Brooks (brooksmoses) wrote,
Brooks
brooksmoses

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Well, that was some pleasant customer support.

I've been having minor issues with my DSL line; every so often, it would glitch out for a minute or so, and then reconnect. Annoying, but deeply difficult to troubleshoot, as the problem is long gone by the time I'd get through the hold queue.

Today, it stopped doing that, and instead went into this state where it would work for 15 seconds, glitch out for a minute or so, work for 15 seconds or so, and repeat.

Once I realized that it was a pattern that was going to keep going, I decided to call Speakeasy's customer support and see if they could track it down this time. So, in a moment of internet-upness, I looked up the number, and then called.

Much to my surprise, I did not end up in a hold queue. After I got through the short phone tree, I got about five seconds of music and a "Hello, how can I help you?"

So, I explained the problem, and the support representative made understanding-the-issue noises and did some tests on their end, and found that the signal-to-noise margins were painfully low (9db down, 2db up). Apparently this is most commonly a problem with in-the-house wiring, and so he started by asking me to replace the phone line from the wall to the DSL modem. I found a relatively new spare one and did that, and the modem immediately reconnected, and he re-ran the tests a couple of times, along with doing a speed test, while I loaded a few web pages. Conclusion: margins now at 36db down, 28db up (or something in that range), which apparently is approximately perfect.

And that was that.

(Also, somewhere in there I mentioned that the modem was pretty warm to the touch; he said, "Yeah, they run pretty warm, and that's normal; it's when it's too hot to keep your hand on that you should worry.")

Moral of the story: If the phone line to your DSL modem is old, kinked (or, as in this case, tied in a knot to keep it from slipping out because the clip is broken), or otherwise aged, and you're having DSL issues, replace the phone line. Also, good-quality customer support is worth paying for.
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