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Friday, 26 September 2014

Outage

I got back from dinner with relatives at 20:30 on the 25th, and saw that my telecoms alert has been going for the last four hours. I did a few checks for example, ping 8.8.8.8, which is Google) and sure enough, my telecoms link was down, and had been down since 16:30.

So I called Daisy to tell them.

Daisy monitor their customers' lines, so that they can take action before the customer knows there's a problem. Good idea! But in this case, something must have gone wrong with their monitoring system, because it was news to them.

I explained to the tech upport people that any competent programmer could write a perl program that checked each of a list of ip addresses, once per minute, and raise the alarm if any of them can't be contacted. OK, I can see why you'd want an expensive and complicated system, but wouldn't it also be a good idea to have a nice simple *working* system running alongside? That's pretty much what I use.

The tech support folks at Diasy got me to reboot my router (which did nothing useful, but I suppose was easy to do and might just have worked). When that didn't work, they started their fault process.

That meant that they contacted Vodafone, who are Daisy's supplier in this, and asked Vodafone to look into it. In the fullness of time, Vodafone determined that it wasn't their problem, and pushed it towards BT.

By then it was midnight. Maybe no-one works after midnight, or of they do, nothing useful was done because the tech support guy told me that a BT engineer would attend tomorrow morning.

Overnight, no change. My comms were down when I checked in the morning, and then I went out to have something slightly unleasant done to my leg at Amersham Hospital. I got back at 11am, and no BT engineer had arrived.

So I called Daisy again. They called Vodafone, and Vodafone called BT. Apparently, the engineer that was supposed to visit me, had been diverted to something else.

So Daisy called Vodafone and Vodafone called BT, and another engineer was tasked with my outage, due to arrive at 2pm.

2pm came and went, I called Daisy again, they called Vodafone, and Vodafone called BT. Apparently 2pm meant 2pm GMT, and I, silly me, assumed it meant BST, which is the time zone we're all in.

At about 3:15, my line started working, and shortly after that the BT engineer turned up - he'd done something down at the exchange. But he also wanted to replace the BT box screwed to my wall, just in case. So he rummaged in his van for a while, then announced that he'd come out without his wire stripper. I offered mine, but it's the Wrong Sort of Stripper.

So off he went again, found another BT engineer who had the right sort of wire stripper. Swapping the box took a couple of minutes, but then he had to go back to the exchange to tell it about the new box.

And so, at about 16:50, just over 24 hours after the outage started, everything was tickety-boo.

This is a 2mbit leased line. They're supposed to be extremely reliable, much more so than consumer-grade broadband.

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