May. 27th, 2008

peterbirks: (Default)
Well, not really back to work, since I'm working from home today. It's back to the dentist this afternoon, and she will probably tut-tut when she sees that one of the eyes that connects my descending teeth to the brace wire/ little gold chain has broken. I suspect that the teeth have now descended sufficiently for the matter to be rescuable, in that an ordinary brace frontage is probably (just) feasible. If not, then another descender-aid and chain needs to be glued on.

So, progress on the the teeth front, but not on the broadband front. I strongly suspect that I've been stuck on 500kbps ever since I was "upgraded" to ADSL Max about a year ago; it's just that I hadn't sussed it out before. I've now switched to a different micro filter. And the four-day process repeats. If that fails, I'll try another router (which seem to be available fairly cheaply from Maplin these days), even though the one that I have is meant to cope with ADSL Max.

The simple problem, (and this is repeated at virtually every ISP site) is that they all say that, if something goes wrong, it could be a thousand and one things. However, none of them come up with a simple step-by-step explanation of what they will do to solve it if ADSL Max doesn't work. Because, quite simply, they don't know what to do and the cost of implementing it would make the price packages that they offer uneconomic. The best "guaranteed" deals look to be from IDNet or from Pipex, which offer things like 1:1 contention ratios (I won't touch an ISP that doesn't list that number), static IP addresses and next-business day engineer call-outs. But (and this is the interesting part), these are 2MBPs. Only the toss-pots are offering "up to 20Mbps" or whatever, because, it appears to me, no-one can offer a guaranteed 8MBPs rate, even if you live within 50 feet of the exchange and have newly installed wiring. The "perrpetual testing" system of ADSL2 to avoid loss of data might strike Pete D as fiendishly clever. But I think the problem is that it is too fiendishly clever for the average Joe in a telecoms company (engineer, call centre person, etc -- oh, and me!) to deal with. In this, very specific sense, it's a flawed system.

Obviously the guaranteed rate and 2M BPs service comes at a fairly horrible price (£70 a month plus VAT for the service I was lookinga t on ID Net) and, to be honest, I'm not sure that it's really worth my while at the moment.

I read a whole raft of complaints online about ADSL Max and I fear that most of them side with me rather than Pete D. The semantics on whether it's a flawed system or a flawed delivery system are lost on them (and me). It's a bit like a super-duper engine that can't cope with a 19th-century fuel delivery system. The technicians might say "the engine is great, it's the delivery that's poor", but the consumer says "what use is a great engine if the delivery system can't match it?" In fact, it could be argued that the great engine is a bad idea. You should start by upgrading the delivery system, and then think about improving the engine. But, well, that's geekdom for you.

The most helpful e-mail was from the anonymous user who has been through the same thing. He went through the ritual of talking to BT Broadband, but when that go nowhere, he emailed the chairman, and got put back onto the 2MBp system within a week.

2MBP is absolutly fine for me at the moment, so that looks like the best solution. I know that when I was on 2MBp it was working at near that speed.


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