[netspeed on] TransACT network

andrew at bishop.dropbear.id.au andrew at bishop.dropbear.id.au
Sat Sep 29 08:17:01 EST 2001

Since I'm bagging netspeed out so much in this message, I'm CCing it to
netspeed to allow them to respond.  Who knows, maybe this will convince
them to address my complaints?

On Fri, 28 Sep 2001, John Griffiths wrote:

> Well I've gotta say my friends and I are having trouble getting what we
> want from netspeed (ports 25 & 80 blocked) intermittent connection to
> port 22 (it'll drop out midway thought a session)

I can assure you that neither port 25 not port 80 are blocked, at least
for me.  If they tried that, I would be having more than a few words to
That could be because I signed up for a business plan.

At least, they don't block those ports inbound (I run both sendmail and
apache, and both are globally accessable).  Port 80 outbound is blocked -
or rather, redirected through their "transparent" proxy.

> it seems pretty rocksolid for outbound websurfing which i guess is
> where they're aiming

Not from what I've seen.

My complaints about netspeed are:

1) I specifically requested a permanent IP when I signed up.  They only
changed it on me once.  Ok, I could forgive that if they'd told me it
would be happening, but they just did it, then waited for me to ring and
find out what was going on.

Also, despite my repeated phone calls, they still haven't set up the
reverse DNS for the IP they gave me.  That's right, does not resolve *at all* (nxdomain).  So
assorted mail servers refuse to talk to me.  I have managed to convince
them that this is their problem (yes, I handle my own domain, but the
in-addr.arpa domain for my ip isn't delegated to me, it's delegated to
you), and even had them promise to fix it "this afternoon" a couple of
times.  Still no change visible, 3 months on.

2) their DNS is flakey.  I initially set up my dns server to forward
requests to theirs, but after a couple of days of only being able to
resolve some things half the time, I gave up on that.  Never failed to
resolve (for example) yahoo.com, but when I try to resolve <some random
small server I and maybe 3 other people outside china use regularly>,
half the time I get NXDOMAINs.

3) the link itself is flakey.  It may be available 97% of the time, but
the downtimes are periods of maybe a minute or so, spaced randomly. This
is exacerbated by the fact that I'm forced to run my own dns (and don't
know enough about configuring bind, probably).  If I try to resolve
somerandomdomain.com, and bind gets no response from the relevent
nameserver because the link is dead, it will cache that fact, and
subsequent queries will give an immediate SERVFAIL response.  Can anyone
tell me how to configure bind (9.1.0) to not do this?

4) because of (2), there are often cases where I can resolve
somerandomdomain.com, but their dns can't.  So what do you think happens
when I try to get a web page from that server?  Well, I try to initiate a
conenction to <the right ip> port 80, it gets redirected to their
"transparent" proxy, and the proxy returns me a page saying "dns error".

Oh, and despite being able to point to a site where this often happens,
and managing to get on the phone to one of their "techs" before their dns
fixed itself (leaving me with nothing to point at), the guy I talked to
tried to convince me that they were not running a proxy at all, and that
"the website was just down".  Never mind that I could get the page in
question by requesting http://<the ip>/ (in general, that fails dismally,
as just about every webhost out there has a dozen or more virtualhosts on

Let's think about this.  I request a page from a site, and someone serves
me a page saying dns error.  If the name really failed to resolve, the
request would never leave my box, would it?

(5) They have managed to overcharge me on every single bill so far (e.g.
charging me for excess traffic when I'm 400Mb short of my quota).  These
charges were put straight on my credit card, *despite* the fact I paid in
advance for the connection, and *specifically requested* that they *not*
store my credit card info - and repeated that request after each time they
mischarged me.

I now have the personal assurances of their manager that this will not
happen again, and that she has now removed my credit card details from
their records.  To their credit, they did handle each complaint about
billing promptly, refunding the money, and they may have actually fixed
the problem this time - but they didn't fix it last time, despite assuring
me that they did.

> can anyone recommend a good transact ISP?

I hear webone became available through transact last monday.  I've dealt
with them before (only modem dialin accounts though), and not had any
problems.  I'll be ringing netspeed up on monday, and telling them that if
they don't get their act together, I'll be terminating my contract with
them, and moving across (webone is also cheaper).


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