Fresh Verizon DSL Help For Newbies

Stuck on a problem with a brand new Verizon DSL installation? Perhaps I can help. Here's notes I made from my installation and my neighbor's installation. I got it working on both of them.

  • Note that I'm speaking about a Westell Wirespeed 2110 modem here from Verizon home DSL.

  • Verizon will ship you the DSL modem, but you're not ready yet. You go to the website
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    to see your service ready date unless some other piece of literature or phonecall comes to you from Verizon. Usually your service ready date comes about 5 to 7 days after you receive your modem.

  • Now, you may receive a recorded message saying that your service ready date has happened, but don't trust it. If you don't see a solid light on that modem in the middle light, then you probably don't have DSL going yet. You can even call Verizon and depending on who you speak to in a given day, one person will say, "Yeah, it's hooked up now," and then another will say, "No, it's not hooked up yet." It's a tossup. More than likely you'll not get hooked up for about 15 to 16 days after you receive your modem. That's what happened to me.

  • My Win 2000 laptop's hard drive crashed on the day my DSL came in. Darn it, had to use my wife's Win 98 laptop and didn't feel like installing W2K on it. Unfortunately, Win 98 is a pain to troubleshoot networking problems with, so I don't recommend you use that while trying to set this up. Luckily, after waiting through an hour with the Verizon startup CD in troubleshooter mode, it told me my Dial Up Networking wasn't installed. It was installed, I noticed, but I uninstalled it, then reinstalled it, then reran the Verizon startup CD and all was well again.

  • Do not plug this thing into a hardware-based firewall/router yet if you have purchased one. It won't work. Instead, do it straight from PC to modem until you get it going, then set it up for your firewall/router.

  • Do not use an Ethernet hub. Instead, go direct from your Ethernet card in the PC to the Ethernet jack on the modem.

  • They give you a USB cable to use that instead of Ethernet. If you don't have an Ethernet jack on your PC, then use the USB. Note that the USB connection will be a little slower in speed.

  • Suddenly I came home around my 15th day after modem shipment and found the modem light was not blinking anymore, but was solid. I used the Verizon CD and ran the setup. Besides the Dial-Up Networking problem that it showed me how to overcome, I was up and running very rapidly on the day that solid light was on.

  • Now you can hook up your firewall/router if it supports ADSL PPPoE (PPP over Ethernet). You'll have to explicitly write down all your settings from the WINIPCFG.EXE or IPCONFIG.EXE /ALL commands, along with your Verizon username and password, in order to type this into your firewall/router configuration web page screens. I plugged up my firewall/router's WAN port to the DSL modem.

  • Someone on the Internet recommend I use CAT5 cable for one pair of wire from the demarcation point on my house. Since I know a bit about phone and LAN wiring, I decided to take this on, although I wasn't yet used to DSL. What I learned was that a typical demarc will have 4 screws per line. Two screws are all you need for a phone line. The other two are free to be used for ADSL. That's where the CAT5 cable should go, using just 2 wires from that CAT5 cable. The other cable can be ordinary telephone wire. Make certain that on the other end of the CAT5 cable you use the same pair of wire. And I don't recommend you do this unless you understand how fragile CAT5 and phone wire cable really is. Crimps can not be yanked out like you do a water house. I also recommend pastic conduit pipe ( every 8 feet from Lowe's) under your house from the demarcation point to the point of entry into your home office.

  • However, did that wiring work? It did, but it didn't improve the bandwidth, unfortunately. I got about 680K no matter which way I plugged things into the Y splitter. This is probably due to the fact that I'm too far from the phone switch bank downtown. However, 680K is good enough for live video, live music, and can deliver some great downloads pretty fast. You know that 900K would have been better, but I'll take what I can get -- especially since it's only .99 a month! For you, you might have a better or worse situation. My neighbor only got 480K because she's even farther away from the switch bank, but hey

-- that was still much better than the 56K she was struggling with before.

Now on to my neighbor...

  • She had the DSL cable plugged into the Ethernet jack. That won't work and in fact it's not good for the hardware. Please read the jacks on the back and look at the end of the cables. RJ-11 is the DSL cable jack. RJ-45 is the Ethernet cable jack. They sort of look the same but the RJ-45 is wider.

  • Her house was on daisy-chain phone wiring instead of each phone jack's set of wire being pulled to the demarcation point on the house. This will work, but it will slow down the bandwidth a little. They also had some advice on this -- only plug a filter on the first jack in the daisy-chain that is closest to the demarcation point. No more filters will be necessary in this kind of wiring.

  • We decided at first to skip her house wiring. Some phone companies (like ours) put a demarcation box outside the house that has a customer-servicable area. We used a flat head screwdriver to open it and pinched the plastic jack cover to view the wire screws and the RJ-11 test port. We then ran the DSL modem direct on the test port, skipping the house wiring that comes off those screws entirely. What we found was that the DSL modem's middle light went from blinking, to blinking faster, to a solid light. Yay! We had connectivity to some degree. Now it was up to the software to complete and to figure out what was up with the house wiring.

  • We were pulling our hair out with the software after that. We found that the troubleshooter would kick in and it would sit there for more than hour. We aborted it. After about two takes of this, I ejected the CD and found the problem -- it had baby mouth goo on the bottom of it from her baby! Duh-huh. I then used my CD and surprise! It worked.

  • Okay, so once the software was installed, the MSN Premium installation bombed out. This also happened at my house. If you really, really want MSN Premium and the gunk that comes with it, then call Verizon tech support and they'll get you going. Otherwise, you don't really need it. For us, we just use Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird to get everything we need. For Spyware protection, she uses Spybot in her XP along with the built-in firewall. For me, I have a triple-firewalled Linux config with multiple devices and I don't have to worry about it. And not only does Verizon give us an email address, but we both have various email addresses we use on the Internet like those you can get with,, or

  • So then we moved to getting the house wiring thing fixed. We found that all she needed was a DSL filter on the first jack in her house past the demarcation point where she had her first telephone plugged in. After that, by means of the daisy chain, all the other phone devices were filtered. Then, we moved to her office and plugged the Y connector in. We plugged the DSL cable into one part of the Y, then plugged her regular phone into the other part -- and without a DSL filter on the regular phone line part since she already had a filter put on in this daisy-chain configuration in her house. In your case, if you have a direct line from the demarc to each jack in your house, then you'll need filters for every regular phone device you use.

  • Make certain not to plug the DSL filter into the line for the DSL modem -- that won't work.

  • Oh, and if you're REALLY a newbie -- note that you CAN use the DSL Internet at the same moment you use your phone line. This is because the phone company runs 4 wires to your demarcation point per line. Two are used by the phone. The other are used by your PC.

  • She wasn't getting the bandwidth I expected. She was getting the
400's. We used CNet's Bandwidth Tester website to check this. This either has to do with the fact she's too far from the central switch bank, her house wiring is low grade or has a kink in it, or she might just need a direct pair of wire from her demarc straight to her home office. Anyway, 400Kbps was good enough for her and we were done.

  • I still recommend to anyone to get a hardware-based Cable/DSL router/firewall and then maybe even extra precautions and software inside Windows or whatever operating system you use. For instance, on my cable/DSL router/firewall, Verizon DSL's service is still permitting hacker attacks that I see in my logs. These attacks also impede your bandwidth. It's a bad, bad world out there.

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I had a problem you did not mention, The install CD reported that my CPU speed was a blazing 1mHz and not acceptable. In fact repeated attempts reported different speeds, none of them high enough. I rang up tech support and they got me running in minutes without using the CD.

The tech was also quite surprised when I told him that the router (Westell327w) firewall was disabled. He said it's supposed to be active.

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NAH so not the case by default the firewall is off.

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But according to the tech, the info they have is that it is on by default. In fact two techs told me this when I asked about it.

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