Thursday, August 26, 2010

One Good Thing

As predicted, UPS attempted to deliver my new router from Verizon on Monday while I was at work. As a signature was required, the driver didn't drop it off and left a note telling me that they would make two more attempts.
I went online and had them deliver it to my work, so yesterday afternoon it got delivered there.
It came with this "In-Home Agent" software designed to simplify certain tasks such as setting up wireless, and to automate some troubleshooting actions (for Internet, TV, and Phone). The notes with the router said to install and run that software immediately upon hooking up the router, and to run the "Quick Fix" for setting up your replacement router.
I hooked up the router and found that, without having to run the software, it immediately started working.
My level of Internet service is for a 35 Mbps downstream connection. On the old router, I typically got about 32 Mbps, which is in the acceptable range, since most of the time you're not likely to get the top advertised speed, and, seriously, 32 Mbps is pretty goddamn fast.
With the Linksys router I was using until I got the FiOS router, I was getting 23 Mbps, which is understandable, given that it's an older router not optimized for the FiOS connection.
I did a speed test with the router and was pleased to discover that I was getting more than my maximum speed: over 42 Mbps.
I was puzzled, but pleased.
Later, when I went to set up wireless on my laptop, which I opted to do manually rather than using the software, I noted something odd. The ESSID - the "name" that the router broadcasts for wireless devices to connect to - was written on the side of the router, as was the security key for connecting to that ESSID, but in the list of available wireless networks on my laptop, I wasn't seeing the ESSID listed on the router.
While I hadn't run the replacement router "Quick Fix," I had installed the software, and I saw that there was a function for finding your router's ESSID and key. I ran that and found that they were completely different from what was on the router's label.
That's when I figured things out.
The ESSID being broadcast contained the word "test."
So, prior to shipping out the router, Verizon had changed its configuration in order to test the router's functionality. This likely explains the significant boost in speed.
It's also likely that this means that if I did run that router replacement "Quick Fix," it would reset the router to its default configuration, and I suspect that would mean I would lose the extra speed.
Yeah, I'm not planning on running that "Quick Fix."

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