Tuesday, March 03, 2009

LUS Fiber Inside Installation

Here's another Flicker set "illustrated story," this time of the final, interior install. And yes, I love it. Fast. Clean picture. And a phone that sounds just like a "real" phone used to sound.

But on to the install: This, like the first visit, took about 2 hours. For a triple play install that's likely to be on the quick side. My install was straightforward and the locations easily accessible. The inside work is likely to be of a more variable length than either the sign-up call or the outside install. A lot will depend on how your house is built, where you want to pull service and how many services you've bought. Those are all small factors in the outside work but major ones once you start coming inside.

If you're getting the full package (and I recommend it) the task is pretty convoluted. They'll need to get power from an inside plug to power up the Alcatel fiber box in order to get much more done. That involves a special bit of wiring to go from an interior plug to largish power brick out to the battery power pack that feeds the fiber box. Cable needs to be run to your entertainment location or locations and a standard phone cable exits the outside setup bound for the old demarcation point between AT&T's wiring and your house. You'll usually patch your new LUS services into the already established coax and phone wiring system of your home. But you'll need to decide where you want the new internet service to go. Give this a bit of thought: right now likely have it coming in where someone, years ago, decided was close to the TV or the house phone. If you have a wireless router (or want one) you'll want to choose a location that is central to the places where you use your laptop. If you've got a real home office with several devices that sit on an ethernet system (desktops, net storage, printers and on..) you might want to consider a closet into which you could drop a switch or router without leaving a wiring mess exposed to spousal disapproval or the ministrations of pets and small children.

A slidehow "illustrated story" of the installation is embedded below. I tinkered with several formats and am not sure which would be easier for most folks...so here are two more links; frankly, I'd probably prefer these to the slicker slideshow but that's me. Best, IMHO: the familiar standard page with a largish readable image and text easily accessible below. If you want to just peek at the photos and decide if it looks intresting: There's a "detail" page with good text that lets you decide which, if any, picture you'd like to investigate. And finally there's the slick slideshow with big, screen-filling pics and floating text with a transulucent background. You can get to all glitz by starting the show, mousing to the bottom left to popup the controls and pausing the show, then click on the expand button that appears at lower right hand corner, go to the upper right and turn on "show info" to get the narration. Then you click through the nice big images and read the story..a lot of work...and all this is way too much to read....

36 comments:

Raymond Camden said...

I am -very- interested in the Guide/UI for the TV. Can you blog on that please? DVR space, UI, etc, everything TV related. More info please!! :)

John said...

Hi Raymond,

Bout blogging on the TV end. Yes, When I get out from under...;-)

I'm personally more interested in internet end of things--but the guide/UI is interesting to me too. A quick tidbit that you might find useful: The set top box is the motorola 1216 (you can also get the 1200--w/o hard drive). That might help you find a place to dig in. If you find anything particularly interesting let me/us know.

monkeyboy said...

Congrats on your install. I'm a bit disappointed that I haven't received any kind of flier in the mail regarding when I can get service. I am in Zone 1. Any ideas how long Zone 1 roll out will take?

Speed said...

Glad everything went well John! Hopefully that's a sign that this was planned very well and most people won't have trouble.
I found this link for the DVR but it doesn't say much, although it does say that it has a 160GB HDD
http://www.motorola.com/Business/US-EN/Business+Product+and+Services/TV+Video+Distribution/Customer+Premises+Equipment+(Set-tops)/IP+Set-tops/VIP1216_US-EN
And as you know, I had posted a while back about how much I missed Tivo having to mess with these immature cable DVRs (although I may have been posting under Anonymous at that time) so I'm really interested in your thoughts on the DVR.
I also have a few more questions I'd like to ask you.
1) Did you have any issues with the phone # transition? When I switched from Bellsouth to Cox, Cox took care of transferring my phone #. I assume LUS will do the same and you didn't have to worry about anything?
2) Do you notice any new channels since their latest lineup listing? I really want to switch all 3 services, but until I at least get Versus in HD I will stick with Cox for digital cable.

FGF said...

You've probably already seen it but here's a link to pictures of another very interesting FTTH installation.

http://www.dannychoo.com/adp/eng/1653/Japan+Optic+Fiber+Internet.html

John said...

Monkeyboy,

I've no idea how long section 1 will take...but I do get the distinct impression that they are taking it excrutiatingly slow (from the POV of folks like you and me). Its worth remembering how big that first section is...much bigger than any of the rest. I light a candle for you. :-)

John said...

@ Spee

Thanks for the link! Did you find note the pdf: it looks like it has a bit more. (http://www.motorola.com/staticfiles/Business/Products/TV%20Video%20Distribution/Set-tops/IP%20Set-tops/VIP1216/_Documents/Static%20Files/VIP1216specsheet_082508_f.pdf?localeId=33)
For instance this tidbit: "Embedded IP networking over coaxial cable using
HPNA v.3" That's how we get IPTV over Coax....It also supports the open Krea TV...supports windows ce (which explains a lot) and linux. if anyone wants to follow up on that can of snakes. I wonder if we can find a real tech doc

Re phone: I didn't have to do a thing.They ported the number for me.

Re Versus HD: not yet. I haven't been following the channel adds but I just checked for that one.

John said...

FGF,

I had seen that one--VERY impressive nest of wires. I liked the VPN screencast to his iPhone too. :-)

Speed said...

Thanks for the info John. I did see the PDF but must have looked at it too quickly as I didn't see the part about embedded IP networking over coaxial cable. Interesting.
I'm not familiar with KreaTV or microsoft mediaroom. What does that mean for the box?
And the Versus HD thing has me confused. Since the network can easily handle HD channels, I wonder why they only have the SD version of Versus? If they secured a contract, is it possible that they have to negotiate on SD and HD separately? I just figured if they signed a deal with any station and that station had an HD channel that we would have the HD channel as well.

John said...

Speed,

Bout Versus: your guess is as good as mine. The current lineup indicates to me that HD isn't automatically included. (They've got the bandwidth, if they had access they'd show it.)

Bout Krea and mediaroom: My strong guess, and it probably would be easy to confirm, is that they're using MS. But it opens the possibility that something else could run on the box...and the Krea implementation could tell you a lot about the potential...

lowb35 said...

Our install was yesterday and here are my initial impressions:

Even though it took nearly 4 hours in our case, I was impressed by the fact that the installers arrived 30 minutes early and were very professional, conscientious, and thorough. I really didn't mind that it took that long. There were a few glitches in our install that were beyond their control. For example, LUSFiber never heard back from AT&T about our transferring our current number to the new service, so they will have to return to connect the telephone. We ordered the 30 mbps internet service, but our internet speed was initially just 10 mbps. The installers contacted LUSFiber and got it bumped up to 50 in the interim. The internet speed is so good that maybe we'll just keep that speed, lol. A couple of the TV top boxes didn't work out of the box so they had to install one DVR box instead. Despite these issues the installers took the time to ensure that we had working service.

I'm most impressed by the internet speed. We are upgrading from DSL Xtreme, which at 6 mbps isn't so extreme compared to 50 (or even 30). Wow.

I'm a bit underwhelmed by the video when compared to DirecTV. I do like the fact that local channels are available in HD, which were not available through DirecTV. However, the highest resolution available now is 1080i, not 1080p, and while the video quality is still very good, it's not quite as sharp as what we got with satellite, which I can notice particularly when watching sports programming on a big screen. Is that something LUSFiber is going to address? I'm sure I'll like the video quality a lot more when we get our first big thunderstorm of the year and the video doesn't go black like it would on satellite. :-)

Also, does anyone know the POP3/SMTP server names? I talked to a rep today who didn't know what they were and said someone would need to call me back with them. Webmail is ok, but I'd rather use a POP mail client.

Either way, I'm extremely happy with the fact that we're getting about the same service (and in the case of internet, much, much more service) for approx $50 less a month than we were paying for our AT&T/DirecTV bundle. And it's only up from here. I'm sure that they'll continue to add more programming (particularly more HD programming, which other than local channels lags behind satellite), capability, etc.

John said...

Lowb35,

Happy to hear that your installation went well. I do think they are still trying to get things all lined up from install procedures to equipment to channel lineups. Too much new all at once. They do seem awfully good-hearted about it. Good trainers or just good people. Or both. :-)

The internet _is_ nice isn't it.

I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't really dug into the net stuff _or_ the video yet. Just been too distracted by life. But I'm with you on the smtp server names. I'm trying to switch over at least part of my addresses to IMAP to sync with an iPhone so I'm hoping that is available.

I'm expecting glitches this early. But I do think they have lots more to work with and fewer reasons not to give what they have to you than their competitors. I love the speed & the price but the biggest draw for me is that we're the ones that own it and our cash stays here. (I'm looking forward to the possibility that my suggestions might actually have an effect.)

lowb35 said...

They called back and here are the POP/SMTP servers:

POP3: mail.lusfiber.net
SMTP: smtp.lusfiber.net

I'm now successfully downloading my mail into Outlook. Hope that helps you you in setting up your iPhone.

Also, I realized that the set top box only goes up to 1080i... so I guess with a 1080p capable set top box, it's possible to get 1080p resolution? That's splitting hairs though. In most cases it's almost impossible to tell the difference between 1080i and 1080p.

We stream a lot of video through Netflix on the Xbox360. That's now ridiculously fast! And no more "your internet connection has slowed" messages!

John said...

Hi lowb35,

Thanks for the pop and smpt addresses. I will call LUS about the IMAP question and post here what I find.

Re 1080i. I have a PS3 with full 1080p and _really, really_ like what I get from bluray disks. But my Cox box (I have the latest and greatest there, a Motorola DCH3416) is also limited to 1080i. I don't think there are any 1080p boxes out there being used by cable or telco companies. Not sure why but it is most likely bandwidth issues--twice the pixel rate. Not that a few systems, like LUS' couldn't handle the bandwidth but until lots of such systems are up and running (and the majority of TV's can handle it natively) there just isn't a market (or so I surmise).

Interestingly bluray is still pretty much the only place you can practically get 1080p content. Even the best broadcast HD is 720p/1080i pretty universally and I can't off the bat think of any internet streaming sources at nearly that rate. You can, I understand, get pirated HD rips in exotic (an huge) file formats but I haven't gone there.

Meaning: Keep your netflix subscription and make sure your queue is full of bluray disks. :-) And yes, the streaming is just a whole lot better. You can use streaming for all the video not available in bluray and reserve the red mailers for bluray.

Anonymous said...

lowb, Cox nor satelitte have 1080P. it takes up too much bandwidth. i have cox and they only go 1080i or 720p. i dont think its all their fault, i think the channels themselves arent broadcasted in 1080p (fox, nbc, cbs, etc)

Anonymous said...

I'm having trouble with email using Mozilla Thunderbird. I setup my computers using the POP3/SMTP server address found in this blog.
POP3: mail.lusfiber.net
SMTP: smtp.lusfiber.net

It worked fine for a week or so now I can only receive emails and can't send them. I tried calling the LUS help line but the wait time is always 20 to 30 minutes. Which (IMO) is unacceptable and one of the many reasons I left Cox.
Can anyone help me?

John said...

Anon,

Sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your email. I'm afraid I can't immediately help because I am using imap rather than pop protocols to manage my email. (This has a lot of advantages if you are using more than one computer or handheld/phone to read email.)

I can tell you what the address is for imap, both incoming and outgoing connect at:

imap.lusfiber.net

I will email friends who are using pop and ask what is working for them.

Anonymous said...

Anon,

Neither imap or smtp works. I can receive email I just can't send them.

John said...

Anon on Nov. 6th:

My imap works for both send and receive...

Brian said...

Just finished reading through the posts about setting up email. I was able to get Outlok configured without any problems using the pop.lusfiber.net and smtp.lusfiber.net servers.

My iPhone is turning out to be a royal headache. I have my work email and previously had my cox email setup without any problems on my iPhone.

LOL, well while I was typing this message the imap.lusfiber.net server actually worked in the non ssl connection mode.

Thank you for posting that information! What exactly are the differences b/w using a pop server and imap?

Take care,
Brian

John said...

Brian,

Glad you got everything working.

IMAP is a different email protocol; pop is the more traditional one. The main difference in use is that, by default, imap assumes that you are leaving your mail on the server and will notify any client (and you can have any number of clients) that are set up to use an IMAP account what each piece of email's status is. So if you read your email on your phone, the status changes to "read" online and when you next hookup the account to your work or home computer it updates the client and the email is registered as read...there are other niceties but you get the picture. —It works much better with multiple clients.

You could say it was the first of the cloud-centric APIs. :-)

Anonymous said...

I've had my LUS fiber for a few days now. I'm loving my new internet speed, which is 20x faster than what I had with Cox for the same price. Picture quality is fine, the same as before as far as I can tell. There are far less HD channels than I used to have, but honestly the ones I'm missing now are not ones I ever watched. My biggest gripe so far is the DVR. It is laughably primitive. It is far inferior to any other DVR I have ever used. Without any significant improvements to the software SOON, I will either return to Cox for video service or buy a new Tivo Premier, which looks awesome and ship in April. Has anyone tried a Tivo with LUS fiber? I'm a little concerned that it won't work.

-Chappie

John said...

Chappie,

I agree down the line--a great deal, Great speeds. I get all the channels I want. But the DVR software needs replacing. It's the software rather than the DVR itself that is clunky. LUS is in the midst of changing over to MS Media Room. Which should be a huge improvement. Hang on. (Why haven't they just announced it and deal straightforwardly with the software issue? I can't fathom...)

Yes, TiVo works with LUS' motorola DVR. I have two older (nonHD) generations of TiVo. and the IR blaster controller works with both. I use that interface for navigation except when I want to record an HD program—the national parks series was great in HD. I too am greatly tempted by the new TiVo Premier (HD!) and will likely get one unless the MS software exceeds my expectations. (Not holding my breath. :-))

Anonymous said...

Any ETA on the update? I can try to hold out for a little while, but...

-Chappie

John said...

Chappie, No, sorry, I don't know. "Real Soon Now." Supposedly the date has slipped some from the first I heard--when it was due for late feb/march. I suspect they are trialing it now. You could call and ask. :-)

Raymond Camden said...

I had originally heard that starting in Feb, all new customers would get the new software and that 'the rest of us' would get upgraded next. Apparently the hardware is the exact same but the software was too big to push over the pipes (which seems odd - we do have fiber now ;). But I certainly haven't been updated yet. It would be nice if LUS would be a bit more vocal about this. Shoot, it would be nice to get a rough ETA even just so I can ensure my box is empty when they come to replace it.

Anonymous said...

I spoke to a representative today, who believes that the new versions of Tivo will not work with LUS Fiber, though he was aware that select older models did work. I requested to be part of the beta testing program for the new DVR software, and he took my name and number, but I'm not holding my breath. He did feel like that the new software would be released 'soon', but wouldn't clarify what that meant.

-Chappie

Raymond Camden said...

What ticks me off is - I know the schedule isn't "real soon". The schedule is set down on paper. Even if it's something like, "We expect MS to deliver the software March 20th." Would it kill LUS to tell us that? By us I mean the geeks who care. ;) I get that the average customer wouldn't probably "get it", but for those of us who want to know, or like Chappy would be more than willing to beta test, it is frustrating!

John said...

Chappie, Raymond,

I think you are both right. LUS' biggest advantage as a business is that they are your neighbors and treat you right. Being so close to the vest on this makes folks who care think that they're willing to act just like the big guys.

That's the real problem here.

In general they should simply be talking more openly about everything. The "advantage" they give to the opposition by letting out a little information—especially that which puts them in a bad light— is FAR outweighed by the way that openness secures their special relationship with the community.

That's my take.

Anonymous said...

I'm hearing the new DVR software is not nearly as close to being released as I had hoped. Like 4th quarter of 2010. I hope I'm wrong.

-Chappie

John said...

Chappie, I hope you are wrong too...that's too long. Where'd you hear that?

Raymond Camden said...

Depressing. What is also depressing is that - here were are all guessing about it. I mean serious LUS - is the release of your new software top secret? Is no one in the LUS team visiting this blog? I was really hoping for a lot more openness then we got from Cox but frankly it seems no different. To be clear - it is cheaper, certainly - but throw us a bone here at least. :\

John said...

Raymond,

I agree with your comments re openness....no quarrel.

But in all fairness this blog post is ancient--a year old...we've kept it alive by following the (very good) comments. It might be hard to follow all the comments on year old posts. :-) We probably ought to express ourselves directly either on recent posts or on your list. I know folks have been watching both.

Raymond Camden said...

Fair point John. Think I'll write something up later in the week (traveling today).

Anonymous said...

I just recently switched over to the LUS internet/video system and I agree with everyone. The internet speeds up and down are INCREDIBLE. Pages load quickly and it is a pleasure to work with. The downside is the picture quality. Although it is broadcast in 1080i, the picture is noticeably not as sharp as Cox or DirecTV. Does anyone know if this will be fixed? This is extremely disappointing to me and I'm on the verge of switching over becuase of the pic quality and the DVR, which is difficult to operate and pre-historic. Aside from the fact that I hate Cox, and the storms that mess up Directv, I'd switch back, but the internet is keeping me hanging on.

John said...

Anon,

Welcome...I think we are all agreed on the superiority of the internet portion of the system. My own experience with the video has been that the picture is gorgeous but I do thing the DVR software is, well prehistoric is generous...I am assured that we'll be getting new software from MS. But the date keeps on slipping. I'd be a lot more comfortable talking about this to people if LUS would just up and make the announcement.