AT&T troubles again

Internet access discussion, including Fusion, IP Broadband, and Gigabit Fiber!
35 posts Page 1 of 4
by plwww » Sun Jan 24, 2021 7:12 am
We'd been dealing with an unstable line for months, gradually getting worse. Then, (in October?), AT&T disconnected our line by accident, and it took them 9 days or so to get it working again. We had them back out right after that to work on the stability issues, and the first thing they said, before even touching our line, was they wanted to cut our speeds in half because we were too long a loop to give us the same speed we had been getting stable till now. After arguing with them, they finally checked the line, found a problem, and it was fixed. It didn't solve it completely but it made it much more stable. Fast forward to now, and it has gradually been getting more unstable again. After it dropped for several hours, I called in and AT&T dispatched people a few days later. They replaced the line to the house, replaced the modem, and eventually found a problem up town which they had to get a tech with a bucket truck to fix. That evening(I assume when the other tech finally got there), after a day of up/down/up/down, my service dropped hard for 10 minutes, then came up quite stable. The next day, completely stable. The next morning it was unstable again(it rained earlier that morning, I can't help but wonder if this affected things). Connection was up and down, going through the training/activating cycle, and at times saying no broadband signal detected. So AT&T was dispatched again. They were supposed to be here between 2 and 5 Saturday. We never saw them. They did seem to cap our line at half the speed though, as it re-synced to 3596 and will no longer sync higher. This happened right at 2pm, suggesting once again they did zero work on the line before determining halving the speed was a "solution". Keep in mind that to this point, every time they've actually looked for a problem they've found one, so it isn't that we're just "too far": these lines need actual repair and seem to function better each time they do, but now we're on an intentionally crippled line.

Did it solve the problem? No, it soon went wonky, disconnected, then left me connected at a mere 1.7mbps till I reset the connection. But now, even when the line is behaving itself, I'm left with not near enough bandwidth for a house with more than one user.

I regret the trouble my line is causing to Sonic, I know my repeated calls can't be profitable for you. And I desperately wish there were an alternative to AT&T here: but there's not. I suppose I'll have to call Sonic once again as there's no way I want to put up with a still unreliable line but now at half the speed.
by briancw » Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:39 pm
Hi plwww,

That is definitely a pretty rough series of events there. It is definitely likely that the rain effected the line. I see here our team is working on getting AT&T back out there to restore the service. What speeds have you been getting before this most recent bout of troubles began?

I have also put a credit on your account to offset the downtime. We should be able to push them and get this service restored.

Once our team gets a dispatch set with AT&t we should be reaching out to you with that time.
Brian W
Construction Application Processor
by plwww » Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:32 am
Thanks Brian, I appreciate both your help and the account credit very much.

Our normal sync speed is 6000kbps to 7200kbps(usually on the upper bound when there's no issues). It has been the same range for years, though more and more it was connecting on the lower end of that range. Speedtests would give us anywhere from 5.5mb/s to 6.5mbps. We have had this pretty stable for several years now, with a few hiccups along the way.

Since the problems are intermittent, prior to our speeds being capped it was usually a similar range. We would go through clusters of brief drops(typically less than 70 seconds each), sometimes spanning minutes, sometimes hours. During these clusters we would see reduced speeds but they would usually come back up once things stabilized. Since AT&T last balked at fixing our line(in November), we had been trying to just accept a few disconnects a day so they wouldn't insist on cutting our speeds or dropping us entirely. It gradually got worse again, to the point that it would stay down completely for 10+ minutes at a time. When this happens, sometimes the training/activating cycle would instead be replaced by a notice to the effect, "Broadband Signal not detected". The line down four hours was what sparked me to call again a week and a half ago(it stayed down around 14 hours total that day).

The intermittent nature of the problem meant we could see an entire day or more of completely stable, normal speed service, before seeing another day of frequent drops. Because of this it is hard to know yet exactly how the cap has affected our line, but as I expected it didn't solve the problem: in addition to the drop and resync at 1.7mbps I mentioned in the last post, we've since had more issues. Monday morning we lost service completely for about 30 minutes, then it dropped again at night for at least several minutes.

It seems clear to me there is still a real problem on the line separate from any issue with loop length, and I have no doubt that if it was resolved we would have no need for slowed service. Each time they actually take the time to look, they indeed find an issue; fixing that has improved the situation each time, even if not fully and only temporarily. I realize AT&T has grown tired of fixing my line, but capping the speeds is clearly not a solution.
by briancw » Wed Jan 27, 2021 3:58 pm
Hi plwww,

It looks like AT&T should have actually come out there today, our team appears to have gotten short notice and we ended up leaving a voicemail to the number on file. They should be out between 2pm and 5pm today. If they missed you we can send them back out.

From what it sounds like the tech that capped you down must have noticed that the line was too poor a quality to maintain the full speeds, normally they'd try for another copper pair to use that isn't degraded. It appears that he didn't have an available pair or didn't try hard enough for a solution. Either way getting someone back out is the right course here. If they missed you today please reach out to us at 855-394-0100 so we can get them scheduled to come back out.

Warm regards,
Brian W
Construction Application Processor
by plwww » Wed Jan 27, 2021 5:17 pm
Thanks Brian. Got the message in good time, and AT&T got here not long after 2. He found another problem along the road, but wasn't able to access the pole he needed to fix that pair. He switched us to another pair and said he was seeing fewer errors. He said prior to starting he was seeing a steady stream of FEC errors, and that appeared to stop on the new pair, but he wanted to give it time to see. He's been gone a bit now and I do see 1200 FEC errors in the last 15 minutes, but I don't know how that compares in scale to what he was seeing before. He wanted to give it some time to see if it was stable before he increased the speeds; where we left off is I would call him directly in a few days to either rework on the issue or increase our speeds.

I'll be sure to repost here in a few days when things advance, or call support if it goes south.

Thanks for your help.
by plwww » Mon Feb 01, 2021 11:32 am
Drats. After two and a half days of excellent service, it has started failing again Saturday morning. Three days in a row now it has become very unusable around 9ish, with scattered instability in between. I've been logging the modem's Broadband Status page every 5 minutes for some time. Plotting the "Downstream Max Attainable Rate" highlights this instability pretty good. You can see it stabilizing right after the AT&T technician left on the 27th, and then our first new hiccup the 30th. I received a call from Sonic(I think Friday), saying our support ticket would be closed within 24 hours. Unfortunately that was not enough time to see this problem re-emerge. I'm waiting to hear back from the AT&T tech that was here last to see if he could address this(the plan was to call him after a few days of proven stability to increase our speeds, but there's still clearly something wrong). Perhaps it could be noted on our ticket that problems remain, though at the moment I don't think Sonic needs to do anything 'till I hear back from the AT&T tech.

values20210201Wide.jpg (80.09 KiB) Viewed 12154 times

(gaps in the data are when I failed to log; values of zero are when the DSL line was down; since it samples every 5 minutes, it misses many short-lived disconnects).
by briancw » Tue Feb 02, 2021 11:13 am
Hi Plwww,

That is definitely pretty frustrating for the issue to resume so quickly. I have opened the ticket back up with AT&T, we're going to give them a ring and follow up and get someone back out there. We'll reach out once we get a time. I am very sorry that last dispatch didn't get us a lasting fix.
Brian W
Construction Application Processor
by brycem » Wed Feb 03, 2021 2:30 pm
Sounds like my ongoing saga of 9 months or so on my 2nd line. I've had AT&T out 5 or 6 times and each time it's fixed for some period of time (days to 3 weeks in the longest case last Dec.), then fails back due to noise in the AT&T copper somewhere.
by plwww » Fri Feb 05, 2021 11:22 am
This is insane. The AT&T tech arrived, he can't see a problem with the line, and can't escalate it back to a bucket truck without a test showing it bad while he's here(it was up down repeatedly this morning, up till about 20 minutes before he arrived). So his solution was to change us to "a different 3mb tier"; I balked at that, since the goal is to get our original 6mbps speeds back, not cut us further. "I didn't cut your speeds, it's just another 3mb tier, 3mb is 3mb". It's now syncing at a half-megabit lower(3000kbps vs 3600).

I never heard back from the previous bucket-truck tech(who actually made progress last time) past one call from him saying he would have to talk to his managers(that was Tuesday). Left another message for him just now.

edit: And it dropped within 30 minutes of him leaving. I could tell it was going to, because even while he was here the SN Margin and Max Downstream Attainable were bouncing around heavily; so whatever is causing that isn't triggering a failure on their tests, even though it's happening while he's here.
by briancw » Mon Feb 08, 2021 9:55 am
Hi plwww,

Our team will be reaching out to AT&T very soon here to make sure they understand they are to repair this back to the previously attained speeds. Once they have gotten an update from AT&T they will be reaching out once they have an update. I am very sorry this issue has not yet resolved.
Brian W
Construction Application Processor
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