Around the House


Verizon FIOS Installation

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I had Verizon FIOS service installed at my house on October 18, 2005. I decided to create this web page to share my experiences and to help others prepare for their own FIOS installation.

Prior to FIOS I had cable modem service from Cablevision.

I had already installed a hard wired LAN in my house. I have an old but perfectly serviceable Nexland ISB800 8-port router that I did not want to replace.

I built a wiring cabinet into the closet of one of our spare bedrooms. It expanded over time, and I also got better at wiring. It all worked but it was a sloppy mess. I used the imminent Verizon FIOS install as an opportunity to redo all my punch downs and tidy up my wiring.

Wiring closet before... and after. What an improvement!

You can see in the "before" pictures that I left way too much slack in the category 5E cables. Some of this slack I pushed up into the attic but most of it I cut off.

I read on the Verizon web site that a category 5E cable is required between the FIOS ONT (optical network terminal), usually installed on an outside wall at your current phone service demarcation point, and your computer, or more precisely, the Verizon-supplied D-Link 4-port router that will presumably be located near your computer. Verizon clearly states that they will run this cable but they will not snake walls. I wanted my cable to run through my walls, so I ran it myself, something that my installer, John, greatly appreciated. You can see in the "after" picture above two light colored cables in front of the wiring closet. These run from the demarcation point to the wiring closet. Why are there two? Because I always run a spare cable. It's just as easy to pull two cables as it is to pull one, and this way if one fails, I can easily switch over without having to crawl around in my attic again.

I also knew that the ONT would need a source of AC power and space to mount a backup battery, power supply, and the ONT itself. I intended for the ONT to be installed inside my garage, but first I had to relocate my automatic lawn sprinkler controller and add an additional electrical jack. The sprinkler controller was in a bad spot and I needed an excuse to move it anyway.

More prep work. Moving the sprinkler controller (blue box) away from the electrical panel where I wanted my ONT installed. I also replaced the small switched electrical outlet with a four-gang box. The small box top center is the current Verizon demarcation point. Next to it is my main electrical panel. The small box attached to the left side of the electrical panel is a whole house surge suppressor. The two light colored cables hanging down from the ceiling are the other ends of the two cables in my wiring closet.
The sprinkler controller in its new location, near the garage door and closer to the outdoor sprinkler unit. It needs electrical power. I moved the box from the side of the electrical panel. Its also a handy place to plug in a vacuum cleaner when cleaning out the car.

The installer, John, arrived promptly around 9:00 AM as promised. He was very happy to see that I had done all the prep work. He complimented me as the most prepared customer he had ever seen. The only (minor) problem he had was initially there was no signal on the pole in front of my house. John had to make two trips to a central cable vault somewhere in my neighborhood to resolve this.

The pole in front of my house is a rat's nest of wires. There were four separate phone wire drops to my house! I guess someone who lived there before me had a lot of phones. This is the corner of the garage where the phone lines enter. Technically the ONT should have been installed here, but I did not want this and asked for it to be installed inside.
From four pieces of copper to one fiber (plus the cable TV coax which I plan to replace as soon as Verizon offers TV over the fiber). I was initially upset that John cut down my old copper wire because I thought having them there would allow me to revert to POTS if there ever was a problem with the fiber. But once cut there was no turning back, and actually there have been zero problems with the fiber so there is no need to leave the copper  up once you convert to FIOS.

They are supposed to install the ONT outside so that it is accessible to technicians without them having to enter your house (i.e. if there is a problem with the ONT you do not necessarily have to be home for it to be resolved). I did not want my ONT outside for several reasons: I did not want it exposed to the weather (although this is less of an issue with fiber vs. copper); it is a large ugly gray box and I did not want it on the outside of my house just because I don't want large ugly gray boxes on the outside of my house! John explained that although he was supposed to install it outside, he could install it inside if the customer insisted. I insisted (in a nice way) and considering all the prep work I had done to make his job easier, John accommodated my wishes.

Now lets get to the actual install.

Within minutes the ONT was secured to the wall. Next the battery backup and power supply were added. If I have one complaint about FIOS is that the battery life is woefully short. It is not designed to handle a prolonged power outage. They claim it will last a day, but four hours is more realistic. You better have a cell phone and car charger because your Verizon FIOS will no work if AC power is out.
More coming soon!  


Around the House