Unreliable wireless printing or Time Capsule backups on Verizon FiOS? Here’s the fix

Many users of Verizon FiOS have difficulty printing and backing up over the network (WiFi or wired) from their Macs. It seems that Verizon FiOS’s default configuration can interfere with Bonjour, Apple’s autodiscovery protocol. This causes weird problems because sometimes printing and backing up will work and sometimes it won’t. So it just feels like there are gremlins in the system. This is such an inconsistent problem that I have taken to disabling this feature on all my clients’ routers whether they say they are having trouble or not.

The hardest part of changing this setting is getting into your FiOS router. Each setup is a little different. You may need to get the help of someone more knowledgable than yourself or get Verizon on the phone. These instructions are for the current Verizon FiOS Quantum Gateway router that looks like the photo below, but the instructions will be similar on older FiOS routers.

FQG_Hero_Image_05112015

  1. Connect to your router using a web browser. Unless you have changed the default IP address you can get to it at http://192.168.1.1
  2. Log in. By default the username is “admin”. The password is usually printed on a sticker on the side of the router if you haven’t changed it. It could also be the serial number, or maybe even “password”. This is not the password you use to get on your Wi-Fi. This is the administrator password for making changes to the router.
  3. Go to the Advanced tab at the top of the administrator interface. When prompted with a warning click “Yes” to proceed.
    Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 4.13.19 PM.png
  4. In the Routing section click the smaller words underneath that says “Routing”
    Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 4.13.35 PM.png
  5. Uncheck the box for “Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP)” and click “Apply”
    Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 4.13.46 PM.png

I’ve seen similar problems with Comcast Xfinity gateways for residential service, though it hasn’t been as consistent and I don’t see a setting to change that will fix their problem. Comcast business customers seem to be affected by this problem even worse, and their routers have no option I can find that will fix this problem. I normally recommend that Comcast business customers buy an additional router and use it in tandem with the router that Comcast requires them to use.

Strangely, this problem only seems to exist with the all-in-one gateways provided by ISPs. No retail router that I’ve seen from Cisco, Netgear, D-Link, Apple, ASUS, etc. has this problem.