Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity



  • Previously on Telstra Sucks...

    Nothing quite like coming home from a hard day at work to find that your Internet connection is suffering from an acute case of being utterly rooted. Five fucking days in a row. Ping up the wazoo, occasional packet loss for good measure, download speed rapidly approaching zero.

    Miraculously, the previous two problems can be somehow resolved by restarting the modem and running the online troubleshooting tool. Since I can't be bothered doing either - let alone both - every fucking day, two days ago I called Telstra. I have to say that I was put through to Tier Two support unexpectedly quickly. On top of that, the guy there was pretty helpful, but unfortunately I already went through the restarting process at that point so he was unable to find any fault. The only thing he was able to discover was that the ADSL exchange is congested. Apparently this is something that will have to be handled by the "congestion department", whom he notified.

    0_1477651949020_telstra_congestion.png

    He said he had restarted and cleared something and would monitor the line for the next 24 hours. I should call back if the fault returns. I decided to do a little monitoring on my own...

    FYI, the line should be able to do up to 14 Mbps down.

    Date Time Ping Download (Mbps) Upload (Mbps)
    Thursday 0600 24 9.46 0.88
    Thursday 1830 28 3.30 0.90
    Thursday 2000 31 1.89 0.83
    Friday 0600 23 12.52 0.87
    Friday 2015 29 1.97 0.88
    Friday 2020 427 0.69 0.69

    Great, after a day we're back to where we started... I managed to watch half of a YouTube video before it crapped itself. This time I left it broken and called Telstra back. A different guy picked up (also T2) and was far less helpful. He didn't care about the ping/packet loss and insisted that the "congestion department" has to handle it and I'll have to wait until that is done. I wasn't too thrilled about that response and he suggested I call a different number where I should provide my case number and they'll be able to help me further.

    I call this number and a woman answers very promptly, within a second. I was pleasantly surprised and thought this is off to a good start. My optimism was soon crushed as it became apparent she was confused as hell. At first she even thought I'm a reseller or something. I inquired as to who it is I actually called and was told this is the "disconnection department." I don't know whether this was utter incompetence on the part of the T2 guy or a sick joke.

    Either way, she went off to speak to her supervisor. When she came back, she said she'd call some other "support department" and that I should wait a little longer. After several minutes of hold music (guess what I'll be uncontrollably whistling for the next few months...) she's back. Apparently while I was on hold with her, she was on hold with this other department. How dumb is that? Apparently this is taking too long so I should just be on hold with them directly...

    So here I am, again on hold. Not too long later, a woman answers. I repeat all my the damned details, go through the story of all the people I've called. She mutes herself for what feels like forever. On one hand, I no longer have to listen to the shitty hold music; on the other, I now don't know whether the call has dropped. Speaking of dropping calls, she finally comes back, says "Hello?" and the next thing I hear is "Thanks for calling Telstra! Was your issue resolved today?" No? OK, just hold some more...

    Telstra Hold Music - Rock – 00:29
    — Daniel Nicolo

    I get a text, new voicemail. Dial up voicemail. "Sorry, we somehow lost connection. I'll call you back shortly." OK, fair enough. I hang up. New text message. New voicemail. Dial up voicemail, it's her again, leaving me a voicemail because she can't reach me because I'm listening to the voice mail she left a second ago... Guess what, she calls again while I'm dealing with the second voice mail.

    0_1477653920212_hello_telstra.png

    At this point, Vodafone decides it's time to compete with Telstra on the scale of shittiness and decides that my living room is suddenly a Faraday cage. Upon managing to reacquire mobile signal, I see two new voice mails have been left. One is deadly silence. The other is just "Hello?! AAAAAARGGGHHHHHH!!!!" (I agree!) As of yet, she hasn't called back. At this point I'm done playing the Telstra Department Bingo.

    0_1477656403800_telstra_bingo.png

    Once more, I did the usual restart + troubleshoot process so I can come here and rant about it. Tomorrow I'll be calling my favourite department: the complaints department. And speaking of complaints, I wonder if they... yup, they still pay for that ad!

    0_1477656423181_telstra_tio.png

    Might post an update later if anything interesting happens.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    FYI, the line should be able to do up to 14 Mbps down.

    It looks like it might be physically capable of getting fairly close. So yes, the problem is probably some other customer in the area doing a large download that is saturating some network hop. The download is probably of video, and could be done by nearly anyone in the neighbourhood that is served by the local network concentrator that your access point is talking to. The timings would fit with that hypothesis too. (Can't guess which film they're downloading. ;))

    The only real fix I can think of is to switch to a different provider that doesn't so massively overcommit their infrastructure, but you're in Australia so :hahanope:.



  • @dkf said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    It looks like it might be physically capable of getting fairly close.

    It is. It also used to get pretty close to that speed.

    @dkf said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    So yes, the problem is probably some other customer in the area doing a large download that is saturating some network hop.

    Yes, that would explain the shitty speed but not the packet loss that seems to disappear after "restarting" the connection.

    @dkf said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    The only real fix I can think of is to switch to a different provider that doesn't so massively overcommit their infrastructure, but you're in Australia so :hahanope:.

    There are no different providers to switch to. Or rather there are, but they all lease infrastructure from Helstra. But that's alright, the nbn™ is coming soon. Too bad it's now built on top of Telstra's infrastructure...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    A decade ago, I did DSL tech support for a Very, Very large U.S. telco, between gigs that didn't suck balls. Inconsistent issues like yours are a bitch to troubleshoot, but I'd put money on the problem being that somewhere along the phone line between your modem and the DSLAM, you're getting crosstalk or some other electrical nasty. Does your modem have its own Web site that allows you to see stats like noise margin?



  • @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    I repeat all my the damned details, go through the story of all the people I've called.

    It's 2016, and Telstra still doesn't have an issue ticketing system. Recounting Njorl's Saga on every call is still a thing with them.

    I was very, very happy when NBNCo finally got it together to stick a fixed wireless tower in my tiny town. Jumped off Exetel ADSL2+ (a resold Telstra service, complete with the customary downtime due to water ingress and congestion) and onto an Exetel NBN service ($80/month for 50Mb/s down, 20Mb/s up with unlimited data; signed up for 12 months to get free installation).

    I have been pleasantly surprised by how well it works, especially considering that my town's tower is at the end of a PTP microwave link rather than a fibre. Fastest peak download rate I've seen so far is a whisker over 40Mb/s, which is quite acceptable; 30-35 is more common. Upload has gone as fast as 19. Having a decent upload rate makes torrenting work so much better compared to ADSL - I can now torrent flat-out with 1000 simultaneous connections and cause no audible disruption to my VoIP.

    The tower allegedly has capacity for 720 customer connections. I keep expecting it to degrade as more people hook on, but so far it's holding up just fine.

    Took a couple of weeks for Exetel to fix their initial misconfiguration of my service as 25/5 instead of 50/20 (they never admitted to that, but that's how it behaved) but that wasn't too painful because they do have an issue tracker.

    Is an NBN connection an option for you?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    Yes, that would explain the shitty speed but not the packet loss that seems to disappear after "restarting" the connection.

    Combined with some sort of crapsky router that always prioritises the most recently connected? Or maybe you've got an attack of the evil wombats. Fuck knows, but Telstra doesn't…



  • I read the topic as "Tesla" and then read all of the initial post waiting for the car to happen.

    Too bad, that could have been a nice story (I don't know, maybe the neighbour charges his Tesla just when you come home and that borks the power/phone lines?).



  • @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    And speaking of complaints, I wonder if they... yup, they still pay for that ad!

    That might be the only ad in the world I would ever click on.

    If only to cost them some money.

    And then I'd call the Ombudsman anyways.



  • @lolwhat said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    Inconsistent issues like yours are a bitch to troubleshoot

    Yeah, I get that. That's why I appreciated the fist technician at least trying to troubleshoot it...

    @lolwhat said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    Does your modem have its own Web site that allows you to see stats like noise margin?

    Mode              State	     Up Speed   Down Speed  SNR Margin   Loop Att.
    ADSL2+(G.992.5)   SHOWTIME   940854     12865291    5            38

    Hm, interestingly the down speed was 14,555,238 on Thursday...



  • @flabdablet said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    Is an NBN connection an option for you?

    If it were, I wouldn't be fucking around with ADSL, trust me :D .

    FTTN is under construction in my area and won't be available until March. Information I, by the way, had to look up in some dodgy Telstra document because this whole thing is a clusterfuck.

    But speaking of the NBN, all of those problems started after they built the node a few streets over a week ago. They might have cocked something up in the process.



  • @Lorne-Kates said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    That might be the only ad in the world I would ever click on.

    I know, I always do :D .



  • The Telstra hold music should come with a trigger warning...



  • Plot twist: apparently there is no "congestion department"...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Deadfast That SNR Margin doesn't look all that good. I'm willing to guess that it should be at least double that - well, it's a logarithmic scale (dB), but YKWIM, at least 10.



  • So the line is congested and that's basically it. Apparently they reported this to the "congestion queue" for the "Broadband testers" to investigate. I assume this is where the mythical "congestion department" came from. I might have misremembered it but I'm pretty sure I did not.

    At first I was told that it would take a month before any investigation was done. Then I've been told that investigation was done (I'm not convinced), it was determined that there indeed is congestion and that fuck all will be done about it because NBN will be here "soon" so I'd be a waste of money for Telstra to upgrade the exchange. I'm paraphrasing a bit but this is exactly what the "saves department" told me. The saves department is apparently also the "disconnection department" so I guess I was given the right number after all, except this wasn't clearly communicated to me.

    The "saves department" offered me three options:

    1. Terminate the contract and disconnect. Of course, this solves fuck all because there is no competition. All other providers just run off Telstra's network so they'd be equally shit. The guy, let's call him Abdul, pretty much said as much.
    2. Switch to a smaller bundle (there are 3, the only difference is the monthly data cap: 100GB, 500GB, 1000GB).
    3. Switch to 4G dongle - 25GB for A$105 / month or 50GB for A$150 month.

    To add insult to injury, for option 2 they wanted me to either sign up to a 2 year contract or pay a casual plan fee ($150 IIRC). I told them that's not going to happen. I'm not doing this voluntarily, they're basically forcing me to go though this. At this point the fact that I am on a 2 year contract thanks to their fuckup (see previous "season") was brought up. I was able to use the interaction number for the drama a year ago to prove this to them (are you amazed @flabdablet?). Abdul asked if I had paid the casual plan fee then, I said no. He said these are the rules and asked whether I think it's fair that I should be able to get out of paying the fee now.

    "After all this? What do you think?" was my answer.

    Abdul went off to talk with his supervisor. The answer he came back with was that the fee can indeed be waived. I agreed to switch to a smaller, cheaper bundle. At this point he "managed my expectations" and said that I should keep an eye out on the next bill because, despite him waiving it, it is possible it'll be charged regardless. I should call him back if that happens.

    After hanging up and going for a bit of a drive to the shops to cool down, I realized just how stupid of a decision I made. This guy basically admitted to me that they've over-committed their network and that they are willfully refusing to do anything about it. And I'm going to let them get away with it by simply switching to a cheaper plan and sucking it up? The Internet will still be shit every time I come home from work, just 25 bucks cheaper!

    No, fuck that. I click on the callback link from the complaints department. They return the call and as it turns out, this actually was not the complaints department. Sneaky little buggers. I ask to be transferred to the complaints department. There is some resistance...

    :girl_tone1: (Telstra woman): Please explain the issue, what is the expected resolution?
    :boy_tone2: (Me): Stable internet connection.
    :girl_tone1:: But sir, there is congestion!
    :boy_tone2:: Well, then fix it!
    :girl_tone1:: Yes, but how will the complaints department help with that?
    :boy_tone2:: I was just told that you are refusing to fix it because you think it's a waste of money with the NBN being installed "soon". You over-committed your network and now you're refusing to deal with it, telling me to just wait half a year for the NBN to arrive.
    :girl_tone1:: Who told you that?
    :boy_tone2:: The "saves department".
    :girl_tone1:: Okay, I will contact the complaints department for you, please stay on the line.
    :boy_tone2:: Thank you.
    :clock1: :clock1: :clock1:
    :girl_tone1:: Sorry sir, the complaints department is only available Monday through Friday.
    (You needed 2 minutes to figure that out?)
    :girl_tone1: I'll send you a link, please click on it on Monday and I will connect you.

    So yeah, to be continued Monday.



  • @lolwhat said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    @Deadfast That SNR Margin doesn't look all that good. I'm willing to guess that it should be at least double that - well, it's a logarithmic scale (dB), but YKWIM, at least 10.

    Thanks. I assume there is bugger all I can do about this?



  • @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    I assume there is bugger all I can do about this?

    Emigrate?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @HardwareGeek MOVE TO CANADA

    @Deadfast, given what I think is going on - although I've been out of the game for some time - it'd likely require a telco line tech who gives a major and who also is given the time to do a good job. Namely, he'd have to do some serious in-person tests on your line, perhaps at several places between you and the DSLAM, to pinpoint and fix the problem. Given Telstra's legendary shittiness and what you've been saying so far, I'd put the possibility of that at somewhere less than cold day in Hell. As a thought, you may wish to try plugging the modem directly into the NID (if you have one) on the side of your house, then seeing how well your Internet connection works from there; that would at least eliminate inside wiring issues.


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    Does your modem have its own Web site that allows you to see stats like noise margin?

    Yes. I exported the UI too just in case someone wants to hack meit for me to get unlimited bandwidth.

    0_1477716531155_upload-9f208e4c-ff46-4719-99b5-5ef9a8acbbbe


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    Plot twist: apparently there is no "congestion department"...

    There is, but it's so backed up it might as well not exist after all.



  • @lolwhat said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    As a thought, you may wish to try plugging the modem directly into the NID (if you have one) on the side of your house, then seeing how well your Internet connection works from there; that would at least eliminate inside wiring issues.

    That would require me finding a star-headed screwdriver and I really can't be bothered. The house is about 5 years old so I really doubt there is anything wrong on this end.


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    That would require me finding a star-headed screwdriver

    Or an appropriately-sized flathead.

    Took apart my microwave like that. :D



  • @Tsaukpaetra said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    That would require me finding a star-headed screwdriver

    Or an appropriately-sized flathead.

    Took apart my microwave like that. :D

    That be even more effort, I reckon I actually have a set of star-headed screwdriver bits somewhere. But then again, my ability to bother is congested...



  • @lolwhat said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    @Deadfast That SNR Margin doesn't look all that good. I'm willing to guess that it should be at least double that - well, it's a logarithmic scale (dB), but YKWIM, at least 10.

    So I did some more googling regarding this and this does indeed seem really low. I also learned that apparently it tends to get worse in the evenings as people turn on lights, TVs and other electronic devices. If this is true then it's really scary, considering the measly value of 5 is from this morning.



  • @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    @lolwhat said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    Does your modem have its own Web site that allows you to see stats like noise margin?

    Mode              State	     Up Speed   Down Speed  SNR Margin   Loop Att.
    ADSL2+(G.992.5)   SHOWTIME   940854     12865291    5            38

    Is 38dB of loop attenuation expected, given your likely distance by wire from the exchange an assuming 13.8dB attenuation per km?

    Hm, interestingly the down speed was 14,555,238 on Thursday...

    Achieved down speed will wander about a bit due to noise.

    Your SNR Margin is worth keeping an eye on. If it's sitting somewhere near 6dB, then your local DSLAM is still configured for best-effort speed and the link is probably working reasonably well. If it goes through patches of dropping much below 5dB, then you've got noise on your line that wasn't there when the link speed was initially negotiated. That happens fairly often on Telstra's shitty copper as water infiltrates and connectors degrade.

    If it suddenly jumps up above 10dB, then your DSLAM has decided that there have been too many disconnects using best-effort mode and has flipped to speed-limited mode instead, so even if your copper is subsequently repaired your connection will stay slow unless your technician succeeds in persuading somebody in a Philippines call centre to flip it back again (this took my technician 40 minutes and three calls).

    all of those problems started after they built the node a few streets over a week ago. They might have cocked something up in the process.

    Very, very plausible. I would not be at all surprised to learn that that node is currently sharing backhaul capacity with all their existing ADSL gear while they wait for an exchange upgrade.

    Plot twist: apparently there is no "congestion department"...

    I'd never heard of one before. Also, I was very surprised to find you'd been instructed to give that department your "case number" because in many years of dealing with Telstra I have never been given such a thing.



  • @flabdablet said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    Very, very plausible. I would not be at all surprised to learn that that node is currently sharing backhaul capacity with all their existing ADSL gear while they wait for an exchange upgrade.

    I don't believe the node is actually doing anything other than sitting there, looking pretty and green.

    @flabdablet said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    I'd never heard of one before. Also, I was very surprised to find you'd been instructed to give that department your "case number" because in many years of dealing with Telstra I have never been given such a thing.

    Yeah, it does look like they might actually have a ticketing system now. The problem is that they keep randomly transferring you between departments and make it your job to explain to this new department why you've been transferred to them...



  • @flabdablet said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    Is 38dB of loop attenuation expected, given your likely distance by wire from the exchange an assuming 13.8dB attenuation per km?

    That's what it always has been. As the crow flies, I'm about 1.5km from the exchange. I assume the cables will go for a bit of a wonder so it doesn't seem that unrealistic.



  • @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    it does look like they might actually have a ticketing system now

    I would be astonished to learn that the tickets extend across departments.



  • @flabdablet said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    it does look like they might actually have a ticketing system now

    I would be astonished to learn that the tickets extend across departments.

    At the very least they do seem to extend across BigPond-related departments.



  • @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    I don't believe the node is actually doing anything other than sitting there, looking pretty and green.

    Then the problem might well not be congestion; it might be noise-induced packet loss in your ADSL connection.

    Do keep an eye on the SNR Margin number. Also, have a listen to the line using a standard Telstra white flat phone to train your ears on the difference between the background hiss of ADSL and the intermittent squeals and farting crackles of arc noise; if you hear the latter at times when SNR Margin is hovering below 2dB, then complain about intermittent crackling on your phone line without even mentioning ADSL, and they will fix that.



  • @flabdablet said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    Then the problem might well not be congestion; it might be noise-induced packet loss in your ADSL connection.

    That's what I've been trying to tell Telstra too but they don't give a fuck. "There is a congestion, we're not fixing it, now fuck off" is basically the message.

    @flabdablet said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    Do keep an eye on the SNR Margin number.

    That's the plan!

    @flabdablet said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    Also, have a listen to the line using a standard Telstra white flat phone to train your ears on the difference between the background hiss of ADSL and the intermittent squeals and farting crackles of arc noise; if you hear the latter at times when SNR Margin is hovering below 2dB, then complain about intermittent crackling on your phone line without even mentioning ADSL, and they will fix that.

    Now this one is a bit more difficult considering I don't actually own a landline phone...



  • @Deadfast said in Telstra: The Immutable Hurricane of Utter Stupidity:

    I don't actually own a landline phone...

    Telstra flat phones: available at any builder's skip near you.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Here's mine:

    0_1477723846089_Untitled.png

    Yeah, there are tons of "errors." However, those are counted since last reboot of the modem, two weeks ago. Anywho, this gives you a good look at a line (well, two lines multiplexed/bonded together) on which ride 18/1.5Mbps Internet, up to two HDTV signals and up to two SDTV signals, and which are rock-solid (can't remember the last downtime or other problems).



  • I'm fighting my own battle with cable company. Long standing problems with packet loss.

    My favorite interactions in just these past 2 days:

    • Having to give my name and address and explain my issue EVERY SINGLE TIME when a new person picks up a phone. Apparently, having my "case history" available in their system is too much to expect.

    • A tier two guy tells me to hang up while he checks something and that he'll call me back once he's done. He never calls. He probably just wanted to go home, so he tricked me into ending the call on my end.

    • A tier one person tries to upsell me on a more expensive package when I call to complain about my problem still not being solved. Bad moment to waste my time, lady.

    • A different tier two guy tells me they'll "open my case" and someone will call me. No call so far.

    • My internet is STILL BARELY FUCKING USABLE, after months of on and off troubleshooting



  • @cartman82 Related

    0_1477742406047_upload-7cdc0d19-b6f6-4fa5-8f24-57e8f4a55de5


  • Impossible Mission Players - A



  • @Tsaukpaetra cisco


  • Impossible Mission Players - A


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.