Embarq: This is Common Sense?

Been having Internet troubles lately? You’re not alone! A bunch of my clients, friends, and I have been seeing all sorts of “issues” with Embarq’s attempts to cut the cord between themselves and Mama Sprint. The DSL light stays on but there ain’t nobody home. When google’s skimpy start page takes 8 minutes to load, its enough to make you pine for a 24k dialup connection.

Seems the Timesnews online edition was offline a good bit of yesterday, and my own home connection, (which has come to be my lifeline in my business) was down sporadically last night. My Dad’s went through the same thing this weekend. And when it came back, it was still sticky. Now its dead slow again. “There’s 11 different pieces of equipment involved in 3 states.” the Embarq tech support girl told me. No ETA for when it will be back.

“It’ll be down from 2am till 6am.” I was told in the wee hours this morning.
“So you PLANNED this outage? Most professional companies have mailing lists you can get on so you know a planned outage like this is coming.” I said. Silence.

I host lots of sites, but long ago I figured out the wisdom of moving them to Dallas. Big facility, lots of redundancy to every major backbone, hardware is somebody else’s responsibility, and everything has been up 100% for over 2 years. If Charter or Sprint has “issues” the sites are still on the Internet, sorry local folks if you’re having trouble. But now its getting personal, and widespread.

To be fair, this is some major surgery going on. Splitting out Sprint’s local Internet customers probably looked easy on the big corporate org charts. Scissoring them out of Sprint’s big address space is the equivalent of trying to transplant a patient’s nervous system to another body. In geek-speak, tracing routes to and from the local Embarq data network, you hit a brick wall where Sprint meets Embarq. A really big, bad brick wall. Like trying to drain lake Michigan through a straw. I don’t envy the guys trying to make it all work. It must be a nightmare come true.

To be fair, Charter has some of their own network, and this doesn’t seem to be affecting them as badly. But they get a lot of connectivity through the local infrastructure too. Over time, DSL has been much more stable and reliable than a cablemodem. Until now.

To those of us who have gotten used to Internet connections that work, its not too pleasant being suddenly out on a thin limb of the Internet. Whatever their problems are really don’t matter to us, we just want it to work. It WAS working. Hope they figure it out! Its not like we have much choice!

I’d be fascinated to hear YOUR experiences the past week or so if you’ve got DSL problems. Thats what all this blogging stuff is supposed to be about, right?
(Cross-Posted on Timesnews.net)

5 Responses to “Embarq: This is Common Sense?”

  1. Citizen Blogs of The Tri-Cities » Blog Archive » Embarq: This is Common Sense? Says: 
    […] Click here for more…  […]
  2. dave Says: 
    Update 8/9/06
    I dug out my results from dslreports.com and compared them to now:
    dslreports.com speed test result on 2005-07-05 11:29:06 EST:
    2550 / 450
    Your download speed: 2550 kbps
    That is 0.03% worse than an average user on sprintlink.net
    Your upload speed: 450 kbps
    That is 0.05% worse than an average user on sprintlink.net
    dslreports.com speed test result on 2006-08-09 19:18:31 EST:
    326 / 38
    Your download speed : 326 kbps
    That is 86.5% worse than an average user on embarqhsd.net
    Your upload speed : 38 kbps
    That is 91.6% worse than an average user on embarqhsd.net

    Update 8/11/06;  ITS GETTING WORSE!

    dslreports.com speed test result on 2006-08-10 21:22:32 EST:
    121 / 19
    Your download speed : 121 kbps
    That is 94.8% worse than an average user on embarqhsd.net
    Your upload speed : 19 kbps
    That is 95.7% worse than an average user on embarqhsd.net


    I know its not just me!  Anybody else having this problem?

  3. dave Says: 
    UPDATE 8/14/06:
    The sky is not falling after all!
    After spending nearly an hour on hold, and another half hour with an Embarq tech (teq?) we determined that my line had accumulated some 50,000 errors. After the usual obligatory power cycling and rebooting, and connecting only one computer to the modem, he had me run an ftp test to their server. He went away to talk to his boss. Apparently something had to be reset (or was misconfigured) at the central office. Suddenly, my line began working again, although he admitted not at the speed it was supposed to be provisioned for. Somebody somewhere is supposed to be checking into that, but meantime I’ve got about 1 meg down and 480k up, which is way better than the miserable performance I had before. Here’s the latest from http://www.dslreports/stest :
    dslreports.com speed test result on 2006-08-14 13:51:46 EST:
    1011 / 479
    Your download speed : 1011 kbps
    That is 53.3% worse than an average user on embarqhsd.net
    Your upload speed : 479 kbps
    That is 15.9% better than an average user on embarqhsd.net
    Thanks to all who shared their similar stories with me.
  4. finevolfan Says: 
    My name is Mark Fine and I represent Charter Business. It was mentioned in this article that we have connections with Embarq for out Internet access. Actually we have a out of the Tri Cities with AT&T.   

    Charter Business not only offers services delivered via cable modem it also offers carrier-class wide area networking solutions, delivered over an all-Cisco network. Charter Business actually exits out of the Tri Cities with AT&T to the Internet and not with Embarq. We own our statewide network from our headends to your curbside, allowing us the flexibility to tailor a solution specific to your needs. Here is a brief overview of the fiber optic-based data services that we offer:

    Fiber internet access: We offer symmetric high-speed internet access at a throughput of 5Mbps and greater. This is a great solution to provide high-speed internet access to a single facility. With flexible service levels, you have the capability to upgrade quality of service quickly, with just a phone call. Symmetric bandwidth makes local hosting of web and email servers an attractive capability for many businesses.

    Transparent LAN Service: Allows two or more facilities to be privately networked over our Cisco SONET / gigabit Ethernet infrastructure. This powerful service allows you to privately network geographically remote locations. Our SONET network gives us the reach to network locations almost anywhere in our service footprint at speeds up to 1Gbps. Several area organizations have implemented private VOIP systems in conjunction with our TLS service, saving a considerable amount on monthly long distance charges for voice communications between facilities.
    All of our fiber optic solutions include installation of an appropriate Cisco switch at each service location, which is proactively monitored 24×7×365, allowing us to offer a generous service level agreement.

  5. dave Says: 
    Good information, thanks! The problem I have had with cable modems has been reliability. I had both Charter cable modem and DSL for almost a year, and there were times when the cable modem connection just had no connectivity with anything… and then it would suddenly come back. Perhaps these problems have been fixed since then (about 1 yr ago). You mention that in addition to cable modems, Charter offers carrier-class WAN solutions. Would those (and your connectivity to AT&T) not require delivery over Embarq’s local loop? Or do you have your own fiber to AT&T as well as to any of the locations you would provide such service to? And I would assume that fiber to my curbside would be a bit pricier than DSL or a cable modem.

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