Slow Verizon DSL with Mac OS 10.4
June 14, 2005 10:39 AM   Subscribe

Three days ago, my Verizon DSL stopped working. Now it's working again but is quite slow. Any thoughts as to the cause?

I have a Westell 327W wireless router. Mac Powerbook G4 with OS 10.4 Tiger and an Airport extreme wireless card installed. My DSL had been working flawlessly prior to June 10, 2005. On that date the green 'DSL' light started blinking on the modem, indicating no DSL signal coming from outside the house. This issue was resolved yesterday by Verizon. No I have a live DSL connection, but my download speed is very slow. When I log onto the modem, the download speed registers as 35Kbs, upload 488KBs. I have not changed any settings from those I had prior to having problems. I do *not* have any security set up on the modem. Could someone be tapping into my account? Any other ideas as to why my service is suddenly so slow?
posted by cahlers to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This may not have anything to do with your problem, but I once had problems with my Verizon DSL connection that lasted for half a year. Every once in a while, the problems (slowness, frequent disconnections, inability to connect) would vanish; then a few days later they'd be back again.

I spent hours on the phone with tech support, and nothing helped. FINALLY, they agreed to have a guy come to my house and take a look (they HATE doing this), and it turned out that I had a faulty modem.

They told me they were going to charge me $75 for a new modem, at which point I said, "don't bother, I'll just switch to cable service instead." To keep me as a customer, they offered me a free modem.
posted by grumblebee at 11:01 AM on June 14, 2005

A few years ago my company had a problem with Verizon, and it turned out they were purposely slowing our connection because we hadn't paid them (we were on an automatic payment plan that we forgot to update when we changed banks).

Rather than calling us, they just screwed up our service so we would call them. Except their tech support people didn't think to check payment records, so we went through several fruitless tech support calls before discovering the problem.

So you might want to make sure you're up to date on payments.
posted by occhiblu at 11:05 AM on June 14, 2005

Call the DSL technical support and ask them to run a test on your line.

If the test turns out fine, check the traffic lights on your wireless router. If the "LAN" lights (as opposed to "WAN") are blinking when your laptop is not connected, someone is using your bandwidth. You have to see the instructions for your router to enable WEP (wireless encryption) and MAC filtering.
posted by azazello at 11:15 AM on June 14, 2005

How old is your house/ apartment and what is the age of the wiring for the phone? I recently went through something like this with Verizon and the culprit ended up being the wiring within my apartment. I have had Verizon DSL since February annd it has worked more or less perfectly. But three weeks ago, my DSL became extremely unreliable, frequently dropping and un-synching (the green DSL light began to flash) whenever I used my phone.

After many tests by Verizon techs, they narrowed it down to the 40's era copper wire that runs from the jacks in my apartment to the phone "box' in the basement of the apartment building. It seems that the older wire had poor insulation, meaning that the wire expanded as the temperature rose, increasing the resistance of the copper as well. The upshot, during the winter, my DSL worked fine, but was unusable once the temperature consistently rose above 80 degrees.

Once this was discovered, we had a local Verizon tech install a new jack, running modern wire from the box downstairs to our apartment. Works perfectly well now. Your Mileage May Vary.

NB: Verizon DSL and the people who work on phone lines are two distinct arms of teh organization and appear to have little contact/ commection with one another. Make it clear to the verizon tech that you need to escalate the service ticket. Good Luck!
posted by Verdant at 11:35 AM on June 14, 2005

I was experiencing slowdowns with my cable internet connection and after spending hours on the phone with their customer service department, we realized it was because the wireless network card in my computer was defaulting to my neighbor's wireless router and they have dial-up.
posted by superkim at 11:37 AM on June 14, 2005

Verdant, you may be right. My house was built in 1946. The DSL worked in the winter months, but now that it's hot (I'm in the DC metro area), I have unreliable DSL.

It'll be difficult to be home during business hours to let a technician into the house.
posted by cahlers at 11:39 AM on June 14, 2005

Anyone have any experience with the new FIOS service offered by Verizon? It's $39.99/mo vs $32/mo for DSL and apparently uses fiberoptic cable. Is it really faster than cable, 5MBps, as Verizon claims?
posted by cahlers at 11:42 AM on June 14, 2005

Gah! Two corrections: "the organization" and "connection." Mea Culpa.

And On preview:

Cahlers - That was the worst part of it, I ended up taking 1 day off (split between two half-days) just to diagnose the problem. Fortunately my girlfriend was able to stay home for the last visit where they actually installed the jack.
posted by Verdant at 11:48 AM on June 14, 2005

I highly doubt that someone is stealing your bandwidth. It seems to be some kind of line issue.

Here are some steps to take to check everything on your side.

Disconnect everything from your phone line. And I do mean everything. Splitters, phones, fax machines, dsl modem, even filters.

Connect one phone, preferrably a wired handset and listen for any line noise, if there is... call Verizon.

Next, disconnect that wired phone, connect your dsl modem and power up it up. Check your speeds. If they've improved it's one of the things you've disconnected.

Look at where your modem is connected, check the jack (take off the cover), try moving it to a different phone jack temporarily if you don't have a homerun installation (homerun is a direct line from your NID to that particular jack)

Check if there is a pattern to your slow speeds. Make note of it. I had a customer that had plain ADSL that would work flawlessly during the day, but as soon as the street lights came on, it would knock him off until the following morning.

Check your NID (the gray box that your phone line comes in at). There's a partitioned area for customer access, and an area for Verizon, make sure everything is securely connected and it hasn't been tampered with. Also see how old your NID is, that could be a large factor. Most times they'll replace it when you get DSL if it wasn't a home install.

Are there any Ham Radio operators in the area? Any construction or digging?

Most times a homerun install will correct your problems, heck you could do it yourself if you've ever run phone cable before.

Failing those, Verizon will have to do a line test. If they give you any trouble, thank them for their time, hang up and call back. Immediately ask to speak to a supervisor, calmly explaining your situation. If the line comes back clean, it's probably your modem.
posted by jackofsaxons at 8:57 PM on June 14, 2005

For the sake of minimizing effort, a line test should be done first. The problem might not be in the wiring after all, considering that it used to be fine before.
posted by azazello at 12:28 AM on June 15, 2005

If the line test can be done while I am on the phone with the Verizon tech support person, it came back fine several times. Doies this test rule out a problem in the wiring?

It's a bit faster now, although when I log onto the modem the speek still shows 32Kbs download speed and 488 KBs upload speed. Is the 32 KBs download speed normal?
posted by cahlers at 2:33 AM on June 15, 2005

I've never heard of them doing a line test while you were on the phone... you may want to call back and have them re run it. Usuualy they have you hang up the phone, and or disconnect it from the wall for a certain period of time.

To be as thorough as possible, you'll want to do a line test, to make sure that conditions have not changed due to line work, or some sort of maintainence.. or some other kind of interference.
posted by jackofsaxons at 6:28 AM on June 15, 2005

Jackofsaxons, I've talked with Verizon tech support three times about this issue, and each time, they "tested the line" while I was on the phone with them. I'm not sure what actually happens during this test.

Is 32 Kbs download speed and 488 Kbs upload speed a "normal" DSL speed?
posted by cahlers at 7:10 AM on June 15, 2005

Well, it depends on what kind of DSL you have. The most common is 1.5 down (or 150Kbps download speed) with 256 Kbps up. What speed are you supposed to have?

I still find it odd that they "tested" the line while they were on the phone with you. To properly test line noise/ attentuation and all of that you need to not be using the line, because your use of it would affect their results.

They should have sent a tech out by now to check your NID and make sure there's no malfunction on that end also...

I would call them back and immediately ask for a supervisor. Explain that you're not happy with their level of service, and it seems their technicians aren't helping you as well as they could. Bluff a little bit if you can, say you've been thinking about switching to cable, and this would give you good reason to drop their service. This usually kicks their butts into gear.

Without being on site, I can't do much other than offer suggestions. Just to clarify, you have normal telephone service correct? No VoIP or anything?
posted by jackofsaxons at 9:54 AM on June 15, 2005

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