TDS Highspeed (Fiber) Internet Access In Alton — It REALLY Was The D-Link Router!

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Prior related posts:
1/ Internet Bandwidth Issues With My TDS Broadband Access
Aug. 28, 2012.

2/ Unless It Is A Dire Emergency Get Your Networking Cables Online; Update On My Internet Bandwidth Woes – Getting 2nd TDS Line!
Aug. 30, 2012.

Cisco Linksys EA3500

I am humbled, amazed and at the same time rather pleased. It really was the router! The D-Link DIR-655 that promised so much. Wow. I am still in a daze about that.

I have had broadband, high speed Internet access for about 12 years and wireless networking in the house for about 11 years. Though it got me nothing, though I can take credit for convincing the prestigious ‘The Margate‘ to offer Wi-Fi in 2003, I was an Wi-Fi evangelist (as ever) ahead of my time. At home I tried to have the latest in Wi-Fi standards. So, I got the now de facto 802.11 n when it was still a draft standard and not supported on all devices. Hence my preference for D-Link. They liked bleeding-edge Wi-Fi technology too. Till last Thursday, September 6, 2012, I have only ever used (recommended and sold) D-Link routers. Whenever folks blamed Internet problems on my D-Link I was skeptical and until now they were always wrong.

When Union Tel. first installed my 10Mbps Fiber to the house we had, from day one, short, very annoying, Internet drops. We would lose the Internet for about 40 seconds then get it back. It would happen about 3 times a day. As you can imagine, for the first 48 hours Union Tel. consistently blamed it on the (then quite new) D-Link DIR-655. But, I stood by my D-Link pointing out that I had used it for 2 years with Metrocast and never had a problem. Union Tel. had installed the Fiber on a Friday. That was a mistake. They were in a hurry, both technicians having the afternoon off. Those two, quite old, were very nice BUT if I ever see them within 100 yards of my TDS equipment I will call the police. Yes, they admitted that 10Mbps Fiber was new to them.

It took until Tuesday for Union Tel. to belly up that THEY had an issue and it was not the poor, maligned D-Link DIR-655. They came and gave us a Static IP address (rather than us having to use DHCP). Problem solved immediately and forever. The problem is that TDS does not offer Static IP to residential customers. So I have ‘issues’ each time I talk to TDS. They get very confused.

This time around, the amazingly competent (ex-Marine) Tim Barker, proved to me that it was the D-Link. I had to agree. Bandwidth fluctuated through the router. So, given that Tim and TDS like Linksys I bought a good Linksys.

Wow. Wow. Wow. What a difference. I can’t believe that we suffered for this long because the D-Link was dying. That was a lesson for me.

No I did not try upgrading the D-Link software. The software was upgraded about 18 months ago. Though I can’t attest to it this felt to me (and to Tim) as hardware degradation — and I realized that the D-Link was running hot, in what is a hot room (though we do run A/C in this room most of the Summer). Not sure, but that the problems started soon after Teischan got a Wi-Fi Google Nexus 7 pad seems suspicious.

My biggest takeaway from this sad experience is the need to keep the router COOL. I am going to build a special, ventilated shelf for it today — BECAUSE tomorrow we, actually TDS, is moving everything around.

Yes, we are still getting a 2nd Fiber line so that we will have a total of 25Mps (about 18Mbps guaranteed) to the house. I am done with routers for my main, work computer. This computer is getting plugged in directly to the wall (though yes, there is still a TDS Fiber router on the garage wall). At least I will not have to contend for bandwidth with the kids and Deanna — and the kids suck up bandwidth with their videos and games. I will keep you updated after the cut-over tomorrow.



Suffice to say that over the last 15 days I have had a huge amount of interactions with TDS, by phone and in person. TDS tries so hard to please. They dropped the ball once but recovered quite well. The local support during that time, all done by Tim Barker, has been beyond exemplary. I used to be the Customer Support manager for ITT UK. So, I remember a few things about customer support. Tim reminds me of the best of the best that used to work for me.

Anyway, I have learned two things about TDS and their Internet Fiber service from a couple of Little Birds that shared the scoop with me. Yes, TDS has had service issues with their Fiber BUT they think they are beyond that now. But, something to me vigilant about.

The second, and more serious, is that TDS, in Central NH, is basically out of Fiber capacity! No, it is not a Finer Optic cable shortage. They have plenty. It is a Central Office equipment shortage. They have run out of ports to plug-in new Fiber customers. They jumped through hoops last week to get us our 2nd Fiber and we only got it because TDS likes us. They have plenty of Copper, but the bandwidth you can get on Copper decreases with distance from the C.O. So they relented and we are getting Fiber and the fact that I spent 40 minutes on the phone with TDS and dashed off 4 e-mails definitely was a factor. But a heads up to others. You might not be able to get Fiber from TDS for a year or more! It is a supplier issue going back to Union Tel. TDS basically has to swap out the old equipment at the C.O. and install new. That costs a lot of money and requires huge amounts of coordination — and we in central NH are but country bumpkins who wouldn’t notice drop in bandwidth (and are loath to pay for bandwidth).

Just read in ‘Popular Mechanics’ today — compared to many countries in the world we in the U.S. have relatively slow Internet access. That kills me. It should really bother YOU too.

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About Anura Guruge

See 'The Blogger' on my https://nhlifefree.com/ blog.

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