Telecom takes time over ADSL outages

Telecom's ADSL helpdesk failed to keep a deadline last week in responding to a user's complaint that the service is plagued by "micro-outages".

Telecom’s ADSL helpdesk failed to keep a deadline last week in responding to a user’s complaint that the service is plagued by “micro-outages”.

PC World columnist Juha Saarinen says he was told Telecom would give him an answer by last Monday, but as of the middle of the week there had been no response.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect to hear anything from Telecom about it,” says Saarinen. Nor did he expect a reply from his ISP’s (Paradise) international upstream provider, Reach, “after I sent it a nastygram about the exceedingly poor performance of its international circuits”.

But Saarinen says he did get an answer from Reach, which not only explained what had gone wrong but also what it was doing to sort out the situation.

“I got an estimated time for the completion of the repairs as well. I’m not even a direct customer of Reach, yet it felt it was worth its while to keep me informed.”

The Telecom response, in contrast, was “a wall of silence”.

Saarinen wrote about the outages in the October 22 issue of Computerworld (RIP’ed routing turns JetStream into a notwork), saying he had been told in an email from an ADSL helpdesk worker that they’re caused by Routing Information Protocol version 2 (RIPv2). According to Saarinen, the outages last 10 to 20 seconds, affecting subscribers with a static IP address and who go through an ISP’s network to reach the internet.

Telecom spokesperson Andrew Bristol wrote in an email to Computerworld that the telco “is aware of the problem you describe. We are looking at alternative IP solutions for customers who are affected by it, and will consider deploying these in the future.”

Auckland software developer Bruce Ferguson says he’s encountering the problem with increasing frequency — three to five times an hour. Like Saarinen, he’s been unsuccessful at getting help from Telecom.

“I’ve enquired through my ADSL contacts but haven’t heard anything back,” Ferguson says.

His firm, Chelsea Technologies, does 25% of its business overseas and has been working on a project with a US customer. He has been communicating with the customer using the ICQ real-time messaging system, but he doubts that would be possible with the level of JetStream outages he’s now suffering.

Ferguson’s ISP, Hamilton-based Wave, says “a handful” of ADSL subscribers have complained to it about the problem.

“It seems to have become a semi-idiosyncrasy of the service,” says Wave manager Mike Leaver. The level of complaints hasn’t been so great that he is making an issue of it with Telecom. “We understand Telecom is working on it.”

Saarinen says network engineers at ISPs who have been unfairly fingered as the villains in the routing piece have told him they informed Telecom before March this year that RIP was inadvisable.

Saarinen says the issue has been discussed in detail on the New Zealand ADSL mailing list.

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