Written: December 23, 2018

Frontier FIOS Tech Support was Right

At my home office we use Frontier FIOS for Internet, what that means technically is that Frontier has routed a fiber optical cable to my curb, then up to my garage where there’s this white box mounted on the wall that converts the optical signal into Ethernet, aka the ONT box. For many years I was using an entry-level plan that offered download and upload speeds of 25/25 Mbps, although now when we have three devices streaming Netflix, and a few YouTube channels streaming that our network was getting quite sluggish. Simple problem to solve, just upgrade.

The folks at Frontier had a plan with speeds of 50/50 (Download/Upload) for only a few dollars more per month than my old, now obsolete 25/25 plan, so I upgraded. I’ve never used the Frontier-supplied WiFi router, instead opting for a Netgear Nighthawk router just because I read good things about that router online. For the 25/25 plan the Netgear Nighthawk router was just fine, however with the upgrade to the new 50/50 plan I noticed that the Netgear router had much slower upload speeds. At first that kind of bugged me, so I would contact tech support at Frontier and complain about the slow upload speeds, then they would do some magical “line refresh” and somehow my upload speeds neared 50 Mbps, but only for about 24 hours or so, then back down to a very slow 6 Mbps upload speed.

On Saturday we had a Frontier technician visit the home office and declare that, “all is well with our equipment, so it’s your Netgear router that is slow. Try this Arris router to see if it works faster.” I was really unconvinced that it was my Netgear router, so I did some Google research to find out how to make my router upload faster, trying a few things unsuccessfully:

Reluctantly I then swapped out the Netgear router and used the Frontier supplied Arris WiFi router. Wow, now I had 50/50 speeds with the new router, however the Arris router had no parental controls, which is something that I wanted to continue using for my network. A bit more Google search for Frontier-tested WiFi routers yielded an article that tested and recommended six different routers, so my eye was attracted to their recommendation on the Netgear R6700 router, because I knew that Netgear allowed me to filter content quite easily.

A quick look at Fry’s and Best Buy located similar model numbers to the Netgear R6700, and then to my delight I found a used R6700 on Craigslist and negotiated a price of just $60.00, sold. At home the router swap was pretty easy, because I was already familiar with how Netgear allows setup.

Netgear R6700

The new R6700 router did a firmware update, then I rebooted my computer and ran a speed test, showing me great 50/50 speeds:

Speedtest with Netgear R6700

Instead of paying Frontier a $10/month service fee for using their Arris WiFi router, I now own a $60.00 Netgear R6700 router that runs quite fast and supports content filtering. I also learned that Frontier tech support was right, it was my old Netgear Nighthawk router that was slowing my uploads way too much.

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Upgrading Internet Speeds

I’ve been using Frontier FiOS as my Internet provider for several years, however my entry-level package had speeds of just 25M/25M and I wanted to know about upgrading to a faster connection. Yesterday I spent 25 minutes on the phone just to find out if:

  1. What packages do you offer?
  2. What does each package cost?

Ironically their website does list the Internet packages, but there is no mention of pricing. Why is no pricing listed?

My speedtest.net results were pretty close to the advertised rates:

Frontier 25M/25M Speeds

Frontier 25M/25M Speeds

My support person on the phone didn’t know if upgrading from the 25M/25M plan to the 50M/50M plan would require new hardware and an installation person to visit, but then she thought that it would be OK as-is. Hmm.

This morning I logged into my MacBook Pro and ran the www.speedtest.net again and I noted that Download had increased to 48M, but the Upload actually slowed down to just 15M. I started a Chat session at the Frontier web site and Tiffany started to help me, but then my Internet connection went dead and Tiffany phoned me. She asked me to turn off the WiFi Router and wait about 15 seconds, then powered it back up. Success, I now had faster speeds:

Frontier 50M/50M Speed

Frontier 50M/50M Speeds

For just $8/month more I have double my Internet speeds, so yes, I’m a happy camper, and probably a bit more efficient in running my web business. I would’ve preferred to upgrade online, without intervention from a support person, but that’s just how it is with Frontier FiOS, they have secret pricing and their upgrades require technical intervention remotely to completely work.

For personal use our household likes to stream Netflix, so I expect to see the biggest improvement in viewing movies in the evening, after work hours.

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