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waiting for DSL

Since this happened in the middle of the push for the release I haven't had time to comment on it. But here goes.

On April 11 Eircom (the local phone monopoly) started offering a lower-speed DSL service than the one they had before. This one is 256-512 Kb/s, max 4 GB transfer (don't get me started on the upper-bound of the transfers) and costing Euro 50 a month, while the previous service they had available was 512 Kb/s, max 6 GB transfer, at Euro 110 (!!) per month. I would have signed up for the other service, even at the outrageous price, but Eircom people said that "my line didn't qualify". What this meant was a mystery for months, until, when calling about the new service, I was told that apparently my line didn't qualify because of the distance to the exchange, that is, at the distance I was from the exchange they couldn't guarantee 512 Kbps and so they wouldn't give me service at all.

So now, with the new service, where the guarantee is minimum 256 Kbps, apparently they can offer the service. So far, so good. Okay, maybe not so good, but so far at least.

Now, I ordered the service on April 11th. That is, almost three weeks ago. I ordered a self-install package, since I figured that would be faster, and cheaper (although not much--just Euro 50 cheaper). Back then, they said that it would take 10 days for the package to arrive, and in the meantime I'd get a call informing me that they had activated DSL at the exchange and I could begin to use it. I got a first call the next day, saturday, at 3 pm, giving me my username and password for PPPoE. I was slightly annoyed at the timing (I mean; they can call you whenever the hell they please, but you, oh no, you can call THEM only on business days, 9 to 5, yes sir), but at least seems to be moving.

No such luck.

The modem package arrived after two weeks, last friday. I connected it and had to spent an hour fiddling with it since the default settings are not what they advertise on the manual. Even after repeated resets (Holding the reset button while you turn on the modem and then keeping it pressed for one whole minute) it still had the wrong setting. So in the end I guessed an IP/netmask, with empty gateway, and I could connect to the modem, and then reset the DHCP configuration in it. BTW, this modem is one of those dreaded modems that come predefined with a password of "1234" for the root. This password lets you not only configure the modem whichever way you please, but also sniff the packets, set up sites that can't be visited, filtering, and it gives you access to the PPPoE password if you had it configured in the modem. Nice eh? Guess how many people will even know that password exists, let alone that they have to change it.

Anyway, so now I've got the modem connected to the PC, but there's no DSL signal. I've called Eircom twice since friday and they always speak in the usual "astrologer's babble" as I call it: "We are not sure when, but it will start working. Soon." To which I say, "Soon? What do you mean soon? Soon tomorrow? Soon friday? Soon next month?". And the utterly friendly support-person replies "Impossible to know. They will call you."

I hate when they do that. Apparently they can't give a straight answer. Of course, it's not believable that they don't know. They should just get on the cluetrain and stop treating users as if they were to be maintained on a "need-to-know" basis.

So here I am, waiting for that magic call that will say that the modem has been activated. In the meantime, I have it turned on and I am actively polling the connection, so it's likely that I will know before they call. Hopefully it won't take forever.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on April 30 2003 at 9:49 PM

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