Although I've yet to compile any concrete proof, recent indicators have made me wonder whether or not Comcast is filtering more than just torrent traffic. Since implementing the steps outlined in this post, Comcast has actually been pretty tolerable, until recently. In an effort to establish a godly Rainbow Tables collection, I've started using torrents for the first time in probably a year. After the first day or so, ssh and remote desktop sessions would randomly terminate. GMail's built in chat interface would throw an error explaining, "We're experiencing technical difficulties, please try again later..." But I seriously doubt GMail was the one experiencing technical difficulties.
For some unknown reason the security portion of my event viewer is blank, so that won't work. Here's the grepped contents of my Linux server's auth.log file instead.
Feb 17 07:09:13 nullamatix sshd: Accepted password... Feb 17 08:26:58 nullamatix sshd: Accepted password... Feb 17 08:27:59 nullamatix sshd: Accepted password... Feb 17 08:31:00 nullamatix sshd: Accepted password... Feb 17 08:34:43 nullamatix sshd: Accepted password... Feb 17 08:38:52 nullamatix sshd: Accepted password... Feb 17 08:42:09 nullamatix sshd: Accepted password... Feb 17 08:57:06 nullamatix sshd: Accepted password... Feb 17 10:19:36 nullamatix sshd: Accepted password...
The problem, as you can clearly see, finally stopped at around 10am. But how convenient, that's after my torrent downloads had been stopped for a few hours. For now, I'll give Comcast the benefit of the doubt and assume they were doing one of the following:
1) Hardware upgrades and/or maintenance
2) Software upgrades and/or patches
3) Network infrastructure upgrades and/or maintenance
Even if one of these assumptions are true, why wouldn't Comcast send out an email saying connectivity issues might arise between 7am and 10:30am? Isn't that what good network administrators do? Many customers depend on their Internet connection for a number of reasons, and whenever maintenance is scheduled, the least Comcast could do is tell their customers. This would reduce the incoming call load to their alleged 24 hour customer service centers, and give customers time to prepare for outages. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Over the last three or four years as a Comcast customer, I've never heard a Comcast employee admit that the problem was on their end, despite having undeniable proof. Here's how a recent conversation went...
Guy: Hey, I'm having some intermittent connectivity, is there an outage or some sort of maintenance going on?
Comcast: Let me have a look sir, what's your phone number, blah blah, etc, etc ... ? *pause* Nope, nothing going on in your area. Have you tried power cycling your modem, sir?
Guy: Yes. I'll obtain and IP and everything will appear fine for a few minutes, but then everything just starts timing out. All my active connections are terminated, and after a few seconds or a minute or two, everything comes back on line. Are you sure there isn't any maintenance going on in my area?
Comcast: Let me update my screen and have a look here... (10-15 seconds go by). No sir, nothing in your area, and everyone else's Internet seems to be working. I'm going to go ahead and schedule a technician to come out and take a look for you. When's good for you?
Guy: Look, I'm not taking more time off work to have your tech tell me something I already know. My Internet works fine for extended periods of time, but at occasional random intervals, it's becomes either completely unavailable, or shows symptoms of severe packet loss. This house was rewired less than two years ago, and in those two years there have been at least 4 techs in my house, yet the problems continue.
Comcast: I'm sorry to hear that Mr. Patterson, some of our techs work in the evening until 9pm if that's more convenient for you.
Guy: No, it's not. What I find unusually strange is that you guys really have absolutely no idea what the hell's going on and who's doing what where. Prior to calling you, I pulled into my neighborhood and noticed there were two Comcast labeled vans, a white sedan, and four men standing around looking at one of your larger nodes. You know, those big green boxes that may occasionally need some work? Please, either tell me again that there wasn't any scheduled maintenance, or those men weren't from Comcast.
Comcast: Well sir, I'm located in South Florida, so I have no way of knowing that.
I hung up after hearing that. One of the largest broadband providers in the United States doesn't have a centralized ticketing system? Why was I lied to initially? This is turning into a rant, so I'll leave you with something to ponder. Here's an excerpt from an article I recently read.
Just about every big phone company has filed a statement challenging the FCC's authority to deal with this problem. AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest all submitted lengthy remarks on February 13th
Why do these big corporations even have the ability to challenge the FCC? Is the FCC not a government entity? Since when do corporations have the authority to influence decisions made by the government? What's the old saying, "By the people, for the people?" Something just doesn't add up...
Have you ever encountered similar situations of random, unannounced loss of connectivity? Feel free to share your experience in the comments.
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