Dammit Verizon...

After some heavy storms this afternoon (complete with flash-flood warnings), we came home to a power outage. The power came on around 7, but we had no Internet service. We have FiOS, so I checked the phone (dial tone) and TV (receiving channels I don't get over the air), so it wasn't a general outage. We restarted the router a couple times, but that didn't help.

Dani called for support, worked through an automated menu, and eventually requested a call back. We made and ate dinner -- no call. I tried Google, which took me to Verizon's troubleshooting pages. One painstaking step at a time I told it that the problem was Internet, I was using a wired connection, yes the wire was plugged in (I assume the Wifi path would have had me verify the password), yes I'd restarted the router... and then told me I needed a technician. Gee thanks; I'd figured that much out on my own. Other pages told me that I might need to reset something in the "ONT" (the box in the basement), and I found an anecdote that said Verizon had talked the blogger through the process just fine and it was easy and saved him a service call, but didn't say what to do. (Who were you, DenverCoder9???) We opened the side of the box labelled "customer access" that nonetheless required a screwdriver, saw that the "data" light was off, and saw no obvious way to proceed.

I called and worked through an automated system full of "duh" and a test from their end saying the problem is in my house (yeah, that seemed pretty likely), and eventually I got into a queue for a human. And waited. And waited. Occasionally the recording interrupted the hold music to tell me that I could go through the same troubleshooting by using their software, which I could download from... , missing the irony that we didn't have an Internet connection. (Ok, there's probably a phone app that I could get from the Play Store, but that's not where they were directing me.)

43 minutes later "Steve in Texas" picked up. For my own future reference and perhaps your information, he had me:

  1. Turn off the router.

  2. Disconnect the coax cable. (He asked where the cable went and when I said "into the wall" he said "good, that'll be easier".)

  3. Reconnect the coax cable.

  4. Turn the router on.

And that fixed it. Is that so much harder than telling people to verify that an Ethernet cable is plugged in? Would it have been so hard to put that information on their support page? Are they worried that people can't disconnect and reconnect a coax cable without damaging something, so they don't want just anybody trying that? (Well if so, let me just clarify that I offer no warranties on this blog post.)

I asked Steve why that works, and he said that sometimes the router gets "out of sync" after a power outage and fully disconnecting it from the data feed resets it. Good to know.