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Yet Another CenturyLink Ordeal

Posted On 2014-02-19 by dwirch
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I have CenturyLink DSL. Please take pity on me. Having CL as an ISP has been akin to being trapped in a cartoon, only it's not funny. Here is my latest experience with them.

Like I said, this is just the latest experience with these folks. I have had experiences like this ever since CenturyLink took over Embarq. Bandwidth issues, privacy issues, ineptitude. Nothing but laughs, right?

Since there are no other providers on my street, I am stuck with them. Comcast has lines running seemingly everywhere around my neighborhood. I'm sure if they shot a cable down this street, every single household would subscribe to their television, internet, and even phone services.

There is a piece of fiber optic cable buried 50 feet from my front door, owned by the local power company. However, due to Washington state law, they are not allowed to sell to residential customers, and can only wholesale to businesses.

Satellite, you say? Nope. I won't be subjected to that nightmare again.

I'm thinking that using smoke signals to communicate with the internet would be better than utilizing this "service".

Read on for a giggle. Why am I posting this here? Heck, I'm posting it everywhere. Maybe if I make enough noise, someone up the chain will hear.

2014-02-19 - 5:00pm

Spoke with Wayne at Qwest. Found out that he was with Qwest when I read him my account number. Since the IVR phone system doesn't give a caller an opportunity to bypass the prompts if they don't have a phone number, except if you press '1' for new customers, it routed me to new Qwest services.

Wayne attempted to transfer me to CenturyLink, but hung up on me instead.

2014-02-19 - 6:00pm

Spoke with Aubrey at the support line. Explained to her that I on 2/15 I had my voice service discontinued, with the exception of the state-mandated emergency services. This was done for two reasons:

  • prevention of further information leakage by CenturyLink. On two seperate occasions, CenturyLink has released my unlisted telephone number.
  • Stopping the 20-30 solicitation calls that were being received daily. After changing our phone number for the second time, we began receiving a large number of telemarketing, charity, and survey calls.

On 2/19/2014 at approximately 8:20am, we received two solicitation calls. One was a live caller, who wanted us to purchase an ADT alarm system (which we already have). When asked how she got the call through, she stated that the computer dials the number, and she simply answers the call.

The second call was received at approximately 3:40pm. The recorded message was left on our answering machine regarding the placement of a security sign in our front yard.

Aubrey agree that this was not right; we should not be receiving any calls on our voice line. She offered to change the phone number once again, and insure the call blocking was in place.

I asked Aubrey if this would interrupt the internet connection, as we had had problems with changes in past which would interrupt our DSL internet service for 1-5 days. She stated that our internet service would not be interrupted. However, as soon as she pressed "the button" internet service stopped functioning.

Giving Aubrey this information, she seemed puzzled, and immediately requested a supervisor. Approximately 20 minutes of them doing whatever it is they do when the customer is on hold, and the internet service returned. I believed my problems to be resolved, and bid Aubrey thanks and good night.

I spent another 15-20 minutes eating the dinner that I had missed while on the phone with CenturyLink.

2014-02-19 - 6:30pm

Returned to my computer to retrieve email, and perform other work-related functions, and found that I was not able to instantiate a VPN connection. Further checking revealed that I could not attach to some websites such as www.yahoo.com, www.msn.com, etc. One website would load correctly, www.google.com. However, searches failed.

At this point I began troubleshooting my equipment:

  • disable bridged mode on DSL modem, restart modem - no effect
  • remove router, connect computer directly to DSL modem, restart modem - no effect
  • re-enable bridge mode, reconnect router, reconnect computer to switch, restart all equipment - no effect

So no problems found with equipment.

Now, I begin investigating routing issues. Note that no static routes are present on any of my equipment.

The connection between my outside interface (xx.xx.xx.xx) and the CenturyLink interface, or gateway (xxxxxxxxxxxx.sta.embarqhsd.net [xx.xx.xx.xx]) appears to be rock solid. No packet loss, 14ms ping time. Not bad for going all the way to Oregon.

When measuring to internet locations however, packet loss jumped to about 31%. By tracing the route between my host and the remote site (for example, www.google.com), it was found that the connection or routing tables between the following two hosts was having a problem:

por-edge-12.inet.qwest.net [205.171.130.73]
phn-edge-06.inet.qwest.net [205.171.12.142]

Now, (about 7:00pm), I called in once again, this time to the highspeed internet support line. After walking through the above troubleshooting procedure, with the tier 1 tech, he realized I actually knew what I was talking about, and passed me through to tier 2.

I once again explained the above troubleshooting procedure to the new technician, Verna. Verna agreed that the troubleshooting procedure was sound. I explained to her where the problem appeared to be, but she told me that my problems were due to an old modem (model 660R), which should have been replaced long ago.

One more time, I explained to Verna, with a few more details, specifically that every time that a change is made to our service, internet connectivity is lost for one to five days. I also explained once again where the trusty traceroute and ping was showing the problem to be, and the connection between me and the gateway was fantastic. Nope, Verna says it is the modem.

Fine. So Verna orders up a modem, which will not be here for two days. Wonderful.

Verna provides 15 days of credit on current bill, and asked if there was anything else I needed from her. I asked her why internet connectivity is lost every time a change is made. For example, when we added call blocking, and lost internet for two days. Really.

I have to give Verna credit. She took my heated questions with aplomb, and expressed empathy for my problems. She was a real trooper, and there was nothing she could do about my issues. Sorry about dropping the "S" word on you, Verna. You didn't need to listen to an angry geek.

2014-02-19 8:00pm

After cooling off for a few minutes, I realized that I had left the ping monitor running, and wandered back to the home office to turn it off. This is when I noticed that no more packets were being dropped. Some quick testing reveals that somehow, internet functionality has returned!

Well, almost. I'm still getting intermittent drops, and general unresponsiveness. Time for some more looking around.

Some test, like ISPGeeks.com, seem to think I am coming from Witchita, Kansas. I find this interesting, since previously (and for the last several years), these sites report me as coming from White Salmon, WA.

Could this be the root of all the evil ? Did CenturyLink lose a peering point in Portland ? Could it be repercussions from a fiber cut that happened recently in California ?

I, or any other customer, or (sadly) most of the phone techs, will never know.

2014-02-21 Update

The new modem came via UPS today. I gotta hand it to them, they can ship quickly.  But then again, so can everyone else in the world. Got it installed, and guess what?!  Still, the exact same slow ass, packet losing, wrong route having, smoke signal transmission method using POS connectivity.

It's the exact same behavior, and the exact same slowness.  The world thinks that I am connecting from New Bremen, Ohio.  WTF?  Why is my home DSL near Seattle, WA being serviced by a peering point over 2300 miles away ?  Seriously, my packets are crossing the United States to get on the internet.  

What the F is going on with you, CenturyLink? 


About the Author

dwirch has posted a total of 172 articles.

 


Comments On This Post

By: dwirch
Date: 2014-02-21

Dang, I give up. The packets are exiting to the internet from Leawood, Kansas now, which is about 1400 miles away. Well, at least the took 900 miles off the trip, right ?


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