What I have done so far…

This all started in March of 2009 when my wife received a call out of the blue from my Internet Service Provider (ISP).  I called them back that evening and talked to one of their representatives. My ISP explained that Internet performance in my area had been very poor and that a number of complaints had been made concerning the issue. They asked if I would allow their monitoring system to “Ping” my Firewall to establish the extent of the performance issues and establish a case to raise with their Internet Wholesale provider.

After establishing that they were who they said they were, I allowed my firewall to respond to the traffic as requested.

A number of months went past and to be frank I forgot all about the call until the 13th May 2009. The performance on this day was so bad I raised a ticket with my ISP through their website. Below is the exact ticket  raised.

Support Ticket #1910774

Some months back Internode contacted me to ask if I could configure my modem to respond to ICMP pings. There had been reports of poor network performance and Internode wished to monitor this.

Since that time the overall performance of my internet connection has degraded to unusable. I am aware that I go through a Telstra RIM.

I know my modem is able to negotiate a connection well over 3Mb/s but I regularly get less that 0.5Mb/s throughput for periods between 8:30pm and 11:00pm most nights. Here is a speed test I performed 45mins ago to a server in the same city as me

http://www.speedtest.net/result/472519879.png

It is obvious through trace routes that the issue is with the Telstra RIM in Palmerston ACT. from this trace done at 8:37pm

1     3 ms     6 ms     4 ms  ppp59-167-44-134.lns2.cbr1.internode.on.net [59.167.44.134]
2   710 ms   655 ms   704 ms  lns2.cbr1.internode.on.net [203.16.215.177]
3   710 ms     *      603 ms  gi1-0-0-3.cor3.cbr1.internode.on.net [150.101.160.6]

I have a series of these from March and some in April.

I need Internode to address this issue with your wholesale provider and fix the issue. I will not continue to pay $1000 a year for 0.1Mb/s throughput with 10% packet loss.

I am happy to provide you all the information I have gathered so far if you think it will help.

I have a very good understanding of the situation and where the issues lie. I want you as a provider to address these issues with your wholesale provider and provide me with a usable service worthy of $1000 dollars a year.

Ticket created by the Internode Contact Form http://www.internode.on.net/contact/online/

The next day my ISP responded with the following explanation.

Support Ticket #1910774

Hi Russell,

Thank you for your support request with Internode.

We are aware of wide spread congestion issues on the Crace exchange. We are continuing to work with Telstra to provide a resolution.

I will add this ticket to our tracking ticket for the Crace exchange. Unfortunately at this stage I am unable to provide an ETA on resolution as we haven’t received this from Telstra yet.

If you have any further questions regarding this matter, please reply to this email or contact our Helpdesk by phone on 1300 788 233.

Kind regards,

Andrew
Customer Support Officer
___________________________________
Internode Technical Support Team
Phone: 1300 788 233 for all support
Fax: 08 8235 6911
Web: http://www.internode.on.net
___________________________________

I was disappointed that my ISP could not provide a resolution timeframe for this congestion issue. I was happy that it appeared the cogs were still turning on the issue. I thought the addition of my complaint to an existing “Ticket for the Crace Exchange” would add weight to a resolution process already in motion.

I also have a healthy level of cynicism when it comes to some things in life. This lead me to start thinking about what I could do about the problem myself. I came to the following position;  if my ISP could monitor the wholesaler by sending packets to my firewall, why could I not monitor my ISP’s interfaces? They set the precedent right?

This is where my numerous years of IT experience give me an edge over others. I built a system to monitor my IPS’s infrastructure in a manner that is non-invasive and has no discernible impact on the already labored systems. For the technical people out there here is some detail.

I figure that if you can ask a mechanic for the broken down parts off your car to verify the invoice, I should be able to check  if I am getting some level of value when it comes to the Internet. Would you keep paying your mechanic if the car never gets fixed?

I decided to let the process continue and give my ISP a chance to work with the wholesale provider to fix the issues. I waited about twelve weeks to see if a resolution would be forth coming. This was calculated, I did not want my ISP to see me as a serial pest (not yet anyway) and I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt.

No resolution or communications came, only slower Internet performance. I raised another ticket with my ISP through their website on Wednesday 5thAugust 2009, the details are listed below.

Support Ticket #2080837

I am experiencing extremely poor network performance currently. It has taken me over 3mins to load this page.

Here is a link to the Speed Test I performed tonight as an indicator.

http://www.speedtest.net/result/532990242.png

1075ms ping time
0.03Mb/s download
0.05Mb/s uploads

The test was performed to a server based in Canberra, the same city as I reside in.

The network here is unusable.

Below is a traceroute from my PC through the network. It takes me twice as long to get to my exchange and back as it does another Internode user using the Canberra Civic exchange to get to the West Coast of the USA and back.

1     3 ms     3 ms     4 ms  ppp59-167-63-146.lns1.cbr1.internode.on.net [59.167.63.146]
2   710 ms   782 ms   760 ms  lns1.cbr1.internode.on.net [203.16.215.192]
3   647 ms   702 ms   689 ms  gi1-0-0-3.cor3.cbr1.internode.on.net [150.101.160.6]
4   906 ms   889 ms   916 ms  pos2-1.bdr1.syd6.internode.on.net [150.101.160.110]

Since I last logged a support ticket I have not experienced any improvements in performance with regard to the network.

The issue actually getting worse and has been for many months.

I understand this is due to the problems with Crace exchange but no progress seems to being made.

I want to register again the issues with performance. I also would like someone within your organisation I can contact to discuss the issue further.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Russell Gillon

Ticket created by the Internode Contact Form http://www.internode.on.net/contact/online/

The reply from my ISP dated 6th August 2009 was a form letter asking me to check and verify various phone line setting, filters and devices. I actually disconnected my phone, the only other device on my phone line except my modem and followed all my ISP’s suggestions. I tried the connection again with no improvement. I contacted my ISP once more with the details of my actions and the response I received on the 7th of August 2009 is listed below.

Support Ticket #2080837

Hi Russell,

We have been advised by our wholesale provider that there is a congestion fault affecting your service. Due to the nature of the issue, we are unable to provide you with an ETA for a resolution. We have been advised that all measures to alleviate the affected services have been actioned in the mean time.

Our Provisioning, Investigation and Escalations team are tracking the issue and will notify you of updates as they are received from our wholesale provider. We appreciate your patience on this matter.

If you have any further questions regarding this matter, please contact our Helpdesk by phone on 1300 788 233.

Kind regards,

Kirsty
Senior Support Specialist
___________________________________
Internode Technical Support Team
Phone: 1300 788 233 for all support
Fax: 08 8235 6911
Web: http://www.internode.on.net
___________________________________

It was at this point I started to see a pattern emerging. My initial faith in the system began to falter and my cynicism grew. I came to the conclusion that my ISP may not have as much influence over the wholesale provider as I originally thought. Why would an ISP allow this to go on for 6 months without a resolution or at the least a communication to its customers?

Maybe their hands are tied or maybe it is in the too hard basket.

I determined I have a level of influence as a consumer and a member of the general public. As I am directly affected on a daily basis with this issue I have an interest in seeing a resolution.

I took a deep breath, apologised to my wife in advance and went about tackling the issue myself.

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