Last modified: Sat Dec 3 17:25:01 EST 2016
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 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.
We dropped the Home Media DVR in 2013-01 to compensate for cost creep. We dropped the HD STB in 2014-08 for that reason and others.
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.
In 2016-12 we had to trade the Motorola DVR for the "Quantum" Arris DVR to avoid a price jump.
Not quantum = Motorola HD DVR QIP 72161 "Regular DVR"
Quantum = Arris VMS1100 "Video Media Server"
So, what's quantum about it? Is it like that experiment where you open a box and find a dead cat?
This problem went away when we upgraded from Rev. E to Rev. I of the Actiontec MI424-WR 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 in.
This problem is caused by Verizon's customization of the router's login page "to hide the number of characters in your password." The solution is easier than you might think.
IIRC, this problem was corrected by a firmware update to the Rev. E router. Certainly the Rev. I router never had the problem.
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 below," Apply.
This problem persists with the Rev. I router.
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 rebooted.
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, isn't 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.
Symptom: You used to have no problem watching adorable kitten videos or downloading software updates from a favorite web site. Suddenly, you can't get a single video to play for more than a few seconds before it stops and the downloads take an eternity. The change was neither gradual nor episodic: suddenly one day it got bad and stayed bad, regardless of the time of day or how many times you rebooted.
Possible cause: Some web sites apparently try to tune their outbound traffic based on a measurement of how fast the client is receiving it. When the client PC is old and slow, this process can go wrong, resulting in stop-and-go behavior. The problem could indeed begin suddenly one day because of a change made at the web site or its ISP.
Workaround: Try it on a faster PC (before you buy).
Alternate cause: Verizon has not admitted to deliberate throttling. However, network congestion that you come by honestly, so to speak, doesn't behave like that.
Workaround: If the problem is indeed deliberate throttling, then some technical means to defeat it might work temporarily. However, it's an arms race at best, and at worst you could get in trouble for violating some service agreement or anti-consumer law (for messing with something that officially doesn't exist, duh).
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 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 DVR):
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.
Possible causes (other than buggy DVR firmware):
For what it's worth, there are menu options to tone down the active content under Menu → Settings → Notifications.
The banner at the bottom of the program guide was a particularly intolerable annoyance that stole real estate from the already too-short channel listing. For many months there was nothing you could do about it. As of 2014-08 you could turn off the random ads, but the banner didn't go away; it just turned into a fixed Verizon banner. In 2014-10 it finally went away.
I no longer have the equipment to test for bugs in home media streaming or remote operations on DVRs.
Don't blame me if you lose your programs. The following worked for me and did not erase the contents of the external drive.
So these things have an alarm that bleeps at intervals when they think that your battery is no good anymore. I replaced the battery, and within 4 months it was bleeping again. Disconnecting and reconnecting the battery silences the alarm for a few months, then the problem reoccurs. According to my multimeter, the voltage on both original and replacement batteries is good. Maybe it's doing some kind of load testing that only the super-expensive brand batteries can pass. Shrug.
This page claims that Verizon is offering free replacements for these old units. Some of them apparently will stop bleeping if you just disconnect the battery permanently. Next time this one goes off I might take it apart and cut the wire to the bleeper.
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. I'm told that hitting zero repeatedly also works.
Hopefully that will be an improvement. I don't worry about robots passing the Turing test. I worry about people flunking it.
If she goes off on a tangent, try saying "continue" or yell any three-syllable curse that ends with "you."
These tricks only work by phone. There is no way to get through to a live person by e-mail.