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Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD

1 recommendation

FIOS Installation is a go in Montgomery County, MD

Our FIOS is up and running as of this afternoon. The speed is 4-5 MBit down and 1.5-2 MBit up, depending on which test server I used. I tried a number at both this site and Toast.Com.

Installation took "only" 7.5 of the allotted 4.0 hours with a crew of 3-5 people, including a supervisor. This was only their fifth installation and several of the crew members were getting on-the-job training. Thus, we are essentially a beta test site.

The first show stopper was the power supply for the Optical Network Terminal (ONT). Two guys sweat for over an hour to get it hooked up properly. The design of the ONT power unit is, to be very polite, not very good.

The second show stopper was the WAN signal. It took about 1.5 hours to gain connectivity with the central office, even though the wiring was good and the phones were working on fiber. Once someone in the main office reset something, we were on the air! I am told this is not a common problem.

The downside of FIOS lies with the battery backup unit (BBU). Unlike a copper phone network, there is no power in the fiber system. If the power fails, the phones will die after about 8 hours running on the BBU.

Battery replacement is the responsibility of the customer. Verizon will be alerted if the battery is failing, allowing them to notify the customer, but the customer must purchase and install a replacement battery.

The service seems quite peppy, the two associated phone lines sound fine on fiber, and the installation was very nicely done.

The crew was very friendly and professional. The fellow who did the actual turn-up of the service seemed to know his networking well. I have worked extensively with both phones and computer networks and I know good people when I see them. These guys were terrific.

I will guess that as the crews gain more experience the installations will go more smoothly. The supervisor asked me several pointed questions, all of which seemed geared toward ensuring a smoother installation in the future.

With my permission, Verizon put a large, garish sign on the line announcing that I was a FIOS customer. Interestingly, their Terms and Conditions say not to tell anyone I have FIOS. Shhhh!

FIOS Rocks!


somebodeez
Premium,MVM
join:2001-09-24
here
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by Robert Morrisson:

The downside of FIOS lies with the battery backup unit (BBU). Unlike a copper phone network, there is no power in the fiber system. If the power fails, the phones will die after about 8 hours running on the BBU.

Battery replacement is the responsibility of the customer. Verizon will be alerted if the battery is failing, allowing them to notify the customer, but the customer must purchase and install a replacement battery.
Congratulations, Robert!!
And thanks so much for your review!

I've been so excited over the idea of Fios but what you have written about the battery thing concerns me a great deal.

When hurricane Isabel came through, we lost our power for 3 days but at least I still had my phone which comforted me incase of an emergency.

I am wondering how long the average life of these batteries are (power outages not included), how reliable will Verizen be notifying customers that they need to replace it, how much does it cost and where can you buy it from?
Lastly, if the above proves to be un-acceptable, could I keep the copper for my phone and have Fios for my internet?

As much as I love an "always on" internet (and super fast!)connection, I love my "always on" phone too!

Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD
You may be able to keep your copper, although I suspect they will not want to give you both services in one home.

Unlike a copper line, there is no voltage across a fiber line. There is only light, and that is generated by power at either end of the line.

The purpose of this expensive project is to get people off of the copper network so they don't have to share their customers with their competition, as they are required to with their copper network. It is a very bold move.

In this day of cell phones, you should be able to keep something working for a few days if there is a power outage. That is the gamble I am taking.

I am also looking into a battery backup for a radio, cell phone, and possibly a small TV set. This would be sized to run for a week or longer of intermittent service.

It may be smart for Verizon to offer to cover the batteries under a maintenance contract, for which you would pay every month.

I am told the batteries are available locally at places like Best Buy and Circuit City, but I have never seen anything like that there. Wal-Mart sells deep-charge batteries and they may be a better bet.

The question is, whether this style of battery will be available in four or five years.

So, life is a gamble. With new technology comes change. In this case that change means not having an always-on phone line in exchange for having a very fast Internet pipe.

mishaq
Premium
join:2004-01-24

Re: FIOS Installation is a go in Montgomery County

Is this your house?!?!?!
»FIOS in Montgomery County!

If so I'm afraid you have a new stalker on your hands
--
Damn you FCC!


sdgthy

@optonline.net
reply to Robert Morrisson
I've been thinking if I were to put my old 650VA UPS between the plug and the BBU, that should last for quite awhile. The BBU doesn't happen to have a VA rating does it?

The time the BBU would last could be a concern for those who often have power outages. Aside from a generator, another idea might be to turn off the BBU if it appears the power will be out for an extended period of time. You wouldn't be able to receive incoming calls, but would have the option of turning the power back on in case of an emergency.

nasadude

join:2001-10-05
Rockville, MD
reply to Robert Morrisson
Robert,

It sounds like you already had phone service thru verizon. Do you know if Verizon requires having their phone service to get FIOS?

Did the pricing for your phone service change, or is it still the same old tax and fee laden price for POTS equivalent?

Even though I am starting to despair I will get FIOS anytime soon, I have VONAGE and have no desire to go back to POTS (or the fiber equivalent).

ScottF12345

join:2002-01-17
Silver Spring, MD
Robert your not a verizon employee are you? im right near you and wondering if its deployed montgomery county public now


nycdave
Premium,MVM
join:1999-11-16
Melville, NY
kudos:16
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Robert Morrisson

Re: FIOS Installation is a go in Montgomery County, MD

said by Robert Morrisson:

You may be able to keep your copper, although I suspect they will not want to give you both services in one home.

Unlike a copper line, there is no voltage across a fiber line. There is only light, and that is generated by power at either end of the line.

The purpose of this expensive project is to get people off of the copper network so they don't have to share their customers with their competition, as they are required to with their copper network. It is a very bold move.

In this day of cell phones, you should be able to keep something working for a few days if there is a power outage. That is the gamble I am taking.

I am also looking into a battery backup for a radio, cell phone, and possibly a small TV set. This would be sized to run for a week or longer of intermittent service.

It may be smart for Verizon to offer to cover the batteries under a maintenance contract, for which you would pay every month.

I am told the batteries are available locally at places like Best Buy and Circuit City, but I have never seen anything like that there. Wal-Mart sells deep-charge batteries and they may be a better bet.

The question is, whether this style of battery will be available in four or five years.

So, life is a gamble. With new technology comes change. In this case that change means not having an always-on phone line in exchange for having a very fast Internet pipe.
Robert, I can assure you that the BBU is a standard APC unit with a standard APC UPS battery. APC isn't going anywhere, as they are the largest and best manufacturer of UPS's and power systems in the USA. If you really want, you can add a larger UPS to supplement the BBU unit that Verizon installed for you. Since you 'own' the BBU and you are responsible for its maintenance, there won't be a problem in upgrading to a larger UPS. I know of many happy APC customers who have all of their home electronics running through many UPS's spread throughout their homes. UPS's are not just for computers any more, as this APC link will prove:

»www.apc.com/solutions/index.cfm?segmentID=1

HTH!

wheeler1629

join:2004-11-11
Baltimore, MD
reply to Robert Morrisson
I'm in Silver Spring as well, and just got off the phone with Verizon. At first they told me FIOS isn't available anywhere yet, but when I said someone in my town already had it I got a different rep who did a specific search on my address. Unfortunately, my street isn't done (yet). I'm hoping they do more then just a couple streets in each area. I have seen Verizon trucks around, but I can't say I've seen anyone doing any major work.

The rep also told me I would need a landline to get FIOS. I currently have VOIP with VoicePulse, and don't have any wiring inside my house for telephone (I do have the network interface box outside though). My VOIP service has been pretty spotty, so I won't terribly mind having to go back to a landline. I wonder if that line would be over the fiber? Anyway, that's my experience, or lack thereof, so far.


gwion
wild colonial boy
Premium,ExMod 2001-08
join:2000-12-28
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to Robert Morrisson

Re: FIOS Installation is a go in Montgomery County

Fiber optics is the next generation plant technology, and it's here to stay, no "novelty" dimension to it, anymore ... The core of the telecom networks is already fiber optic. So it's an illusion to think that this is an all copper network, now, or has been since ~1992 or 3. The CO's have used fiber for inside plant and trunking since the nineties. Every telecom, everywhere, that wants to stay competitive, eventually, is going to be deep fiber... barring a massive unforeseen shift in core technologies.

The purpose of the buildout is to stay competitive. That's no sin, for any company. Willful self immolation isn't necessarily a noble quality deserving of admiration...

My father owned a model A when he was a kid, and it was a great car. I don't drive one, myself, today, though... and have no desire to, aside from up a scenic mountain road on a Sunday for nostalgia's sake... he wouldn't even have gone that far... he was glad to be rid of it, and loved his modern auto.

I remember my dad saying to me, once, when I was getting all misty eyed looking at his old memorabilia... "it wasn't always that great, kid. Don't get "too" romantic, there... we were poor, life was rough, and things didn't work, but you sure did, 'til your back hurt by bedtime..." or words along those lines...

Yes, I'm adopting battery backups on a lot of things, at home. Mostly just to keep them up for an orderly shutdown, same as with my technology stuff... I run a Tektronix solid ink printer, for example, that actually costs me money, significant money, if it has to restart suddenly. It runs a self diag and cleaning process that consumes around 15 bucks worth of ink in ten seconds... keeping it stable during a power interruption is the simplest immunization against annoying expenses, and a ten minute warmup cycle if it's a short interruption. (PS- caveat I was reminded of, in a private exchange... I remember APC actually advised against putting a laser/solid ink printer on a UPS - I'm seat-of-the-pants'ing it, hoping it can provide me five minutes, for these damn drops we get in the summer... crossing fingers, and thinking of giving this bugger a dry run, now... )

If you want weeks of uptime, though, it may be better to be looking at a small generator or a solar charged battery array, not a UPS... those are indefinite power sources, strictly speaking, anything using deep charge batteries and drawing charge only from the power lines has limited uptime by nature...

All new technologies present challenges. Just for a grin, think of this... there was a time we could all at least type a letter when the power failed, if we had enough light. Many businesses, today, don't even own an IBM electric typewriter, anymore, much less an ol' manual Remington chatterbox.

Just a few idle thoughts...
--
Semper Eadem

- ... his original destination's just another story that he loves to tell.

Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD
reply to mishaq
It is our home, yes.

Go online to Verizon.Net and see if it is available in your area. Or, call the FIOS line at 888-553-1555.


Anonymous

@nrockv01.md.comcast.
Did they dig up your lawn and run the lines underground or did they do an aerial drop?

Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD
reply to sdgthy
The BBU will run FIOS for 4-8 hours, depending on how long you talk.

Unlike a UPS, the BBU does not waste a lot of power driving an inverter to make 120 volts. It simply powers the ONT at its native voltage.

A separate UPS would run the BBU for maybe 5-8 hours, depending on its rating. This would give you an extra cushion of time. You would have to check with Verizon to see if they support running from a home UPS system.

What is sold as a "UPS" is usually what is called a standby power supply, or SPS. These put out a square wave and switch the load from the power mains to the inverter. If they can do the switching in a certain number of cycles the manufacturer can call the unit a UPS.

A true UPS provides a sine wave through its system at all times. If the mains fail, the UPS continues to provide this power; there is no switching.

I you use the run-of-the-mill store-bought "UPS" (or SPS) you could damage some loads. That is why they tell you not to power audio electronics and appliances with it. A keyboard, a stereo, or a video system may not like having that square wave fed into it. Computer power supplies do not care.

Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD
reply to nasadude
The phone service and costs do not change. Only the medium for delivering the service changes.

The Internet service may cost $5 more than DSL per month.

Verizon wants you on FIOS Internet. The phone switch is secondary. I doubt they would switch just your phones to fiber if that is all you wanted.

As for Vonage, how is the sound quality? I have been considering that service.

Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD
reply to ScottF12345
I work for Verizon only in the capacity of a customer.

They are rolling out FIOS in Montgomery County now. I was the fifth installation this particular crew had done.

Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD
reply to nycdave

Re: FIOS Installation is a go in Montgomery County, MD

The units they installed are unlike anything I have seen before.

The BBU is a rectangular box with a battery inside. There are connections on the side for two thick cables to power the ONT and several thinner signalling wires. These are held in place much like the clips for the speakers of a stereo.

The power pack is a small unit that mounts separately from the BBU. A small cable connects the two.

There is an inherent problem with the ONT and the BBU. They are custom hardware and if one or the other fails Verizon will have to replace it.

Verizon is on their second version of the ONT and BBU; given the trouble this crew had getting the BBU mounted and wired they will need to re-design it yet again.

Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD
reply to wheeler1629
It sounds as if you will need to transfer your phone service back to Verizon and order FIOS.

Verizon will remove the NID (Network Interface Device - the gray box on the side of the house) when they put in FIOS so it does not matter if yours is wired.

As for the internal wiring, you have a challenge there. You could bite the bullet and let Verizon wire the place. Or you could contract with an independent telephone installer.

If you do your own wiring you must purchase the correct cable and fittings. Places like Home Depot and Rexel (Branch Electric) sell these things but you need to know what you are buying. The prices Home Depot charges are obscent.

Many telephone and network self-installations look like Harry Homeowner did them and they perform just as poorly. If the wiring fails you can spend considerable time and money fixing it.

Just how bad could it be? Let's just say that lamp cord, speaker wire, and scotch tape do not belong anywhere near the telephone system, yet I have seen it again and again.

Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD
reply to gwion

Re: FIOS Installation is a go in Montgomery County

Yes, fiber is here to stay. It is now a commodity.

As for nostalgia, everyone wants to remember the good ol' days when the streetcar fare was only a nickel.

Never mind that the conductor and motorman earned fifty cents a day and that one reason streetcars were so popular was that you could avoid driving a wagon over heavily rutted muddy roads.

Never mind that gentlemen always walked to the outside of the sidewalk to protect the lady from having garbage or water dumped on her from above.

Horse cars were romantic, too. Just don't step in the exhaust.

Yes, the Model A is nostalgic. That old Ford coil probably needed replacing every few thousand miles, as did the mechanical points and condenser. Tires did not last long, either.

For an ideal backup system check out Banner Power in Rockville, MD. For $15-20k you can split your electrical service into essential and non-essential, powering the essential circuits from battery when the commercial power fails.

A small generator can recharge the batteries on the fly. The fixed load of the batteries is a lot less than trying to match the heaviest load that might be on the line at any time so you can get a smaller generator.

If you have natural gas, you can run a generator outdoors without having to fill the tank. You should test any generator by failing the circuit over at least quarterly and preferably more often. Ideally, it should be run against a fix load at least annually, but most people will never do that.

As for the Selectric, I have one right here I am not using. It does not work if the power is out, though.

PS - If anyone wants an IBM Selectric typewriter, complete with an assortment of golf balls (elements) and ribbons, drop me a note.

nasadude

join:2001-10-05
Rockville, MD
reply to Robert Morrisson
said by Robert Morrisson:

As for Vonage, how is the sound quality? I have been considering that service.
The ONLY problem I have ever had is when one of my sons was doing some filesharing and our whopping 256k (please note, small k) upload was saturated. This caused dropouts for people on the other end and they would miss every third word or something like that. A quick yell and the problem is fixed.

Otherwise, the quality is mostly the same as a landline. One thing I do like is that ALL of the add-on services (that the ILECs like to charge $2-5 for, like call waiting, *69, etc.) are included in the price. I am paying $27/mo for unlimited local and long distance and all the add-on goodies, including a very nice voice mail box.

Here's a tip if you do get vonage: you can plug the adapter into any jack and it is distributed to all the phone outlets in your house (assuming they were wired correctly). I had to disconnect the copper from the outside interface box, but no other action was required to have all my phones work just like they did on POTS.

Master_10_

join:2003-04-24
Silver Spring, MD
reply to Robert Morrisson

Re: FIOS Installation is a go in Montgomery County, MD

What CO are you on?


somebodeez
Premium,MVM
join:2001-09-24
here
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Robert Morrisson
Very interesting things here - I sure do learn a lot from this board!

"Unlike a copper phone network, there is no power in the fiber system. If the power fails, the phones will die after about 8 hours running on the BBU."

I have an APS for my computer stuff. It wasn't very long ago that I purchased it so I haven't gone through the experience of finding a replacement battery and installing it yet. Having said that -

Comparing that w/the BBU that Verizon supplies:

My APS recharges itself. Does the BBU?

My APS is suppose to indicate when it's time to replace the battery.(If I remember what it said in the manual correctly) Does the BBU do that? If not and we have to solely depend on Verizon to let us know when it's time to get a new battery, how reliable and timely are they going to be ?
I've been through the "cross your fingers and hope you get a good tech" routine many times w/Comcast and a bit during my very brief DSL period with Verizon so naturally, I do have reservations about this.

All this talk of things long gone by and how they can't compare with the things we have today is all very well and fine. However, my copper wire phones are not long gone by,(yet) have always been dependable, still are (even during a 3 day power outage and without having to buy anything else to make them so and without having to "make it quick, my battery is getting low", no static, no dead zones etc) and while yes, we do have cell phones,we still rely heavily on our copper wire phones.I'm not so sure I can convince DH to give that up

I have been just as anxious as everyone else for FIOS to come my way and I still am!

"Verizon is on their second version of the ONT and BBU; given the trouble this crew had getting the BBU mounted and wired they will need to re-design it yet again."

However, maybe it's a good thing it's not here yet while they work that out and maybe some other kinks.
In the mean time,thank you so much for posting your experiences with FIOS! I hope you continue to do so that I can learn more



PGHammer

join:2003-06-09
Accokeek, MD
reply to Robert Morrisson

Re: FIOS Installation is a go in Montgomery County

That is exactly the case.

The only real change now is the last mile (or portion thereof) with things like FTTN or FTTP. With FTTP, unlike FTTN, there is ZERO copper over any part of the voice or data path on Verizon's end. This also means that the typical issues that copper has that fiber does not (especially corrosion and other weather-related issues) go *completely* away. Also, there is *always* an overcapacity issue with fiber (unlike copper, you will practically *never* run out of capacity with fiber; in fact, I have never heard of fiber being replaced due to lack of capacity issues).

The Bells in general (and Verizon in particular) have been using fiber for inter-CO trunking since before the breakup of the original AT&T; the only reason they hadn't deployed it to the premises was due to both lack of proper termination equipment at the premises, and the fact that under the old depreciation rules regarding non-CO plant, it would not be cost-effective to upgrade the last mile from copper UNTIL the old equipment had been completely written down (basically, thirty years or more).

rickyr

join:2004-05-23
reply to Robert Morrisson
Dammnit! I live in MoCo and when I go to Verizon's site it and put my number it says service still isn't available. Did you call or were you approved online?

Congratulations btw, that Fiber looks awesome.

Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD
reply to nasadude
At $27 a month that is about the cost of a single line with Caller ID. I am paying that for a line that I use for fax, and which I had to unplug due to the high volume of junk faxes.

Duplicating that range of services with Verizon would run around $50 per month. I'll have to think about this. I wonder if Vonage has a trial period, without a commitment.

Yes, the Vonage interface would turn the phone jack into a distribution point. If the old connection to the phone company were still connected it could cause you some trouble. You can just unplug the test jack in the Network Interface Device (NID) on the side of the house to break that connection.

Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD
reply to Master_10_

Re: FIOS Installation is a go in Montgomery County, MD

Kensington / Wheaton. The old Whitehall exchange: 942, 946, 949.

Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD
reply to somebodeez
APS? American Power UPS?

By the time a UPS that you buy locally loses its battery you will probably find it less expensive to buy a new unit.

The battery is the major cost of the unit and replacement parts always cost more than they did in the original system. One of my early APC systems provided 200 VA and cost over $100. My latest acquisition cost $80 and provides 800 VA.

The BBU power supply connects to the house mains; you are required to furnish a nearby outlet. This unit keeps the battery charged. Unlike a regular UPS, there is no inverter. The ONT runs from the same voltage the battery produces so you don't have to step it up to 120 volts only to transform it back to low voltage.

"Cross you fingers and hope you get a good tech" at Comcast???? Surely, you jest (and your name isn't "Shirley"). Most of them can't spell "IP" or "RF" and after a bit of training they are experts who apologize a lot but can't understand basic concepts like "ping" and "connectivity".

When I pulled the cable modem I asked Comcast to furnish me with a "barrel" to connect the two cables in place of their three way splitter. It is just a splice. Otherwise, you need a terminating resistor to cover the now-open connection on the splitter.

Their clerk on the phone had not a clue what I was talking about and did not understand that unterminated connections could cause troubles. When I returned the modem to Comcast a supervisor spent 1/2 hour trying to find out what I needed.

She insisted I buy one at Radio Shack. I insisted that since this was their cable they should provide an approved barrel, and that one from Radio Shack might support only 900 MHz cable, not 1000 MHz. She was clueless.

A technician wandered in. She asked him for a ... she turned to me and asked what it was and I told her ... "barrel???". He produced a hand full of them.

Verizon has been quite good. I have called DSL support a few times and only once gotten a run-around. The FIOS team seems equally good.

So, with FIOS you risk losing your phones if the power fails more than 4-8 hours. You are also liable for the battery replacement every few years. But the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages. My Web pages come in FAST. Pages I post to my site www.Eagle-Wing.Net go up in seconds.

As for the design of the ONT and BBU, well, that will evolve over time.

Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD
reply to PGHammer

Re: FIOS Installation is a go in Montgomery County

Fiber used internally is under their control. Fiber used on the street is in a more hostile environment but still controllable. Note the loops of extra cable they hang in case a pole must be moved.

Fiber from the street to the house is a very hostile environment. You are now dealing with homeowners, ladders, squirrels, and other issues. The fiber drop they put in looks like the old iron drop wire and uses the same clamps.

As for capacity, there is a formula for all of it. If a few people order 30 meg service they won't have an issue. If a LOT of people on one trunk order 30 meg service they will quickly reach the limit of that trunk.

True, not all of that capacity is used at one time but with a large number of 30 meg users there could be trouble. Just ask anyone on cable.

Of course, they can afford to put in extra trunks when they charge $200 a month for 30 meg service.

So, the "final mile" is now history. We have fiber to the door.

Robert Morrisson

join:2000-03-31
Silver Spring, MD
reply to rickyr
I checked on line for several weeks. Just go to www.Verizon.Net and see if you qualify to DSL. If FIOS is available they will tell you.

For some time the browser would cycle through several pages, finally landing on one that told me DSL was available.

One day the browser stopped at the FIOS page. At that point I was given options to order the service.

The crew that installed my system said it was their fifth installation. They had five people, several in training. As the techs gain experience installing systems for the techie crowd, like those of us reading these postings, they will be able to get it down to a science with the common homeowner.

There is a wow-and-dazzle demo they have to run through with the customer, including bookmarking 7 pages. I let them do their thing because they were training the new people, but I did not let them play the long video with the thumping music.

Just think - Verizon paid someone with perfect teeth and perfect hair and a television voice a lot of money to make that video. I just clicked out of it and never watched it. Pity.

FDM80

join:2001-07-16
Silver Spring, MD
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
said by Robert Morrisson:

I checked on line for several weeks. Just go to www.Verizon.Net and see if you qualify to DSL. If FIOS is available they will tell you.
For all the people who have DSL from verizon, checking for DSL will always result in the system saying you already have DSL so it probably would never throw you to the FIOS options.

splicer2
Premium
join:2004-08-27
Pasadena, MD
reply to Robert Morrisson
VZ's Voicewing VoIP is $34.95. I dont know all the differences between VoIP's but it's something for you to check out. It's a couple more bucks but it seems pretty cool. From vz's website it looks cool that is.