Frontier FIOS problems. Service, router, or...?
May 28, 2015 9:45 AM   Subscribe

We recently moved and chose Frontier (formerly Verizon) FIOS for our Internet service since the other option was Comcast. The service is the lowest tier (50/50) but we were coming from DSL with lower speeds and it was fine so we were expecting it to be OK. And it is. Sometimes. Other times it is really slow to unusable. Like, the airport on my Mac won't even connect to the router sometimes. Sometimes it will connect but I have to wait 2-4 minutes for an URL I typed in to load. Sometimes it goes up and down, disconnectng and reconnecting our wifi devices every few minutes. And other times, like right now, it's absolutely fine.

Is this a router problem? A problem with the service in general? I don't even know where to begin to diagnose it. Have other people had this problem? I know with Comcast you can buy your own router and get better speeds and more reliability, but are there purchase options for FIOS routers? Or should I call and complain? If so what exactly should I say? I really don't want to pay for higher speeds, since the promised speed should be more than sufficient for doing things like paying bills!
posted by rabbitrabbit to Technology (5 answers total)
Sounds like you have a poor wifi signal, which is most likely your issue and not your ISP's.

What does your Mac's wifi signal strength indicator say? Where in your house is your router? How thick are your walls and what are they made of? Are there lots of other wifi networks nearby, some of which might be broadcasting on the same channel? Do you have a new all-in-one modem+router unit which you bought (or rent) from your ISP, or are you using your own router?
posted by xbonesgt at 10:17 AM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Can you try connecting a computer or other device as a wired connection to the router (IE via an ethernet cable) and see if the problem persists?
posted by selfnoise at 11:14 AM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The Mac is in the room next to the router. But it also happens with the iPad when it is literally right next to the router. Mac says 3 bars; our walls are just plain drywall. Only one other wifi network that my phone finds sometimes. Frontier provided the router, but that's part of my question: it seems like there are a jillion cable modems out there but FIOS is a lot harder to DIY?

I'll try and find the ethernet cable just to test, but unfortunately our house is set up such that keeping the cable connected all the time is going to be a PITA.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:21 AM on May 28, 2015

Its hard to tell without being on site but this is what I do:

Check for Double NAT:
Connect your Mac with a network cable directly to the Apple Airport
Turn the WiFi in your Mac OFF
Open Airport utility
Run updates if needed
Do you see a warning about double nat?
If double NAT is detected set the Airport Network Settings to "Bridge Mode"
Restart the Airport

Airport utility
Change settings to Google Public DNS servers

Restart your Mac

Test your speed:
While still connected via wire run a speed test:
Use one that is not biased to your ISP like but use

If everything works well while connected with a cable we have to talk about WiFi coverage and interference with other WiFi signals.
posted by Mac-Expert at 11:34 AM on May 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

So you're just using the router/modem that Frontier provided, right? You might do better by buying a wireless router (not a modem, just a router) and plugging it in to the FIOS router then using the wireless signal from your wireless router instead of theirs, just in case theirs is the problem. This also lets you mess with the settings on your router and leave their router/modem alone. That's what I do with my Time Warner router/modem - I could use theirs alone, but who knows if it's any good and I don't have as much control over it, so I just plugged a wireless router that I own into a port on the modem and now I have complete control over my setup.

And as others have said, you really need to test this out while wired to their router/modem to see if the problem persists. Even if you are close to the router/modem, it could just suck at WiFi while your Internet connection is fine. A wireless router might be rated for high speeds under ideal conditions, but some of them simply aren't good and can't keep up their promised speeds, especially with a couple of devices connected at once.

If you experience slowness on both wired and WiFi, call them and let them know that. That will tell them it's a problem with your Internet connection. If you experience slowness on WiFi but not while wired, then you *can* call them and ask if they can do anything about the modem/router, but it might be faster to just get your own wireless router and use that for WiFi.
posted by Tehhund at 12:00 PM on May 28, 2015

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