I noticed a serious decrease in my 1Mbit SDSL service just via normal usage, and this prompted me to run a series of tests on my connection.

Each of the screen shots was taken after running various tests, around 11:00 AM on 2002-04-30. They each show about the same thing: ~140 Kb/s transfer rate. The same has also been reported as the upstream bandwidth. My service is for a 1 Mbit connection, so these tests indicate that something is wrong with my service.

Here are screenshots of the benchmarks:
DSLReports.com - My speed is highlighted in red, near the center of the graph.
BandwidthPlace.com - My speed is the red numbers, tanslated into different meaningful forms.
CNet.com - My speed is highlighted in red.
Local FTP Test - I downloaded some files from ftp.lucasarts.com and ftp.apple.com. The transfer speed graph on the bottom is from SmartFTP.

Here is an email I sent 2002-04-30 11:40 describing the problem:
Hash: SHA1


I am a SDSL customer of Interaccess/Hosting.com. I am writing because I
have noticed a serious degradation in my SDSL connection over the last
couple days. I have a 1 Mbit SDSL connection, and the recent poor
performance prompted me to do some benchmark testing on my connection.

I ran several independent "bandwidth connection" tests, as well as
independently downloading several large files via FTP. My connection is
consistently pulling about 140 kilobits per second, which is far below the 1
megabit I should be getting, and have gotten in the past. The large variety
of different hosts seems to indicate a universal problem with my service,
and not simply natural network congestion.

Additionally, I tested the upstream connection by downloading data across a
dedicated T1 line. The results are the same. While this could be
attributed to normal network congestion, the apparent problems with the
downstream connection would lead me to believe the two are related.

I have taken screenshots of the various benchmarks I have run, and they can
be found at http://samus.ardvaark.net/~brian/dsl/. Please let me know if I
can provide any more information to help you track down this problem.

Thank you for your quick response!

Brian Vargas

Version: PGPfreeware 7.0.3 for non-commercial use <http://www.pgp.com>


2002-05-01 20:00 - Since I hadn't gotten a response from the email I sent, and because I wasn't sure if that address was even being answered anymore (due to the Interaccess/Hosting.com acquisition), I decided to call up customer support. I was quite surprised and happy to get through at 7:30 in the evening! I spoke with Jeff. He was a nice guy, and opened a trouble ticket for me.

2002-05-01 23:28 - Curiouser and curiouser. At 10:12pm, my DSL connection kicked out. It had been off for several minutes when I received a call from Kevin, a really great tech support guy from Interaccess/Hosting.com. (I have to say that the fact they are working on this stuff at ten o'clock at night is totally impressive.) He told me they were trying to retrain the connection back up to speed, but that they could no longer get contact my DSL modem. He asked me if everything was plugged in, which it was. When I described to him what the modem was doing, he identified that the modem seemed to be powering up and down over and over, as though it were not getting a steady stream of electricity. My modem was plugged into my UPS, so for testing purposes, at Kevin's request I plugged it into an extension cord across the wall. But to no avail.

Kevin thinks it is a hardware problem with either the power supply or the modem itself. We make arrangements for me to stop by the Interaccess offices in the morning and exchange the modem, and then we call it a night.

Twenty minutes later the modem comes back online, and the connection is restored.

In an effort to gather as much information as possible, I venture down into the basement of my building, armed with a flashlight, to check out the building network box. It is there. I do not open it, though, because I fear making a lot of noise and getting caught someplace I probably shouldn't be. However, I do look at the Log Sticker that is on the door.

The date of the last entry is illegible, but something was done to Apartment 6A. I live in 6B, so perhaps a tech accidentally bumped my wires? The second-to-last entry is 2002-01-28, just for reference. Scrawled in pencil across the top of the sticker, though, I see "Vargas is gone, but his 1396's live on." My last name is Vargas. I have no idea what it means.