My ADSL Saga(转帖)


May 19th, 2007

A couple of blog posts before, I mentioned that I switched over from iiNet to Internode and joined the world of 8 Mbit ADSL. Unfortunately, the story didn’t just end there.

Upon getting the new 8 Mbit connection, it became quite obvious that this connection was not all that stable. In fact, I was dropping out 10 to 20 times a day. After playing around with my modem settings and doing an isolation test, I decided that the problem wasn’t on my end. I ran Internode tech support, didn’t have to wait very long to speak to a real person at all which was a pleasant surprise, and a line fault was put in with Telstra (our phone provider).

Before I go on, it’s probably necessary to explain a bit about the ADSL infrastructure here in Australia. Telstra has a monoply on our telecommunication infrastructure (phone lines, exchanges), and ADSL providers like Internode purchase ADSL services wholesale from Telstra and then sell on to the public. As such, any line faults is Telstra’s responsibility. Because of Telstra’s advantageous position in terms of the infrastructure, the ACCC (our competition watchdog) has tried to level the playing field and allow companies such as Internode some chance to compete. Telstra is not happy about it.

Back to my problem. Internode arranged for a Telstra technician to come over and fix the problem on Tuesday. The technician did arrive, but instead of fixing the problem, my other phone line (not used for ADSL) was cut (but we did not found out until a day later). On Wednesday, Internode called me and said that they had asked Telstra to take a look again because their logs showed that I was still having drop out issues. Telstra determined that there was a foreign battery source on the phone line and that everything would be fixed by Friday. A separate call was made to Telstra to tell them about my cut phone line, and they promised it would be fixed on Thursday. Thursday came and went and the second phone line was still dead, so another call was made and now they promised a technician would come over on Friday.

Friday morning, and the technician did come. The second phone line was fixed (apparently the first technician had cut off the line for some reason), and the external battery source problem was looked at too and promptly fixed. I checked my ADSL connection, and instead of the 4500 kbps ADSL link speed, it was now 7616! Unfortunately, the SNR was at a ridiculously low 5 dB (6 dB is the minimum for maintaining a stable connection, the higher the SNR the better), and now the drop outs were even worse than before – 3 or 4 times an hour! So another call to Internode support, and they put in another request for Telstra to have a look. This was Friday afternoon already, so it looked like I would be stuck with this until Monday.

Saturday 10pm, I get a phone call and it’s from Internode. They said that Telstra have added a stability profile was added to my phone line, and lo and behold, the line SNR had increased to 11 dB. I can now only connect at 6144 kbps as opposed 7616, but what’s the point of a fast connection that drops out every 20 minutes? And 6144 is still 4 times faster than my old 1.5 Mbps connection. While I can’t be 100% certain that the drop out issues have finally gone, but things are looking up.

Internode were great throughout the ordeal. They didn’t really have much control over any of this, since all Internode could do was rely on Telstra to do their job (a big ask). Internode kept me informed all the time with a dozen or so phone calls (it’s refreshing for technical support to be calling you, and not the other way around), and now it’s easy to see why they have been voted as the best ISP by several places. My opinion of Telstra, on the other hand, remains the same.

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