Getting stuff to work under Verizon FiOS
Last modified: Thu Apr 4 19:55:16 EDT 2013
The information on this web page may not apply to the current generation
of FiOS equipment or firmware.
I'm not with Verizon. I don't have access to all of the
information. Verizon continues to improve their system and
push out updates that may change system behavior from what is
described here. Your mileage may vary. But here
are my lessons learned, for your possible benefit.
As of 2011-11-01, all STBs claim to be running Release 1.9, Build 10.95 of
Motorola HD DVR QIP 72161 "Home Media DVR"
- Motorola HD DVR QIP 72161 "Regular DVR"
- Motorola HD QIP 71001 "HD Receiver"
- Actiontec MI424-WR Rev. E (a.k.a. MI424WR-GEN2) running F/W 20.10.7
We dropped the Home Media DVR in 2013-01 to compensate for cost creep.
In the first incarnation of FiOS we had a Motorola QIP6416-2 DVR, two
Motorola QIP2500-3 STBs, and an earlier generation MI424-WR router.
Router and network issues
Can't get into router
You know the admin account name and password for the router, and possibly
you even logged into it successfully before somebody pushed out an update
that changed the login page... but now whenever you try to type the password,
you get multiple characters per keystroke and the password field goes
berserk. You can't log in no matter what. Using copy and paste to
enter the password prevents the berserk behaviors, but you still can't log
This problem is caused by Verizon's customization of the router's
login page. The solution is easier than you might think.
- Stop trying to work around the problem with copy and paste.
- Stop trying to make the number of characters in the password field
match the number of characters that you type.
- Close your eyes.
- Type the password.
- Hit Enter.
code that (a) only works with interactive keyboard input, not
copy-and-paste, and (b) generates all those scary extra
characters. Use the force, trust your feelings, and just type
the darned password.
Changes to MAC filter access list don't Apply
Symptom: Persistent inability to connect to a secured WLAN despite
putting in all the right security settings.
Cause: Adding a device to the MAC filter list and clicking on Apply
does not actually Apply.
Workaround: After changing the access list, uncheck Enable Access
List, Apply, re-check Enable Access List, re-check "Accept all devices listed
ARP doesn't work
Symptom: Nearly always get Destination Host Unreachable when trying
to establish a connection between the WLAN and the LAN. The only time
it even sometimes works is immediately after the router has been
Superficial cause: ARP broadcasts do not propagate reliably.
I'm not sure what role the MI424-WR is supposed to be playing in this, be it
bridging or Proxy ARP or both, but whatever is supposed to be happening,
Workaround: Static ARP tables on all hosts. It's not much of a
solution, going back to the dark ages of networking, but it's the best answer
I have for now. Probably there is a simple configuration setting on the router that totally fixes this, but I've looked and haven't found it.
Can't get closed captions
Problem experienced with Motorola QIP6416-2 DVR and Sharp LC-32GP1U TV
connected via HDMI, but probably applies to many other
configurations: Can't get closed captions.
The Sharp TV has the following behaviors with respect to closed
- Analog cable: OK
- Combined video: OK
- Component video 480i: broken (drops and mangles captions)
- Component video 480p: NO captions
- HDMI: NO captions
Fortunately, the DVR has its own closed caption decoder. You can
enable it via Verizon's menu by doing Menu → Settings →
Accessibility → Closed Captions. With the 1.9 update (2011-10),
you can furthermore change fonts, colors, etc. from the same menu. In
the old days, you had to do it like this (tested only with Motorola QIP6416-2
- While the TV is on but the DVR is OFF and NOT RECORDING
ANYTHING, press menu (either on the front panel of the DVR or on
the remote) to access the DVR's configuration menu.
- If the DVR is not off, you will get the Verizon
menu instead of the DVR's configuration menu.
- If the DVR is recording, you won't be able to access the
configuration menu at all.
- If a recording is scheduled to begin while you are in the menu,
it will dump you out of the menu and not let you back in.
- Enable captions on the configuration menu and select fonts, colors, etc.
- Cycle power on the DVR.
- Should have captions now.
Sound volume fluctuates randomly
Problem: The sound volume fluctuates randomly sometimes, most
noticeably when listening to a music station.
This problem is caused by an STB
feature—audio compression—that, ironically, has the purpose of
making the sound volume more consistent. Compression does help
bring up those channels that broadcast at unusually low volume, but it
is not good for music.
The way to disable this feature is Menu → Settings → Audio
→ Dynamic Range, OK, and change it from Heavy to None.
DVR fails to record a scheduled program or only records part of it
Possible causes (other than buggy DVR firmware):
- You tried to record a channel that you aren't subscribed to. This
can easily happen since the guide is not always caught up with which channels
went away this week.
- You tried to record more than two programs at the same time, or you tried to watch a third channel while two programs were recording.
- If you schedule one program to record immediately after another and the programs have safety margins on the start and end times, there is a brief period of overlap in which you will need both tuners and may unknowingly blow away a third program. To avoid this, you need to edit the detailed recording options to eliminate the safety margins.
- If more than two "record entire series" programs apply at the same
time, the DVR will choose the two with the highest priority and ignore
- The program guide is wrong, not the execution of the program per se.
This is worked around by doing a manual program.
- If the list of series recordings becomes very long, you'll be confused about what should record and what shouldn't, and the DVR might be too. If you tend to hit "record entire series" a lot, it's a good idea to go through the list once in a while and purge those series recordings that are no longer active.
- There is a setting in the DVR menus to choose whether to record
repeats or only first-run episodes of a series, and another setting to
choose how many episodes of a series to retain.
- Power failure or network failure.
Current DVR firmware flubs
Issues noted since 1.9 update (2011-10):
- At various times, the DVR ceases responding to the remote for around 10
seconds, during which time it queues keypresses. You have to wait
patiently rather than continuing to hit buttons or you'll be sorry when it
suddenly wakes up and tries to do all that stuff. This is an old issue
that has persisted.
- A certain sequence or timing of turning on a TV, receiver, and DVR can
lead to a black screen of death. Try changing the order in which things
are turned on.
- The option to list only subscribed channels won't stick.
- By default, the program guide lists all possible channels, even those not
subscribed. Instructions to change the behavior using the Options
button are conveniently provided, but the change reverts immediately.
- If you first do Menu → Settings → Television → Last Viewed
Guide State, and choose Enable, then the change will revert only when the
box is rebooted. Unfortunately, I have to reboot a lot because of
the black screen problem.
- Suggestion: By default, list only subscribed
channels, and offer a non-sticky option to list the unsubscribed ones for
those rare occasions.
- Wish list: Would be nice to be able to suppress the SD channels
that duplicate subscribed HD channels without losing the non-duplicate SD
channels, and simultaneously suppress all channels that are not
I no longer have the equipment to test for bugs in home media streaming
or remote operations on DVRs.
External hard drive disappeared
Don't blame me if you lose your programs. The following worked for
me and did not erase the contents of the external drive.
- Ensure that the DVR and the external hard drive are on.
- Unplug the eSATA cord from the external hard drive.
- Plug it back in.
- Unplug the other end of the eSATA cord from the DVR.
- Plug it back in.
- Proceed through the DVR → Enable More Storage menu option.
It should say something about external storage was already enabled on
this box so press OK to reboot, and NOT something about formatting your
drive. If OK, allow it to reboot, and hopefully the drive will
The wicked, evil fembot
If you have made her acquaintance, you'll know who I'm talking
about. If you haven't met her yet, you will.
When you need to get rid of her, the magic word is "agent."
Use it insistently. She might refuse to budge unless you first
choose which of the following options best describes your problem,
yadda ya, but having done that, you should get through to an actual
real live person.
Hopefully that will be an improvement. I don't worry about
robots passing the Turing test.
I worry about people flunking it.
I'm told that hitting zero repeatedly also works.
These tricks only work by phone. There is no way to get
through to a live person by e-mail.