Thursday, April 12, 2007

DSL Downtime

While I primarily use Comcast's superb cable modem service (and I have to say that it has the highest up-time record of any online service I've ever used), I also have BellSouth/ATT's DSL service as a redundant backup (with the need to move data in order to keep Comic Shop News coming out on a schedule, I have to have functional service, so redundancy helps to ensure that). For the past couple of days, my DSL service has been just horrible... it's been down every morning when I got up, coming back on in the afternoons and then intermittently failing during the day. Sometimes all the lights were showing that everything was fine even though it wasn't; other times the DSL line was blinking to indicate that there was a problem.

I called customer support and they had no idea what was going on; there was no problem at all, they said, and everything should be fine. Must be something wrong on my end.

I decided to go out for a walk just to work out the aggravation of my phone call. As I walked out of our neighborhood, I passed the local switching box for our neighborhood... and there was a BellSouth/ATT truck. The technician was standing in front of the opened panel, throwing a switch, which would click off after a second or two, at which point he would throw it again.

"Does that have anything to do with DSL?" I asked.

"Uh huh," he replied.

"Would that cause my DSL to go offline?"

"Yep. When I throw the switch, it's online. When it clicks off, it's offline. Like a circuit breaker."

"Does it affect the whole neighborhood?"

"Nope--just the lines on this switch shelf," he said, pointing to a list of addresses on labels below the affected switches.

And there, below the last switch, was 2770 Carillon... my address.

"Tech support said they didn't know of any problem," I said.

"They don't. Haven't had time to call them. I've been throwing this switch all day."

Can't argue with that, can I?


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