FiOS installation

Warning: this will be pretty long, and mostly uninteresting unless you're looking to get FiOS installed yourself.

So, I've been waiting for FIOS since verizon announced it was coming to the DC area. I believe that was in Oct of 2004. I live pretty close to the city (we sometimes walk to Georgetown for dinner, and my wife is not a walker), so I thought we would be one of the earlier areas to get it installed.

Nevertheless, I signed up for it no more than two days after it was available, took the first available installation appointment, and they came out to install it Wednesday. Almost five years. *sigh*

I'll preface the rest of this by saying that the installation guy, Chuck, did a really good job overall, and put up with a lot of me saying, "I want it done this way", even if that's not the way they normally do it.

There are a couple of reasons why I needed to be very specific. One is that we are keeping our cable modem for at least a month, to make sure everything is good in transitioning to FIOS. Another is limitations on the wiring in our house; some of it is pretty difficult (and some is very hard to find without ripping out walls. I also wanted to keep my router as the main path into the house; it accepts two WAN connections, and can do load-balancing between them (and doesn't have a significant limitation on the NAT table, like the ActionTec router Verizon provides)).

Because of the wiring limitations, I had a specific spot in the house where I wanted the Verizon equipment to go (basically, the cable intersected with a lot of wiring that I did myself at that spot). I dropped a couple of extra lines in that spot the night before the guy arrived for the install, just in case they were needed (an extra network drop, and a phone line).

Well, he showed up, and after discussing it with me for a little while, convinced me that we might as well connect their router directly to the ONT (not sure what that stands for, but it's the in-house unit that accepts the fiber line; it outputs phone lines (up to two in the standard model), coax (for TV and/or internet), and ethernet (internet only; usually not used) via coax.

The reason for using coax is that a) the router needs to have that connected, regardless, for MoCa (I'll come back to this), and b) we'd need to run another line to this box for the ethernet anyway (and I'd had trouble feeding my fish through the ceiling to enable this anyway).

We went through the steps to get the fiber into the house (I also didn't want this done the way they probably would have done it normally), and connect up the ONT. When it failed immediately, he did some investigation, and found out that he had the wrong model of ONT. Basically, it wasn't compatible with the neighborhood distribution point unit, since that is a brand-new model (like I said, I signed up immediately, so the equipment is really, really new).

To make matters worse, he didn't have the newer model. He (and his supervisor) made some calls to procure one. Eventually, they succeeded, but it was going to take a little while, and he had earlier told me he had a doctor's appointment to which he had to go. I didn't want to screw him on that appointment, so when he asked if finishing the next day was ok, I said that was fine.

It ended up being a good thing that I did, because when he left, I did some research on that ActionTec router. That's how I found out about that NAT table limitation. I also found out how to get my router to be next to the ONT. All that was needed was to connect to the ONT via ethernet; ok, I now had the time to fish another line over there.

So, when he showed up the next morning with the new ONT (a Motorola 1000, I believe he said), I told him about the need to run the extra line (I'd already done the hard part of pulling it, so I was only adding about five of minutes of work for him). He was a bit skeptical, but didn't see any reason not to do it; so after the ONT was in, we worked on it.

Unfortunately, apparently the provisioning on this ONT was also different, so he (and his supervisor) had to figure out how to do it.


Ok, this is getting so long _I'm_ starting to get annoyed. Kudos if you made it this far.

Well, they figured it out (the ethernet part was an additional hassle, figuring out, but they got that, too; apparently, nobody uses that). Eventually, after a tiny bit of stupidity on my part, I got my router to be the entry point again, putting their router behind mine. I'll talk about why their router was still necessary in another post.

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