Wednesday, July 25, 2007

An Eleventh Hour Reprieve for StupidISP.com

Well. I've blogged often enough before about my small local mom n' pop Internet Service Provider, StupidISP.com, and the many, many problems, slowdowns, and outages that have attended their "service" over the years. Most recently, I've suffered six and a half weeks of unholy molasseslike DSL "service": an agonizing initial delay, usually about 16 seconds, before any website will even begin to load; then an initial small burst, followed by more delays with further small bursts every 10, 15, 20 seconds, until after a minute or more a small, simple webpage might finally be fully or mostly loaded.

A minute or more. And that's when I wasn't simply getting those frequent error messages, "domain name google.com could not be resolved," etc.

Can you imagine what it's like to have DSL, and have to sit there and twiddle your thumbs for more than 15 seconds before any site will even begin to load? For more than a minute before the site is more or less finished loading? Assuming the site can be found at all?

This, uh, technical difficulty started June 7, and if I hadn't been so damn busy in June and early July, I would've reported it sooner. Yes, I did the usual stunt of unplugging router and modem, waiting, plugging them back in again— no effect. Finally on July 9 I phoned StupidISP.com's customer service. They said they'd put in a service request, but after a week and a half no word from them, and no improvement in DSL "service," I phoned again on July 20, they were like, "Oh, you've got Linux on your computer, we don't do Linux, are you sure the problem isn't in your computer?" (No, all the many times over the years I've phoned them, the problem has never turned out to be "in my computer": though they keep making this assumption every time, I suspect because it lets them off the hook, harrumph!)

That afternoon, mirabile dictu, an employee from StupidISP.com who actually understands Linux phoned me back, and he was very genuinely helpful. Problem was not fixed, though he reinforced my growing impression that it had to do with difficulties and/or errors in DNS resolution. I was going to look into possible ways of circumventing the problem from my end when I had the time, which I haven't had these past few days.

I must admit, over the weekend I was seriously entertaining thoughts of switching over to satellite Internet, which is available through our local rural electric coop, and which is the only alternative to StupidISP.com in these parts. It'd be more expensive, though not as much more expensive as I'd originally thought; but worth it to me, if it led to a functioning and fairly reliable Internet connection.

Because, you see, this latest six and a half week molasses slowdown is only the latest in a long series of problems. We had an identical slowdown out here— not only me, but some neighbors— which ran for nearly a month last November and December. And many a similar slowdown for a day or five between now and then. I could write a book about all the many service slowdowns and disruptions I've experienced with StupidISP.com over the years, up to and including the time their system hiccupped, and lost all their customers' email addresses and passwords, which then had to be manually reentered over the course of a day or two, because they apparently had no electronic-media backup listing of their customers' email accounts...

Well. Anyhow. Yesterday morning at exactly 10:30 AM, my DSL connection suddenly returned to normal. Just like that. For the first time in going on seven weeks. I didn't do anything on my end, I assume it must've been StupidISP.com fiddling with something out there. I had a beautiful, lightning fast connection for the rest of the day yesterday.

Then I got up this morning, and it was back to molasses again. Not quite as bad as it's been, but bad enough. Until around 8:40 this morning, when it returned once again to a functioning, lightning fast connection, as it has remained the rest of this morning.

So I guess StupidISP.com has won an eleventh hour reprieve. For now. I don't see why they can't keep their Intertubes running smoothly. This problem, with all the same identical symptoms, keeps recurring out here over and over and over again. And no, the problem is not in my computer: the only correlation I can trace, each time, is that every time I have this problem, it spontaneously and magically disappears a couple of business days after the second time I phone a complaint to them, first-time reports evidently not being taken seriously.

Though if this problem recurs (as it predictably will some weeks or months down the road) I am seriously going to consider ditching StupidISP.com, and switching over to satellite Internet.

2 Comments:

Anonymous redjack said...

glad to hear your connection is ok again

annoying when your isp just can't get its act together

Thursday, July 26, 2007 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Ned Hughes said...

I don't know what I would do without a fast and reliable internet connection. If you aren't receiving satisfactory service you should stop using them. Of course... I suppose most companies make you sign a contract that sticks you with them for at least a year, no matter how much you dislike them.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007 6:30:00 PM  

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