ISP update

©2021 Michael Raven

More trials and tribulations. What joy. But the ending is (so far) a happy ending — so read on dear reader, if you dare…

Well, day after my last tirade about my toxic relationship with my internet service provider (of nearly 20 years) left us at a stage where they’d scheduled me for an appointment for a technician (who I totally didn’t need because my internet was working as far they could see) to stop by and look at everything that would have been yesterday morning, but ended up being Saturday because of… reasons… they didn’t feel I needed to have shared with me. Even though I had quite explicitly told them that even Thursday wasn’t going to pass muster, seeing as I had a major work project to complete by Thursday morning that was going to take the better fraction of that time up until then to meet.

I had been expecting the T-mobile 5G modem to arrive yesterday, but it took until today, which was fine — I thought yesterday was an optimistic “expected delivery by” date. So I just got that this afternoon.

However, going back to Xfinity… I received a call Wednesday afternoon from their “advanced technical support team” — not on my phone like I’d said was the best place to call, but on my daughter’s phone (which used to be the home number). I called them back and they spent a large amount of time telling me to do the things I had already done thirty or forty times before even though I had told them exactly that before we started and they assured me I wouldn’t be performing those steps again. The only difference was they asked for the MAC address of the replacement modem I had purchased and, viola, at least Xfinity wasn’t bumping the modem from their network anymore, which was an improvement, however minor. The whole time they patronized me and told me I was a hard worker and a real trooper, blah blah bullshit blah… When I asked who I should call when my internet crashed again, he told me “oh, I assure you, promise you, we have corrected everything and there will be no more issues. I swear, you are perfectly able to access the internet.” He insisted on cancelling my Saturday technician visit, assuring me that it would only save me money because he could see my internet worked perfectly. Perfectly.

And it did. For about 12 hours.

My router showed no connection, but the modem insisted there was one. I have two routers, neither of them would register a connection with the internet. I also have a LAN bridge and I connected devices essentially directly to the modem. No connection with the internet.

Now, I’m no technowizard, but I should be able to connect a device to the internet directly through a “live modem”, right?


I managed to get everything to work after threatening the internet with a railway share (“Hunting of the Snark” reference, FYI). And many curse words. But it “wouldn’t” stick and I couldn’t find the magic sauce to get it to work.

I gave up. Blood pressure had reached levels that would kill some people. So I said, “fuck it” and waited for the 5G modem to arrive.

When it did, I plugged it in where I thought I would get a decent connection and was slightly disappointed to see three bars instead of five, but marshalled onward. Half an hour later, not only was it set up, but I also had my mesh router, which hadn’t worked since this all began, finding an… internet connection.

But those three bars and “good” evaluation from the app made me nervous. So I ran a speed test. Several times.

I was getting around twice the speed Xfinity had been giving me for downloads and twice to four-times the upload speeds. Via the mesh router, not with a direct connection to the 5G router. With 2/3 the latency I had experience last time I checked.

I’ve confirmed this multiple times since I set things up. Right now, it is peak 5G time in the neighborhood and I am getting better than I was getting from Xfinity on a good day.

So I have to ask myself — barring any negative experiences over the next week or so of testing…

Why would I pay twice as much for half the speed and with data caps when I can have no data caps with the 5G router? I’m scratching my head at that one. Because it was painless to set up this router and I have working internet for the first time in almost a week without anyone patronizing me, telling me what a good dog I am.

So far, I’ve been swept off my feet by the experience. I challenge Xfinity to meet this threshold of service — but we all know it won’t happen. They have always taken their captive audience for granted because most of the other options out there are so much worse than even they are.

If I wasn’t a pessimist who expected something to go wrong, I’d call them tonight and tell them to shove their “perfectly working internet” up their broadside.

I can wait until Monday.

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