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Frontier: Your Lousy Wi-Fi is Responsible for Your Slow Internet, Not Us

Phillip Dampier March 23, 2016 Broadband Speed, Consumer News, Frontier, Rural Broadband, Wireless Broadband 24 Comments

wi-fi blameFrontier Communications CEO Dan McCarthy blames slow Internet connections on your lousy home Wi-Fi network, not on his company’s broadband service.

McCarthy hoped to convince investors attending the J.P. Morgan Global High Yield & Leveraged Finance Conference earlier this month that Frontier’s last-mile network performance isn’t the real problem, it’s his customers’ Wi-Fi, and delivering faster broadband service isn’t going to solve many speed woes.

“I think the biggest issue that we face in having those kind of increments of capacity is the experience in the home can be substandard not only for us and they perceive a speed issue, but it’s really a Wi-Fi issue,” McCarthy said. “If you look at that many of the perceived speed issues in a home are purely due to a neighbor on the same Wi-Fi channel, which can cut your throughput by 50 percent.”

McCarthy claimed at least 40 percent of the complaints Frontier customers lodge about the company’s broadband service relate to the home Wi-Fi experience. Oddly, customers of other broadband providers don’t seem to complain as much about the performance of their Internet access provider. Frontier scores #12 on Netflix’s speed performance ranking, delivering an average of 2.51Mbps video streaming performance. It isn’t great, but it beat Windstream, Verizon DSL and last place CenturyLink.

frontier new logoFrontier Communications has promised to commit additional investment to expand and improve broadband after it completes its purchase of Verizon landlines in Florida, California, and Texas. Copper DSL customers may eventually get 25Mbps service, fiber customers up to 1Gbps. But the speed improvements have not been as forthcoming in Frontier’s original service areas, dubbed “legacy territories.”

McCarthy claimed more customers within its copper service areas will get speeds of 25-30Mbps, with some getting speeds of 100Mbps and above. But legacy customers often report they consider themselves lucky to see 6Mbps from Frontier DSL.

McCarthy

McCarthy

Despite that, McCarthy seemed to signal Frontier will direct much of its investment into its newest acquisition service areas, not the communities which have had Frontier DSL service for a decade or more.

“We’re investing in the copper facilities as we go into these three states,” McCarthy said. “We’ll be putting in the latest generation of bonded VDSL with vectoring capabilities at the DSLAM and that gives us the ability to have those 80-100 Mbps speeds.”

McCarthy does get the benefit of bragging the company has a larger amount of fiber broadband than ever before.

“Before we do the three-state acquisition, about 10 percent of our markets are passed with fiber-to-the-home and with these three markets about 55 percent of those markets are fiber-to-the-home,” McCarthy said. “We’ll have a substantial slug of markets passed with fiber.”

This excludes the fact Frontier did not build this additional fiber infrastructure itself. It acquired it from another company, in this case Verizon.

Currently there are 24 comments on this Article:

  1. MarkLex says:

    It’s funny how Windstream scores so low on that list, even below Frontier, but here in Lex KY, we have Time Warner & Windstream, and on my 24 mb windstream connection, I get 26.5 consistently 24/7, prime time or not, it’s the same….Low pings, etc. Windstream may be horrible elsewhere, but for my location, I do not have trouble with them at all. Probably because we live in an area with competition and it’s a decent sized metro. I get the feeling that’s why! If this were a smaller town with only windstream as our choice and that’s it, it would likely be horrible.

  2. BobInIllinois says:

    As a former Frontier(and Verizon) DSL customer, I would like to suggest that Frontier could help themselves by providing much more online support documentation for their customers. Verizon did a much better job on this idea, than Frontier does. Good documentation will save plenty of $, IF your customers believe that the first place to look is their ISP’s website.

    However, Mr. McCarthy seems to underestimate the competence of both his customers and his own employees in this area. If Frontier really thinks that there is a significant WiFi setup problem, then why don’t they address it by better online documentation for their customers?

  3. Paul Houle says:

    Bad WiFi is an industry problem.

    It is worse if you are on slow DSL because of this: when the TCP protocol sees packet loss, it assumes the network is congested and it slows down. If your connection is slow, it slows down faster and takes longer to get back to speed. With 0% packet loss you could have a reliable, if not top notch, video stream on a 2Mbps connection, but add 3% packet loss from radio interference and the interruptions in the stream are deeply annoying.

    I did a network survey of my neighborhood, where I did get an upgrade to 2Mbps after 15 years. Wi-Fi interference is not severe but it is real because there are lots of apartments, granny flats, places where my tablet can see you own a Playstation 4 or a late model Samsung TV, places where they carved out places for 6 trailers in the old family farm, etc.

    (The striking thing was the lack of routers advertising FRONTIER#### as an SSID in any place that had time warner, even at affluent multi-dwelling units that should be able to get ADSL2+ speeds today and G.Fast if Frontier could catch a ride on the fiber that runs on the main drag.)

    Consumer routers are garbage, especially the expensive ones, they will overheat and drop your WiFi connections and fight with other hardware on the network. You might think Windows filesharing is just screwing up because it is Windows, but no, that little router from a well-reputed brand has a firmware bug that will sabotage Windows, soft phones, etc.

    Enterprise-class n hotspots can be had for about $80 and you should install one in the ceiling near the middle of your house like you would a light fixture and run an ethernet cable to a *wired* router. The setup takes a little more work but the reliability and range difference is night and day. If you have a huge house these things are designed to work as a team, so you can install several of them and get a good signal everywhere

  4. Paul Houle says:

    Bad WiFi is an industry problem.

    It is worse if you are on slow DSL because of this: when the TCP protocol sees packet loss, it assumes the network is congested and it slows down. If your connection is slow, it slows down faster and takes longer to get back to speed. With 0% packet loss you could have a reliable, if not top notch, video stream on a 2Mbps connection, but add 3% packet loss from radio interference and the interruptions in the stream are deeply annoying. Cable is more likely to recover before the buffer runs out and you notice.

    I did a network survey of my neighborhood, where I did get an upgrade to 2Mbps after 15 years. Wi-Fi interference is not severe but it is real because there are lots of apartments, granny flats, places where my tablet can see you own a Playstation 4 or a late model Samsung TV, places where they carved out places for 6 trailers in the old family farm, etc.

    (The striking thing was the lack of routers advertising FRONTIER#### as an SSID in any place that had time warner, even at affluent multi-dwelling units that should be able to get ADSL2+ speeds today and G.Fast if Frontier could catch a ride on the fiber that runs on the main drag.)

    Consumer routers are garbage, especially the expensive ones, they will overheat and drop your WiFi connections and fight with other hardware on the network. You might think Windows filesharing is just screwing up because it is Windows, but no, that little router from a well-reputed brand has a firmware bug that will sabotage Windows, soft phones, etc.

    Enterprise-class n hotspots can be had for about $80 and you should install one in the ceiling near the middle of your house like you would a light fixture and run an ethernet cable to a *wired* router. The setup takes a little more work but the reliability and range difference is night and day. If you have a huge house these things are designed to work as a team, so you can install several of them and get a good signal everywhere

  5. Jim VanNattan says:

    What about those that just have the one computer which is mainlined in by Frontier?

  6. Barbara guerra says:

    what about homes like mine that had Verizon and everything was great, along comes Frontier and all that good service is down the drain. I beflive they bit off more than they can chew and eventually it’s going to catch up with them. It’s them, not anything else that has caused this bad quality of service.

    • TonyInFortMohaveAZ says:

      I fully agree Barbara!

    • JDinHB says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I had Verizon FiOs for 10+ years prior to Frontier taking over. I have fiber to the house, I have all the same equipment however since Frontier took over my internet speed has become erratic. Sometimes giving me the 50+Mbps I pay for and sometimes dropping to less than 1.5mbps Pings from 17 ms to over 200 ms using speedtest.net.

      The only thing which has changed is Frontier taking over and I suspect it has to do with their back end routing of the traffic from our fiber. Because the only thing that has changed is the ISP provider and their connection to the broader internet.

      Very disappointed

      In addition my video unit which has not changed is always having the firmware updated and often hangs requiring disconnect from power to force a reset and reload. This means scheduled recordings don’t get recorded on a regular basis and rarely can I access it remotely because it is hung.

      Frontier has ruined FiOs. I just wish there was an alternative but Time Warner (now Comcast) is even worse. Sad when the goal is not to improve but be better than the worst in an area.

  7. Chris says:

    Frontier Communications in Orange County NY doesn’t have broadband service to the home. As an independent Tech of 22 years, none of my clients using Frontier internet, have download speeds anywhere near the legal definition of 25 mb/sec down and 3 mb/sec up. Most of my clients using Frontier internet have 3mb/sec down, and 1 mb/sec up. They are a disgrace as an internet company, and a rip off as a phone company.

  8. Jeno says:

    My family and I had Verizon for years, and it was just fine, no problem. It seems almost as SOON as Frontier came into the picture, our internet was absolutely horrible. Not only slow, but constant disconnects. Frontier SAID they were going to send us a new router…we’re still waiting on that. I live in the High Desert in CA., in Adelanto. Is anyone able to shed some light on what exactly is going on, and what on earth has Frontier done to my service that I’m still paying a rate for as if it’s working properly? Thank you in advance.

    • Joe says:

      I’m in Victorville. If you call Frontier’s corporate office enough times, they should eventually give you a hefty discount on your monthly bill. I got $20 knocked off mine, for a year.

      And make sure they replace your router, too, at no cost to you.

    • Frontier Customer says:

      When and if you get your new router from Frontier, they will definitely charge you for it.

  9. Hodor says:

    If there is anything I could be doing to improve this awful, awful, AWFUL wifi connectivity problem I’ve been having with Frontier, I would like to be informed by the company. However, the experience I’ve had with customer service falls well below adequate and I hold no expectations of receiving any help from them. Like most customers, I am not a WIFI expert. Maybe the solution seems simple to them, but I have no clue where to begin to resolve this. If there was any other internet provider available in my area, I would switch in a heart beat. Why are the majority of customers disappointed with their service if the problem lies with them and not Frontier?? You think they would’ve figured a solution out by now to protect the face of their business if it were this easy. This really confuses me…

  10. Hubie says:

    California customers can complain to the Public Utilities Commission here – https://appsssl.cpuc.ca.gov/cpucapplication/

    I was told by Frontier that I don’t qualify for “new” customer pricing because I was brought over from Verizon. They wouldn’t honor the offer for twice my speed at $5.00 less per month than my current bill, but did offer that to me for an additional $40/mo.

    The California PUC got me in contact with Frontier corporate who helped me out.

    If we all make complaints to the PUC, maybe we can force them to honor new customer pricing to all of us trapped in their Verizon buyout.

  11. Stef says:

    The problem is the infastructure is old. You see DSL you should should run. Fiber is the only way to get the speeds these companies claim they can deliver.

  12. Larry says:

    We live in northwest Indiana. Internet service was good with Verizon, but ever since the switch to Frontier it has gotten steadily worse. Slow dsl, service outtages, and Frontier completely lost my Frontier email address (had to go to gmail). To say the least we certainly don’t get what we pay for.

  13. Joe says:

    I had Verizon DSL until Frontier bought them out. Within two weeks, my evening download rate had dropped to less than 6 mb/sec, which makes streaming anything pretty much impossible. This only happens at night.

    I’ve called Frontier until I’m blue in the face. I’ve written to them, I’ve chatted with their “Assistant to the Vice President”. Nothing helps.

    Yes, they open a ticket, and send out a tech. The tech can find nothing wrong. Imagine that! Obviously, I must be doing something wrong. They once told me to unplug my router. I did so. The tech on the phone then said “I’m now logged into your router, and it appears fine to us.” How would that be possible, when the router was unplugged from both the power and network connections?

    I do networking for a living. I’m on a WiFi channel with no other WiFi networks, yet my throughput drops to 2.2 mb/sec, or less, but only between 6 pm and midnight.

    It’s pretty obvious Frontier is throttling back their connection speed in the evenings, when they have more on-line users. They want to preserve their bandwidth.

    I’d dump them in a heartbeat, except they are the only DSL provider in my area.

    I once thought Verizon was bad. Compared to Frontier’s terrible service, Verizon was golden!

  14. Wanahart12 says:

    thats hillarious seems how mine is directly connected to the motem Via Ethernet cord and their internet still sucks

    • ScottIn SoCal says:

      Wanahart12:

      I’m connected to my router the same way and it’s STILL slow! Not to mention the wireless devices.

      I was still using my Verizon-issued router well after Frontier took over and thought the slowness was the router. After a long phone troubleshooting call, the phone rep had trouble “pinging” my router, so I received a new one- NO change.

      We have had HSDSL for years because Verizon did not/ was not able to get FIOS into our neighborhood.

      My family and myself are pretty frustrated as all of you seem to be.

  15. John K says:

    I got Frontier DSL because where I am in rural small town WV there is no other option than satellite. They were upfront saying that 1 Meg is all they offer there, but I get no where near that. Running Speedtest.org usually comes back as 1.6 Meg download, and 350K upload. However, in use things slow down, totally stop for a couple minutes, then come back, almost to a useable speed..and then repeat. Speedtest doesn’t show its speed when you cannot even get to that website. However there may be a speed test function in the router’s configuration web page I will have to try. I also have tried both wired directly to the router and wireless, and there is no difference. I have also connected to my neighbor’s open wireless LAN and the symptoms are exactly the same… slow, stop, and start.

  16. TonyInFortMohaveAZ says:

    Some don’t know this but it is Megabits (Mbps) per second not MegaBytes (MBps). A megabit is 1/8 size of a Megabyte.

  17. PO WNC says:

    Hey what about us out in the woods. California, Texas they already have all kinds of internet providers but the majority of WNC rural areas only has Frontier. Our phones lines were placed in the 1940-1950. My service went out every time it rained!!!! How about a little better infrastructure. I agree with the router problem as well but since I have a Verizon router because I was switched to Frontier what other kind of router could I get. It’s crazy!!! Fix what you have!!! Come to Revere, NC and fix ours!!! How about laying down some fiber optic lines.

    • ScottIn SoCal says:

      PO WNC,

      I wish you luck! I’ve been in the same city residence for over 23 years and have not gotten fiberoptic lines here (Verizon FIOS) and based on everybody’s comments here and elsewhere, I don’t see that happening with Frontier, either. I’m still trying to find a way to speed up my HSDSL*. I think TimeWarner (Comcast) got in this neighborhood years ago, but I’ve not heard encouraging comments about them, either.

      Satellite/dish option???

      *New topic: Has anybody found an ideal router settings configuration that optimizes this piss-poor Frontier service? My Verizon router was a Westell, the Frontier router (Actiontec) they recently sent to replace it (Jan. 2017) to “improve” my slow internet complaint did not seem to do the trick.

      I don’t know if Frontier sends them “preconfigured” for their system or not. Other than setting up my security and experimenting with numbers of channels, I’ve been reluctant to alter a whole lot.







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