At our spring meeting there were two reports of Internet outages. Both homes commented they were happy with the new 6-8x speeds but not so much with being down-down.

The first piece of good news is, after a couple weeks, those homes report no further outages. Additionally, since then, no one else has seemed to take a techno-nap either. It was most likely a one-off.

Truthfully, any technology occasionally hiccups and we should expect random unhappiness. But our DSL hiccups should be rare and brief.

Here’s why: The only true advantages of DSL Internet (telephone) is price and reliability. It’s the cheapest technology because it’s already in your walls and the companies have been around forever and have it figured out and optimized. They also know they need to remain cheap and reliable to compete against the new guys (cable, satellite, WiNet …). DSL evolved with great uptime and bandwidth-consistency (voice clarity) metrics. After all, telephones served in the past as America’s central means of communication and in local or national emergencies.

A second piece of good news is that some of us run Internet bandwidth “speedometers” and compare notes. The verdict: CenturyLink is pretty much delivering our contracted rates (36 Mbps down, 4.5 Mbps up, 95% of the time).

However, that doesn’t mean sometimes you won’t feel a bit “slow.” I’ve also talked to a bunch of you and helped troubleshoot speed issues. Problems that we’ve seen and solved are WiFi versus cabled Ethernet use, VPNs, background processes like software updates, brick walls, saturated modem/routers, and older equipment with slower WiFi antennas and communication protocols.

Unfortunately, this issue is trickier because it’s about 50% technology and 50% alchemy. Especially when you go off into WiFi voodoo land.

We’ll continue to monitor things and if there seems to be enough interest we could start sharing some tips for better Internet performance here on NEWS.

For now, remember that our CenturyLink contract gets us a US-Based Bulk Plan support line. If you go down-down, re-boot your modem and see if life improves.

(In fact, I would recommend re-booting your modem once a week prophylactically. Un-plug the modem, slow-count to 30, then plug it back in. It helps a LOT of things!)

If you are still down-down, call 855-234-5733 to report this and have three things ready to identify yourself. FYI: Different CenturyLink personnel seem to respond better to one or more of these IDs. Heaven only knows why …

  1. Cochise Vista Del Oro Homeowner’s Association in Hereford, AZ
  2. YOUR street address (They actually seem to like YOUR street address as the best ID.)
  3. YOUR DTN(s). I sent it (or them) to you during your installation and it’s also written on your CenturyLink modem box.

Thanks and keep me posted,

Mark Doyle
VDO Webmaster