Posts Tagged ‘CenturyLink’

Only Connect

February 27, 2013

Two months almost to the day from when the trouble started, it appears to have been fixed. Short form: it was the DSL modem…plus.

To summarize (the deets may be found via the Only Connect tag). In mid-December, our connection started acting wonky, and our mail clients could only receive, not send. CenturyLink came and did their best — whole house filter, dedicated DSL line, lots of activity at the back end. Some problems were fixed, others (email), not. After a week of work, including having techs spend hours in the house, they went away, beaten and confused. They said they tought it might be an ethernet port configuration issue…which, for various reasons, was just silly.

We limped along with workarounds (get mail via the mailer, reply via gMail…). I kept poking at the problem as time allowed, building logic trees of things I’d tried — it’s not a LAN wiring problem because my wife’s macbook works fine through the same switch/cable that her PC does. Her PC talks to the network printer fine, so her cable to the switch is OK…etc.

Finally, I borrowed a DSL modem from the university. It didn’t totally fix things, but it fixed enough for me to go back to CenLink and ask for a new one. They sent it via UPS and it was here within 24hrs. How’s that for service? Half an hour on the phone with their internet folks getting things set up (it was being cranky about passwords), and everything seems to work. I’ve been able to sign into my sites, MJ has been able to do our online banking, and email works all ’round.

The repair guy had tried a modem off the truck earlier, and it hadn’t helped, so we swapped back. I’m thinking there were multiple problems, like with the house wiring and maybe a config at the Central Office, and we fixed those after we tried the modem. The old modem hadn’t failed, it was just flaky, and however the Win and Mac boxen talk to things, they must be a lot more forgiving than Linux. So that accounts for the OS issues.

One remaining problem is that my wireless AP doesn’t seem to recognize the new modem. I can log on to the wireless, but if I type in a webpage, I get an immediate ‘can’t find server’. It’s prbably a simple configuration issue, and in any event it’s not a real problem, because the new router has a wireless capability, it’s just not positioned optimally for the house. It just barely works in the bedroom, for example, and not at all in the back yard. Since I don’t plan to sit in the back yard with my Nexus and a glass of Piesporter Goldtröpfchen until, you know, the snow melts enough to find the deck chairs, I’m going to give up on that until Spring Break.

Only Connect

December 27, 2012

Thursday, December 27th
Over the weekend I posted another query on the Ubuntu Forums, and this time got an answer. Not on what might be wrong, but what might be a useful diagnostic. As a result I downloaded wireshark, a packet sniffer program, and got some captures of failures. Things run fine, then suddenly there’s a whole bunch of bad packets. It’s definitely logon associated, since I don’t see many bad packets when just surfing.

Also brought a new (refurb) computer online — Win7 with IE9. Funnily enough, it doesn’t have a problem.

Thursday still another CenLink guy came, stayed about three hours. He’d also been working from the central office side, changing ports and such. Got things to work on his XP laptop. Went back to office. He called later and said his techs thought it might be an ‘ethernet port config’ issue. I doubt this because it’s on so many different machines.

So, that’s my status. For blogging and banking I’m reduced to using Windows. For email, I can still receive on Evolution, and sometimes send. Fallback is gMail.

MJ is in somewhat worse shape, because she’s got a lot of groups and stuff she mails to. Right now, she still gets mail through Thunderbird, plus she’s got CenturyLink Webmail open on the U12 PC to handle replies, and she’s been getting the old Apple laptop re-synched for her trip next week.

I’ve looked into alternative ISP’s, and have been told they’re worse than CenturyLink. At least CenturyLink was willing to try.

WHAT WE KNOW
1. It’s OS associated. Win7 works. Two flavors of Ubuntu, and one Fedora, don’t. My Nexus 7 has problems.
2. It’s not just an OS issue. I can’t believe I’m the only Linux user in this college town, but they haven’t had any other complaints. So it’s local to me, or CenLink’s configuration for me.
3. It’s not browser associated. Four different browsers have failed.
4. It’s not the DSL modem. We swapped it out and the problems continued, so we swapped it back.
5. It’s not something mundane like distance to the Central Office. I couldn’t hit it with a baseball from my back yard, but Willie Mays probably could.

My guess is that it has something to do with how the secure links handshake. Windows and Google are evidently more relaxed about how they do things.

Only Connect

December 21, 2012

Friday, December 21st
Different guy this time. Brought his own laptop. Said he’d been working at it from the Central Office end using our user ID and was having the same problems. Left at two, came back at 3 and stayed until a search party arrived looking for him at 5. Poor guy was just a gap-filler from up near Colville.

He swapped out some lines in the house, to put the DSL on its own filtered line. Helped a little. Long weekend ahead, because the phone pholks get off Christmas Eve/Day

Only Connect

December 20, 2012

Wednesday, December 19th

The telco crew was out here surprisingly fast, less than 24hrs. They checked the wiring into the house and found a worn spot just below the box. We couldn’t do anything that day, because the wire went into a section of the garage that was piled with stuff. They went away, and I went to work.

Thursday, December 20th

They’re back, and it was the work of half an hour to splice in a new run of line from the box to a suitable point inside. Did a phone check, no static. Problem continued.

Another CenLink guy came around noon and left at 2. He was on the phone a lot. Voice on the other end saying “I don’t know what to tell you”. He was on the phone so much his charge depleted. Luckily, he was seeing the same problems I was, only moreso, on both his setup at the office and his WinXP laptop. He said the problem isn’t local, which may or may not be true.

Only Connect

December 18, 2012

Tuesday, December 18th

No joy. Called the CIH again. Spent almost an hour on the phone with them. They were surprisingly helpful, given their limited technology. They said they heard a lot of scratching on the line, and suggested I contact the telephone side.

Note: The browser timeout problem appears on my U10 box with Opera, Chromium, and Firefox; on MJ’s U12 machine with Opera and Firefox, and, now, our backup WinXP box with IE7.

Note: General browsing is fine. Downloads are fine. Crunchyroll anime streaming is fine.

Only Connect

December 17, 2012

Monday, December 17th
Not only is there an email problem, but there’s a website logon problem as well. A number of sites that I go to have logon protocols of various levels of security. The problem is, I keep getting server timeouts, but not on all of them and not all the time. WordPress is a problem, as is Twitter, and FlashcardDB and FaceBook. Sometimes WordPress won’t even give me the login screen. No problems with gMail or the EWU systems. Note: the campus is only a couple blocks away, but the actual routing is done somewhere in Oregon, so all of my data gets electronically schlepped five hundred miles or so to go down the street.

Called the CenturyLink Internet Hotline. They had me point our mailers at a different server. Didn’t have any suggestions about browsers.

Posted a query to the Ubuntu Forums. No answer so far.

Only Connect

December 14, 2012

Friday, December 14th

On the morning of December 14th, a day that shall live in infamy, our CenturyTel email went down. No problem. Happens often. Usually comes back within hours or even minutes. I mention it to MJ so that she doesn’t think it’s something she did.

…later
Well, it’s sort of working. We get email fine. We can’t send well. What’s that mean? I use Evolution mailer on Ubuntu 10, MJ uses Thunderbird mailer on Ubuntu 12. Same problem for both. Can get email OK, but hangs when it tries to send. About 85% of the time it times out. If I leave it in the outbox, it might get sent later, no guarantees. MJ’s problem is, she can send an original message, but not a long one, and she can’t reply.