FCC Report shows Verizon much faster than Cablevision

The FCC recently conducted a study of some of the top broadband ISPs in the country and measured customers’ actual bandwidth as compared to what the ISPs advertised. FiOS really came out on top.

The report is available on the FCC site. The bottom line, though, is that Verizon FiOS averaged nearly 120% of advertised speed (i.e., more than was advertised) and Cablevision was between 50% and 75% of advertised speeds. Latency (ping) was also heavily in FiOS’s favor.

FCC - Fios vs Cablevision
FCC - Fios vs Cablevision

Continue reading “FCC Report shows Verizon much faster than Cablevision”

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Back on FiOS again (finally)

Well, that was quite an ordeal. But Verizon came today and finally installed FiOS. All’s well that ends well, I suppose. My phone number was finally ported over and the internet is insanely fast. This is 25/25 internet with my desktop Fedora box plugged into the TP-Link router which is then plugged into the FiOS ActionTec router. I didn’t want to have to reconnect all my computers to a new SSID so I’ll just continue using the TP-Link until I have a reason not to.

FiOS 25/25 Speed Test - May 20th, 2011
FiOS 25/25 Speed Test - May 20th, 2011

One thing I did right away was change my DNS servers. The default DNS servers with Verizon were 68.237.161.12 and 71.243.0.12. By default, Verizon uses “DNS assistance,” meaning that DNS queries against these servers will return IP addresses when they should return NXDOMAIN, so if you mistype the hostname in a URL it can direct you to a page full of ads. You can disable this by replacing the last octet of the default DNS IP with 14. So for the two IPs above, it would be 68.237.161.14 and 71.243.0.14. I figured I’d compare the response times of these servers with Google’s 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. I used dig to time DNS requests and also used ping to measure latency. 68.237.161.14 was the fastest for me, followed by 8.8.4.4 and then 71.243.0.14, so those are my primary, secondary, and tertiary DNS servers.

Verizon stood me up

Several weeks ago, I scheduled the FiOS install for 5/14/2011 and they said it would be between 8am and 5pm. I got confirmation emails (welcome to FiOS) and a confirmation call on 5/12. I waited all day yesterday for Verizon to show, and they never did. I called at 11:58 AM and gave my order number to see if they could tell me roughly what time the tech would be here, since I didn’t want to sit around all day if the tech wouldn’t be there until 4 PM. They couldn’t. They said we were still scheduled for today, between 8 and 5. I asked if they could call the tech scheduled to do the installation and see when he thought he’d get here and I was told they couldn’t.

At 5:45 we called Verizon to find out what happened, why the tech didn’t show, since we’d waited around the house all day. They told us the order had been put on hold 2 days before because Cablevision wouldn’t release our phone number. I understand things happen, but not calling to let me know, and then giving me incorrect info when I called, is inexcusable. The Verizon rep we spoke to afterwards wasn’t even apologetic. Disappointing.

My Last Optimum Online Speed Test… Ever?

Verizon is coming tomorrow to hook me back up with FiOS. I figured I’d do one final speedtest with Cablevision’s Optimum Online Boost (30 Mbps down, 5 Mbps up advertised). The speed’s been pretty consistent, but it’s just not as good as FiOS.

Bandwidth test:

Optimum Online Boost Speedtest 2011-05-13
Optimum Online Boost Speedtest 2011-05-13

Ping test:

Optimum Online Boost Pingtest.net latency test 2011-05-13
Optimum Online Boost Pingtest.net latency test 2011-05-13

Going back to FiOS

I’m not sure why these guys operate this way – they’re more than happy to lose me as a customer and then throw huge discounts at me to get me back. If they’d just give me a good price I’d love not to have to go through this rigmarole. But after being with Cablevision for 2 months I checked Verizon’s pricing and it beat my current deal with Cablevision.

FiOS digital voice with number ported for free; 25/25 Mbps internet; HMDVR free “forever” plus a second HD STB, Showtime, Movie Channel and Flix. Since I already had the battery thing installed last time I had FiOS they gave me a fair discount. Basically the whole package for $87/month + tax, price locked for 2 years, no contract. Not as great of a deal as I’d had with FiOS originally, but it’s pretty good, and FiOS’s service is definitely better than Cablevision’s. I’ve heard Cablevision was rolling out their “DVR plus” service with all programs recorded “in the cloud” rather than on the actual box, but it’s been two months and I haven’t heard of it coming to Long Island. So basically 2 years later Cablevision’s service is exactly the same while Verizon has iPhone apps to control the DVR and use the phone as a remote, plus DVR that’s much faster and just generally better service.

On a side note, I noticed tonight I was having problems trying to stream Netflix to my Wii. I tried loading netflix.com on my laptop and that also didn’t work, it said “couldn’t find server movies.netflix.com.” I tested this via dig on my linux box and sure enough, movies.netflix.com isn’t resolving against the default Cablevision nameserver (167.206.3.206) – getting a SERVFAIL:

[evan@lunix ~]$ dig movies.netflix.com

; <> DiG 9.3.6-P1-RedHat-9.3.6-4.P1.el5_5.3 <> movies.netflix.com
;; global options:  printcmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: SERVFAIL, id: 17569
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;; QUESTION SECTION:
;movies.netflix.com.            IN      A

;; ANSWER SECTION:
movies.netflix.com.     232     IN      CNAME   merchweb-frontend-1502974957.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com.

;; Query time: 2129 msec
;; SERVER: 167.206.3.206#53(167.206.3.206)
;; WHEN: Sun Apr 24 01:23:58 2011
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 103

I tried the same query against Google’s nameserver (8.8.8.8) and it resolves correctly:

[evan@lunix ~]$ dig movies.netflix.com @8.8.8.8

; <> DiG 9.3.6-P1-RedHat-9.3.6-4.P1.el5_5.3 <> movies.netflix.com @8.8.8.8
;; global options:  printcmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 43718
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 2, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;; QUESTION SECTION:
;movies.netflix.com.            IN      A

;; ANSWER SECTION:
movies.netflix.com.     300     IN      CNAME   merchweb-frontend-1502974957.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com.
merchweb-frontend-1502974957.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com. 39 IN A 174.129.220.6

;; Query time: 34 msec
;; SERVER: 8.8.8.8#53(8.8.8.8)
;; WHEN: Sun Apr 24 01:37:26 2011
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 119

I set my router to resolve against 8.8.8.8 rather than whatever Cablevision provides and now it works. I’m not sure if this is related to the big EC2 disaster of the past few days but it looks more like Cablevision’s fault than Amazon’s or Netflix’s.

Speed comparison: Optimum Boost vs Verizon FiOS

Optimum Boost advertises 30 Mbps down, 5 Mbps up. Here’s a speed test I just ran at Ookla’s SpeedTest.net:

(My desktop is plugged into the router, the router is plugged into the Arris cablemodem.)

Here’s one of the last speed tests I did with Verizon, on 2/15. I had the 25/15 internet package:

(Desktop was plugged into 8-port Linksys 100 Mbit switch, the switch was plugged into the FiOS/ActionTec router.)

Continue reading “Speed comparison: Optimum Boost vs Verizon FiOS”

After switching back to Cablevision, FiOS users can’t call us.

So we switched back to Cablevision and it went pretty well, but apparently Verizon users can’t call our house number (ported from Verizon to Cablevision). Verizon users have to call from their mobiles in order to complete the call. I’m guessing that Verizon hasn’t updated their systems to indicate that they no longer “own” our number and is trying to route the call inside their network. Sucks because I can’t imagine Verizon jumping to help fix this since I’m not their customer anymore.