Verizon FIOS: MoCA, Actiontech Router, Ethernet Tested

I have long wondered why my FIOS seemed so slow at home compared with the FIOS that I was used to in the workplace. We recently had Verizon out and I had them switch our programming over to allow us to use the Ethernet port instead of having the Actiontech router get the WAN over MoCA. I did a little test and it seemed like my latency went down about 2-3 ms by going with direct Ethernet instead of using the MoCA. It was an improvement, but it didn’t seem like much.

I downloaded and installed the software from Apple that updates your ethernet settings for high latency connections. I understand it makes your tcp window settings larger which may seem to reduce the effect of the latency. I didn’t save my test results from before and after this, but I did some further testing.

I was concerned that the poor Actiontech router might be slowing things down a bit too. Obviously, any device in the chain is going to impact your performance in some way. For my test I performed a simple test of pinging google.com and apple.com through terminal. I performed about 10 pings each and will report the data as min/avg/max/stddev as reported by terminal. (I should have restricted it to 10 pings each time, but this was an impromptu  test and I didn’t plan it out very well.) I also performed a test on speedtest.net. We are on the 25/25 FIOS plan.

First off was my test of my computer (a MacPro) plugged into the Actiontech/FIOS router. In all tests the Aciontech was connected to the ONT via cat5e/ethernet. Terminal reported 16.401/19.388/21.840/1.818 ms to google.com and 21.259/22.547/24.383/1.340 ms to apple.com. Speedtest reported 25.46 Mb/s down, 19.19 Mb/s up and a ping time of 29 ms.

Secondly, I tested the computer connected directly to the ONT without a router. I first got results of: 19.374/21.092/22.507/1.308 ms to google.com and 23.638/24.259/24.817/0.361 ms to apple. Something had to be wrong! We realized that my DNS settings had changed. I had been using openDNS through the router and the computer was getting the DNS via DHCP and using the router. I manually changed the DNS settings to use OpenDNS directly and immediately noticed an improvement: 18.740/19.428/21.589/0.912 ms to google.com. I must have annoyed the traffic police at apple, as they stopped responding to my icmp requests/pings. Speedtest.net reported 25.47 Mb/s down, 19.92 Mb/s up and 24 ms ping time.

Finally, I tested the computer connected to a NETGEAR RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router with USB WNR3500L (Amazon affiliate link). Terminal reported 18.743/19.741/21.669/0.918 ms to google.com. Speedtest.net reported 26.10 Mb/s down, 19.55 Mb/s up and a ping time of 26 ms.

All speedtest.net tests were reported as if going to the same server in San Diego, CA. Obviously the data was close enough to show that it doesn’t make a difference on the speed, but potentially does on the latency reported through the ping time.

In the end I went back to the Actiontech router since it was free and I didn’t want to pay currently for the Netgear. (I had it here to setup for a customer and figured a quick test wouldn’t hurt anything.) Maybe someday I’ll test a real (Cisco) router in line and see if that changes anything.