Switched back to DSL

I’m back up.

Comcast was very funny.

For the last half-year, if the cable modem goes down, by the time they address the problem, it is gone. Since addressing the problem means sending an engineer which costs me and Comcast a lot of time and money, I resolved to wait until it was down for a day before calling them about it. The strange thing about cable modem is that sometimes it seems so slow, I am sure that a phone modem would be faster.

Then the internet went down, I waited 24 hours and called them. And then was given a sequence of successive lies about when it would be up. Somehow, there was a “scheduled service outage in my area” at that time and that I must have been one of the 4 out of 419 people whose cable didn’t come back up after the outage. Pesky little details like the scheduled outage occurred well after my cable went down seem to be unnecessary.

(There was this brief 30 minute episode with them on when their CS representative got offended that I called the so-called scheduled-service-outage-that-leaves-me-without-internet-for-five-days-minimum an “excuse.”)

By the time they acknowledged that this wasn’t a problem on my end, the earliest engineer they could send to look at the problem would be after I’ve already left for OSCON. Now it seemed reasonable to me that if a junkie like me who has been addicted to the internet since I was seven can tolerate being without internet in the home for two weeks, Comcast can tolerate not being paid for two weeks.

Comcast didn’t see it this way.

After finding out that apparently the mantra of Comcast customer support center in Colorado is “the customer is always wrong.” I asked for where the nearest cable modem drop off center is1 and cancelled my subscription and got DSL.

I was feeling better already.

Mark told me about how cable modem is supplied to the homes which makes me amazed that the system even works at all and not surprised my internet gets dropped all the time. Caitlin reminded me that Comcast gives a cheap introductory rate which has expired anyway. In the last year, DSL has gotten better and cheaper. Finally, I bask in the knowledge that someday that Comcast call center will be outsourced to India or the Phillipines. And, I seriously doubt an Indian concentrating on their accent training will hold me on the line 30 minutes arguing over whether or not a “scheduled service outage” for a week constitutes an “excuse”.2 (I also got a phone call from Comcast the day I left for OSCON asking if my internet was back up. I guess their call center didn’t actually believe I’d actually cancel their POS service.)

Not that DSL is all the cat’s meow.

They force you to buy a new DSL modem with the service.3 They forgot to turn on my phone line while I was gone. You cannot complete the new installation process in Safari or Firefox, it hangs both. I had to create a new sbcglobal.net account instead of reusing the one I had. They don’t mention that outgoing mail (SMTP port 25) is blocked by default unless you ask for it to be activated.4

I tested out the line

2005-08-09 02:47:50 EST: 2256 / 419
Your download speed : 2310149 bps, or 2256 kbps.
A 282 KB/sec transfer rate.
Your upload speed : 429828 bps, or 419 kbps.

Smack dab in the advertised range of 1.5-3.0mbps down and 384-512kbps up. It’s no Korea, but it’s the best I’ve seen in a while. It’ll certainly tide me over until WiMAXwipes out5 both the DSL and cable providers.

1 The local Comcast is so close I run by there in the mornings. If you saw how out of shape I am, you’d know that means that it is really close.
2 Yes, there are some benefits to being one of the technological elite as your country decides to hurtle toward self-destruction. Thank you, mom and dad, for investing in the best education money can buy.
3 The excuse they gave is that the new modem enables features like VoIP (and yet begs the question as to why I have to pay for a feature I don’t want). The DSL modem is a 2Wire 1701HG which has a 4 port router and 802.11preN wireless. With the death of my Linksys router, this brings my total of unused wireless gateway count back to two. Guess my brother is getting a new Netgear router. Mini review: The 2Wire is a piece of shit. It took me about half an hour to set up port forwarding on the thing and it still messed it up by periodically designating one of my machines as a DMZ. It has nice icons though and a pretty-looking but useless bandwidth monitor. It needs more pretty lights and a it needs to go “bing”.
4 Well maybe that last one is a good thing. Please refer to the earlier footnote.
5 Slashdot picked up the New York Times editorial I referenced. It has a humorous smack down of the typical “libertarian” slashdork.

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