First impressions, AT&T U-verse

We’ve now had AT&T U-verse for about 48 hours. Retired our Time-Warner service. We have cable and internet; when I placed the order, VoIP was not available, but it seems it came available this week. I’ll put in an order next week to switch the traditional phone service to U-verse VoIP and consolidate all.

So far, I’m satisfied. The install was not entirely smooth. The installer was here for most of the day, and I need to have them come back out and replace one cable run (the set is pixelating badly). I got a bit frustrated with the internet tech support folks, as they wouldn’t/couldn’t answer my questions about hooking up my existing Apple Airport and network. I didn’t use any bad words, but I did make loud noises about bringing back Time-Warner ;-). That did get me a bit more attention, and enough additional information that things are OK now. I will be making a few more changes, though, as I don’t have things fully set up like I want. First, the Airport is set up in double NAT. I may want to put the Airport into the DMZ of the U-verse 2Wire router, as I want to to IP passthrough to a web server. Alternatively, I may be able to just pass port 80 traffic to the Airport, and then its port forwarding will go to right place. I think I know what to configure but I need to read up more on it. I need to go grab the manual for the router, if I can find the right one…seems like 2Wire doesn’t have a manual for the 3800 online, but from what I can tell from scanning the forums, the 2700 manual is very close. I think I’ll wait until tomorrow when the family is not watching TV, as I don’t yet know what changes force a router reboot.

One thing that appears to be resolved it that I was told by the AT&T folks that they only allowed 10 active DHCP leases…which as most folks know is not enough in today’s world. I’ve probably got at least 15 things that want an address today, and more in the future. I believe from my reading that this is a marketing limit, not a hard limit, best as I can tell from looking at the router configuration pages. That’s why I have kept the Airport inline. I may be able to retire the Airport if that’s so…this will evolve!

One thing that I was somewhat worried about was the Aruba AP61 I have that builds a GRE tunnel back to my office network. It didn’t work through the double NAT, but when plugged into a port on the 2Wire router, it works fine.

I am very pleased with the bandwidth. I ordered the high end option, which is 18Mb downstream and 1.5Mb upstream. That appears to be about what I’m getting…maybe just a smidgen less…the speed test is showing 17.3 down and 1.45 up; empirical observations seem to confirm that it’s fast. The presentation of all services is IP-based, with configuration of 25Mb down and 2Mb up for the system aggregate. This is coming to my house on copper pairs that were buried ~1988. It’s copper from the DSLAM as well. The tech ran a new wire (RJ-11 termination) to my office that brings all the bits in. From there, the way it works is that you have 4 ethernet ports and wireless (b/g) for data, 2 VoIP ports (not currently in use in my config), and a coax for HomePNA (for the TV boxes). The coax runs back to the distribution splitter for your old cable system and feeds that. Two of my systems are working great (though one required a new RG-6 cable run); one that the tech thought was working is really unwatchable right now, and will also need a replacement cable as the RG-59 that was in the house is not up to the job). One system has a DVR, and the other boxes are slaves, and can feed from the storage (fairly generous disk) there. One thing is that the only system that can pause live TV is the one with the DVR, but that makes sense. You must have a box @ $5/mo. for every TV; there is no basic cable equivalent.

One thing I really like is the web control of the DVR through the Yahoo portal. It’s very easy to use, and I’ going through and setting up movie after movie to record. Don’t know if I’ll have time to watch any ;-). I have not tried to access it through a mobile browser, but supposedly, that works well.

The bottom line is that we’ve got many more TV channels, better/innovative features for that, and better Internet for about the same bux as Time-Warner. We’ll tweak the channel lineup after the summer and see what we’re really watching, and maybe shave a few dollars off…we started with the primo package.

I’ll keep this updated as it moves along…all for now!

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