Verizon Fios – The Ugly Side.

I’ve talked about how great Verizon Fios is previously. And at that time I noted a few downsides that hurt the service quality but still noted the ISP was the best I’d used. Today I’m going to rant a little longer about the ugly side of FiOS, mainly because I have just gone through/am still going through an excruciating experience[1]. That said, I still recommend FiOS[2].

On Thursday, 10/16/08 I tried to log onto the internet. No connection. Between 10/16-10/17 I would make seven major phone calls to Verizon in an attempt to resolve this issuing totaling approximately 250 minutes (over 4 hours). Verizon for an unknown reason[3] disconnected my FiOS service[4]. Okay, no big deal – reestablish the service[5]. They create an entirely new account and inform me at the same time that I can no longer have my less-expensive 5 Mbps/2 Mbps subscription but must upgrade to a 10 Mbps/2 Mbps. Again, not a huge deal – $10/mo. – but doesn’t make an unhappy customer happy when you screw up and then demand he pay a higher price for the service.

The installation was supposed to be completed by the end of that day. At the end of the day I called back, ohh – somebody screwed up the order. I would talk to approximately three people between that call and calls the following day attempting to get the order straightened out. They placed at least two new orders and finally one of them kicked through. In all, it was around 48 hours without internet access.

Then the internet access finally returned. Great! I’m a happy man…Till its slower than DSL. I run some speedtests. Yup, certainly slower than DSL – and ping tests against Google/Yahoo’s servers revealed that occasional timeouts where occurring and response times were slow (over 100 ms typical). More phone calls to Verizon[6]. Yes, my service is now working. No, the service is very slow. How do I know? Well, I used a bandwidth test. Run through the normal diagnostics – resetting wireless router, plugging directly into FiOS connection, resetting the FiOS box outside my house – sending the issue over to a tech. to look at. The pings drop down – Google/Yahoo now in the 10 ms range, but the speed is still horrific. Maybe its the bandwidth tester – well, I trust Speakeasy’s test but, sure, let’s try Verizon’s. Verizon shows even more dismal speeds. Ahh, forget Verizon’s speed test let’s try speedtest.net. Now if I go to the server in Newark I get 10 Mbps, but almost everywhere else its slow as anything. Will I run the FiOS settings optimizer[7]? Sure. Still nothing. I’m tired, I’m going in circles. I talk to a supervisor. Same thing. They want to send me a new router. Sure, you can do that, but since I’m plugging directly into the connection and bypassing the router it’s not the router. Okay, we’ll have a technician look at it. Great – never hear from them again.

The connection has slowly improved. Dropped packets have decreased, but overall the network is slow. Streaming video doesn’t work well – unless you happen to hit 1% of the servers that seem to be operating on Verizon’s network at high speeds.

So, that is my situation as of today. Two days without internet – now extremely slow internet. Calling into technical support is an exercise in frustration. I can’t speak to someone who understands the problem is a technical issue on Verizon’s side. My guess? Either my circuit settings where entered wrong or they have a bad router somewhere along the line. 99% of my traffic is going through the bad router – if I happen to hit a server that takes another route (doesn’t use that router) then I get good speeds.

Anyone else having this problem? The phone support from Verizon has improved in that I don’t spend 15 minutes dialing through automated voice support – but the help desk support doesn’t have a clear escalation path beyond themselves and so I am at an ends. Vague promises of a “network tech.” looking into it and no followup leaves me with little hope of a long-term solution.

UPDATE:

Spoke to a technician at Verizon who knew what I was talking about and again submitted a ticket to the network tech. guys. His name was Dan…If any Verizon people do read this, he needs a promotion – his networking knowledge is far beyond most of his peers. In any case, he agrees the issue is one with the route being taken to reach the final website. To give everyone an idea here is a tracert to google.com (note the length of the route, its extremely, ridiculously long):

1 1 ms <1 ms <1 ms Wireless_Broadband_Router.home [192.168.1.1]
2 4 ms 4 ms 4 ms L100.FTTP-02.PHLAPA.verizon-gni.net [68.238.240.1]
3 7 ms 6 ms 7 ms G1-0-881.LCR-08.PHLAPA.verizon-gni.net [130.81.110.108]
4 7 ms 6 ms 7 ms P14-2.LCR-02.STTLWA.verizon-gni.net [130.81.29.6]
5 7 ms * 7 ms 0.so-6-0-0.XL2.PHL6.ALTER.NET [152.63.3.81]
6 13 ms 12 ms 11 ms 0.so-6-0-0.XL4.IAD8.ALTER.NET [152.63.0.130]
7 13 ms 11 ms 12 ms 0.ge-3-3-0.BR2.IAD8.ALTER.NET [152.63.40.229]
8 22 ms 49 ms 99 ms 204.255.169.2
9 88 ms 86 ms 87 ms tbr1.wswdc.ip.att.net [12.123.8.106]
10 580 ms 576 ms 724 ms cr1.wswdc.ip.att.net [12.122.16.89]
11 580 ms 484 ms 96 ms cr2.phlpa.ip.att.net [12.122.4.53]
12 115 ms 97 ms 96 ms cr2.cl2oh.ip.att.net [12.122.2.209]
13 87 ms 87 ms 86 ms cr1.cl2oh.ip.att.net [12.122.2.125]
14 88 ms 87 ms 86 ms cr1.cgcil.ip.att.net [12.122.2.205]
15 99 ms 99 ms 99 ms cr1.st6wa.ip.att.net [12.122.31.162]
16 88 ms 86 ms 87 ms tbr1.st6wa.ip.att.net [12.122.23.130]
17 87 ms 86 ms 87 ms gar8.st6wa.ip.att.net [12.122.111.17]
18 98 ms 96 ms 117 ms 12.89.209.14
19 111 ms 96 ms 97 ms 209.85.249.32
20 103 ms 98 ms 89 ms 66.249.95.208
21 91 ms 92 ms 91 ms 72.14.233.37
22 92 ms 92 ms 104 ms 216.239.48.143
23 93 ms 106 ms 117 ms 209.85.251.125
24 102 ms 94 ms 104 ms 74.125.31.2
25 105 ms 104 ms 104 ms cg-in-f99.google.com [209.85.171.99]

Unfortunately 99% of the sites I visit appear to be routing in this same, obtuse method. 1% take a different router and operate at blazing fast speeds.

  1. [1]I rant in part about these types of situations because the bureaucracy in these large companies makes it almost impossible to get help. Oftentimes a blog posting is the most effective way to get real help.
  2. [2]I recommend more the technology than the service. At this juncture there is no alternative provider with the same technology available in this geographic region. On a similar note, the use of traditional DSL through alternative providers does not actually circumvent utilizing Verizon as these providers operate over Verizon’s lines. Satellite/Cable are true alternatives and WiMax (Sprint’s Xohm) when it becomes available will be another real alternative
  3. [3]Not only unknown to me but also unknown to them. They did not know why I was disconnected, just that they had done it.
  4. [4]Second time this has happened since establishing service with them.
  5. [5]Unfortunately it takes hours for this to occur. As a Network Engineer I am still unable to comprehend what could possibly take so long in the assignment of an IP address when all the physical wiring actually exists and has for some time.
  6. [6]Unfortunately my cell records have not updated to show me the length of those calls, so I cannot report their exact duration – but it was several and the time was significant.
  7. [7]Glorified IE/TCP optimizer.

9 thoughts on “Verizon Fios – The Ugly Side.”

  1. So, did it ever get better? I’ve been experiencing the same type of slow connection. My traceroute to google.com quit after 30 hops (the default max). I notice that 152.63.0.130 appears in both of our traceroutes. The speed used to be so good, but not it’s pitiful.

    Mike

  2. My speeds have improved from absolutely untenable to super annoying, but still pretty awful. :-/ Gonna give Verizon another call as this has been nearly two weeks!

  3. Former FiOS tech support agent here. Dave, I feel your pain, and extend my sympathy to you. Unfortunately, the people that can actually fix your problem most likely are not reachable by phone.

    Routing problems were usually the most “fun” for myself and others to troubleshoot when I did FiOS and Verizon Premium Tech Support. Those were the most complicated problems, and let us use our collective knowledge to solve them.

    If one can route to a site, the DNS resolves, and pinging a server all work, we were left with few options as far as troubleshooting goes. The connection is good, it routes, and the browser loads the page. You probably had several agents blame the PC or browser for the lag.

    The back story about how telecom works could run on for ages, but the backbone of how modern fiber integrates with the old school “Ma Bell” type infrastructure works is even more complicated.

    The guys that actually do the wiring, set up the “routers” at the Central Office, and manage all of the fiber networks, all used to work for the “phone company”. Insert AT&T, Verizon, ad nauseum. A lot of those guys are jerks.

    When tech support determines that a problem is within the network (as your problem seems to be), they have to try to deal with some *expletive deleted* in Jersey or somewhere else, that thinks that their system is infallible, the user is the problem, and fixing something could easily take a week…. if they don’t decide that a fix is unnecessary.

    Tech support can fix any configuration issue, can usually diagnose a home wiring issue accurately, and can help optimize just about anything that can be optimized. The one thing they can’t help with, nor can their supervisors do much with, are issues at the Central Office.

    This really doesn’t help your problem, but at least it gives you an idea as to the actual department that has been failing you. The CO is almost as unreachable as they are omnipotent, and impotent.

    Were it me in your position, I’d call Tech Support, ask for a supervisor, make them call the CO, and have them re-route EVERYTHING as far as your line goes. You’ll still be using the same cross box in your neighborhood, but maybe if they change the card you’re on it might help with your routing issue.

    Good luck, and please try to not take anything out on the techs, unless they deserve it.

  4. Hi, I wanted to let you know that while traceroute is useful for many tasks, its not the best way to determine the speed of a network. It’s much better to use Ping as it returns icmp packets. Traceroute is better suited to finding out “where” a problem is occurring while ping can be used to find out “how badly” a problem is occurring.

  5. Problems with FIOS? People at Verisuck think their system is infallible and are difficult to deal with? Sounds very familiar.

    I’ve had ongoing problems with both FIOS phone and internet.

    The phone has been bad since the beginning (odd buzz…) and then completely stopped working.

    The internet was mostly working (sometimes some outages) then I had one outage last week and now I can’t get to most of the websites I want to go to. Yahoo is reachable but Google’s main page takes forever to get to, and gmail times out before giving a response.

    The people at Verisuck have been very helpful. They continually tell me that the problem is inside my house. They even inform me that their pathetic automated phone system (which works quite poorly) is a “masterpiece in progress”.

  6. Crap. I’m getting FiOS installed today. It just became available in my part of town about a week ago.

    Actually they are going to be here to install it in about 2 or 3 hours. I hope all goes well. *fingers crossed*

  7. I have the same speed issues with Fios. I had it installed in November. I have spent hours on the phone with tech support to no avail. Swithcing back to Cox Cable tomorrow.

  8. Do NOT get Fios – it truly is bad.

    We tried it for 29 days – of which 5 full days were with NO INTERNET at all.
    Other days it failed 2 or 3 times a day and the modem had to be “reset”
    4 seperate hours on the phone with techs, 2 home visits by techs, new modem, and still a complete failure.

    We ifnally cancelled before the 30-day limit. They actually agreed on the phone that they’d “done all we can”.

    FIOS should come with a health & stress warning besides standing for Fully Inoperative Odious Service

  9. I’ve had internet on Verizon exactly 2 weeks out of 4 months into the contract. Had I been smart and not blinded by bullshit , I would have DN, as fios.verizon. whatever and got the DNS address, which is using DHCP to connect to my fiber box, only it’snot. Got the TV! Hell yes, got that, aint got NO internet!! GD_)Mutha (*&^(^&^_)(&T()*F ‘ers. either Darth Shredder is their boss or the whole GD Net is on Sith Sentral, and yeah, its the CO!! Can’t get the connection right no matter if I landline or wireless the freeping service, It’s broke, their CO is broke, the fraking inet is for Bufallo Chips and I just don’t get it! !!! Verizon is one of those companies that need to be investigated by the FCC and the sooner the better! spread the thought around won’t y’all- FCC..FCC..FCC.. SOS..FCC..SOS, FCC… [gasp ], gag, FcC…(… – – – …//)…… .. . . .

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