Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What a day - part one

What a day!

I started out attempting to focus on a nasty intermittent program bug relating to retail point of sale automation of inter-store transfer and allocation and finished with 3 hours of head banging with a level two AT&T uVerse tech. In between found 500 GB of iSeries journal receivers with no upkeep, compressed, saved and preparation of  unneeded data file libraries for transfer to the cloud and call from user who deleted Accounts Payable checks from printing by mistake. I really do love my job!

It’s late and I wanted to share my AT&T uVerse escapades because it seems there are no ready answers for the poor guy who tries to accomplish what I accomplished.

The initial problem is dropped calls with a Cisco IP SPA504G phone and service with Vocalocity service. My current setup is AT&T uVerse with 2Wire 3801 HGV modem/router with Static IP address, WiFi and WiFi set top device feeding wireless TV to the family room.

Ever since I installed uVerse about 18 months ago I have not been happy. I was reluctant to call AT&T since everything worked ok, but when I took a job working full time form home my issues became apparent and had to resolve them.

I am having intermittent dropped IP calls, mostly with the boss. I started working for the company a couple of weeks earlier and had not really been receiving many help desk calls so I did not put a lot off effort into the issue. The issue became unbearable when users started calling for help and I would drop their calls. It is bad enough that the user is frustrated with a VAI software issue, but dropping the calls while they are trying to explain the issue was just too much.   I called Vocalocity and they readily accessed my PC and made one adjustment to the 2Wire. Basically the tech turned off the Packet Flood setting the advanced Firewall settings and checking time of ping to Google. The tech stated that there is a swing in the ping testing that is pointing to an AT&T issue.

Two weeks ago -

 I finally broke down and called AT&T and to my surprise had a tech on the phone within 3 minutes. He agreed that there is a problem and would dispatch a technician to come to the house. Again surprised, I am told and technician is in the area and could be here between 12 and 4pm, this is at 11:30am. Wow, sure send him on.

The technician arrives a little after 1pm, now I am just flabbergasted. After a few minutes of checking out my wiring he informs me that he should rewire and run Cat 5 and Coax replacing the Coax currently in place. Cool and can you run the new wiring trough the attic and into my office, sure no problem. Wow!

Takes about an hour to get everything setup and then on to reconfiguring. That’s where the ride starts to get bumpy. I informed him that I have a static IP and get the deer in the headlights look.  After he hooks everything up we find that nothing wants to connect. He spends the next few hours trying to get the connection working. Of course I had to make things more difficult by having him install the wireless set top device to feed the TV in the family room. He finally gives in and goes out the truck and gets a new 3801HGV 2wire device, configures and calls me to check it out. Now my new recently assemble Extreme PC desktop will not connect. It was working fine for the last three days with no connectivity issues and then all of a sudden no connection. We mess around for an hour. The tech then has me plug my Netbook directly into the 2wire device, it works. I plug in my Laptop and it works.  It’s now 6:30pm and the Tech wants to get the hell out of dodge and quickly. He states he can only be responsible to the 2wire device anything else us on me. Frustrated that my new PC and main device to work from home does not connect, I had to agree and let him out the door.

I take a deep breath and set about diagnosing my new issue. Takes me about 30 minutes to realize that I needed a driver update for my new Intel mother board and bam I now connect to the Internet

The next day I notice my connection speed to the net is much better than before, instead of surges in speed during speed testing I now have a solid 8bm connection. Great!

Present day –

Still having dropped calls and need to get this resolved, I place another call to Vocalocity and the tech states that it is a known issue with dropped call and AT&T 2wire device. He recommends purchasing a WNR3500L wireless router and put it in the DMZ. Provides me a PDF document on how to set up the Netgear router with an AT&T 3801 and seems simple enough. I run out to Staples and pick one up.

I setup the WNR3500L and get to step number three and receive error other device has same IP address. I am now beyond frustrated, I have big programming issue I must debug and don’t have time for this.

I call Vocalocity and luck of the draw I get a read from the script tech who states that he cannot make changes to my 2wire device and there is not much he can do. I try to get the tech form earlier but he is on a call and cannot take my call. I worked with the current tech and realize he is basically clueless and kindly thank him and hang up the phone. I then scream out a few expletive words and take another deep breath. I have to call AT&T tech support. At this point I think it would be easier to just slit my wrists.

I call AT&T and my luck improves. I sing my story to the Level one tech and he quickly realizes that I know what I am talking about and he was not going to be able to help me. Seems that static IP addresses a foreign to most of AT&T tech’s.  Within 3 minutes I’m on with a level 2 tech. I sing my song again and he states I have a real head scratcher.

He can give me no answer to why the IP address that the world sees me as is not my static IP address. I know my Static IP works since it is configured into a couple of other client’s firewalls to give me direct access. During our conversation filled with lots of huh and sighs. The tech states that is not really suppose to help me but since I seem to know what I am talking about he agrees to work with me to resolve the problem of installing the Netgear router.

During conversation I realize the duplicate IP is the AT&T public IP but the conflict is with the set top Wi-Fi device.  In the LAN->IP Allocation->settings I change the WAN IP Mapping to Address assignment to Public ( Select WAN IP Mapping). I save the configuration and the Current Address changes to I then quickly change  to match the Vocalocity documentation.

Success! The config accepted.

End of part one, I have to get some sleep….To be continued….

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

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