Technical Update

The repairman at CenturyLink came out, fixed the phone line, then fixed it again fifteen minutes later when it went dead again, then fixed it again an hour later when it went dead again, and then finally, though whatever alchemy phone repairmen use for such a thing, switched my home phone line and DSL to another physical wire entirely. This seems to have solved the problem, since I’ve been able to use my Internet service for several hours in an uninterrupted fashion for the first time in a week. So three cheers for Gary, the CenturyLink phone repairman. Let’s hope it stays up from here.

21 Comments on “Technical Update”

  1. This sort of thing happened to me several times when I had DSL. In my case, a technician finally explained that my line was used for some sort of testing, and people occasionally forget to do some arcane thing to it when they’re done with maintenance. Hopefully yours is a one-off and not recurrent like mine was.

  2. Wire? Wire? Does the noise from the telegraph keep you awake at night?

    Just kidding. I refuse to give up my wireline phone. It works even when the power goes out, unlike my cable.

  3. So, it’s one cheer for each time the phone is fixed. My Grandfather was having intermittent phone trouble, and it turned out to be moisture in the phone connection box outside of his house. I had phone problems last summer, and it turned out to be moisture in the phone line inside of my house. That lead to a $4000 repair for the leak in my basement.

  4. Dude, DSL? Consider joining the 21st century and get ye some broadband. I can’t imagine ever going back.

  5. It just so happens that last night our house lost wireless access. We didn’t check direct cable yet, but a TWC tech is coming by this afternoon. We suspect that water got into the box on the outside wall.

    Had plenty of games to play, and TV cable was fine, but I couldn’t surf or do any blog writing!

  6. Real live customer service AND technical support? And someone who actually took the time to troubleshoot the problem, diagnose it correctly and then implement the corrective measures.

    Wow. I’m impressed.

  7. I used to have periodic cable dropouts after rain/snow. When they couldn’t figure it out in their first two visits I made them run a new damn cable the hundred feet from the access box to the house. No more dropouts. It was getting just enough moisture in the line that the cable phone and TV kept working, but the signal strength on the cable internet was dropping below what the modem could handle.

  8. Yeah, what #9 said. It’s a shame that true customer service is so hard to come by these days! Your tech could just as easily have thrown up his hands and said he “didn’t know” how to diagnose/fix the problem, or that the problem was “too time consuming” to fix, that he “had other customers” and couldn’t keep coming back “just to make you happy (which is kinda the point, but I digress)”…or any other number of excuses that employees come up with to justify why “you’ll just have to live with it”. Kudos to your tech guy that he didn’t!

    A former friend of mine (long story) is in the IT industry. Years ago, shortly after he and his wife moved to their new house, he kept having problems with line-drops. He kept calling the local phone company to complain, and they kept coming up with fancy excuses why they “couldn’t” fix the problem (at one point I think they even accused him of “making it up”!). After several weeks of pointless phone tag, he finally explained to them what he did for a living, and the steps he’d already taken to try to fix the problem himself.

    There was a tech out within the week.

  9. JRE @#12: Having had a career going on 25 years in the telecommunications industry, I find it alternately maddening and hilarious dealing with customer service reps from phone and cable companies…

  10. My DSL service, while on Bell lines, was contracted for through my ISP with whom I’d previously had dialup for a number of years. So if there’s any apparent maintenance problems, I’m to call them rather than Bell. And they could give lessons to other companies in the field about tech support and customer service … if one of their servers goes blooey, it’s typically no more than 30-45 minutes before they’ve got a backup “warmed up” and online, even at 3 AM. Compare that with 2 or 3 or even more days I’ve experienced with one other provider who I won’t name but is a national “brand name”.

    Only one problem that no one’s been able to come up with a solution for. I’m in a secure apartment building, and anytime someone needs buzzed in, doing so resets my router-modem back to its second (Ethernet) light, and it needs a minute of so to get fully back up and synced, a real pain if I’m in the middle of a large download. Oh, and to complicate things, the intercom/buzzer lines are leased from the cable co., not Bell, even though they work through our phones. My ISP and just about everyone else agrees that a proper filter on my computer’s line would probably fix it, but since there’s a zillion kinds of intercom setups out there, only the security company could advise me properly. (We do have the standard setup of low-pass filters on extensions with phones.)

    And of course since I’m not their customer, no point my trying to contact them directly (don’t even know who they are). So I asked building management to find out for me, and obviously they must have asked the wrong questions or improperly described the problem — the reply they gave me was “We can’t afford $10,000 to replace the system.”

  11. What your tech gave you was more a workaround than a fix. There’s still some line out there that will fail 15 minutes after connecting and no one knows why.

    Interesting commentary on the state of electronic maintenance in this country at this time.

  12. the steam boilers probably need flushing. If that doesnt fix it, check the ground rod on your lightning modulator. The lightning might have arced over into the pneumatic bellows and thrown your whole tele- sync off.

    the stuff is quite persnickety.

  13. Welcome back, John! The interweebs just aren’t the same when you’re not around.

    Me hat’s off to Gary – huzzah! – but will keep fingers crossed nonetheless. (Why? Because, if ever the Zombiepocalypse™ did eventuate, this is where I’d wanna read about it.)

    MikeB-Cda #14: Do any other residents experience similar difficulties? If so, ask your building management if they can request a lowpass filter be placed on the intercom/security system trunk, just before it patches to the CC leased lines. This should prevent the IC/S from swamping DSL signaling on your – or anyone’s – line. Provided that the CC lines aren’t wildly out of spec, this should work and shouldn’t cost a bundle.

  14. Repairmen always seem to fall into one of two extreme groups, morons who try all the things I all ready had the nonce to try even after my careful explanation of what I’ve tried to do, and magical alchemists who I want to prostrate myself before and beg, take me as your apprentice and teach me your ways!

  15. Sorry but in my book you only get three cheers if you correctly diagnose and fix the problem on the first try. So he gets one cheer. Maybe. How long has this been going on?

  16. Now if Gary drives slowly back along the road looking for the phone junction with the family of rats/mice/chipmunks or other rodents living in it, he may solve the actual root cause of the problem, unless the line is underground in which case it is lilely soaked and shorting with crosstalk and outright corrosion ;-)

  17. C. H. (Sorry, I’m lazy) #17: Thanks for the tip, although I don’t know if there’s any point in my trying to pass it on. I’m in city-owned geared-to-income housing (I’d been on CPP disability, which converted to old-age benefits when I hit the magic age last fall), and they use lack of funding as an excuse for everything. Voice quality on the intercom is atrocious to the point where you often can’t even hear the other person let alone understand them, but the office claims I’m the only one who’s ever mentioned a problem with it.

    I’ll give the resident manager a try, he’s been quite helpful and knows the building well … started out as a tenant-volunteer doing security walk-arounds, and gradually acquired more and more responsibilities and finally wound up officially becoming resident manager when they couldn’t find anyone else.

    Thanks again, I’ll save a copy of your reply and see if anyone’s willing to try it.

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