A friend of mine got a new laptop and I was more than happy to go over to his house last night and help him get the laptop and his wireless network setup. Once again, I found myself up against the personal hell that is Verizon DSL. I spent about seven months on Verizon DSL between 2004 and 2005, before realizing that it was better to just pay Comcast $10 a month more for a connection that WORKS. I’m, of course, not much happier with Comcast since being told by a tech that I lost my IP address and have to call Microsoft to get another one, but I will not be returning to Verizon DSL anytime soon.
My friend had somehow setup security on his router, but we weren’t sure how or what the password could be so I restored the router to factory settings. I then logged into the router and gave the network a name and security. It looked like the router had a connection through the DSL modem, but when I tried to load Google, I was redirected to a page that wanted to download and install some kind of Verizon Internet Connection Manager software. I had to step through 4 “Invalid certificate” warnings to get the software to download. When the software tried to install, it asked for a username and password, but wouldn’t take the username and password that my friend told Verizon to give him. I had no choice but to call tech support. We called twice, both times stepping through the painful voice-activated menu before being told that we would be transferred to a tech, only to have the call drop. The third time I called back and was somehow routed through to the “Account Cancellations” department. I could have done my friend a favor, but that wasn’t what he asked me for so I held back with all my might. I explained to the person on the phone my problem, and he routed us and stayed on the line until a tech picked up. I tried explaining my problem to her. She needed the account information, and asked me who I was. Somehow there was confusion over my name and my friend’s name as to who was on the account. I kept asking her why my name mattered. She finally said she needed to know what to call me. I said “My name is irrelevant. Just help me get this connection working.” Apparently, what happened is that somehow security was set on the DSL modem. I had to shut down everything, connect the laptop to the modem, and plug the modem in and boot the laptop up. Then we could disable security. The tech helped me to set bridge mode, but before I could ask what the next step was, the phone disconnected. The tech never called back, and I wasn’t going through that again (this was a total of 50 minutes consisting of two dropped calls plus the third, which lasted more than a half an hour.) I gave her a number to call back on “in case we get disconnected,” but she never did. I kept trying different settings on the router until finally an Internet connection showed up.
I then setup a printer, which worked flawlessly. That was the true definition of “plug and play.” Then we had dinner, and I walked him through setting up a gmail account, the mail service I highly recommend.
Before I left, I asked “Now do you see why, whenever somebody asks me if they should get DSL, I say “No!”? I’ve helped several people out with DSL, and of course there was my own experience with it. I’m not much happier with Comcast, and to be honest, at least the Verizon tech didn’t tell me to call Microsoft to get an IP address, but still, I’ve never had a painless experience with Verizon DSL.
I wish there were a viable alternative high-speed Internet service besides Comcast cable and Verizon DSL. I’ve heard FIOS is pretty good, but it’s a Verizon product, which is two strikes against it in my book.