Wednesday, July 12, 2006

wow. A BROADBAND connection that seems to work

It's a miracle!!!

Verizon finally fixed our DSL line!

to fix this ADSL problem it, it only took:
  1. 10 Trouble tickets to their abysmal* Help Line.
  2. At least 2 hours of My time (I'm being nice here) in wading through their phone prompts, and explaining the problem to the (usually) "unaware" people who MUST go thru their acceptable scripts to try every solution, despite my possibly only needing to put a new trouble ticket in. That's Two hours PER TICKET for at LEAST 20 hours
  3. Four technician visits, 10 trouble tickets, and untold hours on their side.
  4. Good escalation and chronic trouble procedures.

Now a history. How NOT to service a customer.
  • Ticket one. Closed because it came up when agent tested it.
  • Starting at ticket two EvERY ticket was escalated to management, as a customer reported chronic intermittent problem.
  • Ticket two. Tech dispatched.
    • Suggested I might have problem "because of all the rain we had!"
    • He put ticket into the "have cable tech change your cable pair assignment on the CO loop. Tech tested inside my Demarc, outside demarc, saw same problems both spots.
    • Next day was first dry day in 2 weeks, and circuit stayed up for day
  • Ticket three. second tech tested, saw good signals, remote tester closed ticket
  • ticket four, stayed open (I'll hand that to them) for at least a week. Third tech finally understands that problem is INTERMITTANT!! (that means NOT CONTINUOUS!) -- as in the carrier on the ADSL LINE drops or RESETS itself every 6-12 minutes at random.
  • Tech had ticket escalated to routing group for rewire .
  • Ticket four, finally escalated to Verizon's "Chronic problem" group.
  • Ticket four, fourth day, 2nd level escalation of problem after two missed dispatch days, and two missed equipment replacement days
  • day five. called for status, had agent escalate to management. One half hour later, after explaing the problem to the supervisor on duty, they wound up calling the dispatch manager , and arranging for a same day dispatch (that WAS tough!) for a tech.
  • Fourth Tech checks the Demarc (two part demarc, 1 part inside garage, and a telco access outside garage.) Discovers that levels from office are DIFFERENT at both access points.
    • Tech hits jackpot. Removes three foot length of wire between inside and outside boxes and gets same readings both spots. DSL modem successfully gets test equipment.
    • Get call back from Chronic problem group. Was told 1/2 problem seems to be resolved. Told that the other problem (can't get a DNS server or email) was likely an internal equipment problem, and that they would move my termination in the Central Office (CO) to a new equipment block. Also told that the Replacement DSL modem did NOT ship, but they would make sure it went out immediately.
  • Status: Looks like line has been up since around 2pm today (went down lunch time, guessing they moved service then...) I have DNS, and can get to their real neat "master" server.
  • And I even got a callback from the Supervisor, who said he'd leave the ticket open till monday, to give it time to make sure there's no problem..
Oh, and the Neatest thing???
Verizon bought MCI, remember? MCI bought PSInet and even BBR, who BUILT the internet/ARPAnet back in the early 1970's.

A vestiage of that little factoid? The Absolute LOWEST DNS server (or IP address that) I've ever Seen.
(to SOMEWHAT protect it's identity, I will obscure it's real identity somewhat.
Remember that there are only 124 (usable) CLASS A addresses in the world, right?
This one starts at 16 or lower, and the last three digits are: 1.
Neat. I've never used a IP address that low before!

OK I can't believe I just wrote that I was impressed by a LOW IP address. well, actually I wish I owned one. I wouldn't be working (or be staying around HERE), unemployed if I owned one, because I'd estimate that one of the124 addresses would be worth at a minimum 30-50 million dollars.

(In the 199X spin off of Lucent technologies from AT&T, the Class A address that AT&T gave to Lucent was valued at 5 million dollars! I worked in the Central IT group at the time there...)

*abysmal : I am qualified to complain about Verizon's Automated Attendant. In the early 1990's I used to SELL Automated attendant systems. (and if you ever used Met Life, for insurance, I was actually to blame for programming some of them! But that was LONG ago, in a far away land)
First Complaint for their tech support's automated attendant computer.
  1. They need an option to accept touch tones, not just voice. (or need to alert customers it can be done automated).
  2. Need to be able to go from main menu DIRECTLY to any option if you know the menu tree (touch tone codes).
  3. If you are using Caller ID to identify the DSL line account number, you don't need to waste 2 seconds with a bullshit (sound) pretending to check the number before re-reading for customer to verify. If a called is advanced enough to be going thru this you want them to be HAPPY, instead of SHOUTING their responses. If they are calling about this account #, and they hit a pound, ask them. Pound, did you want to go to main menu? hit * for main menu, # will be accepted as a yes command.
  4. If you're going to put someone into a "must test" mode, don't be lame.
    1. How many customers are calling because their internet works fine???

    2. DONT offer your "no connection" support customers the URL to get your ONLINE support. It insults them!
    3. If you INSIST on having the user type a URL in for "" testing, perhaps skipping it if they dont have a dsl light might be a good idea.
  5. An option for "call status" at the voice prompt instead of waiting 20 minutes would be good.
  6. Teach ALL your agents how to read the TROUBLE ticket LOG, and explain this to customers if they are interested. Why am I teaching YOUR agent what the notes mean?
  7. Remember to TEST, test and T*E*S*T your systems, because SH*T happens.
  8. If you are going to let a customer LOOK up their trouble ticket number (when ON LINE) , perhaps giving them the ability t0 VIEW the log might be nice too???

--------------------------- THE PROBLEM---------
As viewed by the customer:
DADDY, why can't I play World of Warcraft?
Why cant I get my EMAIL?
As viewed by yours truly (a network engineer by training/profession)
* cable modem (ok DSL modem) drops signal EVERY 6-10 minutes
* Cannot get thru to DSN servers to get email.
--------------------------- THE Solution---------
Tech # three rewires the portion of my circuit from the curbside box to the Central office onto a new cable pair. He notes that many of the pairs were blanked out and may have been out of service due to problems.
Problem NOT resolved. Next day, service works fine (it isn't raining)
Tech four rewires the three foot (if that long!) CABLE between the verizon internal demarc, and the outside wriring point.
Internal terminating equipment at CO is moved to new equipment.
Can contact the insanely low DNS server correctly now

ALL appears to be well again


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