The Washington Times - May 29, 2010, 11:52PM

Some readers may know that, last Wednesday, your columnist shared some thoughts about the moving experience, particularly as it relates to moving one’s personal technology. I mentioned that my Verizon FiOS Internet speed, though supposedly 35 Megabits-per-second, was crawling along at about 7.4 Mbps. I wasn’t thrilled, as you might imagine.

The good folks at Verizon, in response to a customer call and not to the column, checked out my service and everything seemed fine from their end. But I was still not doing well: the speed hadn’t improved. On the way, Verizon said, was a technician.


While he was en route, I tried something else: disconnecting the router for my Voice-over-Internet Protocol, or VoIP, service and plugging the Ethernet line directly from the wall to the computer. Shazam! Speed uploading and downloading was the promised 35 Mbps. Of course, I lost my VoIP service, but, hey, what to do? The technician came, verified that the Verizon-supplied gear was properly installed and properly working, and that was that. The fault lay not in my ISP, but in my own equipment.

A stopgap move was to disconnect the computer from an Ethernet connection and rely on Wi-Fi, which I have on the main FiOS router. Using that method, speeds were about 19 Mbps up and down, which is better than 7.x, but about 60 percent of what was promised.

At this point, the “normal” solution would be to buy another Internet router, plug both the computer and VoIP lines into separate ports, and see what happens. That’s an easy call, but it’ll cost about $35 or so, and add one more piece of equipment to the mix.

A flash of inspiration: search the Internet for instructions for the VoIP router. Google-be-praised, I found said instructions and, lo and behold, this bit of wisdom: “If you already have a network router, set this device to [act as a] bridge [device].” Then came instructions on how to do just that.

Once again, it was Shazam! time: my speeds are back to 35 Mbps for downloading and 32 Mbps for uploading, which is just fine with me. I still have the VoIP phone service, and the $35 I would have spent remains in the bank.

The point — and there really is one — is this: Don’t accept the easiest solution to a challenging problem. Dig deeper, use Internet search tools, and see if there isn’t a better, less expensive, and less troublesome answer. You might be very glad you did!