Cisco Kids (Us)
At last we got the date for entry into faster broadband. Our 8 megabit BT Max line was ready for the 21st century, and we would be downloading at speeds unimaginable when we went online in 1991. On April 16, we should have been on a 24 megabit link via ADSL2+.
The big day came, and at mid-day our Internet link died as the BT engineers did whatever they do. The Linksys/Cisco router sat with all its lights on except for the last one: connection to our ISP. For some time, we thought it was installation glitches or that “The Internet” was down, as it had been recently when a cable was cut somewhere in Kingston.
We had already been through the lengthy process of upgrading the firmware in our router in readiness for ADSL2+, and Linksys had assured us before we bought it that ADSL2+ was one of its capabilities. Even the modulation drop-down options in the setup page shows ADSL2+ as a selection.
Some hours later, we called our ISP. They were “experiencing a high number of calls” and could we get back to them later. This semi-confirmed our belief “The Internet” was broken somewhere. At 5 PM, there was still no DSL service, and our ISP was closed. We called BT faults, who assured us “The Internet” was indeed working throughout most of the UK and especially in our local exchange. This prompted a call to our ISP’s telephone answering machine, and later an e-mail via our only computer with an analogue modem. It may be an old PowerBook G3, but it can still get online.
Blithering Binaries! Did we used to think surfing at 56K speed was fun?
Then Martin, our friendly ISP, called us. He even knew to ring the other telephone number, since our main one was busy notching up more profits from BT as it transmitted a day’s worth or work and e-mails. Sending 20MB via dialup is a dread experience.
Martin had received our plaintive e-mail when he got home, and as soon as we explained our router was Cisco-based, he told us that was the problem. Our only route to ADSL2+ was a computer shop the next day, getting a Netgear alternative. However, in the meantime our ancient D-Link router would let us limp along.
By now it was evening, with no one in the UK to pester. We fired up the D-Link router and initiated a (slow) online chat with Alan300 at Cisco. He was as bemused as us for the lack of DSL service and told us to call the boffins in India on their 0800 number. The ever-so-nearly English speaker confirmed what we had been told by Martin—our Linksys/Cisco router was not able to use BT’s version of ADSL2+.
Day two, Netgear up and running, download speed is about the same as our slightly enhanced upload speed, both around 100KBps. This is, Martin assured us, only to be expected and will be sorted out in four days once the consistency of line has been verified. He checked with BT, who said we should get a very good service. If only Netgear’s online help showed how to do Port Forwarding we might even have an FTP server again. Instead, it refers to an earlier version of the modem and even with the help of PortForward something is blocking access to our HTTP and FTP servers.
Meanwhile we limp along, our connection speed is higher than on BT’s Max line, uploading is 10% faster, our flexible friend is 60 quid lighter, but downloads are pathetic. We had to get some images from the US Library of Congress today and at one point they were arriving slower than on dialup.
Four days is a long time in narrowband hell.
Also in This Series
- What Trick, What Device, What Starting-Hole… · May 2012
- Do Androids Dream? · April 2012
- Our Macs Are Under Attack · March 2012
- The Best and Worst Christmas Presents · February 2012
- The Best Use for a Kindle · January 2012
- It’s Got No Blinking Light · January 2012
- Box-Shifting Causes Migration · December 2011
- The Best Thing About the iPhone 4S and How to Cope in Clink · December 2011
- Death of a Salesman · November 2011
- Complete Archive