Thursday, September 16, 2010

What Does Support Mean (WTF, Verizon)?

So, for the past few weeks, I've been having odd networking issues. Periodically, Donna's laptop will show that she's connected but that she has no internet. My XBox Live connection has been unstable. I've been getting pauses and stutters in my NetFlix and Zune streaming. I've had some sound-quality issues on my VOIP (Vonage) connections. Most recently/obviously, I've been unable to download large software packages (e.g., VMware WorkStation, Linux  ISOs, etc.): the DL will get a few tens to a few hundreds of megabytes in and then just stall.

Tuesday night, Donna comes up the stairs, complaining that her internet connection's not working again. I track things back from her PC, to the home WiFi, to the LAN and finally back to the FiOS router. I'm able to get into the FiOS router and notice that it's having issues on its WAN connection link. It's stuck in "getting DHCP address" mode. I try rebooting, full power-cycle and disable/enable the WAN interface. All result in no change. So, I contact FiOS support (by the way: trying to find their number on a cellphone-based browser and then navigate their asstacular call-tree system SUCKS).

Eventually, I get through to a human being and we start working on the problem. He finds that he's not able to talk to the ONT to get diagnostics from it. So, he has me pull the terminal on its batter backup unit and unplug it from the wall. Afterwards, I restore the power and it starts coming back online. Ten minutes later, still no Internet connection and, now, no TV! The tech informs me he's going to dispatch a tech to look at/replace the optical network terminal (ONT). Unfortunately, the first available service slot in two days later (Thursday/today, 16 September 2010). 

Two days of no TV and no Internet... Donna was n-o-t pleased. I pointed out that the LAN still worked, so she had access to music on the NAS. I pointed out that we still have a large collection of DVDs, BluRays and CDs. We even have a couple of XBoxes and other game systems. I also pointed out that she had several sewing projects that this outage could be a bit of a blessing in getting her back on track with them. She was still most displeased.

/me shrugs

The next morning (Wednesday), I discover that the ONT has apparently come back online somewhere in the wee hours of the morning. I have both TV service and Internet. So, it's fairly apparent that, while not yet dead, something is in the process of dying. So, I leave Donna a note letting her know that she may have TV and/or Internet service, but that it may also die, given the prior behavior.

While at work, Verizon calls to let me know that a service slot had opened up for later that day: would I mind the tech stopping by? I'm like "sure" as I really wanted to get this shit knocked out. Three techs (and three service trucks) roll up a little after 16:30. I show them to the equipment. They tear open the ONT and note that its status lights aren't quite right. They try several stabs at getting it into the normal/expected state, but those steps all fail. However, they don't have an ONT with them with which to replace it, so, they replace the router, instead. The service lead tells me, "I'll call you tomorrow to see if things have improved or whether I need to come back out with a new ONT".

Today, things are still flakey. In fact, the new router seems to have introduced some new problems. It starts rolling up on the previously scheduled appointment time and I've not heard from the tech. So, I call Verizon FiOS's support line. Apparently, the ticket had been closed and no one is coming out. I'm like "WTF: he wasn't supposed to close that ticket - he was supposed to call to find out if he still needed to come by." Unfortunately, there's no available techs to come out and do the originally scheduled appointment. So, now I have to wait till tomorrow to hopefully: A) get someone out to do the tech work; B) hope they have the requisite repair parts; C) that it solves the problems and doesn't introduce any further ones.

Oh well, I at least have basic network connectivity. I just can't program my DVR and I still can't download my VMware Workstation or (RedHat - other distros use BitTorrent and, because of the small individual transfers, I was able to get Fedora, Ubuntu and CentOS) Linux ISOs.

The phone support people have all been very pleasant. The techs that came out were pleasant. Unfortunately, the availability of techs and parts has made this a drawn-out failure of a support incident.

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