[clug] Anti-Virus Software

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Sun Jun 27 02:18:58 MDT 2010

Stephen Rothwell wrote on 27/06/10 4:45 PM:
> Hi Steve,
> On Sun, 27 Jun 2010 12:37:53 +1000 steve jenkin <sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au> wrote:
>> While we're playing in Fantasy Land, I'd like ISP's and Telco's to be
>> held to account as well :-)
> Umm, for what?

I've found the PCUG/TIP exemplary in what it does:
 - prompt action/resolution of reported faults
 - faults don't get lost or mysteriously closed
 - well run services [good range, hardened servers,
 - good enough on-line doco

Other ISP's I've found less good.
I've talked to the TIO about faults/problems, but they're funded by the
Industry and have no force/teeth.
They had a 3-6 month wait and said, IIRC, "we can only really organise

1. Westnet, whom I would recommend to most people, advertised an ADSL2
service (by OPTUS) and I signed up for it and was given an approximate
cut-over date.

Well before 'the date' and without warning, my ADSL service became
radically unstable (link resets every 10-15mins). I didn't hear from the
ISP, so assumed it was something to do with Telstra/ADSL1 and I'd wait
for the cutover and it might be resolved.

A few days after the date, still without hearing from anyone, I
contacted the ISP about my problems: to be told that I'd been moved
(WTF?!) on the date my problems had started.

They fiddled with my profile a couple of times, eventually reducing it
from ~3.5Mbps to 1.5Mbps, and it stabilised.

I told them if I'd wanted a 1.5Mbps service, I'd have gone back to a
cheaper plan. "Too bad".

2. I said the service "wasn't of merchantable quality" and to put it
back to what it was (that I was happy with).
Well, NO, we can't do that... (WTF?!)
[But we could churn you off Telstra without a break to your service]
You've gone onto the Optus ULL, they don't support churning.
If you want to go back to ADSL {then followed a long, complex process
where I did all the work}
=> NOT ever discussed. No warning or advice...

Could I transfer my landline number back to Telsta?
NO, it now belonged to Optus. [Again, a 'surprise']

What could I do?
Pay a connection fee to Telstra for a 2nd line, transfer the number,
clunk the old service....
Why can't it be done transparently and painlessly like the first move?
Because we can't...

Who can I talk to about this?
Nobody. That's how it is.

3. So I have an expensive 1.5Mbps service I don't want.
I start to monitor the line (cron job every minute grabbing ADSL line
stat pages from the firewall/router).

We went through a phase where they bagged my choice of hardware and
blamed the fault on a variety of hardware faults of mine...

I plotted the data and noticed significant patterns in the SNR figures.
Varied considerably through the day, and consistently.

Eventually I came up with a really nice demonstration:
 - If I disconnected my router/firewall, it'd come up with 12+dDb SNR
 - within 15 minutes, it'd back to normal - *negative* SNR.
   i.e. the Noise was louder than my signal.
 - When presented with the data, the ISP would offer no explanation.
   Their 'technical' support did not know what 'Db' measured or meant.
 - I suggested that it was a brand new DSLAM and there could be
   a wiring fault.
   Specifically, a crossed line with another active device.
   - "You're getting 1.5Mbps, we won't raise a fault."
 - I asked if they could offer an alternative explanation.
   - "You're getting 1.5Mbps, ...."
 - What bit-rate should I be getting?
   - "We can't offer any guarantees"
 - How come it's three times slower than ADSL 1.
   - "We only have to give you 1.5Mbps"
 - What are rates other people at similar distances getting?
   - "We only have to give you 1.5Mbps"

And around the loop. I wasted 10-15 hours of their tech support time
with emails and calls. To no avail.

Can I escalate? I was already talking to "tech support".
And nobody else, because all they had to give me was 1.5Mbps.

4. So I decided at the end of February (not this year), to transfer my
phone back to Telstra.
- Filled out the on-line form and rang the next day to confirm OK.
  - "Yes, it will take 10 days"
- Around 10 days later, I get a message from some internal section of
Telsta. "What's the 10-digit line ID of the service?"
 - I don't know, I'm not the service provider.
 - I ask the ISP, they quote the 8-digit telephone number (not right)
 - I get hold of someone at Optus, they say:
    "That's the gaining Provider's problem."
 - Telstra say, "we'll figure it out and get back to you".
 - 3-4 weeks go by and nothing. So I call.
   "That request has been cancelled". Why? "doesn't say"
 - The sub-plot is that I call the 1-800 number I'm given
   and end up going through 5 or 6 different 'help desks', because
   the phone system bounced my original call (line busy) and nobody
   knew what to do...
 - Total time to Go Nowhere is 6-8 weeks, first time around.

 - Rinse and Repeat another 3 times.
   I get a least one very confident and re-assuring young lass:
   - "I do this all the time and it always works"
     Do you need the line ID, do you have enough info?
     "Yes, it'll all be fine".

 - What broke the stalemate is that I managed to break through the ISP
   roadblock and find out the LineID and eventually quoted it to the
   mystery Telstra section.

 - The TIO was sympathetic, but said the best they could do was organise
a refund, would I like to wait the months to get them to deal? [Nope - I
wanted something done]

 - Around 6 months after I was first churned onto Optus and the service
turned to mush, I got a Telstra phone line finally connected.
  - I had to pay new service connection fee for that, plus sign-up again
for ADSL1 with a provider, etc. etc. I didn't go back to Westnet.
  - I had around 2 weeks with ADSL on the return trip.

 - Even the move back to Telstra didn't go well. The contractor who
   did the initial connection of the 2nd line made it work, then
   the back-office people undid it, and it took another 2-3 site visits
   and a bunch of calls to get it working....

=> Why the asymmetry in 'churn' and break in service?
   Because they can...
   Is it about good or reasonable service? Nope...

5. So I end up choosing Exetel with ADSL1, understanding they are for
   The service works well, I sign-up for additional offerings, they bill
regularly (single bill) and there are few faults/outages.

   Then they start spruiking a brand-new ADSL2 service offering, good
price etc.
  I ask indicative speed. "We can't guarantee that"
  What do others in my area at similar distances get, "We can't
guarantee anything".
  I end up throwing away around $500 in an exercise:
  [I'm not going to be hung out to dry again]
  - pay Telstra for a 2nd physical line (connection fee)
  - pay Exetel for new ADSL service.
    - it's slower than I got on ADSL1.
      "It can't be, that line has never been used before".
      I had a pair in the same cable bundle.
      "Nope, not the same line. NO comparison".
   - I ring the "Help" number and wait 45 minutes...
     - get some Tech who says something like "no fault, send an email"
<click> Ie. hang-up w/o any courtesy/warning.
   - ring back, wait another 45 mins.
     - quote my Acct number, I can hear him looking it up.
       Disconnects without speaking to me again.
   - I write to the complaints address and get told something unhelpful.
   - I pay them a $99 fee "early termination fee" after 1 week.
   - not sure if I incurred a cost with Telstra, but they pre-bill 3
months line rental, and I had to recover that...
   - Churned my ADSL1 and phone line to Internode.

6. There have been a series of faults on my phone line over the last 2-3
years.  I've had a total of 3 different pairs in the cable back to the
street pillar (goes underground to a pit, then aerial ~300-400m with
backyard powerlines).

Got told a series of different things, nothing ever consistent.
After 25-30 years, one bundle of cables seemed to have lost it's outer
sheath, and I was given a pair in a different bundle. Mostly fixed.

7. I still have an on-going fault.
   When it rains, I get noise (hum) on the line. It dries out very
quickly. [In Sydney, this sort of problem was common and long lasting]
   It's loud at my end, but the Help Desk operators (and friends I call)
   don't seem to be able to hear it.
   I don't have a test-set and can't measure the noise.
   It apparently *does* cause ADSL drop-outs and line errors.
   Every time it rains (not often here in CBR), I ring Internode and
   they are most helpful.
   They send out a Tech (seems a different one each time) and I get
   told a new thing each time...
   I've been told an 'infrastructure fault' has been raised against
   the cabling of the 'Wholesale provider' (Telstra).
   They'll fix it when they get round to it. Years and years.

   Meanwhile, I'm left with a service that's more than a bit ordinary
   at times.

   Should I ring the TIO??
   No point. They can't help resolve technical issues.
   They certainly can't get the Wholesale Provider to fix a cable fault.

   Am I the only person off these supply lines to suffer faults?
   No Idea - and there's nobody I can ask about it, either.

There must be more, but after writing for an hour (my clock radio resets
after an hour) I'm rather tired of it all...

I really hope the NBN when it uses Telstra facilities and services ends
up being better. If not, God help us...

Hope this explains my comment.


Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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