Yohannon (yohannon) wrote,
Yohannon
yohannon

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64K Down, 64K To Go...

That's right, we be geekin'. Consider that fair warning.

Two years ago I posted about losing what little high speed access I had here in the wonderful outskirts of Boulder Creek. As of about two hours ago, that access has been restored... at least, sort of.

The saga starts yesterday when I arrived back from lavendersage and lovingstones place in Hayward (where yea, verily they can be smug about their indecently vast pipeline to the 'Net) where I had tweaked ambar's old Pipeline 75 to sit well with my network. I managed to establish a connection to Cruzio, my ISP, within a few minutes. However, said connection was summarily dropped within milliseconds.

After pouring through documentation and such, I decided there was nothing else for it, and called Cruzio's tech support. The nice gentleman who answered the phone pulled up my logs and declared that apparently there was a space in my login name (a no-no). Except there wasn't a space in my name. He pointed out that it could be another illegal character that was somehow getting inserted into the mix, and made some great suggestions, which I applied with a great deal of hope.

Fast forward to 3 AM, and picture frustrated Yo on the verge of tears. I had been reduced to tweaking parameters that probably never NEED tweaking, by anyone, for any reason whatsoever, in a desperate attempt to produce SOME sort of change. I even figured out how to upgrade the firmware of the ISDN Router to the most current reiteration, after discovering that Ascend (the original makers of the modem) had been consumed by Lucent. Lucent's site was worse than useless: The only way you can get access to troubleshooting and other support docs is if you PAY for it. Yes, even for discontinued hardware that cost several hundred dollars new. Tacky.

Fortunately, I decided to try the old Ascend FTP addy, and LO! It did work. If wonders didn't cease, I even discovered a great GUI front end for the specialized server software (Thin FTP, or tftp) that's already built into Mac OS X "Panther". Even greater shock, I was able to update the box without rendering it into a very pricey brick with ominous flashing lights.

BZZZT! Thanks for playing. Same problem.

I was about to throw my hands up and go to bed when I realized a problem: I had swapped out the old modem line wiring with the ISDN's, and had been using the main "house" phone to do the dial in stuff. This was fine after 10PM when we wouldn't be expecting to make or receive calls, but could get messy in the morning. I could just disconnect the thing... but that left us without access to email, and ALL of us (Rob, Michele, and myself) really need that net access.

I wasn't about to go outside in the dark, skulking around the house. More than likely I would wind up impaled on something, either accidentally or through the not unreasonable assumption I was a prowler.

I then got a wicked thought. Why not run the modem I was currently using through the Pipeline?

It took some tweaking, but within a few minutes the modem was connecting at a respectable 44.3. Mind you, the fastest I've EVER been able to connect previously was 28.8, and we AVERAGE 26.4, so this was already a decent moral victory.

So I got a good night's sleep, awaken, and wander down to catch up on my LJ reading and mail. When I feel aware enough to make sense, I call up Cruzio, where I make the acquaintance of "Don". Within a few minutes we both realize we're fellow techs (this happens every time I manage to get someone with some brains... they have to adjust to the fact that I'm neither a painfully ignorant end user with a broken "cup holder", nor some Alpha Geek wannabee so full of themselve's that they're impossible to work with), and we get down to it.

After a long first call, a fifteen minute hiatus and a callback, he informs me that he actually is in the possession of a working configuration, and he's going to mail it to me. Turns out he wasn't kidding -- it's an actual saved configuration taken from someone's pipeline. Well, lookie here... I've already set up a thin FTP server for last night vain attempt to fix the problem through upgrading, so I already know what to do.

5 minutes later, I was connected at 64K, or one half the capacity of the ISDN modem. A minute or so after that I had one machine working, another fifteen and the house network (including wireless) is working.

Since the second 64K channel had to be purchased from Cruzio, and it takes about 24 hours before the account change goes through, by this time tomorrow we'll be screaming at 128K... or more than 100K than what we had. All for a measly 110 bucks a month.

(sighs)

Yeah, you read that right. Flat rate ISDN is 80 bucks a month -- otherwise we'd be paying 2 cents a minute for EACH "B" Channel used during "business hours". That would be 2.40 an hour... call it at least 10 bucks a day. The ISP is charging 30 a month for bonded ISDN. I just heard of an outfit called meer.net that supposedly can provide a bizarre variant of DSL called iDSL, which COULD in theory work here... at 144K, yet!... for 90 bucks a month. However, I'm a bit wary of the fact that Covad is the line provisioner (Covad left a lot of people in the lurch when the abruptly withdrew from the direct residential market about the time they went into bankruptcy reorg). I'll hold off on anything like that until AFTER I find a job.

Irony: Since I'm off to the city tomorrow, I won't be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor until next Monday. Ah, well, at least M and R can get their jollies listening to Dead Radio again.
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