One little incorrect number, and we are cut off from the world

Posted: June 28, 2009 in hardware, technology
Tags: , ,


So, i was online reading an article the other night and was disconnected a few times in the middle of it.  Didn’t think anything of it at the time, until the next day when i got home and tried to connect to the internet and it was not cooperating at all.  My first thought was “we had a power outage this afternoon, must need resetting”.  Simple enough, unplug the Apple Time Capsule (TC) and plug it back in.  Nope.  Flashing amber light on the front of the TC.  hmmmm…  So i checked my Airport Utility to see what was up.  it seemed to be working fine, but no external i.p. address.  I was all ready to blame the faulty TC as you may remember this is my second one already, but i thought at first i would reset it again and then revert to factory default settings and then re-input all my settings, but none of that worked.

As you may guess, i was pretty annoyed, but then decided to check a little further and restart the modem to ensure i could connect directly to the WWW with that before drop kicking my TC out the door.  Glad i did, because it turned out that the wireless modem i have was not functioning properly.  I would unplug it and as soon as i plugged it back instead of acquiring an I.P. address and connecting to my ISP it would just flash all five lights and stay solid lit.  Damn.  That is not a good sign.  A call to my ISP eventually confirmed what i thought.  I had a faulty modem.   They were pretty good about it and said they would rush one out to me.  I asked what they considered rush and was told 3 or 4 days.  Yikes.  3 or 4 days unconnected?  fetal position here i come.  As it turned out it wasn’t so bad, thankfully there is always internet at my office and i have my iphone which is fine for staying connected so i managed.  As it turned out, it was only 2 days and i had a new shiny modem waiting for me at home.   I quickly swapped out the old one for the new one and powered it up, hoping for a seamless transition, but alas that was not to be.

I got an error similar to the one at the top of the post asking me to sign up for the service which i thought was strange since i already had an account so i called technical support again and sure enough they said i shouldn’t be getting that message (always love that response, its like they don’t believe you) and didn’t need to sign up again.  At first i was told there was system trouble at the time and i should wait and it would be fixed shortly.  “Try connecting again in an hour”.  That didn’t work so i waited two hours.  Nope. Nada.  After 3 hours i called them back and went through the whole explanation again.  This time i was told there was an erro with the modem serial number and they were fixing it.  “Should be working by morning”.  I figured, its late, been on the phone for about 2 hours total tonight, time to call it quits, so i thanked the tech support person and hung up.

The next morning, i was up with the birds (chickens being noisy outside the window actually) and decided to see if we did in fact have internet again.  Nope.  I called my ISP again and got into the whole situation, explained everything done to date, etc but didn’t have time to wait for them to discuss the issue with their supervisor because i had to get to work.  I called back later on and talked to yet another person, and eventually stumbled upon the fact that it may not just be the serial number on file that was incorrect but the MAC (Media Access Control) number as well.  Argh.  I had expected them to confirm this kind of info if it was a potential problem since they had confirmed the serial number umpteen times.  I went home and checked the MAC number they had on file for the new modem, and the one on the bottom of the actual modem and sure enough they did not match. Pretty sure i knew what the problem was, i called tech support one more time, and let them know of the issue as i understood it. Sure enough i was right, the incorrect MAC number was tied to the serial number of the new modem. i gave them the proper number and expecting to be told i would need to wait while it propagated through the systems i was surprised when the tech told me to turn off the modem for 10 seconds and it should be working. So, i have to wonder if their standard comment about everything taking a few hours to start working is a load of whooey? Is that just the pat answer when they are not sure what they are doing to buy them some time?

As it happened, i was cut off while checking the internet was working properly, and much to my surprise tech support called me back to make sure it was all working properly. Will wonders never cease? It was working fine and i had figured i’d never get through to the same person i was talking to, which is one of the troubles with call centres – you never get the same person and end up spending more time explaining yourself over and over each time you call in more than anything else – so it was a pleasant surprise to have someone take the time to follow up and make sure i finally had a working connection to the “interweb”. 4 days and too many phone calls to remember, but it was refreshing to know there are still a few people who actually want to do their jobs, and serve the customers. What a novel idea for someone in the customer service field. Who knows, maybe talk of this event may filter through the ranks and other people will try it too.



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