Monday, May 09, 2005

Byte: ADSHell

Okay. I'm not impressed. Just over a month ago I paid a £15 one-off fee to have my ADSL bumped up to 1Mbps. Ever since then, it's not worked correctly. It seems someone else on my line has decided to turn their machine into a bit-torrent server, a virus-ridden spambot or porn download warehouse, because between the hours of 4pm and 12 midnight, my line becomes absolutely unuseable. I've literally seen quicker 14.4kbps modems.

I raised the error a couple of weeks ago with my ISP, Pipex, who told me to do all the usual guff - swap autofilters, try the modem with different PCs, etc - and the problem still persisted, because, y'know, I'm an IT Professional, not a complete idiot. I know the value of having your ports locked down, having an up-to-date firewall, up-to-date anti-virus software and not leaving your PC on all day connected to the Internet. People using ADSL without a decent firewall (as I suspect the culprits raping my ADSL bandwidth are) need to be put down for their own good.

I left my PC connected to a BT Test server for a couple of days, got it to drop the connection at least a dozen times, and Pipex cut the line back to 576kbps (as it was before the upgrade) and said everything should be fine. Well, it's not. I'm trying to get back into World of Warcraft, and it still keeps dropping my connection at peak hours, despite the lower speed. So, not only am I paying a 1Mbps rate for a 576kbps connection, I paid an extra £15 for the privilege, and I now have an ADSL connection I can't use 90% of the time I want to use it. Awesome. NOT.

I re-raised the fault with Pipex this morning, went through the telephone support script again, and now I've got to hook my PC up to the BT Test server again for 2 days, meaning that I can't use the internet or work from home until Thursday. What's really annoying is that it's not even Pipex's fault - it's clearly one with the contention ratio of the line, which is BT's problem; one that they're trying very hard to ignore. It's driving me nuts, because I might as well be on dial-up and not pay £23.50 a month for a substandard service. Much as I'm loathed to consider changing ISPs and going for a Business Standard line with a lower 20:1 contention ratio (at double the monthly cost), I'll do it if I have to, because I need to be able to work from home, and have ADSL that works on demand, not when it feels like it.

BT need to sort their life out and give home users 20:1 contention (rather than 50:1 contention - i.e up to 50 users using the same DSL line) to at least minimise this kind of thing happening. It's not right that I should pay nearly £25 a month for something I can't use because some idiot can't protect their PC properly, or is just being an ass and downloading gigabytes of who knows what for 8 hours a day when they get home.

At this point I'm thinking about moving to Toyko, and getting a nice, wireless-enabled apartment with 20Mbps broadband...
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