AT&T DSL Service

Note: This is going to be a long post.

Part 1:
When we moved to our current residence the cable provider was deplorable so we switched to AT&T for all our communication services (land line, internet and cellular). The first thing we were most impressed with was the reliable service of DSL. It never went down unlike our past two cable services.

Life was good for about 2 years. Then they offered to upgrade our speed about the same time we started doing more podcast and movie downloads via iTunes. Then we started to notice a problem, if Craig was downloading his podcasts and I wanted to use the internet I could barely use it. I’d wait for my pages to load, as if I were on dial-up. We contacted AT&T and they offered to send a new modem/router out since the one we had was now 3 years old and possibly that was the issue.

After we received the new router, it was more problems. We started getting the following two error pages.

DSL Error #1

and then this one.

DSL Error #2

Needless to say this was extremely frustrating. A simple close of the browser, wait 10 seconds and reopen it would resume surfing with no issues, albeit slow. I kept checking the speed tests and the router interface kept saying 1.2mb/s.

Part 2:
At the end of December 2008, I called AT&T regarding the problem. After talking to a few representatives, they determined that the cap on our line never got lifted, when they had offered to upgrade our service. But we hadn’t been paying for it because we had been grandfathered in. Ok… the cap was to be lifted on January 3rd. On January 3rd we saw our router now report it was getting a 1.9mb/s feed. Speed tests via several websites including one by AT&T showed we were still only getting 900k to 1.2mb.

Part 3:
We let it go for a few weeks but then it became no longer tolerable and I called again on February 14th. They tried to blame it on wireless cards in our computers. I informed them the issue was still there when directly connected via ethernet.

The conclusion of the third representative was that our line might need to be repaired. They ordered a tech to come out on February 18th, sometime between 8am – 5pm. Nice window.

February 17th - Speedtest 10pm

Our speed on February 17th.

Part 4:
February 18th I took off from work to be home for the tech. Around 1pm the tech arrived, nice guy, he came in, ran some tests of the line, went into the basement trying to determine if the issue was down there. His tests came back saying we were 17,000 feet from the node, and getting the higher speeds currently was impossible. At this point, I figured, fine we’re going to go to Comcast since they just came to the area. The tech was determined though to see if he could get us some improvement.

He went all around the yard trying to look for possible issues. He came back in a few minutes later and said he found a lot of bridge tap in place, caps on the line and said removing the 4,000 feet of bridge tap could help us. He put an order in for a pole worker to come by in the next 48 hours to do the work.

He also told us that there was a remote node only 5,000 feet away. But if it was already filled they couldn’t put us on it. He put a request in for this as well.

Only 30 minutes later another tech called and said he was coming out to the pole work. He let us know the internet might go down and even the phone line for a short period of time. Low and behold it did, and then he came to the door to test the line.

We ended up on a 40 minute call with AT&T technical support from Missouri and Texas. They ran all sorts of rips and rebuilds and several other things I wasn’t sure what it meant. They did finally get the line back up and when the modem came back up we were getting the 3mb/s service.

End of the Story?
Well, that should be the end of the story, but it’s not. For the most part we are getting faster internet, but we still get those error screens from time to time, and Craig’s iMac which solely uses the wireless takes 3 reloads of a webpage to view it.

The iMac issue might be something else. Although I’m not quite sure what. We are still entertaining going to Comcast for broadband. A family member who lives locally is getting 6-8mb/s via their Comcast service.

Has anyone else had any issues with AT&T DSL? Any recommendations on the iMac?

  • I’m wondering why you got your router from them. That was a mistake. You’re a Mac person so I’d think you’d want an AirPort router, either Extreme or Express.

    I’ve had cable with Litchfield Cable (Optimum Online) for as long as they’ve offered it up here (over ten years) and have never had an issue. I’ve never used their routers, always use my own airports and always configure it all myself.

    Sorry you’re going through this, sounds like a pain but in the future just get the cable or dsl modem from them, get your own router and that will give you more control of your network.

  • Diana

    Sorry I didn’t clarify, we do have an Apple Airport Extreme router, which I use in conjunction with the modem/router from AT&T. DSL comes in via their modem, and then out via ethernet to the airport.

  • I’m not sure why you need two routers. It may be that the ATT router isn’t passing the Airport a clean IP address. Does one act as master, the other slave making a series? I have two airports doing this but I had to set them up that way.

  • Diana

    The AT&T modem comes as a router, just what they supplied to us. I turn off the wireless feature and use it strictly as a modem passing the internet in via the ethernet. Can you use the Airport Extreme solely without the proprietary modems from either cable or dsl?

  • I have a cable modem that does not have a router in it. You need a cable or DSL modem but not one with a built in router. Ask ATT to give you one.