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Old 05-17-2018, 02:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Verify ISP Claims

Hi all.

I've had CenturyLink for my ISP for a little over a year now. And let me preface this by saying up-front that you can probably find negative critiques for just about any big-name company....and CenturyLink is no exception.

I've got a DSL connection with CenturyLink and my speed is usually very consistent & steady. My complaint with their company is usually when I have to deal with with either their Customer/ Billing Support or Tech Support; I get different stories depending on who I'm talking to, or, it's like a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

Here's what I'd like to find out: Is there a way to independently verify claims that your ISP makes when it comes to connection issues and outages?

Here's an example from recently:

It just so happens that the company I work for (a chain of charter schools) also has CenturyLink for their ISP, and, the worksite is not far from my home, geographically speaking. One day at work there were Internet connection issues, and, it turned out, not just at one of the schools, but at all of the schools in the area. A support ticket was opened with CenturyLink, and yes, they were having problems.

When I got to my home that evening, yes, I too was experiencing connection issues. I called CenturyLink tech support on the phone (even letting them know of the connection issues at the school[s] where I work), and the tech said...."No reports of any connection issues in your area." Hmmmm. Are you sure? There was even a support ticket opened with your company from my company. And I myself am experiencing connection issues right now.

I wasn't satisfied with this tech's response, so, while I had a connection to the 'Net at that moment, I used the online Chat feature for support with a tech. This time, the tech admitted that, Yes, there were connection issues in the area in which I lived (and also where my work's schools were located).

Did these two techs (phone & chat) have access to two different sources of information?!?!

So, there's a web site you might be aware of called: Status overview | Down Detector

This is where you can look to see who else is experiencing connection issues that uses the same service as you.

Any of you know of any other web sites where you can independently verify claims your ISP makes as to whether they are or are not experiencing issues?

Because....sometimes they'll just give you the "company line", or, out-and-out lie to you

Thanks for any info,
Pez
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Verify ISP Claims

All companies do this, and it's not really a hidden fact. When something like your connection going down (knowing for certain it's not hardware) Google is your best friend to find specific outages.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Verify ISP Claims

Quote:
Originally Posted by PP Mguire View Post
All companies do this, and it's not really a hidden fact. When something like your connection going down (knowing for certain it's not hardware) Google is your best friend to find specific outages.
This +1 .


Recently I contacted my ISP too see if I could get an I.P Address Change. With out fail I had too run threw the Script they had in front of them on their PC. They spoke very poor English and did not understand that I simply wanted an I.P Address Change. In the end, it did not happen suffice too say I think I knew more than their tech support did about networks and tech in general.
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Old 05-18-2018, 12:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Verify ISP Claims

Then you should have known if you want a change just unplug until the DHCP lease is up, or release/renew in your router/gateway.
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Old 05-18-2018, 11:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Verify ISP Claims

Quote:
Originally Posted by PP Mguire View Post
Then you should have known if you want a change just unplug until the DHCP lease is up, or release/renew in your router/gateway.
Yeah I knew this but it meant shutting down all my servers for even just a couple of days. I have pfsense up and running as my firewall with a bridged isp box and its a pain not being online when I need it. Basically having too wait for the lease too expire.
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Old 05-18-2018, 12:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Verify ISP Claims

All you'd need to do is unplug your WAN cable, don't need to shut anything down. Should be a release and renew option in pfsense as well.
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Old 05-18-2018, 01:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Verify ISP Claims

You could setup a network monitor from a buddys place that constantly monitors your connection so you at least have some manual tracking efforts... Downdetector is a great idea if only more people used it.
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Old 05-18-2018, 03:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Verify ISP Claims

A ton of people use it. Any little thing that happens, especially with larger telco, there is a crap ton of people whining on there. Just look at the date of their posts as most people put their general location.

I wouldn't want a constant monitor, especially if it's an echo ping from the outside.
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Old 05-18-2018, 11:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Verify ISP Claims

Hey all; thanks for all the replies.

PP Mguire: So when you say "All companies do this, and it's not really a hidden fact".....ummm,, are you saying what I think you're saying? Is this like them saying that they don't want to admit that there's a problem on their end? To deny it? Or - SHOCK - to lie about it?!?!

Is that what you meant? And one of the reasons I got two different stories when I contacted tech support (via phone call then via an online text chat)?

But with the company I work for, who also has CenturyLink for their ISP, it seems like CenturyLink owned up to the problem right away and admitted that the issue was on their end. Do you think that's because this is one company dealing with another company, one who is paying some big bucks per month for their service? But then that it's OK to fib a little to me, just your average home consumer?

You also mention about being certain that it's not a hardware problem; you meant a hardware problem on my end, correct? If so, yes, I'm sure it's not a hardware problem on my end.

And you say Google is my best friend? Just do a general Google search for specific outages? Type in a search parameter with something like "centurylink DSL outages in <city name> area"?

Spud1200: You mentioned about contacting your ISP to get an I.P. address change; you have a static IP? I get a dynamic IP address that changes all the time.

And PP Mguire: You then mentioned about release/ renew. If my connection just gets a little flaky (not some major outage), I've done similar things. I'll launch an admin CMD prompt and type in (without the quotes): "ipconfig /flushdns", or "ipconfig /release" then "ipconfig /renew". Sometimes this helps. Sometimes not

And this pfsense you mentioned; I did a search, and this is it, correct?
https://www.pfsense.org/

Is this mainly used by average folks for personal use? Or professional?

And oh....in the past, when I've done general Internet searches on possible outages, one of the results usually is to that web site of DownDetector. And yes, you're right, you can usually get a general sense if something is indeed going on by the posts people put up and the dates/ times.
Pez
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Old 05-19-2018, 12:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Verify ISP Claims

Quote:
PP Mguire: So when you say "All companies do this, and it's not really a hidden fact".....ummm,, are you saying what I think you're saying? Is this like them saying that they don't want to admit that there's a problem on their end? To deny it? Or - SHOCK - to lie about it?!?!

Is that what you meant? And one of the reasons I got two different stories when I contacted tech support (via phone call then via an online text chat)?

But with the company I work for, who also has CenturyLink for their ISP, it seems like CenturyLink owned up to the problem right away and admitted that the issue was on their end. Do you think that's because this is one company dealing with another company, one who is paying some big bucks per month for their service? But then that it's OK to fib a little to me, just your average home consumer?

You also mention about being certain that it's not a hardware problem; you meant a hardware problem on my end, correct? If so, yes, I'm sure it's not a hardware problem on my end.

And you say Google is my best friend? Just do a general Google search for specific outages? Type in a search parameter with something like "centurylink DSL outages in <city name> area"?
A resounding yes. To all.

Companies do not like to admit when they have an outage unless it's a very big one, but even then they mostly keep it under wraps and you'll find out about it 3rd party. For instance, AT&T last month had a MASSIVE DNS outage across the country for all of their services (Fiber, DSL, wireless). I didn't know about it until my neighborhood was bitching in our HOA page about "AT&T sucking again". Most called, most got a generic response. I didn't have this issue because I don't use ISP DNS. A quick Google brought up outage sites with lots of big red dots across the country, and on the AT&T forum there was somebody mentioning a DNS outage. So I told them change to Google if they had a 3rd party router, problem solved. Another thing is these tier 1 techs normally don't know about said outages which is why general consumers will get the script. Your company would more than likely be on a business line which yes, is more expensive and generally guaranteed 99% uptime or somewhere in that ballpark. When calling in they will get a different type of CSR to provide more accurate info, like an outage. Do note that if you call in your account will be noted, and even if you get a different person on the line they will know you spoke to them recently. More than likely a back to back call will (and by will I mean should, not always) generate an escalation.

By hardware problem, I meant your networking or specifically the ISP supplied device.

Quote:
Spud1200: You mentioned about contacting your ISP to get an I.P. address change; you have a static IP? I get a dynamic IP address that changes all the time.
And PP Mguire: You then mentioned about release/ renew. If my connection just gets a little flaky (not some major outage), I've done similar things. I'll launch an admin CMD prompt and type in (without the quotes): "ipconfig /flushdns", or "ipconfig /release" then "ipconfig /renew". Sometimes this helps. Sometimes not
I told him that because I can pretty much guarantee he has a DHCP IP from the ISP like the rest of us. If you're doing a release and renew in command prompt you're only releasing your local IP and your router is granting you another. I was telling him release and renew in his software (being pfsense) on the WAN.

Quote:
And this pfsense you mentioned; I did a search, and this is it, correct?
https://www.pfsense.org/

Is this mainly used by average folks for personal use? Or professional?
In short pfsense is an advanced networking software meant to be put on a server to replace a router. It's not for average users unless you want to play with it in a virtual environment to learn.
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