Before I pit Verizon DSL tech support again, could they be right?

My BS meter is pegged, but bending over backwards to give them benefit of additional doubts, I’ll ask a second opinion.


In Location A, my laptop, when plugged into the DSL modem and the DSL modem plugged into the phone lines of Location A, effortlessly connects me to the internet.

In Location B, same laptop, when plugged into the exact same physical DSL modem (which I carried with me), throws a connection error message. Only since last Thursday. For the previous year and a half, all was working well at Location B as well.

Both Locations, A and B, have Verizon DSL.

There are, of course, two separate accounts. (username & password). From Location A, I can use EITHER combo and get online w/o problems. From Location B, NEITHER.

I have spare standard telephone line. Swapping out the telephone line from wall modular connection to DSL modem did not fix the problem at Location B. I also have spare CAT-5 ethernet cable. Swapping out the ethernet cable at Location B did not fix the problem either.
The question: Verizon insists their board says there is no problem on the line, therefore the problem lies in my computer settings or else the physical DSL modem is faulty and needs to be replaced. Walked me thru about 24 steps’ worth of tech troubleshooting on my settings 3 separate times (for the first of which I was cooperative, getting kinda surly and annoyed the 3rd time around). They finally concluded no problem with my settings and are now shipping me a replacement DSL modem. Even though same DSL modem works fine at the other location.

Is it reasonable for me to assume they’re self-evidently dead wrong and dumb as a sack of hammers?

Does the modem sync at Location B? Have you checked all the filters?

From what you’ve said, I can’t imagine that the modem is at fault, seeing as it connects from Location A.

Without knowing more, I’d suspect a bad filter, and/or a telephone device plugged into an unfiltered jack.

It is just barely conceivable that line B is a bit noisier, and the modem components that deal with that are malfunctioning, so a properly-working modem would work correctly at both locations.

That said, I’m really leaning toward the ‘sack of hammers’ theory.

(edited to add: bear in mind that you’re talking to a guy who once spent half an hour troubleshooting a DSL connection, where I finally realized that I’d plugged the modem into the filter and the phone into the unfiltered line. :smack: )

Keep in mind that until Thursday of last week, I had DSL at both locations. I didn’t make any changes to either the physical setup or the settings in my computer. It’s a laptop, I walk in in the mornings and hook it up, boot, and I’ve got DSL. On Thursday, I hook up the wires as usual, boot, and get an error message about no PPPoE server.

The line the DSL modem is hooked up to is definitely not filtered. The analog devices (including a wire that’s avail to be plugged into the laptop for faxing purposes) do have filters on them.

Have you tried plugging the DSL bridge into the “demarc” where the phone line enters the house? If you can sync and surf from there, then something went bad in the inside wiring. It’s rare, but not impossible that a staple may have finally chafed its way through the wire, or a critter nibbled away enough to finally impair the line, or some similar gradual deterioration problem.

If, OTOH, there’s no sync at the demarc with the same hardware that works properly at another location, then it’s “The help desk is worse than a bag-o-hammers” time.

When you say “Verizon insists their board says there is no problem on the line” that’s true up to a point - the test can only “see” about as far as the telephone pole in your back yard and isn’t sensitive enough to say “there’s a bad wire in the second floor bedroom.”

When I first moved into my house, I couldn’t get the DSL bridge to sync any faster than about 200k even though all of the phone wiring was new Cat5 that I’d installed and I could get dialtone at the jack. My ISP ran a line quality test and said my line tests out as more than good enough for the 6 meg service I’d signed up for.

The hitch is that their test couldn’t see the staple that nicked a cable in the garage, and switching to another pair in the cable brought me up to full speed.

My father-in-law had a similar problem. His DSL stopped working in the attic, but I was able to get it to work after running a long line from a second floor connector up to the attic. Work for a while that is.

The wiring in his house was installed by Mr. Bell himself. Well, it is old enough to have the old four prong jack on it.) It turned out he had coverage on his inside wiring, and he had someone to check it out, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was an alarm system which all of a sudden starting interfering with the DSL, even when turned off. He did have the DSL installed by an installer, btw. I don’t know if you have anything that can be interfering, but the symptoms of interference are odder than I imagined.

I don’t trust the automated line check. When our DSL went out, our lines passed the check. I called the service number, and there was so much static that the operator immediately sent someone. It turned out the connector on the pole had cracked - but the line passed the test. :rolleyes:

I second this cynicism. I had a DSL problem a few months ago. My line passed the check but was a little noisey so they send a tech out to check it. The guy found some grounding problems and fixed me right up.

Umm, I live in a NYC apartment building. I have no idea where that would be, and I suspect I don’t have access to it.

If location B is your apartment, could it be possible that another tenant or the maintenance guy may have damaged your line slightly?

Sure! I mean, seems entirely reasonable to me and I have no reason to think there’s anything preventing that from possibly happening.

In one apartment building I lived in, some do-it-yourselfer decided something was installed wrong and took garden shears to a clump of telephone lines, among them mine. That created a more obvious situation though (no dial tone, no service).

I’m with the others here - IMO there is definitely a problem with the line between your phone at location B and the exchange. It could even be they’ve turned off DSL on that line at the exchange, it happens to me every time they fix a line fault.

If location A and B are close enough together, I’d just set up a wireless network instead of mucking around with the phone company.

Pit away. Verizon DSL tech support did the same to me when I started having line problems. Ended up dumping them for Roadrunner. Horrible service (at least in Queens, NY) when it was something physical.

Only thing I have to offer is this. Some high speed providers like to log MAC addresses and use them as a kind of shortcut login. Seeing different mac addresses using the same line or multiple instances of the same MAC address on multiple accounts may be giving something a fit at your DSL provider. I don’t know if this is an issue with verizon, I know it is with comcast in my area.

The MAC address is associated with the network adapter of the laptop, which was moved to the second location. While they may restrict the use of the same MAC address on multiple accounts, the problem only started recently, so it seems unlikely. Also, you can fake a MAC address, so it is not really preventing anything.

Ona personal note: I have found that most ISP/Cable/DSL providers’ helpdesks are useless.

The verdict: the new DSL modem is small, cute, and useless. Or at least every bit as useless as the large elderly models I already had. As I anticipated, the problem isn’t in my DSL modem.

The problem also is not in my computer settings but I had to sit through YET ANOTHER excursion into my PrefsPane by a supervisor-level technician, and I still don’t have a specific appointment for someone to come over in person. But now they seem to be convinced the problem really does lie somewhere in their circuits.

Pit thread will be forthcoming. Promise!

Meanwhile, I’ve signed up for Earthlink cable internet. (I already had Earthlink dial-up, not going to start with a 3rd company). Keeping both. If one goes down I’ve got the other. I can’t have another week like this one has been.

You might want to check, last I heard AT&T DSL customers get dialup access as well, earthlink may have a similar fallback arrangement.

I can sympathize with your predicament, but how much of the fault is actually that of the tech support?

For the most part they do work off of scripts, use troubleshooting software, and have zero info about the line integrity in your home. They can run checks to a certain extent, but there are so many factors that can affect ADSL quality, that one can hardly expect for them to be able to solve every conceivable problem.

I have a cable modem in my house. I had some strange issues with my wireless network, (with my brand new laptop), and had a guy come out. He found a problem with my wiring. He said that I should be fine. I tested it on the spot, and the problem persisted. It took a lot of arm twisting, but he finally switched out the cable modem. Guess what? Zero problems since then.

How do I know how certain tech support sites work? I used to work for one. Coincidentally, the company i used to work for now does ADSL support for Verizon. I even had a job offer from one of their managers last week. I’m seriously thinking about taking the offer, especially because the benefits package is good, and they’ll pay to get me A+ certified.

I realize that this means nothing to you as a customer, but you have to admit that there are factors beyond their control and abilities for detection, that can cause your service to fail. The numbers of failures, and types of failures vary widely between DSL and cable modem service as I’m sure you know.

Do people think that the tech support people are dumb, or are they just upset about the information available to them?

I tend to agree with the support-techs here, even if the modem did not turn out to be the problem.

Trouble-shooting is mostly about locating the problem and that means excluding variables. Considering the amount of time and money spent on support by the time they decided to ship you a new modem without finding the problem, the extra costs were probably justified. Itt’s likely that in the techs experience the modem is usually the problem, or that checking out the lines is a lot more effort than simply replacing the modem. Thus, at that point, making sure the modem isn’t the problem was the correct step.

I’m curious, did they make you pay for the new modem?

I am well aware that a considerable portion of my fury is properly directed to the authors of the script and not those who are paid to read from it. I didn’t rant much as the entry-level techs, did get a bit confrontational with the supervisors because they would not escalate yet apparently could not act on their own to do what needed doing.

Where are they at fault, you ask?
a) One complete walk-thru of verifying, changing, rechanging, resetting, and setting up from scratch the right network preferences (despite my claims that same computer with same modem works just fine at girlfriend’s apartment)? Fine. Do it all again next call? Oh OK but then you’re sending a tech, right? Third call? C’mon, read the goddam notes. It’s an open case. We’ve established that the problem is not in my fucking settings. Let’s move on. My settings were working fine until Thursday. I didn’t change them. They’re still working fine elsewhere.

b) You still think it’s the freaking modem? Even though the modem works fine elsewhere? OK, fine, send a replacement, we’ll hook it up and when that fails to solve the problem we can rule that out. OK, hi, yep got the modem, nope didn’t help, so are we now clear on the problem lying with your signal to my apartment and not my comp setting and not my DSL modem? Oh, of course not. You want to do another 40-step sequence of trying to modify my settings in hopes of coaxing the new modem to somehow fly into action. Plus powering off the modem. Powering up the modem. Unplugging it for 5 minutes. Flipping the ethernet cable so the end going into the computer is going into the modem and vice versa. (Wouldn’t it be more useful & practical to have me swap out the ethernet cable altogether? And the phone line from the wall to the DSL modem? I did those things on my own. And unnplugged the phone-line splitter and tried it with ONLY the DSL modem attached to my phone service. It ain’t the local wires either).

c) Stupid assumptions / grossly irresponsible instructions: “OK, so in network settings, ‘Location’ should read ‘Automatic’…” No, I actually USE locations, I have something like 19 of them. ‘Automatic’ is what it reads if you don’t set up different locations. I said I was on a laptop, I said I had tried my own account as well as my girlfriend’s account from her apartment (where they worked fine) and from mine (where they don’t), doesn’t that indicate that I have multiple Locations set up? “Oh, well in that case please delete them all except for a new one that we will call ‘Automatic’”. Like hell. Are you fucking crazy? I’ve got static IP settings for one office I work in, DHCP for various others, dialup for this area, dialup for visiting my folks, DSL for my girlfriend’s account, AirPort only for wireless, crossover for hooking up to my older computer for file transfer, and so you thought it would make sense at this point to ‘just delete them’? How about instead I move the Network Prefs file to the Desktop, or better yet create a new OSX account which you can have me muck with to your heart’s content without screwing up any of my actual settings? Idiot! Fuckwad! I can’t believe you suggested that. How many folks’ settings have you destroyed as a consequence of them actually following your directions, not realizing the changes you were having them make would be permanent?
If a moderator were to move this to the Pit, I think that would be appropriate at this point.