AT&T DSL Sucks
Posted by Doug on November 1, 2008
The title of this post sums up my opinion on the matter quite succinctly, but for those interested in a more verbose treatment of the subject, let me explain further. For those who don’t want to listen to me blather, I will utilize a More tag, to spare you from having to suffer through this post.
So, here’s the story:
The guy at the AT&T store that sold us the internet connection said, yeah, we can get 6 mbps DSL where we live. He checks, looks online, makes some calls, yeah, yeah, 6 mbps, we’ll send you the modem, you’ll be good to go. A couple days later someone else from AT&T calls us and says they sent a technician out to our house (?), and the 6 mbps is unavailable in our area (a city of about 80,000), and ultimately, we have to settle for 1 mbps. So basically, the guy at the store told us he could get us the faster connection just to make the sale. This annoyed us greatly.
If we were going to be at this residence permanently (instead of just 4-8 weeks), we might have sought other options, but it was deemed not necessary. Of course, we would not be contacting AT&T about DSL ever again.
Of course, I haven’t seen 1 mbps yet. I figured it would vary some, but to consistently get between 190 and 330 kbps is even more annoying. We’ve had problems like this before, with CenturyTel’s 10 mbps DSL only running at 4-7 mbps, but that cleared up, and for a considerable length of time we got 10.3 to 10.5 mbps consistently.
My mom hooked her computer up today, and surely it would be a simple matter to connect it to the same DSL modem via a hub, like we had done before. No. IP address conflict. Hooking my computer to the hub to the modem worked; hooking my mom’s computer to the hub to the modem worked; but hooking both my computer and my mom’s computer to the hub to the modem didn’t work.
We got on the phone with their tech support, waded through their horrendous voice-activated automated waste-your-time service, and finally got to talk to a human being, and not only did he sound like he was trying to talk with a mouthful of marbles, he did not have a clue what he was doing. He told us that there was something wrong with the hub, and we needed to contact its manufacturer.
I called bullshit on that one. There was nothing wrong with that hub. We ended the call to tech support with great haste, and I set about solving the problem myself. I did not really know what I was doing—that’s why we called tech support to begin with—but I remembered a few things. I did, after all, take a class at the vocational school back in…uh…a long time ago…sometime before last week… I plugged in my modem’s IP address into Firefox, and went to the modem’s setup, and just looked around a little, not daring to change anything without careful consideration, lest I accidentally the whole thing.
I notice that for “Let LAN device share Internet address?” it was set to “No, use private IP address” instead of “Yes, use public IP address”. Hmmm…well, why don’t I just change this one thing, and see what happens? I change it. Suddenly, everything works the way it should. Both my computer and my mom’s computer can access the Interwebs via DSL simultaneously, like Al Gore intended.
Now, I, going on some vague memories of setting up modems in the days of yore, managed to figure out how to fix this problem in about a minute, and AT&T’s technical support person, who ostensibly has been trained to deal with issues such as these and who no doubt has to handle stuff like this all the time was unable to tell me the simple procedure to fix the problem?
The phrase “gross incompetence” springs to mind.
Okay, let me sum up: AT&T tells us we can get one type of service, then after we go ahead and sign up for it, they come back and say we can’t get that service and must settle for something far inferior. Then, the inferior service we do get doesn’t even work anywhere near the full speed advertised. Finally, their tech support technician did not know how to support the technology, even though the problem was something so simple an anime-addled halfwit could figure it out.
As soon as we move out of this temporary domicile, we will not be using AT&T’s DSL. As soon as our cellphone contracts with AT&T end, they will not be renewed. We do not feel the least bit inclined to support their business with our money. They just lost them some customers, and if anyone asks us about internet connections, we will give them fair warning of our encounters with AT&T. Word-of-mouth is still one of the most effective forms of advertising.
tl;dr AT&T sucks