The PhoneBoy Blog


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Fun with ISP Tech Support

One of the reasons I have two ISP connections is because, on occasion, one of them goes down. Last year, after I had switched over to DSL from Cable, my DSL circuit was down for four days. Fortunately, it happened in December during the usual “lull” in my work. After that experience, I had a quick conversation with my boss and told him what it cost, he said “get cable too.” So I’ve had both Cable and DSL for at least a year now (Cable for Speed, DSL for Static IPs).

This evening, my Internet went out on the cable. Due to the design of my network, it’s a relatively simple matter for me for me to switch over from my Cable to DSL. Log onto the router, temporarily change a route, and everything starts working again.

Meanwhile, I decided to call my local cable company to report the issue. Oh crap, long wait time. It is 1am, I’m sure there’s probably only two or three guys working at this time of night, if that. And there is a localized service outage with all services elsewhere in the system, so there’s lots of calls. Within a minute or two, I was able to succinctly tell him where the problem is, namely with their handoff to the Internet just past the cable headend.

The gentlemen I talked to on the phone thanked me for pinpointing the problem with their system and would get right on fixing it. What? You mean in the 15 minutes or so I spent holding after discovering this problem, shortly after this failure occurred, your network admins weren’t immediately notified and your asses weren’t immediately engaged in getting the problem resolved? What about proactive monitoring inside the network? (Hm… maybe I’ll set something like that up on my router so I can “route around” these issues automatically…)

The good news, at least for the poor slobs calling in to report this, is that their status message was quickly updated to say “we are experiencing a widespread Internet outage in the area and have no ETA for a resolution.”

Update: Shortly after posting this article, they fixed it. Whatever it was turned out to be easy to fix, I guess.


C-List #Cybersecurity Celebrity, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.