Go to Local Area Connection - right click and go to properties...



  • My Grandad has a DSL broadband account with a certain large UK ISP - lately (for the last 3 weeks or so) he had been having problems getting anything back from the internet after his modem connected. It appeared to connect fine, and send packets, but only a trickle of packets were coming back through. This meant that only once in a blue moon could he manage to get a webpage up before it timed out. The diagnostic tool that came with the modem said everything was OK but raised a few warnings about the line test.

    I phoned up tech support (out of standard business hours) to try and get them to have a look at their end. I managed to get through to a call center which I can only presume was outsourced to India. The guy on the other end of the line asked me my details, I explained to him that I had all the details but I was calling on behalf of my Grandad. He said that was fine. Then he asked me a couple of questions about the lights on the modem and performed a couple of standard diagnostic tests to check the connectivity. I explained to him the tests I'd done, and that I know enough about computers to sort most things myself. Of course this whole process took about 15 minutes as there was a massive pause between each query and the next. It was as if he needed to be prompted for the next question.

    However, even after performing the tests and listening to all my issues, he continued to ask me the same questions again and again

    "What is the status of the lights on your modem?"

    "Both are green and lit... I've told you this already - I'm CONNECTED"

    "Ok sir, now, what is the problem that you are having?"

    "I can't receive any packets, you know, data...I see the send light blinking, but I only get an intermittent packet through.. once again I've just told you that three or four times"

    The line would go quiet for about a minute

    "Hello, are you still there?", I'd say."Am I supposed to be doing something? I dont know how many times you want me to tell you the same thing - what did the diagnostics say?"

    "I need you to click on start for me"

    Ok, I thought, time for him to check all the settings that I know are already correct...

    "Please go to control panel, then go to network connections, sir"

    "Ok I'm there"

    "Now can you see Local Area Connection?"

    "Er ... yes"

    "Ok right click and go to properties"

    "Why?"

    "Because I need you to check the settings"

    "Sorry? You need me to check my Local Area Connection settings to troubleshoot an internet connection issue"

    At that point I was ready to put my arm through the phone and throttle the person at the other end

    "Sorry, I don't see how checking my LAN settings is going to affect my dial up issue, and once again, I've already told you, we get packets, but only a couple every now and then, I work in IT, I know that were probably looking at an issue at your end - didn't you have a massive relocation or upgrade project about 3 weeks back? I know something big happened - the company was acquired or something... that's why I'm calling India instead of the UK right?"

    "Sir I need you to do this"

    "I refuse to do it - no LAN settings are affecting the fact that the computer my PC is connected to is not sending me packets reliably, can you put me onto someone technical"

    "I am a technician"

    "Ok, so if you know what you are talking about explain to me why I get only a few packets now and then"

    "Sir, working in IT yourself you should well know, that certain pieces of software can stop packets from reaching you"

    "Software such as?"

    "Firewalls..."

    "Firewalls don't randomly let occasional packets through from the same IP/port..."

    "Yes they do, they choose which packets can come through"

    By this point I was laughing in disbelief

    "You can not seriously tell me, that if I was a malicious third party trying to access someones files on the corporate network, I could keep sending malicious packets to the same port, and the firewall would just decide to let a few through?"

    "Sir you should know as a technician.."

    I cut him off this time

    "I can't believe you are trying to lecture me about the way the internet works - I don't proclaim to know everything, but I can tell I know more than you, can you put me on to your supervisor please!"

    "Ok please hold the line"

    15 - 20 minutes later I was still on hold. After listening to the hold music on loop at least 8 times I decided to hang up - fuming!

    To this day I have never managed to get past the 1st line support guys and get to speak to a manager. I don't think the manager actually exists...



  •  TRWTF: You (trying to lecture the 1st line support tech)



  • Yes, of course it's frustrating, but, as someone who works in IT, I'm sure you realise that the vast majority of problems that Johnny Customer has are extremely simple and, therefore, extremely simple to fix. Exactly the kind of thing you can easily outsource to a script in India. By doing that, your Grandad's ISP are saving him money.

    Do you really want him to pay for a call centre full of ~£30k/year network admins so that you can avoid this kind of call. No, of course not.

    If you work in IT, and are in any position other than 1st line support yourself, I'm sure that in your day-to-day job, you're glad that there are a bunch of levels between you and those stupid customers.

    If you want to help your Grandad, the best thing you can do is call back the support line, and go through their mind-numbing, ridiculous support steps, with one of two outcomes:

    1. It actually does work. For no good reason. After all, 1st line support-type issues don't actually need explanations for why they work, they're just built up on observation. Sure it's cargo cult, but so what? Most of the time it seems to work, at least, as far as the support team are concerned.

    2. It doesn't work, you say, 'no, it still doesn't work', and then his script says, "Escalate to 2nd line". Some time later you get a call back from someone else who might know a bit more. Repeat the process.

    Just try hard to be patient. They don't care that you work in IT. They don't care that you can bypass most of their questions. They don't care what country you're calling from. They're not paid to care; they're paid to follow a script, and get through as many calls as they can as quickly as they can. This is a good thing, because it means that your Grandad's broadband is cheap.

    If you can't do that, tell him to leave that company and move to one of the ones that advertises 'all UK call centres'. Explain to him why he gets less for his money.



  • The point isn't that the guy wanted me to go through a series of mind-numbing tests - I did what he asked through the first 20-25 minutes of the call and he said he ran his diagnostics, it's just that he asked the same questions around 5 or 6 times to which I gave him the same answers time and time again, and in the end he 'moved on' to part of his 'script' that didn't exist. I'm sure nowhere on his 1 - 2 - 3 checklist did it mention anything about Local Area Connection properties. He also got annoyed with me because I continued to give him the same answers - his script didn't deal with the issues I had, so why did he not do his job and escalate the call?

    I'm paying a lot for the call (national rate), is it just some scam to make a few more bucks out of my phone call?

    In fact this was the second time I'd phoned up - first time they asked me to ring back after I'd switched the PC/modem on so they could perform the diagnostics at their end. I did as they asked and the person I spoke to told me they would escalate it to second line after they had performed the basic diagnostics. The second guy didn't do this, and they didn't put me on to a manager when I asked, instead they just put me on hold until I gave up (standard procedure).

    What annoys me the most is - yes I agree, you need that initial 1st line filter for the mundane and stupid calls and questions, but surely that 1st line can be delivered with a little bit of what I like to call customer 'service'. At no point did I swear or belittle the guy, and way before I started objecting to what he was asking me to do did he start getting short tempered with me (I have no idea why, language barrier maybe?). It's just unforgivable shoddy service.



  • DaveyDaveDave speaks the truth. I'm a "Software Engineer", "Network Admin" etc all around IT guy. We are expensive, and so, understandably, Management doesn't want us talking to customers all day long. Therefore we have a strict policy: Fill in the trouble shooting guide in full before contacting us. Try to patch a call straight through and expect it to be ignored. For this reason the 1st line support doesn't care if your a genius and tried every possible fix there is. They know that unless they have a fully completed technical support request form, no one will help them. If 2nd line tech support doesn't understand or can't fix the problem from the request form, they either ring or bring the question to us. We offer suggestions, they add those suggestions to a database of known fixes. 

    They likely didn't have a "Connects but only few packets received" fault listed, so you were probably thrown into the "DSL Connected but no internet" category, hence why he was asking about your LAN adaptor. That would be in the "possible solutions" category for that fault. 

    The best advice is to say you did it even if your no where near the PC. I remember once saying "Yes, I'm re-entering my account details"  whilst relaxing in my comfortable chair watching TV, for example.



  • @DaveyDaveDave said:

    If you can't do that, tell him to leave that company and move to one of the ones that advertises 'all UK call centres'. Explain to him why he gets less for his money.
     

    Less for his money than a few packets getting through now and then?  Do you even know what an ISP is for?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Mole said:

    The best advice is to say you did it even if your no where near the PC. I remember once saying "Yes, I'm re-entering my account details"  whilst relaxing in my comfortable chair watching TV, for example.
    This. It's my standard operating procedure for crap I know for a fact isn't my problem. My personal favorite is that the first tier tech will occasionally ACTUALLY spot a problem in your account configuration and correct it without telling you and subtly work in "Now restart the modem and see if it works" to some COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT instructions about checking (but not changing) your TCP/IP settings. I've had Comcast fix their shit thrice like that.

     



  •  You had a "dial up issue" with DSL broadband? Amazing. I'm not sure I would know how to troubleshoot such a thing.



  •  @Charleh said:

     

    "Ok please hold the line"

    15 - 20 minutes later I was still on hold. After listening to the hold music on loop at least 8 times I decided to hang up - fuming!

    To this day I have never managed to get past the 1st line support guys and get to speak to a manager. I don't think the manager actually exists...

    When you start out by saying you are in IT and you know where the problem is, you only manage to make yourself look really stupid when the problem actually is in the network settings. Abusing the 1st line tech (who's job is primaraly to keep people from bothering the ones who actually know stuff) only gets you hung up on.

    Yes, it's frustrating to have to take a couple of minutes to check the LAN settings. It's also frustrating that Windows route tables on systems with more than one network connection are often incorrect, or that Windows can't sort out what interface to use when they are all in the same subnet. Those common problems are covered in the script the 1st line tech has in his binder. As is the extention-that-never-rings he's supposed to transfer you to when you won't take those minutes and do those checks.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @rdamiani said:

    Yes, it's frustrating to have to take a couple of minutes to check the LAN settings. It's also frustrating that Windows route tables on systems with more than one network connection are often incorrect, or that Windows can't sort out what interface to use when they are all in the same subnet.
    This is THE single most annoying thing in the world. "Excuse me, Windows. You have a fucking direct line on 10.0.0.0, why the fuck are you trying to put that traffic down 69.69.69.0?"



  • @joelkatz said:

    You had a "dial up issue" with DSL
    broadband? Amazing. I'm not sure I would know how to troubleshoot such a
    thing.
    I know a few people who describe there DSL as "dial up". The reason for this being as they have an icon on the desktop which they double click to obtain internet access (it's a PPP connection from your PC through a semi-transparent USB box), and when setting up PPP on a Windows PC, you must provide a phone number, even though it's completely ignored. It seems to only happen on ISPs that give away a "free" modem, require a 18 month contract for doing so, and then you find out the modem costs £1.50 including the mains adaptor. 



  • @rdamiani said:

     When you start out by saying you are in IT and you know where the problem is, you only manage to make yourself look really stupid when the problem actually is in the network settings. Abusing the 1st line tech (who's job is primaraly to keep people from bothering the ones who actually know stuff) only gets you hung up on.

    Yes, it's frustrating to have to take a couple of minutes to check the LAN settings. It's also frustrating that Windows route tables on systems with more than one network connection are often incorrect, or that Windows can't sort out what interface to use when they are all in the same subnet. Those common problems are covered in the script the 1st line tech has in his binder. As is the extention-that-never-rings he's supposed to transfer you to when you won't take those minutes and do those checks.

    So you think that my system config that was working a couple of weeks earlier would suddenly alter itself to a non-working state? (Ok I admit, I've seen Windows do stranger things) Honestly though, the LAN adapter, being disabled, had nothing to do with the issue. This was a pretty much clean install of windows save the PPP connection and a couple of apps (Office etc) which I'd rebuilt not more than 4-5 weeks ago. It had been working fine for 2 weeks, and trust me, the old man calls me up if he clicks on control panel by accident - if he'd altered some settings I would have known. The issue happened to coincide with an 'acquisition' - two companies merge and suddenly the connection dies? I don't believe in coincidences where computing is involved. I don't know how to say this any more clearly for you to understand - the connection 'appeared' fine and we did get some packets - e.g. Google would come up but only once in a blue moon (trickle of data, like I said). I'm not aware of any checkboxes in hidden Windows settings screens marked "only receive a handful of packets intermittently to give the impression of connectivity issues" Routing tables aren't deciding to deliver 13% of the packets and space the delivery out over 2/3 minutes...



  • @Charleh said:

    I don't believe in coincidences where computing is involved.

    Really? I'm pretty sure that every unusual IT problem I've ever encountered has been the direct result of a coincidence. Regardless, I don't think anyone is suggesting that you're wrong with your diagnosis; but nobody here can help you. Your only option is to persevere with the support line, keeping your patience and not giving them any excuse to farm you off to the 'guy who knows IT but won't do what he's told' extension. And I completely agree; the expensive phone calls are unforgivable, so when you have your solution (or, if you really can't get anywhere with the support guys) write a letter to the customer service department, detailing the cost of your phone bills, explaining that they wasted your time and threatening to leave, politely. I'll bet they refund the cost of the calls.



  • @Charleh said:

    What annoys me the most is - yes I agree, you need that initial 1st line filter for the mundane and stupid calls and questions, but surely that 1st line can be delivered with a little bit of what I like to call customer 'service'. At no point did I swear or belittle the guy, and way before I started objecting to what he was asking me to do did he start getting short tempered with me (I have no idea why, language barrier maybe?). It's just unforgivable shoddy service.

    He seems perfectly polite to you even when you started getting shirty with him. And if you don't think your 'I work in IT' and 'that's why I'm calling India' doesn't come across as belittling then I suspect you don't generally play well with others. If your transcript is accurate, he doesn't get short-tempered, he just wanted you to follow the script a little while longer until you both reached the point where he could call his supervisor without being fired for not following instructions.



  • @Weng said:

    This is THE single most annoying thing in the world. "Excuse me, Windows. You have a fucking direct line on 10.0.0.0, why the fuck are you trying to put that traffic down 69.69.69.0?"

    Because Windows is set to have traffic go on 69.69.69.0 first if possible, and 69.69.69.0 is advertising global routability (making Windows think 10.0.0.0 is accessible from it).

    It's an amazingly common config error.



  • If you read the post again, you'll see there's a window of around 15-20 minutes of dialogue (and periods of mind numbing silence) that I didn't transcribe. These bits include the guy getting annoyed with me when I tried to explain the problem to him patiently around 5 or 6 times. I tried my best to get my point across, but contrary to his fluency in the English language he either had no idea what I was going on about or just could not be bothered to deal with my call.

    I think after going in circles 5 or 6 times with someone who obviously doesn't know what they are doing I have the right to get annoyed on behalf of someone (as they are a paying customer, and by the length of my call, so was I)

    Also note that you can't really convey tone in a textual representation of a conversation - his tone contradicted his attempt at politeness (adding 'Sir' at the start of a sentence doesn't make it polite)



  • I have seen so many tech support stories like this from the other viewpoint, where the angry customer claiming to be an IT guy and insisting that the standard troubleshooting steps are not necessary and he knows what the problem is turns out to be a complete idiot who doesn't even know which operating system he's running or that his wireless router needs to be plugged into the power outlet. I'm sure whoever you were talking to couldn't tell the difference between you and this kind of caller; I can't tell either, since you hung up before the end of the story.



  • @Charleh said:

    These bits include the guy getting annoyed with me when I tried to explain the problem to him patiently around 5 or 6 times.
    You went off script. Do you think those reading from the scripts actually understand what you're trying to tell them?



    The best way to handle this sort of situation is

    1. Humour them. Follow the script. Even if you've done it anyway, do it again.
    2. Once you start going round in circles, don't try to self diagnose to them and offer your own suggestions, indicate to the script monkey that you're repeating stuff you've done before and you'd like to be escalated. Repeat - do not attempt to self-diagnose to the script monkey - they will not understand. They are not paid to. Escalate.
    3. Repeat from 1 with your (presumably) next level support.





      If the whole process is starting to take too long, explain that you are unsatisfied with the service, and request to be escalated to a manager, not another technician. Explain that you shall be terminating the contract unless this happens. Once you get the manager explain that $LONG hours on the telephone to sort out a problem is unacceptable, and you would like to know what the manager would like to propose to do with the situation. Do not accept anything less than the cost of your phone call and your time spent on said phone call.



      Then do some research and get a better ISP regardless of what happens - you're clearly not being served by them. Cite inability to hold up their end of the contract if they give grief about any contracted time remaining


      Which one was it btw? Virgin? BT? Sky?


      And if it's BT, get the hell out of there anyway.


  • First line support are there for one reason: They are a shit-filter (by which I mean they filter shit, not that they are shit at being a filter). They will be able to solve 90% of problems by following their script, because 90% of the calls are from people who don't know what they are doing and it is a simple fix. The remaining 10% get escalated to 2nd line to somebody who knows a bit more.

    If there was a special number to get through to 2nd line it would immediately get swamped by everyone calling that directly, because everyone knows that 1st line are useless, right? Wrong. They are great at doing what they need to do, with the limits of their knowledge. You have to go through them whether you like it or not. The quickest, painless way to get the help you need is to go through their tests, whether you think they are stupid or not, as quickly as you can, and you will eventually be moved on up the queue.

    In your case it sounds like it might have been an area problem anyway, in which case there would be nothing that 1st, 2nd or 3rd line could do about it. 



  • It is not at all unusual for a DSL modem to be connected to the PC through a network adapter on the PC, in fact many households share their DSL connection by hooking their DSL modems via a network connection to a router.  Neither is it unusual for a broadband USB modem to "appear" as a local area network connection in windows.

    Your comment that checking the LAN connection was useless, that is TRWTF.


Log in to reply
 

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