[Update: For a slightly less “just-after-the-incident” version of events here’s a copy of an e-mail I sent off… And also to let you know that all things in quotes in the text below are paraphrases, not direct quotes…]
WOW… I’ve just been amazed by differing levels of support for one product. For just over 2 weeks I’ve been regularly disconnected from my iBurst connection. Oddly enough it seems to happen when I’m busy processing the stats for my website. I guess my PC is doing stacks of DNS requests to resolve IP addresses to domain names.
Anyway, I’ve been calling the WBS iBurst support line… My first complaint – They take about 5 minutes to answer and while on hold you get 10 second snippets of cool music with a 5 second “ad” for WBS, then 10 seconds of music again and another 5 second “ad”… They have a total of 4 “ads”. So after 5 minutes I don’t give a damn about the fact that they’re the network provider for the national lottery, that you can get connected immediately after you’ve signed up, that their SMTP server is smtp.wbs.co.za, and I certainly don’t want to hear one more time that they’re sorry for keeping me on hold. The hold process almost makes me more frustrated than their poor support.
My second complaint is the lack of technical knowledge that the support guys show. Their solutions to me are one of the following: “Reboot your PC”, “Disconnect and reconnect your iBurst” and “Your MTU settings are wrong”. Now since this only started happening about 2 weeks ago and I haven’t changed my MTU settings since I got iBurst 3 months ago I don’t think that’s the problem but they insist that I check each time and their tone with me sounds like they think I’m just being stupid for even suggesting that it might not be the MTU setting. The other two solutions are just not good enough since up until two weeks ago I’ve been able to be connected for days on end without needing to do either of the two.
Oh… one time I was asked if I had any spyware software on my PC… so I said “No, I don’t” and the guy said “well then that’s it. You must go get some spyware software to remove it from your PC”… How silly of me! Here I’ve been running ANTI-spyware software to remove it! Needless to say I wasn’t impressed with the support guy.
Today I called in and I spoke to Porschia (not sure on the spelling, but that’s how it sounded) for the 3rd time in 2 weeks, this time she told me that “The disconnection problem has been ongoing for a long time and they have minimised it but not solved it completely”. So I’m just supposed to accept that. I told her that it only started for me in the past 2 weeks so MAYBE she should pass that info on to some high level support guy because whatever they changed in the last 2 weeks is what’s causing the problem.
At that point I gave up and called FusionReactor (who sold me the iBurst) and WOW what a difference. If you bought your iBurst connection from them, do yourselves a favour and never call WBS directly again… ever. Call the FusionReactor guys (I used their 0860 387 466 number)… I spoke to Craig, who told me that perhaps it was my signal. I thought “Oh crap, they’re worse than WBS” and told him that my signal strength monitor said I had over 90% signal… He responded by telling me that the iBurst modem uses 3 channels and the signal strength that the modem reports is just the one channel. So it might see the base station perfectly but not be getting signal on one of the other channels. He asked for my username and immediatly said – “oh I see you’re definately having problems”. He was looking at my connection history and could see how often I’ve been disconnected. He ran through the Anti-spyware check and a few others showing far more understanding of everything.
Eventually I found out that our network guys at work have via a “Windows Policy” (or something like that) disabled the windows firewall, so my PC has been connected directly to the internet via iBurst without firewall for an unknown amount of time. I have no way to re-enable it because the windows firewall control panel thingy has everything grayed out and a little message at the top telling me that I can’t do anything because my network admins have stopped me from changing settings in it.
So I told Craig that I’d setup another firewall on my PC and I’d see if it fixes it, and he said he’d try find out if there’s anything else that could be wrong and he’d let me know.
One phone call, great help, excellent attitude, no waiting, no fuss and I feel like my problem has been attended to and I’m happy!
Why can’t WBS do the same? Oh well… at least I’ve learned now – WBS sucks but FusionReactor and iBurst rules.