Tag Archive: broadband

or, Fun and Games with the Black Flag Telephone Company and Faster-Than-Dialup Connections

So, I finally got sick of relying on mobile broadband which limits me to 5GB of data per month before I get throttled to slower-than-dialup speeds. Unfortunately, I still can’t get Verizon FiOS here – the COA Board only just approved the installation, so we won’t have access to fiber optic technology for another five or six months. Suck-tastic, I know, but what can I do?

I called up Verizon- err. Well, actually, I browsed up Verizon, and ordered a DSL line. It’s on a month-to-month plan, because I have no desire to try and terminate a one or two year contract and pay the early termination fees, only to turn around and throw even more money at Verizon for a FiOS line when it becomes available. Of course, they want to try and sell me a technician to install it, and seven million different software packages, and when I finally wade through the order forms and click submit, Verizon says, “Okay! Your new service will be available in two weeks!” Fine, whatever.

The self-install kit I ordered, complete with the (no extra charge) DSL modem, showed up two days later. I proceed to sort through the kit, wonder why they shipped me an ADSL filter wall plate when I didn’t ask for one, and then set up the modem. I didn’t need one of their fancy-schmancy (read, ‘routes-for-shit’) all-in-one modem/router combo kit, since I’ve already got a router I find adequate for the current job. Of course, the router has already given me headaches trying to figure out why it won’t display things correctly when I have it set to use the subnet, when it works just fine on 1.0 (the default) and 0.0 (the current setting), but again, whatever.

The day of my service activation rolls around. I make sure the connections are all tight. I make sure everything’s connected in the right place. I turn on the modem. I see blinky lights.

The DSL light doesn’t stop blinking. This is a Bad Sign.

Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t the DSL light supposed to stop blinking when it acquires and address? Yeah, it’s not just me. It’s not getting a connection.

I called up Verizon tech support and get walked through the automated system that runs a few tests, makes sure I’ve got everything in the right place, etc, etc, ad nauseam. I finally got a real person on the line, and they tell me, “I need to run a line test before I can schedule you for an appointment with a technician.” …didn’t I just get a line test run, by your automated system? Meh, sure, fine, run it, it’s just going to fail in five minutes anyway. I got an appointment for a tech to come out the next Friday, between 13:00 and 17:00.

Naturally, 17:00 on Friday rolled around and the tech hadn’t shown up; when 18:30 rolled around and they still hadn’t shown, I called Verizon dispatch to reschedule and get answers about why the tech didn’t show. Naturally, dispatch gave me the run-around, tried to convince me I was calling the wrong department, and then finally walked me, again, through another line test and then scheduled another appointment. And, oh, by the way, did we mention that if you live in an apartment building, we need the code to get in? And we’ll need access to your building’s phone box? Well, no, no one bothered to tell me this the first time; I’ll need to call the building manager and make arrangements to get access to the electrical room. And, no, you can’t have my building’s entry codes – you should have the utility provider codes already, and if you don’t, that’s not my problem, take it up with our management. I finally got the appointment scheduled for this morning, 08:00 to 12:00.

This time, fortunately, the tech showed up. I got a call from Verizon dispatch at about ten after eight, reminding me that someone over the age of 18 needed to be on the premises, and that the tech would be arriving within 30 minutes. It only took about 15, but then, the Verizon building is about a mile from here and I’m pretty sure I was the first appointment today.

The tech came in, took a look at the modem, took a look at the line, took a look at the jack, and then said, “Something’s not right. Lemme fix that for you.” He promptly plugged the line into a tone generator, and asked me to take him down to the electrical room. We got in, he looked at the Verizon box for all of about sixty seconds, waved his sounder over the jacks, plugged one in, and told me, “Well, it looks like whoever came to do the dry-loop installation forgot to plug your unit back into the box. Let’s go back upstairs to test this out.”

I blinked for a few moments, then shook my head and we came back upstairs. This whole mess was because whatever fruitcup had come to install the dry-loop connection had forgotten to plug me back in? Schmuck.

Got back up to the condo, plugged the modem in, got everything configured, and now here I am, posting from the new DSL.

When FiOS comes, please, lets not have this same problem, yeah?

Last Friday, I ordered a new cell phone. Up until now, I have steadily resisted the move into the 21st century of cellular telephone technology, simply because a) I never needed a phone smarter than I am and b) I didn’t really like the available smartphones that much. I mean, yeah, the G1 was nice, and Android was pretty neat, but I never really wanted to own one flat out.

I do, now. I finally broke down and bought one of these. I finally got up the gumption (and the money) to break into the 21st century of technology. It doesn’t hurt that, though not the kickassinest, it is still a very kick-ass miniature computer.

Heck, because Verizon is dragging their asses on rolling FiOS into our building, I’m even proving how kick-ass this phone is by posting this post over a Wi-Fi tether to my phone. One that I didn’t have to root my phone to use, even. Android 2.2 (FroYo) supports tethering out of the box, both USB and Wi-Fi. It’s kinda nice, being able to use my own God-forsaken broadband for a change :)

Hopefully, Angel will be able to do some real research in the evenings, now. I say in the evenings, because during the day, the phone goes with me ;)