The PhoneBoy Blog


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New House: New Internet Experience

Internet Crash One of the joys of moving into a new house in a new area is that you have to change ISPs–sometimes. At my house in Port Orchard, I actually had 3: Qwest DSL, Cable Internet from Wave Broadband, and a T1 from Covad. Unfortunately, when I moved to Gig Harbor, I couldn’t take the T1 with me. Also, cable in Gig Harbor is through Comcast and the phone service is thru CenturyTel. So it’s basically a completely new set of experience, which will be described after the break.

Last month, I called CenturyTel to set up my DSL. They took my order–a month in advance–and gave me all the information I needed to use the service when it comes online. They even, after a few tries, manage to give me enough information that I could buy (instead of lease/rent) a DSL modem for use on their service. They told me the exact model they recommended. Was hard to buy online, but I did. Will review that another time.

Comcrap, on the other hand, is a different story. When I try to schedule my Comcast in advance–only a week, mind you–they told me that they were unable to do so until they had gotten a disconnect order from the current residents. Fine, so I called the day before we were supposed to move in. Same answer. WTF! After talking to the previous homeowners, which we did when we took possession of the house, and they called Comcrap to cancel, then I called Comcrap.

On attempt #3, they couldn’t find my address. Well they’d better as cable TV was flowing to the outlets when I checked earlier in the day. After arguing with the customer service guy for a while, they found my address and I was able to sign up. They didn’t give me anything useful other than the installation date for basic cable–and charged me $29.99 for a self-install. Compare this with Wave Broadband (my previous cable company), whom didn’t charge a cent for a self-install.

On the install day–the installer was late, I decided to dig out my cable modem and plug it in just to see what would happen. Low and behold, I got an IP. Assuming it had to have been some sort of web jail (i.e. where any website is redirected to a specific page), I didn’t try too hard to break it. The splash page instructed me to click on a button and download a file. That didn’t work.

When I called tech support, they took my modem’s HFC MAC address, checked the signals were good, and I was off and running. Except for the fact that I could have ordered 8/768 instead of 6/384. The guy tried to put the order in the system, but no dice. My original order hadn’t closed yet–thanks late tech–so I waited until late this evening to call and upgrade. Took a while, but the guy did it.

At this writing, my cable modem connection is working just fine. Speed tests are coming in at 12/2, though I know that Comcast’s SpeedBoost is at work here. y DSL isn’t actually working yet. Tech support at CenturyTel has no idea. At first, they thought my DSL circuit was owned by Comcast (?!?!?!?). They apparently resolved that, but it did not solve my issue. My DSL modem is hooked up and ready to go–training at 9+mb/864k to boot–but is going nowhere. PPP is timing out. Another trouble ticket was opened earlier today.

Update:  Apparently, none of the techs picked up on the fact that I purchased this modem. I did not obtain it through CenturyTel, though it is the same modem they typically send out. Once I figured out the correct settings (VPI 8, VCI 35–not the default settings) and got them into the DSL modem, things started working. While I’m training at 9mb, the speed test is showing about 7.6mb. Not bad. Time to call and cancel that service call. Apparently, the “hold time” for their 24 hour support at this hour is substantial, so maybe I’ll do this in the morning.

One other thing: my house in Port Orchard was wired with Cat 5. Everywhere. Unfortunately, we weren’t involved in the building of this new house, so it has no Cat 5 everywhere. I’m praying WiFi works well enough, but I may need to buy some gadgets at Frys to help. At least Frys is closer now.Meanwhile, I’ve been a little too busy dealing with more basic, physical needs over the past few days to spend a lot of time dealing with things like Internet connectivity anyway. Things will eventually return to some semblance of normal sooner or later. Hopefully, the hard-wired Internet connectivity won’t suck, but we’ll see.


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