Wednesday, 30 March, 2005

RoadRunner and Sprint share tech support resources?

Perhaps I spoke too soon.  Monday I reported that my Internet connection was fixed.  Yesterday I had trouble again.  It's an odd problem.  Something between my computer and RoadRunner's server is dropping packets occasionally.  We ruled out my Linksys router by removing it from the system.  We ruled out my computer by hooking a different computer directly to the cable modem, and also by pinging from the server end.  Today we swapped out the modem.  Same problem.  I still suspect that there's a problem in one of the "boxes" between here and there, and it seems to me that they'd be able to pinpoint the trouble fairly quickly by studying the pattern of trouble reports.

Although it's possible that they're not getting many trouble reports.  I only notice the problem if I try to send a large file.  Intermittent packet loss doesn't seem to affect normal email messages (a few kilobytes) or FTP of small files (tens of kilobytes).  And I seem able to download without trouble, although sometimes quite slowly.  The technicians that they send to customers' houses seem quite capable at tracking and fixing local problems, but they don't appear to have any ability or authority to diagnose issues that extend beyond individual property lines.  They also seem incapable of or unwilling to run any but the most basic tests.  Ping tests are okay for most things, but they don't simulate uploading a three megabyte file very well.

I get to wait for the technician to call me at work tomorrow so I can once again drop whatever I'm doing and rush home so he can fiddle around with things a bit and then say, "There must be a problem somewhere else in the system.  I'll report it to the office and it should be fixed within 48 hours."  What a way to run a business.

On a happier note, somebody at Sprint PCS finally figured out how to get text messaging working on my phone.  I spent almost two hours with their technical support people last night and filed yet another trouble ticket.  By some magic, I managed to receive a text message on my phone this morning.  It only took three weeks, four email messages, and eight calls to Sprint PCS technical support totaling about six hours on the phone.  Some customer service, huh?