ρ (rho) wrote,

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BT suck: part n+1

BT suck.

No, really. I'm sure you're all shocked and amazed by this reveation, but it's true.

Last night, my internet connection started being about as reliable as an extremely unreliable thing. You know the sort. Random connection drops every hour or so. This is an annoyance, but I grin and bear it; random connection faults are prett much bound to occur from time to time, and generally they sort themselves out without me having to do anything. This one, however, did not. Looking at backscroll int trillian windows that were left open, it had been going on all through the night, and all through the day.

So, earlier today I phoned up tech support at Nildram (my ISP) to ask what's going on. The guy I spoke to asked me to do a few troubleshooting steps. This is fine. So I go off, find a spare microfilter to use. I unscrew the face of the master phone socket, and plug the router (via sare microfilter) directly into the test socket. I unplug all other telephony equipment in the fat (two telephones). I move things about so I can see how the router's sync light behaves when I get disconnected. I mess about with my network so I just have a single piece of cat5 going directly from router to computer.

And in half an hour or so of this setup, I get two random disconnects.

So, I phone tech support again. I hate tech support conversations like this one, because I know full well that whatever is wrong, it's extremly unlikely to be in any way the fault of the person I'm speaking to. But I also know that if you aren't at least persistent and firm, then you stand absolutely no chance of getting anywhere.

I ended up on the phone for about half an hour, during which time I was getting more and more frustrated with the situation, and I'm sure that the guy I was speaking to must have been getting more and more frustrated with me. Anyway, the basic gist of the conversation is this:
  • Next step would typically be to try to troubleshoot the router by trying a different modem/router, or trying the router at a different location
    • But I can't do that because I have no other router or location
    • But it's unlikely that that's the problem anyway
    • But if I really wanted he could escalate the call to someone to see if they could send me a router to test that, but they probably wouldn't do, so don't bother
  • That there was nothing wrong at Nildram's end
  • that their line test said that there was nothing wrong with the line
  • That it was probably BT's fault anyway
  • But that BT weren't likely to do something, because they don't consider hourly disconnects to be a problem
  • And that if I tried escalating to BT and they determined that there was nothing wrong (which they probably would do) then they'd charge me a hefty chunk of cash
  • There was no way that I could be given any sort of contact information for BT so I could tell them exactly what I think of their stupid policies
Needless to say, this is frustrating. In the end, the guy I was speaking to suggested that I should try having the router plugged into the test socket for longer than about half an hour, to make sure that it really didn't work when it was like that. Given that it disconnected twice in half an hour, I think it's fair to say that it doens't work like that. What i suspect he meant was "Go and do something that sounds vaguely plausible which probably won't do anything but will take you a day or two. With a bit of luck it might have fixed itself by then, and if it doesn't then most probably some other poor bugger will have to deal with you when you get back to us." I suspect this, because I know that that's exactly what I'd have done in his situation, and what I have done in the past.

So, I was thinking I'd wait a couple of days to see if it cleared up at all, then try his token suggestion just to be certain it didn't help, and so I could report back that I'd done it, and then if I was still having problems, call back and try to get the situation escalated, preferably to someone who can tell me how to bitch at BT.

However, in the past hour or so, I've been lucky to get more tha 10 minutes online without a disconnect, so I think I'm going to ring them back, to check if their line check is showing anything up now, or to see if they have any other bright ideas.

Mainly for my own records, times that I've been disconnected (these are mostly taken from AOL system message teling me that I've connected from a new IP when I auto-reconnect to AIM, so it's probably a slight under-estimate, since I occasionally get the same IP by chance):

07:37, 08:09, 11:31, 11:39, 12:00, 13:03, 14:13, 15:05, 16:10, 17:25, 17:37, 18:03, 18:08, 18:23, 18:45 (break, while I was troubleshooting, which involved disconnecting router) 21:12, 21:31, 21:34, 21:44, 21:48, 21:54, 22:13, 22:18

(and that's only since I started recording)

And needless to say, BT's claims that hourly disconnects aren't a problem is complete and utter crap. 2 minutes waiting about every hour is about 7%. I'd like to see what BT executives would say if someone gave them a 7% pay cut and told them that that didn't matter. And that's not even including how it breaks up conversations, makes online games next to impossible, and takes another couple of minutes to reopen eveything like putty which dies when the connection drops.

Bad, bad BT.
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