Complaints mount over DSL

Disgruntled commercial users of Telecom's JetStream DSL service continue to come forward with complaints that it is prone to "micro-outages".

Disgruntled commercial users of Telecom’s JetStream DSL service continue to come forward with complaints that it is prone to “micro-outages”.

They report that while the telco has been helpful to some it has yet to fix the problem.

Computerworld has reported disquiet among JetStream users (RIP’ed routing turns JetStream into a notwork and Telecom takes time over ADSL outages) about the outages, which they describe as interruptions to internet access of 10 to 20 seconds duration. Commercial organisations that rely on continuous internet links to customers are starting to look at alternative services.

A staffer in an Auckland IT company, who does not want his own name or that of the company published, says while at least one ADSL helpdesk operator was “helpful, informed and sympathetic” and tested the network on-site, the problem has still not been resolved.

One customer of the IT company was experiencing particular problems with the link in conjunction with Microsoft Terminal Server. In that specific environment the micro-outages were causing sessions to time out, disconnecting the user.

“I have been told by my boss not to pursue the problem any further,” says the complainant, “and we will just switch the customer to another technology.” Which alternative to use was still being decided, he said last week.

The helpdesk technician “also mentioned that there has been a known problem with RIP that causes these micro-outages and that they have been happening for months for a known reason and that there are no immediate plans to fix it”. RIP, or routing information protocol, maintains routing tables for the network.

“The technician did turn up on site and performed all tests which were fine and he told the on-site manager that it was certainly this RIP problem and that there was nothing he could do.”

The technician “also accepted that I had most likely been lied too on previous occasions when Telecom staff denied there was anything wrong with their network and [he] asked me to forward a bill for my time in chasing this problem so that it could be credited to the client whom I am going to have to charge for this wasted time.”

Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand IT manager Trevor Douglas says there have been persistent problems with micro-outages in the links between Mitsubishi and its dealers. “When one happens, they just drop off our system.” Mitsubishi has been “suffering” the problems for at least six months, he says.

“It is this RIP problem [Computerworld has] been writing about,” he says. “My account manager has admitted as much. I spoke to him [last week] and he undertook to take the matter higher. But up to now, Telecom has just been brushing [the problem] aside.”

The Telecom account manager concerned declines to comment on the record. He speculates that there may have been confusion about whether he was the source of suggestions as to the cause of the fault, or whether they had come from Douglas or been drawn from Computerworld articles.

Douglas suggests the lack of a permanent remedy reflects a desire by Telecom to persuade its commercial ADSL customers to shift to its IPNet service, which will raise their costs. “I think it’s become a political argument within Telecom. They made a decision to use that technology [RIP] and it’s backfired on them.

“It amazes me that after the two articles that came out in Computerworld, they haven’t reacted in a meaningful way.”

An ADSL helpdesk operator reiterated late last week that support personnel are aware of the problem, and that ADSL service manager Phil Prangley was in touch with Telecom Networks, trying to get the source of the problem tracked down. Prangley had not responded to calls by Computerworld's deadline.

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