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The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox] PacBell DSL alternatives
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Re: [vox] PacBell DSL alternatives

On Thu, 9 Aug 2001, William Kendrick wrote:

> This is the last straw.
> These idiots tried hooking up DSL at our _old_ house after knowing where
> we live for months.  This is the last chance I'm giving these people.
> I've been on the phone upwards of 45mins (most of it old hold or yelling
> at the people at the other end)
> Should I just tell PacBell to bite me and go with Omsoft?

I use Omsoft (well, DCN, ... uh, well, yeah).  I highly recommend it.

> Am I going to have the same issues crop up?  ("oh, we don't support
> linux... you'll need special windows software to use the dynamic IP...
> what version of windows do you have?"  (I told them, "hell, i dunno... 98?"))

Well, near as I can tell Omsoft is an NT house... the IP management
is done by a separate sysadmin on Solaris at DCN.

ASI (the ISP people at^H^Hassociated with Pacbell DSL) wants you to do
self-installs now, so the issue of "support" is not really a problem.

My story:

Part A was the initial install.  I am around 16000 ft from the CO, but
haven't had much problems with keeping sync.... I'm satisfied, and they
were satisified to install in November 1999.  I already had a DCN account
from wayback, so I just called Omsoft and set the wheels in motion. They
called PBI, who sent a line tech out to check the lines about a week
before the install date, who reconnected my lines through newer copper,
causing my phone to go dead a couple of times that day. A PBI network
technician on the install date.  He was overloaded... he arrived at 7pm,
and I made it easy for him by having a windows machine ready to go when he
finished wiring in the DSL splitter and the dual-jack wall plate.  I had a
Linux Router going about an hour later and I haven't looked back.

Part B was moving this summer.  I moved directly across the street.  I
called up Omsoft in mid-June, and they warned me that their use of the
line for DSL would prevent my voice line from getting moved in a timely
fashion.  (That turned out to be only sort of true.)  I told Omsoft to go
ahead and put in the disconnect order, and anticipated losing DSL in June
so it could start smoothly in July. I then called up PBI and told them I
wanted to transfer my number on the 3rd of July and they said they would
have to disconnect the DSL on one day and transfer the number on the next
day, so my DSL died on the 3rd and the phone transferred on the 5th (next
working day).  Problem was, PBI also said they could transfer the existing
DSL arrangement also, which turned out not to be true.  When I called
their voice line people on the 6th they transferred me to their DSL people
(which later turned out to be the ASI ISP people, not the DSL
infrastructure people), and they took my name and said no problem. I
called Omsoft on the 9th or 10th and found that the "PBI DSL" people I had
talked to were actually ASI and their idea of a transfer was to put me on
ASI service. I squawked, and since this is apparently quite common and
they are in hot water for it, a couple of days later my ISP reported that
they thought they had straightened it out.  Turns out that right after
Omsoft said "you grabbed our customer" and they cancelled the order, PBI
told Omsoft I was outside their supported distance, which they had now
dropped to 14000 ft or somesuch.  Only the fact that they had already
accepted my order got Omsoft past that one.  Despite Omsoft's
recommendation to use the microfilters, I moved the DSL filter from the
old house to the new one myself. and it turned out that one of the
connections I had made did not take and I didn't find out the problem
until the day after service was supposed to start (after all the
shenanigans, that was the 25th, but it was supposed to have been the 6th
or 9th if everything had gone according to plan.  It is working now,
except that it drops out sometimes... I think the line quality to this
house is lower than the other house.  Omsoft brought a newer modem to swap
in for a few days today to see if a new modem that resyncs more
efficiently in the face of low line quality could solve the problem. I
think the dropouts are related to some maintenance activity, since it
works fine most of the time.

In a nutshell, WRT their capacity as an ISP I am pretty happy with the
Omsoft/DCN team.  However, infrastructure issues where the techs go to the
wrong house might not be improved by using them, since they depend on PBI
infrastructure.  A static IP on a bridged-ethernet configuration does make
things much simpler than PPP over Ethernet (possible on Linux) or PPP over
ATM (supposedly possible on Linux but I have never heard an account of
getting one working).  I think Omsoft uses either of the first two
depending on your plan, but PBI is pushing for PPPoA everywhere so beware.
Also, the hassles of keeping track of who is responsible for what make it
more challenging as well.  Just remember to stay in touch with Omsoft and
don't let PBI talk to you about DSL at all if you go that route.

Jeff Newmiller                        The     .....       .....  Go Live...
DCN:<jdnewmil@dcn.davis.ca.us>        Basics: ##.#.       ##.#.  Live Go...
                                      Live:   OO#.. Dead: OO#..  Playing
Research Engineer (Solar/Batteries            O.O#.       #.O#.  with
/Software/Embedded Controllers)               .OO#.       .OO#.  rocks...2k

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