MsGeek.Org v2.0

The ongoing saga of a woman in the process of reinvention.
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Sunday, May 22, 2005

I am never going to buy another product from Hawking Technologies.

I have been noticing that my DSL speeds have been going down precipitously. I noticed it as early as Tuesday, when I was downloading the latest episode of This Week In Tech. I figured that maybe they were throttling the connection in order to make sure everyone had a chance to download it, so I wrote it off. Then everything started feeling slow. I ran a Java-based speed test, and had a shock: my download speed was 200 kilobits per second, my upload was 384Kbps. Uh, oookay...

DSL Extreme, my ISP, reset my connection, but it was still slowish. Then last night, I lost my connection completely. I was on the phone with DSLX and Verizon for about an hour and a half while we tried to figure out the problem. The closest thing we got to it was that maybe my router/firewall box was dead. However, one of the ways I was able to diagnose some of the network problems was through the router/firewall box's web configuration screens.

After I got done with them, it hit me: could it be the cheap little 5-port router I was using to split off my connection? I have three IP addresses and the only way to use them is to have a switch or a hub connected to the DSL modem. I touched the thing: it was hot as a pistol and there was a nasty melted plastic smell coming from the thing. So I plugged the output of the modem right into the WAN port of the little firewall box. My connection sprang to life. w00t! Back on the air, and I don't have to replace the firewall box.

My connection is still a bit slower than normal...640Kbps down as opposed to the 730Kbps I get normally. But the Verizon guy clued me into something: Verizon is ripping apart their old copper network and replacing it with fiber optics. This is being done all over the areas served by Verizon, from the old Bell Atlantic zones to the areas served by the Telco formerly known as GTE. Since Verizon is my "Last Mile" this is going to definitely impact the speed of the DSL connection...eventually for the better, but until then I should expect "variability" on my downstream DSL speed. Eventually we'll have fiber at least to the curb, with the promise of fiber all the way into the wall in the future. My landlord would have to replace the Jurassic wiring in my building with something burlier, to handle the bitstream coming off the fiber. Apparently old copper can and does literally melt under stress.

Anyway, I was able to re-enact a favorite scene from "Office Space" with the little fscker:
Taking it out on an innocent HP Laser Fax!

and once the plastic was broken I could see the place where something burned on the circuit board. Ouch. No wonder no bits could get through.

Yes, Hawking Technologies was responsible for this. M.C. Hawking needs to pimp-slap them for taking his name in vain.