Verizon FIOS vs DSL?
February 4, 2006 2:42 PM   Subscribe

Verizon FIOS vs DSL?

Anyone have any experience with Verizon's FIOS broadband vs. their DSL? I'm looking for comments regarding increase in speed for FIOS, problems with the upgrade, or any other problems you might have encountered.

Are you more satisfied with FIOS as opposed to your previous internet connnection?
posted by cahlers to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've had FIOS since August and I love it. We have the 15/2 Mbps package, and I regularly clock 90% of that rate. (Just tested it right now at Speakeasy Speed Test and got 14.872 and 1.76)

The main reason to get it for me was no requirement to have a home phone - now I only use my cell for calls.

I've noticed that my connection lags a good bit behind my wireless router, though I think that has a lot more to do with reception in my house than the FIOS.
posted by zogbie at 2:56 PM on February 4, 2006

mmm fiber...

How much more is FIOS?

I heard that you cant get DSL after you have FIOS installed.

But then again why would anyone go back to DSL?
posted by Dreamghost at 3:24 PM on February 4, 2006

Response by poster: In my area, Verizon has a promotion for FIOS $39.99/mo vs DSL $34.99/mo. The FIOS speed is 15/2, about 10x as fast as what I have now.

Is FIOS TV basic included?
posted by cahlers at 3:38 PM on February 4, 2006

Huh. I just tested my DSL at Speakeasy/Chicago and got this:

Download Speed: 1207 kbps (150.9 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed: 208 kbps (26 KB/sec transfer rate)

I still can't think in the proper units; that's only ~1.2 Mbps on download, right? Hmmm... If Verizon offers that around here for close to (or less than) what I'm paying for DSL I'll switch right away.

I remember when a 36k modem was a big improvement that made paying $6/mo. more for PPP worthwhile. (Man I'm old.)
posted by davy at 3:57 PM on February 4, 2006

FIOS is really, really nice. I also have the 15/2 package, and got it for the same price as the Verizon DSL we had before (due to some phone package plan or something). The installer even ran (free of charge) the CAT5 cable from the basement to our home office where our routing machine is located.
posted by thebabelfish at 4:27 PM on February 4, 2006

the 15/2 Mbps package

One thing about these high bandwidths bother me. Every router I've seen up to a high $$$ only provides a 10 Mbps connection, and sometimes this is even half duplex and not full duplex. Do the FIOS people provide their own router with a high bandwidth ethernet port to jack into, or are typical router WAN ports now a rate limiter?
posted by meehawl at 5:49 PM on February 4, 2006

Many are coming with 100 Mbps connections these days. The D-Link DGL-4300 I favor does.
posted by kindall at 5:55 PM on February 4, 2006

Sweet router! A little spendy. The big question is how do I get DD-WRT onto it?
posted by meehawl at 7:27 PM on February 4, 2006

Some times Verizon gives you a free 100Mbps router, sometimes they don't. But you can pick one up starting at about $40 now. Nearly all routers are 100Mbps now.

And even if you only have a 10Mbps router, FiOS will still work but maxed at 10Mbps. FiOS also has a 5/2 Mbps package that's, in general, $10 less than 15/2 Mbps. And sometimes you can get the 30/5 Mbps package for $10 or $20 more than the 15/2. It just depends on what they're offering in your area.

And yes, once you go to FiOS you can't go back to DSL without them switching back to copper, which they have to do for free for now. If you have another company's DSL on your copper line, Verizon is required to not cut your copper cable.

The reason you can't have DSL if they've switched you entirely to FiOS is well, it's a fiber cable from your wall to Verizon, no copper at all.

As background, I have FiOS in the Northern Virginia area. The 15/2 package and I get about 16.2/1.9 in the real world. I'm paying $44.95. The install was painless and about two hours max. Verizon has gotten a LOT better at installing than they were at the beginning. The crew that lay the cable from the junction box to my house (about 40 feet) did it poorly and after we complained they were out in two days and redid with no interaction from us. I've been very happy with it.

I think I've never had a service outage; at most it was seconds. The one possible thing to think about: when you switch from copper to fiber lines, the fiber interface box is powered from your home power supply. So for your phone to work, it has to be powered. Verizon uses a battery unit that's supposed to last about 12 hours. After that, no phone at all. You can use a UPS, or I've heard a car battery since it's the same voltage.

The only downside I've faced is because Verizon blocks incoming port 80, but that's common to their DSL service as well. My service has nearly zero latency. When you go to fast servers, it feels like they're on a LAN.

I've never heard of FiOS TV included in the data price. The pricing I've heard for TV is about $13 for basic-basic (about 20-30 channels) and about $40 for 180 channels. With channel packages above that being about $10 for 10 channels (movies and etc). Verizon tends to do any channels that could be in HD in HD.

FiOS TV is only in markets they've gotten approval for, so it may or may not be where you are. I can't remember if they've gotten any approval in Maryland yet.

Read through the DSLReports forums. They have a lot of good information.
posted by skynxnex at 7:47 PM on February 4, 2006

I've got the 30/5 FIOS package in Leesburg, VA. (My company pays for part of it, otherwise I'd have 15/2.) It's probably not worth paying for the step up from 15/2, since you can count the sites that can use that full bandwidth on two hands -- and you probably wouldn't even have a use for those sites. FIOS also comes with newsgroup access with full binary access.
posted by pmbuko at 8:15 PM on February 4, 2006

Definitely FIOS. I'm in Northern NJ and have their 15/2 service. It rocks! Install was painless and it came with the D-Link DI-624 which has a 100Mbps WAN port.

Good luck,
Ed T.
posted by Lactoso at 1:10 AM on February 5, 2006

meehaul, the WRT54G has always had a 10/100 WAN port. Check out the data sheet.
posted by zsazsa at 7:27 AM on February 5, 2006

Indeed it does, I was misled.

With QoS off, seems to top out at 15-20 Mbit/s. The rather slow CPU becomes the limiting factor here, I think.

Also, with a fat pipe like this and if doing lots of BT connections, it's probably a good idea to throttle down the TCP connection lifetimes and increase the size of your NAT table to at least 2048, preferably 4096. That is going to take up a chunk of RAM.
posted by meehawl at 10:16 AM on February 5, 2006

Sorry, meant to include the WAN speed discussion.
posted by meehawl at 10:18 AM on February 5, 2006

The big question is how do I get DD-WRT onto it?

Can't think of a reason you'd need it, frankly. The D-Link firmware is pretty dang good.
posted by kindall at 2:07 PM on February 5, 2006

The D-Link firmware is pretty dang good.

Not according to these people.

I have a rather complex network for a home, with over a dozen devices which need different QoS profiles (and an weird blend of Static, Dynamic, and Static DHCPs to work), a VOIP system, a video link, some VPNs/IPSEC/PPTP tunnels, and several websites and FTP sites. I've never found factory firmware that is sufficently tweakable or robust for prolonged operation without frequent reboots. But I'm sure this router is awesome for UT.
posted by meehawl at 3:39 PM on February 5, 2006

Response by poster: talk about hijacking the thread...
posted by cahlers at 4:29 PM on February 5, 2006

Yeah, it's a derail. Suffice it to say, it's a fine router for exactly the type of network meehawl describes (which is strikingly similar to the one I run).
posted by kindall at 5:45 PM on February 5, 2006

While it may be tangential, I don't think it's a valueless derail. A slow or failing router will only harm a fast connection. The DGL-4300 sounds like it has the welly to service a FIOS connection running full tilt without choking. I'd have my doubts about the bundled DI-624 mentioned earlier not choking with a bunch of services like port forwarding/triggering and NAT'g going on, mainly because I had one for two years and know what it's capable of.
posted by meehawl at 6:15 PM on February 5, 2006

They installed it at my house two weeks back, it's much faster than cable. I have a looong entry on my blog about it. It's $12 cheaper than cable Internet, for what is easily 70% more speed. And I got the 5/2, cuz I'm a cheapskate.
posted by exhilaration at 8:12 AM on February 6, 2006

Put me down as another vote for FIOS, and the DGL-4300. I've been using FIOS since August, and the DGL-4300 for about a month longer (I got it originally to use with a 6mb Comcast connection. Just a quick correction, though - the DGL-4300 isn't 100MB ethernet on the LAN side, it's gigabit ethernet.)

For me, the best part of FIOS is the improved upload speed; I found with my Comcast connection, trying to use tons of bandwidth (I often have to upload substantially large files) would tend to choke off the smaller upload side of the connection, which in turn would cause everything else to slow down as most everything inbound still requires handshaking signals to go back to the originating site.

As far as the DGL-4300 goes, the one thing it does exceptionally well is handle a lot of connections; I had several Linksys and similar routers that would just lose their minds if a lot of connections were being managed (to see a similar effect, try running a couple of dozen very active simultaneous bittorrent connections; this wasn't my application, but the effect is much the same)

Most consumer grade routers I tried would end up needing to be rebooted at least daily (if not hourly) in some cases when I had a number of active tasks running.

In contrast, I've been flogging the DGL-4300 similarly for the past month or so, and finally last night it started to act weird enough to require power cycling.

My recommendation would be to get them both, and don't look back.
posted by nonliteral at 4:28 PM on February 6, 2006

For me, the best part of FIOS is the improved upload speed; I found with my Comcast connection, trying to use tons of bandwidth (I often have to upload substantially large files) would tend to choke off the smaller upload side of the connection, which in turn would cause everything else to slow down as most everything inbound still requires handshaking signals to go back to the originating site.

Yeah, that's why I set up a GameFuel rule on the DGL-4300 to prioritize anything coming from my main machine to ports < 1024. This only affects outbound traffic, so all the acks get out quickly, along with HTTP and DNS requests and whatnot. (The only thing prioritized higher is my VOIP.)
posted by kindall at 12:32 AM on February 7, 2006

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