Going Quantum

I’ve been a happy Verizon FiOS customer for about 10 years now (as soon as it was available in my neighborhood). We were the second area in Texas behind Keller to have it rolled out with all new infrastructure. I started out with what I think was a 10/5 (10Mbps download, 5Mbps upload) plan way back then, and was blown away by the speed.

About two years back we upgraded to HD TV channels and got a bandwidth bump to 50/50 and shortly thereafter Verizon bumped me to 75/75. They consistently deliver more than what I am paying for as evidenced by the SpeedTest I took today.

 

I decided to upgrade to Quantum TV service this week and had a box of goodies arrive yesterday. Included was the new “FiOS Quantum Gateway” aka, the G1100 router.

This router is quite a step up from the old one, at least from a wireless perspective. It supports EEE 802.11b/g/n/ac wifi, and has 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet ports (LAN and WAN). Wifi speeds it supports are up to 450Mbps for 802.11n and 1300Mbps for 802.11ac. We will see how it goes in practice.

Now for the bad… this router is a bit finicky when it comes to getting set up in bridging mode. I found a couple of forum posts about people who were successful in basically following the same instructions as for the older Actiontec on cloning the mac address, with a couple of tweaks. Why bridge? Well, in the past the Actiontec router just plain sucked for anything other than providing basic connectivity. There was no dynamic DNS support, limited QoS support, no decent VPN support, limited WiFi protocol support, etc. So, I have two Asus RT-N66U routers sitting behind the Actiontec, which I set up to forward everything. One of the RT-N66Us is acting as my router, protecting the LAN, and the other is set up as a WiFi bridge on the other end of the house.

In the new scenario, I will try to use the G1100 for everything out of the gate and sell the RT-N66Us. Long term I will probably install a couple of Ubiquiti’s UAP-AC devices, but they aren’t cheap, and I’m not in the mood to pull more Cat6 in my attic in 100+ degree weather. The UniFi system gives you true enterprise class wireless with full no-drop handoff between the access points, a full guest network, etc. Nice stuff.

Anyway, on to why I have not yet installed everything: The old DVR. See, there are a couple of recordings that my wife REALLY wants to hang on to. One of them is my oldest son’s high school graduation. OK, sure. Others are probably old episodes of Oprah.. I don’t know. 😉 The thing with a commercial DVR solution is that there is no easy way to get your recording off of the device for archival purposes. This makes sense from a copyright perspective I suppose. However, for something like a graduation ceremony, it is plain annoying. So…

I already have a PC in the living room that acts as the Plex media server. It also has a couple of free PCI slots. Therefore the easiest approach is to play the programs back and feed the output from the DVR to the PC over an HDMI cable into a Video Capture Card. I ordered one that has had a lot of positive reviews and cost just over $100. There are options for $300-500 as well, but I had enough issues justifying $100 in my head. 🙂 Once the card arrives on Monday, I will install it and get things set up to be able to capture playback. The drawback? Well, it has to be played in real-time, since the video card is capturing the stream. There is no way to do a straight copy. Even after I capture the video, I will need to compress it before I drop it on the Synology NAS.

I will make a follow-up post with how the video capture card performed and how the new FiOS Quantum service and router met expectations.

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