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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Bermuda Triangle of Internet Service

When we were thinking about upgrading from dial-up to DSL/high-speed internet service a few years ago, a friend of ours said, "It'll change your life!" Boy, was he right! There was such a difference going from dial-up to high-speed, both in the time it took to load pages and also the difference in having the internet available at all times. I was so excited, and now that I've had high-speed DSL for a couple years, I don't know if I could go back. It feels weird to say it, but I do feel like it changed my life. Mostly for the better. . .

For one thing, it can be really hard for me to limit my computer time now that I have the internet on all the time and at my fingertips. It's so much easier to hop on and look up a recipe, do a quick search, or check my email, which is nice, but it can also be a huge time-sucker. Are you with me? I'm not the only one who has a problem here. . . am I?

(warning, venting ahead. . .)

But that hasn't been my only problem. I have had such a hard time getting reliable internet service. I'm not sure why. I live in a good-sized city, in the city limits, and I have friends who have reliable internet service. For the past two years I had one provider, and I spent many days on the phone with tech support because it seemed like I had internet only half the time. I could go for weeks with reliable internet, and the next week the DSL light on my modem would go out over and over, several times a day, requiring powercycling and rebooting my computer and modem. This could go on for several days at a time. Sometimes it seemed like it would go out on rainy days, or cloudy days, or foggy days. But other times it would go out on perfectly clear sunny days! I couldn't find a connection. We tried new modems. We tried all sorts of things with technical support. After two years of trying, I decided I was done. There had to be a better way.

So I switched to a new provider at the beginning of last week. The minute I switched we had a strong connection, but several pages that I went to on a regular basis would no longer load (like,, and At first they told me there was an outage with yahoo's servers and I had to wait for them to fix it. But what about the other websites? They said maybe it was a browser issue, but it happened in both firefox and explorer. They said maybe I had a virus or worm on my computer, but it happened on both my desktop and laptop. Funny thing is, I am able to get onto yahoo and all the rest if I use my neighbor's unsecured wireless network (which is the only way I've been able to intermittently check my email since the beginning of last week), so it obviously has something to do with our new network. I have spent a ridiculous number of hours in the past week on the phone with various tech support agents, trying to troubleshoot the problem. And still nothing has been fixed. It's always "wait for this, and we're aware of that, and call back in 24 hours to see if it's been resolved." Basically they have no idea why some pages won't work. Just like the last company had no idea why the internet would go out all the time.

(sorry about the venting there. . . I'm done now.)

I have one more idea I'm going to try before I give up and switch back. It's frustrating that I feel like I need to choose between having all the internet half the time, or having half the internet all the time. I feel like I live in the Bermuda Triangle of internet service.


Anonymous said...

I've always had AT&T for internet and haven't had any problems. I was just going to re-evaluate our internet and cell phone plans and drop the home phone. Our problem is I want something that will work in a remote area up north. That's scary not having it there when you need it. That's my project for next week.

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