ISP questions

Modulok modulok at
Fri Jun 5 03:34:44 UTC 2009

On 6/4/09, Mark Hartkemeyer <hartkemd at> wrote:
> I'm pretty new to FreeBSD and was reading part of Greg Lehey's The
> Complete FreeBSD 4th Edition.  I found the section on ISPs in chapter
> 18 really interesting.  I put some of his recommended questions to my
> ISP, Cincinnati Bell's Zoomtown.  I think I talked to three or four
> people before I even got some of them answered.
> Here are some of the questions and answers:
> 1. What speed connections do you offer?
>     5MBps upload/5MBps download (she said bytes, but should it be bits?)
>     768kBps
> 2. Can you supply a static IP address? At what cost?
>     Yes, $49.95/month for the whole Internet package
> 3. How many hops are there to the backbone?
>     "It depends on the site you're trying to reach." (I think they
> misunderstood what I meant by "backbone"?)
> 4. What kind of hardware and software are you running?
>     "Can't provide this, due to security reasons."
> 5. Can you supply primary or secondary DNS for me?
>     "You need a static IP."
> 6. Can you provide name registration? At what cost?
>     "Talk to residential services."
> 7. Do you give complete access to the Internet, or do you block some ports?
>     "Cannot provide this info, due to security reasons."  After
> asking, I was told that I would be able to run a mail server and http
> server on my connection.
> 8. Do you have complete reverse DNS?
>     (They didn't know.)
> I assume this is a pretty typical response from ISPs.  Has anyone
> asked their ISP questions like these?  If so, what kind of response
> did you get?  Does anyone know of a really good ISP, or a good
> resource for finding a good ISP around Cincinnati, OH?
> Thanks,
> Mark Hartkemeyer

While it sounds pretty bad, I think my ISP takes the cake:

- Regardless of the problem, their solution is to unplug the cable
modem, wait 30 seconds and plug it back in and hope for the best.

- When faced with questions such as, "Do you guys need advanced notice
if I change my ethernet (MAC) address?" They inform me that my IP
address is static and I should not change it. (I spoofed the MAC
address. It would have taken years on hold for htem to understand.)

- When I ask them why I have no connection, they go through the
unplug-routine again. I later find out that their service was down for
half the state, but technical support wasn't informed of the outage.

- One time I called after they had switched to a new phone system. I
could hear technical support, but they couldn't hear me:

"Technical Support, this is Kathy. How may I help you?"
"Are you guys having trouble on your end? My connection just bit the dust."
"Yes, what?"
"Sir are you there?"
"Umm...yeah. I'm right here, Kathy. Hello!"

- I never get the bandwidth I pay for, because they oversold their service.

- The guys who wired my location took the most illogical approach
possible. There is probably 500 extra feet of cable that just wraps
around the building from one end to the other.

- When they showed up to install a lighting arrestor, I had to provide
them with tools, because they forgot to bring any. (They forgot to
bring tools!)

- My service was inexplicably cancelled one day, despite me never
being offline. So when I had problems a week later, I was told I
didn't have an account with them. This took four hours on the
telephone (Four freaking hours! Mostly on hold.) to clear up. I think
signing up for a new account would have been less painful. Perhaps I
should have just not said anything and waited to see if I was still
receiving a bill.

- They always ask me to 'go to the start menu', despite the fact I'm
running FreeBSD. One support person didn't know what an operating
system was:

"Sir, I need you to go to the start menu..."
"I'm not on Windows. What is it you're looking for?"
"I'm not using Windows. I'm using FreeBSD."
"Free what?"
"FreeBSD, it's an operating system."
"What's an operating system?"
"..." *Oh my God*
"Sir are you there?"
"Yeah, I'm there. I'm in the Windows control panel. Please proceed."

We're pretty rural here, so unless I go with a high latency satellite
connection, they're the only game in town. Maybe I should start my own
ISP. It couldn't be any worse.

Despite frustrations try to remember, it's not the tech support
people's fault. They're just there 8-5 trying to make rent and pay for
their kids dental. If you want to blame somebody, blame management.

Best of luck with your troubles. You're not alone!

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