Friday, October 8, 2010

Finally Got My FiOS Fixed

Well, it only took three trips for them to do it, but, finally, my FiOS appears to be fully fixed. I just did a test download of RedHat 5.5 DVD ISO and got 2.2 MB/s (not Mb/s) for the entire download. Previously, I'd start at about 1.5MB/s for the first few tens of MB, but then the transfer would slow and slow and slow and finally stall.

Dunno why it took three trips to fix, though. Numerous breakdowns in the customer service process...

When I originally reported problems in late August/early September, it was because I had no connectivity at all (and, trying to use my cell phone's browser to find the FiOS tech support number was a rather painful experience). Internal networking was fine and I still had video service. Unfortunately, the FiOS WiFi router wasn't able to pull an IP from its upstream router at the PoP. Once I finally got a VZ tech on the phone, he had me run through the usual script. Wasn't until he discovered that he couldn't remotely reach my ONT that it became evident they'd need to send someone out to address it. Unfortunately, as part of the troubleshooting, they'd had me fully de-power the ONT since they couldn't remote-reboot it. This action not only hadn't fixed the problem, but resulted in me losing video. The ONT eventually reset itself five hours later, but, as of bedtime, that night, it was still offline. Worse, VZ couldn't get a tech to my house for two days.

Donna was NOT happy at the prospect of no video or internet for two days.

As I noted, previously, it finally (sort of) fixed itself sometime in the five hours between going to bed and getting up for the day. We had TV back and basic internet. So, Donna wasn't quite so freaked about the two days to get someone out to look at it. I was relieved to not have to listen to bitching for two days.

Later that afternoon, VZ called to indicate they had a FiOS tech free that day and would I want him to come out. "Happily," I replied. Dude showed up and looked at things, but didn't have any parts to replace the faulty ONT, but did replace the coax-splitter. He indicated that he'd note the problem in the case and someone would be dispatched the next day with parts.

It was rolling up on 1600, the next day, and no techs had either called or arrived. So, I contacted VZ. Apparently, the ticket had been closed by the prior tech. WTF? I was still experiencing slowdowns on long downloads, so, I asked that they open a new case and send someone out to do the parts replacement work.

As with the first phone call,  no techs were going to be available for the next day, so, I'd have to wait another day for a tech to come out. Whatever: video was working and internet was mostly working (I could send/receive email, just not download large files).

The tech came out two days later. I was expecting that he was going to replace the ONT that the first tech was supposed to have replaced. Instead, he noted there were problems on the coax line. So, he replaced the splitter (two in two visits). The connectivity was still weird, even though the line was showing "normal" on his diags. So, he replaced the router. He then rolled out.

At this point, we're two splitters and a router (and two tech-visits) into the fix process. Still, I'm having issues with long transfers and, since Halo: Reach came out, I noticed that I'm also having stability issues with XBox Live. Given that I was trying to make achievements in online multi-play, this kinda sucked.

So, this week, I called to see if, maybe, finally, we could get the ONT replaced as was originally expected with the first visit. As with prior calls, tech-dispatch was gonna take two days. Whatevs. So, I agreed to an appointment for Friday, October 8th, 2010 between 08:00 and 12:00. They indicated the tech would call when he was on his way.

It was rolling past 11:30 and I had yet to hear from the tech. So, I went online, found the FiOS tech support number, navigated the call tree and got in the hold-queue. Ten minutes into this process, I got a call from the tech. He was letting me know he'd be here in 15 minutes. So, I hung up on the lovely FiOS hold-music and waited for the tech to show up.

The tech was prompt. He said he'd be here in 10-15 minutes. He got here in 11 minutes. Given the vagaries of traffic in NoVA, I was just happy to see him within 30.

I described the problem and the ongoing issues with getting the device replaced. He asked to see the unit, so, I took him to the basement. He popped the case and noted, "wow, this is an old one". I was kinda like "*BOGGLE*" as it had just been installed in February or March. But, whatever: not really relevant. He asked if it was ok to pull the unit so he could replace it. I noted that I wasn't immediately using the connection and could get/send email from my phone if it was critical. He popped the unit, took it out to his truck, brought back a replacement and popped it in. He tried to do some remote-office work on his VZ laptop, but, the cellular-wireless card in his laptop wasn't getting good signal in our basement. So, he excused himself to his truck so he could take care of the administrative details to get the unit to come online.

He said it'd be about 10-15 minutes, so, I walked him to the door and sat in front of my blank TV and useless laptop and waited. About 9 minutes later, video signal came back on the TV. I then noticed that my laptop had just noted the arrival of new mail. So, I figured, cool, shit's back online. So, I hit up RHN to establish a test download. 2.2MB/s.

Tech came back in about five minutes later. I let him know that things were looking good. I had video and was running a download that was holding speed and had done so at a higher rate and for a longer time than any recent ones had since prior the ONT replacement. He gave me his contact info and headed off.

So, at this point we look good. Took a while, but, we got there.

The FiOS experience has been interesting. Within the first month, I'd had to replace the HD-DVR set-top box. Then, this whole fiasco with an (apparently old yet newly installed) ONT failing that resulted in the replacement of two co-ax splitters and a WiFi router before finally replacing the faulting ONT. I've had FiOS for a little over half a year. That's a LOT of hardware death. Oh well. We're good, for now.

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