Anatomy of a U-verse install, or "persistence pays off".

Anatomy of a U-verse install, or "persistence pays off".

I'm posting this just in case someone comes along looking for install type stuff.  I know I did when I was deciding to switch to U-verse and the info I could find was several years old.  So, here we go, with the current lineup: 

 

This is fairly long, but I wish I had known the details first, maybe they will help another newbie.

 

I switched from Charter after 4 years (previously I was big dish and dsl).  I did what ever research I could and then took the plunge, full U-verse bundle, phone, internet, and TV.  I left a 1 week overlap with Charter before the cutoff from them, a prudent choice I think.

 

Layout matters, in my case, the "office" is / has been where the main PC is along with the wifi and other tech stuff, main TV is about 35 feet away as the crow flies, but there is a hall and several walls in the way.  Front room of the house has a secondary PC / printer and was linked to the old cable modem via wifi router.  This layout caused a problem.  In my attempts to correct for the wifi troubles caused by the house layout, I have installed and running for 2 years, a power line network (trendnet) with provides for PC in the front room, the TV in the rec room (which phones home every day), the PS3, and a couple other things.  Works super great, never had a connection issue after that went in.

 

Install day - the tech came right on time, seemed quite knowledgeable, and performed the install in about 2 hours, this includes the primary input on the outside of the house, a feed to the office via a through wall, and the primary DVR and the UPS in the office, along with what I figured is a router, but it's not.  Also, a paired wifi access point (wap) which talks to the TV in the rec room (the one where the crow has to go 35').

 

First evening - a REALLY crappy TV experience, drop outs with audio / video, PS3 could no longer connect to the internet, spouses PC in the front room would not connect, just esentially nothing was working correctly.  On top of that, the entire system rebooted itself 3 times in a 4 hour period.  Ready to tear my hair out and re-instate Charter!  Spent about 1 hour on phone with tech support (off shore, and not the greatest English btw).  Nothing on the power line network could connect.

 

Next day - I did a lot of research on this forum, didn't find much, but enough that I figured out how to go in to the "router" and let the PS3 get through the fire wall, and some other stuff.  Still not working well, 2 system crashes / reboots.

 

Next few days - don't want to drag this out,,,, Totalled 7 hours on the phone with support, had a tech sent to the house who came in, listened and looked, poked around, said he was going outside to do some tests,,, and then he DROVE OFF!!!!  Ran away like a scared chicken!  Now I was steamed!  I persisted with tech support, finally talked to what seemed like a pretty high level tech (in the US!  She could actually TALK!!!), she said she wanted to send out another tech to check things out, I agreed, but told her this was the last chance for U-verse.  (I had already called Charter and re-signed up).

 

The NEW TECH arrives - This guy knows his stuff!  And he had a partner he was training, amen for that!  He came in to the office and looked at the install, and told me the first guy had screwed it up totally, and then he fixed it.  I'm going to list these items out, because the fix makes sense, and taught me a lot about what makes up U-verse, at least here where I am.

 

1 - The thing on the inside with all the pretty flashing lights that looks like a router, is not a router, it's essentially a hub, although a fairly smart one.  First guy had put the primary DVR to this hub, via ethernet, it should have gone directly to the router via a through wall connection.  The way it was hooked up, it was hogging all the bandwidth, and nothing could connect.  The Router is outside.  So, first thing was to take the DVR off the hub, and put a through wall connection to from the router outside.

 

The equipment list for the install is:

Main box / Router - i3812V 2 wire Gateway, feeds the house via a coax for the primary DVR and another output which uses a phone type plug. (both are through wall)

Power Supply and Batter backup - which also has the IP address of the router and the system password written on it.

i38HG what ever, which looks like a router, has wap id and and network key on it, and doubles as a wired and wireless hub.  It's got 4 ports on it and a phone type connection to the wall plate from the through wall.

VAP2500 paired WAP, this pairs with the what I call secondary DVR (but I don't think it records anything, it just seems to talk to the primary DVR)

VIP2250 - primary DVR, also has TV connections varying from HD down to good ole 75ohm cable

ISB7005 - secondary DVR (?), paired to the WAP, TV connections, can travel around with you HDTV if you have it all on roller.

 

2 - Super tech and I did a test, and step 1 corrected almost everything.  No more drop outs, and there have no re-boots since he left (it has been over 90 days, I've waited awhile to make sure before I posted this).  The primary failure was bumblehead tech number one sticking the VIP2250 on the i38HG port instead of doing it properly, it would have taken him another 35 minutes.

 

3 - Super tech discussed the powerline network with me.  His official statement "AT&T does not support the powerline network and feels wireless and hard line ethernet feeds do the job better."  Then he said, but I've got some powerline network stuff in the truck if we need it.  Then he installed a second i38HG in the front room, using an unused phone drop in that room.  To this we hard wired the spouses PC.  That solved the remaining issue.

 

It's been over 90 days now, and since Super Tech showed up we have not had any connection problems, no system crashes, no TV drop outs, and no phone issue.  The U-verse install has been the best thing I've done for home entertainment and connectivity since we moved in, 23 years ago.  It's really too bad U-verse did not become available here until just this year, I probably would have tried it sooner.  The big dish was the ultimate until now, Charter was just a fill in, so so TV, but a decent internet hook up.  I'm a happy camper.  PS - I've since put some stuff back on the power line network, which feeds into the i38HG in the office.  Works fine.

 

It is just too bad Super Tech was not the guy who did the initial hookup.  That's why I'm writing this, there is apparently a wide range of capability in the AT&T tech force, it's regrettable, but my experience says it's there.

 

regards all

cjack

 

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ACE - Expert

Re: Anatomy of a U-verse install, or "persistence pays off".

[ Edited ]

cactusjack99 - Glad to hear it was straightened out. Welcome to the forum & thanks for sharing.

 

Your install is for locations far from the VRAD. Initially, you would have been too far for service. Then, when it was first available, it did not support wireless TVs.

On the one hand it is a low percentage install. On the other, if all the "close" locations were previously installed, it would be having a high percentage run. Either way it is more complex in a constantly changing world. It's not just the range of tech capability - The range of complexity of the install comes into play, as well.

That said, there is no excuse for the first install. Any forum regular would probably know the correct way to connect the DVR. The good news is the technology does work.

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
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Re: Anatomy of a U-verse install, or "persistence pays off".

Thanks for moving my post to where it should be.  Yeah, I get this was fairly complex, but, we have more potential customers here now..... fwiw.  The first tech was indeed a doofus, I left out the part where he spent an hour on the phone with his tech support.  The second guy that came, there is simply no excuse for him at all, should not be on the payroll.  Just leaving a customer and taking off????

 

Anyway, you are right, the technology does indeed work, and it is the best in regards to quality and reliability, we could never get a decent recording with Charter, there were always drop out's and freezes it seems like.

 

Bottom line, I'm really happy I signed up, and it sure is nice when things work!!

 

cheers

c

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