CenturyLink DSL Hell
July 19, 2016 9:44 PM   Subscribe

I am in a loop of fail with my CenturyLink DSL connection. Any suggestions before I bury my router and move to Comcast?

I've been testing my DSL latency using tools like What Route and Ping Plotter. I see this intermittent effect where the latency starting at the first network hop after my router jumps from a normal latency of 25ms per hop to 400ms up to 800ms all the way to Youtube.

I've tried this on my laptop using an ethernet cable, and then using my Qwest router's built-in traceroute tools. CenturyLink's bandwidth test tool shows me 17Mbps (LOL) while html5 bandwidth tests show 1Mbps or less.

VOIP is useless with this, Youtube movies stutter and take forever to load. Web sites load slowly and sometimes fail to load completely.

Being on chat with CenturyLink support is a total fail, so I finally called them up, did the line tests, unplugged the DSL line, tried speed tests and all that. Same result, really bad latency all the way down the line. The tech had the temerity to suggest I try it at 3 AM, as if their hugely oversubscribed line would be more useful then.

Their only solution for me is that I have a tech on site, which is a paid visit if the problem is diagnosed as emanating from my locale. I was reassured though they were on the job monitoring the situation with no ticket number or other way to get higher levels of support.

Basic networking shows the network connection is totally hosed. Maybe my router is spitting out bad packets....dunno how to test for that and I would think it would show up in other ways if so.

So, mefimind, what would you do? Is there some magic CTL support back door I can access, or other test I can try to understand where this problem is coming from?
posted by diode to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I went through the exact same thing. I live in an old apartment (built in 1911-ish). The brutally old phone lines couldn't maintain a decent DSL connection. Basically it got worse and worse over 2 years of service until it was unbearable.

I hated the idea of giving Comcast my business but it ended up being a great decision. Plus centurylink ended up refunding me my final 2 months of service (when I started complaining and having serious problems).
posted by paulcole at 9:58 PM on July 19, 2016

Is Comcast your only other option?

Here in Minnesota, Us Internet has been expanding fiber service in Minneapolis like crazy. It depends on your area but there are often small and regional ISPs that you might not know about.

I had been using CenturyLink's DSL service for years but I just couldn't deal with the 1mbps upload rate any more. My job is home-based so every time I saved a file of decent size to a network drive, it would take ages for it to finish.

I did everything I could think of to avoid giving Comcast any of my money but finally gave in and signed up for a two-year contract and the speeds are something like 125mbps down, 12mbps up.

Now when I watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, instead of it switching to HD sometime during the opening scene or opening credits, it fills the buffer so fast that it does it while the Netflix logo is still up. Everything else internet related is similarly better and it really makes a difference to our quality of life.

We access the internet a lot and it feels like we upgraded from an Old Model A Ford (an upgrade from the Model T!) to a brand new E-Class 'Benz. I strongly favor any ISP that isn't Comcast but the other options aren't in the same league in my area. As soon as I can get comparable speeds from any other company I'll be banging on their door to let me sign up (and I told CenturyLink exactly that) but they're the only choice I have for the speed I need for the time being.
posted by VTX at 8:43 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yes, as far as I know, CenturyLink and Comcast are the only providers. It may well be line noise. The over-subscribed bit is just a hypothesis, no sign of that really. I don't have phone, only DSL so no way to check the silent phone line. Guess Comcast is my next destination...8-(
posted by diode at 11:33 AM on July 20, 2016

A long shot, but I have Centurylink DSL too and for years I suffered using their crappy "router." I finally bought my own router and put the the Qwest unit into bridged mode so it would just act as a DSL modem. It made a huge improvement.
posted by werkzeuger at 1:18 PM on July 25, 2016

Response by poster: I finally concluded a backup software running on a Mac laptop was killing my connection. As soon as I got rid of it running 24/7, the problem seemed to go away.....until today when the problem came back. Long latency and lag times. Dunno what it is this time, hopefully just a fluke. Maybe I'll try the bridge mode on the router and see how it goes.
posted by diode at 1:56 PM on August 20, 2016

« Older Excel reverse conditional formatting   |   Thunderbird to gmail migration Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.