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OK, long story as short as I can make it:

  • Kept having 'waiting for server' issues when going online via browser or FTP
  • Reset router, etc. - same issue
  • Tried Google DNS & OpenDNS - same issue
  • Contacted ISP & sent a traceroute
  • Traceroute showed issues at the 7th and 12-13th hops
  • ISP said it's not their issue - issue is apparently that "certain sites rent bandwidth from that gateway and if traffic exceeds that then that is where you start to see those issues. Unfortunately we have no control over this issue"
  • ISP advised using a proxy or VPN (I'm not too keen in this area)
  • Researched proxies - seemed kinda sketchy security-wise
  • ISP said VPN was best bet but couldn't advise further

I understand that the only way to change my routing to a specific destination is via VPN or proxy.
How can I set up a VPN to fix my issue? I'm assuming I would need to set up my own VPN server at home? Can this be done on the FiOS router directly (MI424WR) or do I need additional hardware to set this up? I'm using OS X 10.9.

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Were the problematic hops ones where Verizon connects to (peers with) another network, or somewhere else? Because if this is a problem with Verizon's peering, and they're telling you to find your own route around it via VPN, then that's some really crappy behavior on Verizon's part. I'd love to see a full traceroute. If it's someone else's gateway to a public internet exchange, then it would be nice to know which one and see if its congestion problem is well known in the industry. – Spiff Jan 8 '14 at 4:13
By the way, I've been assuming the problem is limited to just one or two sites. Is that true, or is it a general problem that you get "waiting for server" issues with most/all websites? – Spiff Jan 8 '14 at 4:27
Traceroutes are ridiculously easy to misread. I would strongly suspect the problem was incorrectly diagnosed. Can you paste a link to the traceroute? You can omit the first few and last few hops if you like. Make sure to include a few hops past the suspected trouble spot. – David Schwartz Jan 8 '14 at 4:31
@Spiff - it happens on multiple sites. on some it seems to happen more consistently than others. doesn't seem to happen on all sites. it has happened for youtube. – roybatty Jan 8 '14 at 4:40
Hmm. To me, that doesn't sound like a congested route to one network or one hosting facility. And as such, I doubt that using a VPN connection to force a different route is going to help. It kinda sounds like transient high packet loss or something. Hard to know without being able to catch it in the act and do packet traces of the failures with additional on-the-fly troubleshooting. – Spiff Jan 8 '14 at 7:33
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You wouldn't need a VPN server at home, just a VPN client.

It seems like Verizon's telling you that their only route to that site is crappy, so if you want to get to that site, you'll have to get to it from somewhere else on the Internet that doesn't go through the same crappy route that Verizon is sending your traffic through.

So you need to fire up a VPN client on your Mac, and VPN into a VPN server somewhere else. Make sure you've set things up so that the route(s) for that website's IP address(es) go through the VPN (some VPN clients let you check a box that says "Send all traffic through VPN").

If you don't currently have access to a VPN server somewhere else, there are online VPN services you can pay for.

If you like the VPN solution, you could look at getting your home gateway router to act as your VPN client, but I don't think the Verizon FiOS (actually Actiontec) MI424WR factory firmware supports that. You can double-check that yourself via your router's web admin interface. It may be that you can find aftermarket open source firmware for your router (like DD-WRT, OpenWrt, Tomato, etc.) that supports your router and adds this feature. Or you could buy a home gateway router with built-in VPN client support. There are SOHO/telecommuter-focused gateways that make a big deal of their VPN client support.

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