Gamechief

Re: Your All Inclusive Guide to Cincinnati Bell Fioptics

There should be a way or a request feature that allows me to edit this post so I can properly update it. I guess I'll make a part 2


Masada123

@216.68.80.x
Curious on replacing the ZTE modem myself. Even though I do have it in bridge mode it needs rebooted almost daily due to it just refusing to pass traffic.

Would something like this work?
»www.dsl-warehouse.com/product_in···37621f0d

CVGNet

join:2012-04-10
Cincinnati, OH
It only supports one of the three VDSL profiles that Fioptics uses so it does not seem like a good fit.