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Author Topic: Technical Difficulties II  (Read 366 times)
Wayne
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« on: September 21, 2004, 02:53:02 PM »

Just in case anyone was wondering where I've been (doubtful, nobody's posted in the RP in the last month and I have zero new PMs, heh), we had... a little incident in late August. I'll go ahead and post this from my LJ:

"During an electrical storm a little over three weeks ago our house was hit (no damage, from what I can see) and our router, DSL modem, and the two connected computers' (mine and Draco's laptop) Ethernet cards were fried. As in dead. :/ Here's basically what happened during that time (and for those curious, I spent my time away from the 'net mostly playing Skies of Arcadia, Threads of Fate, and FF6-- yay for catching up on RPGs)....

We called Southwestern Bell the following Monday (the damage was done on Friday the 27th); the storm had knocked out our phone line (my stepmother insisted that was the only problem, shaking her head and giving me some "Duhs!" when I told her the hardware had been damaged too-- I was a big enough man not to laugh when I was proven right, heh). She didn't let me talk, and the SBC people said to wait until the DSL service was restored (that Friday, the 3rd). We waited. Surprise surprise, it didn't work.

I called on Monday the 6th to tech support, and stated that our old modem (a Speedstream) had been damaged during the storm. They asked me some questions (I'd already run all the tests but unfortunately the girl I was talking to was in India and apparently "I've already verified the problem" wasn't on her script); eventually they connected me to sales and they offered to both send us a 2Wire wireless hub + DSL modem (above my protests that we already had a router and wouldn't need one, heh) and lower our monthly rate to $29.99 (now that one Dad and I jumped at), their new rate. Naturally, being a big company, SBC doesn't advertise that they changed their fees-- if you don't call them, they leave you at the old payment plan. Heh.

So anyway, the modem arrived on Thursday (I think; it was sometime that week). It didn't work. When the modem was plugged in the Ethernet light came on (I used a USB connection cable-- more on that later), but the DSL light never did, despite being properly connected. We called SBC tech support on Friday, and they told us that there was a problem with our DSL line and they'd reconnect on the following Tuesday (the 14th now). I doubted that (the discrepency was the change in our payment rate but with a one-month suspension since we were without service) was the problem, but what to do? Well, that day rolled around and, no surprise, it still didn't work. We called tech support, got someone actually competent, who explained that a lot of 2Wire modems had been shipped with faulty software (as ours was-- the computer could access the modem's IP, but the software was for the wrong modem and messed up the DSL signal). He volunteered to send a fixed 2Wire modem, but I asked for another Speedstream (since we already had a hub), and he confirmed that. 2-3 business days... it arrived last Friday (the 17th).

It didn't work either! Annoyed now I called Efficient (heh) Networks, the company that makes Speedstream modems, and discussed the problem. After confirming that the DSL light came on but the Ethernet LED did not-- whether I connected the modem directly to my computer or the router's WAN port, and couldn't use its IP address to connect with it at all-- he said that it was probably a bad modem as well (I added that I could ping our previous modem, which cinched it), and to call SBC. I do, and this time get someone else from India (or somewhere near there; it was like a female version of Apu from the Simpsons, heh). Grr outsourcing. I think maybe the Democrats are onto something there. Anyway, she can't resolve the problem either (duh), and transfers the call to the mysterious (and American) "level 2" tech support. Felix goes through another couple tests (apparently tech support staff never share notes), then asks me to try connecting the new modem to another computer. I grab Draco's laptop and plug it in-- nothing doing, no Ethernet light. He thinks that's odd, and offers to send a tech over on Monday (yesterday, now)-- if the modem needs replaced, like I think, there's no charge (but obviously if he fixes a problem on-site then there is). I mention this to Dad and Sue and they think it's cool, so we confirm it.

A tech (who, surprisingly, actually lives here in Fulton) drops by around noon (fortunately I eat late-- unfortunately my friends call late and I get about a 15-minute interruption in my pizza due to consecutive phone calls regarding D&D, grr... but that's a different story). I have the modem in hand and he plugs it in to his laptop. It works instantly. To add insult to injury he plugs in the DSL line and brings up an IE window. *sigh* He suggests that maybe the storm blew out both my computer's and the laptop's Ethernet cards (if you remember from paragraph #1 that is indeed what happened), and to try replacing them, since obviously the modem was good. I'm puzzled as to how the 2Wire worked on the new one did not-- until I remember that I used USB to connect the 2Wire modem! A bit more sheepish now I sign his form (and the notice that $60 will be added to our phone bill for his visit) and wait until after dinner. We drop by Radio Shack, get a new Ethernet card and a wireless card for Draco's laptop (and immediately add a bloody surge protector), and head back home. ...we then realize that our "new" router (bought and installed two days before the storm) was damaged too! We fly back to Radio Shack with about ten minutes before closing (I do not speed, naturally :] ), hand in the router and grab another (Linksys Wireless-B), and head back home. Plug in, set up... and "We get signal."

And it's about freakin' time."

So, let that be a lesson... of some kind... to everyone. Always use surge protectors (even though they don't always work  :-/), and remember that even a major setback can have some good results (why, if I hadn't been disconnected, I would've never beaten those three older RPGs! ... >_>).

And I guess there's another lesson about the incompetence of major companies (I left out just how many hours we racked up on hold in those various phone calls; it averaged out to around 15 minutes apiece) and the "side effect" of the outsourcing problem, but I digress.

Anyway! Back and glad to see the site seems to be up and running steadily, which is cool. Hope everyone else is doing well, and remember there's only a little over three months before Christmas. ^_^V
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"Die... a glorious death. Fight on and fly on, to the last drop of blood and fuel... to the last beat of the heart and the last kick of the motor... a death for a knight, a toast for his fellows, friend and foe."

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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2004, 08:24:02 PM »

Site's runnin', but my population has dropped.   ^^;  Of course, it doesn't help that my regulars get their DSL blown out.
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larewen_evenstar
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2004, 07:45:58 AM »

Whereas PTBSE's popularity is soaring! Did I say soaring? I meant jogging...:P

Sorry. That was unneccisary. *bows* I appologise.
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You said that last time when the poor martyr ended up at the infirmary because the gates of heaven refused to open. -- Vallier
Wayne
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2004, 09:02:14 AM »

I see what you mean, Rob. *chuckles*

Lar-- Eh, it happens. I'd join, but I'm already a member of a couple different casual boards, and I'd probably just end up harassing the people on your debate forum with my religious conservatism. ;D
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"Die... a glorious death. Fight on and fly on, to the last drop of blood and fuel... to the last beat of the heart and the last kick of the motor... a death for a knight, a toast for his fellows, friend and foe."

-Manfred von Rich
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