Verizon FiOS, Double Routers

Seemed like Comcast was raising their prices every other month, and Verizon offered a FiOS combo deal of $99 / month for net / TV / phone, so I switched.

The good: Got a really competent installer. FiOS mostly works well. It's significantly cheaper than Comcast was, for more TV channels and (slightly) faster Internet. Also got about 50 movie channels free for 3 months.

The bad: Verizon is, well, evil.

  1. When they were digging holes in our yard to lay fiber, they cut the cable TV wire.
  2. They immediately sold the email address I gave them to a spammer, in violation of their stated privacy policy.
  3. They flat-out refused to do a CableCard-only install without a set-top box.  I had to order a STB in order to get TV service at all.  Getting a CableCard for my Tivo required a second phone call to a second number.  The helpful rep took my info and said the CableCard would be added to the order, but it wasn't, and the installer had to scrounge one.
  4. They sold out their customers to participate in blatantly unconstitutional warrantless wiretapping, then bribed ^W made campaign contributions to enough Congresscritters to receive immunity for these actions.

Yeah, it's possible that a couple of those actions were just incompetence rather than malice. But all of them? Unfortunately, most of the other major phone and cable companies have similar moral and legal shortcomings, and it appears that the choice is dealing with the devil, or communicating via carrier pigeon.

The tricky: The Actiontec router provided by Verizon basically worked, but the wireless range on it was lousy. Performance near the router was fine; from across the house there was connectivity, but performance was awful. (TCP is sometimes too robust for its own good. If it didn't work at all I would have diagnosed and fixed the problem much sooner.) My old Linksys WRT54G with Tomato firmware has much better wireless range. But the Actiontec has the required coax connector. So I ended up using both routers. The Actiontec has its wireless turned off, and its DHCP server supplies IPs to the STB (over coax) and to the Linksys router (over wired Ethernet from the Actiontec's LAN port to the Linksys's WAN port.). The Linksys has wireless on, and provides DHCP addresses and local DNS for both wired and wireless clients. Port forwarding is a bit tricky: it requires forwarding from the Actiontec to the Linksys, and then from the Linksys to the end computer. Surprisingly, it works fine. Also, I had to turn off the Linksys's DDNS update feature, since it was publishing the non-routable IP address that the Actiontec gave it.