Posts Tagged ‘Northern Virginia’
The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC)’s Division of Communications is my new BFF when it comes to dealing with Verizon.
Earlier today, I filed a complaint on the SCC’s website, asking why it would take Verizon up to seven (7) days to come out and restore my dial tone. I subsequently exchanged several emails with a SCC staff member and by 12:30 PM, I received this note…
“Thanks for your response. Our office has now filed a complaint on your behalf to (1) assist in getting your telephone service restored as soon as possible, and (2) to get any explanations as to why it quoted such an extended interval on a repair issue.”
As I opened up my garage at 5:45 PM, lo and behold, I see a Verizon van across the street. The tech wrapped up his phone call and walked over. He tells me that I have a pair of bad wires between my house and the distribution point around the corner and he has put a ticket in for someone to get out side. He also tells me that I got bumped to the front of the line for some reason; I tell him that when I called in I got the whole 7 days thing, so finally I got fed up and filed the SCC complaint, nothing personal. He agreed that having to wait up to 7 days for service wasn’t exactly good for the consumer.
Turns out he and a bunch of his coworkers are up from Richmond for the week helping Verizon Repair work through a backlog of trouble tickets.
Later this evening, at about 7 PM, I received a stock auto-bot message from Verizon saying it was sending out a technician tomorrow to our address, “Press 1 to confirm” and someone needs to be around to let the tech inside the house… OK, I’ll ignore the last part, but I want to be around to see if I get dial tone back.
The moral of this story: If you are in Virginia, the SCC is probably as good as calling up the president of Verizon Virginia to complain about poor service.
The deeper mysteries of this story:
1) Just what happened to result in a sudden spike/rash of trouble ticket calls for Verizon repair?
2) Does Verizon have adequate staffing on call to meet state regulatory requirements of resolving 95 percent of telephony problems in 48 hours? If the company has to ship techs up from Richmond, the answer might be “No.” See (2) in italics above.
This isn’t the first time I’ve run into headaches with Verizon landline repair. However, the SCC is purportedly getting complaints about longer service intervals statewide more recently.
Again, why? I’ll be making some more phone calls on Monday to dig a little deeper.
Last week, Cox Communications announced the availability of DOCSIS 3.0 high-speed broadband service in the Northern Virginia area. The service is billed to deliver speeds of up to 50 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. Preliminary tests have demonstrated those speeds to the router, but home users are likely to get an eye-opening experience on the capabilities and limitations of their own in-home technologies.
Cox arranged to put me on the beta list for DOCSIS 3.0 – ironically, a position I was in almost a decade ago when the company rolled out broadband and DOCSIS 2.0 to its cable customers. The installation took place on the morning of Thursday, May 7; it came with a truck roll and a Cox technician delivering and plugging in a Cisco DPC3000 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, followed by me running Speakeasy’s Speed Test a bunch of times.
Initial glitches and fixes over the morning included—
- Blocking of outbound port 25 for SMTP mail – Cox fixed by noon
- Flash of latest firmware load onto Cisco modem – Cox completed by noon
- Configuration /confirmation of service profile for DOCSIS 3.0 – Cox completed by noon
- Precautionary update of firmware in Linksys by Cisco WRT310N router – Doug completed by noon
Everything quick and obvious had been fixed by noon, so why was I still getting around 6 Mbps download and 6 Mbps upload speeds on my upstairs desktop machine? The Netgear XE104 wall-plugged Ethernet switch claims it does 85 Mbps, but with 12.5 Mbps to 25 Mbps coming out of my DOCSIS 2.0 service, I hadn’t paid close and strict attention to the home networking bits and their limitations — Doom on me.
Doing what I should have done in the first place when the Cox tech had finished the install, I took my netbook down to the router and plugged it into a spare 10/100/1000 Ethernet port.
Winner! Over 50 Mbps download and over 5 Mbps upload straight from the WRT310 to the netbook’s 10/100 Ethernet port.
During all my ad hoc tests with different network gear combinations, upload speeds have remained consistently around 5 Mbps. Download speeds have been variable depending upon home network equipment used and have also seen some other behavior I’m still trying to figure out.
Network technology Peak download speed (Speakeasy.net)
Ethernet cable to router Over 50 Mbps
Linksys dual-mode draft N USB device 34 Mbps
Stock 802.11g on netbook 24 Mbps
Netgear XE104 powerline switch 24 Mbps (same floor of house)
Netgeer XE104 powerline switch 7 Mbps (different floor of house)
My task over the next week is to tinker with my existing network setup and see how I can optimize wireless and Powerline connections. Some of my friends have already wondered out why I haven’t run Category 5 wiring to every room in the house.
My other piece on Cox DOCSIS 3.0 service:
Some quick and dirty pictures of what I’m using to trial/beta Cox’s 50/5 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem service.
You’ll note brother CPE here, a Linksys by Cisco WRT 310N Gigabit router is connected to the Cisco DPC3000 modem supplied by Cox.
There’s nothing really special about on the front plate; it’s the same blinky lights as you’d find on a DOCSIS 2.0 modem. On the back side, there’s the stock trio of coax cable in, 10/100 Ethernet out, and a USB 2.0 port.
For kicks, I put the DOCSIS 3.0 gear on top of the representative 2.0 gear; you’ll note the DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem and its power supply is petite in comparsion to the (Toshiba) 2.0 cable modem generation. This isn’t singling Toshiba; the form factor of the DOCSIS 2.0 gear is more or less the same, regardless of vendor.