Adventures with tech support

. . . whilst transferring from ADSL to ADSL 2+

Because we live in regional Australia, our preferred ISP has only been offering ADSL 2+ connections since the beginning of this month. It offers 20 GB/month more download for $20/month less and is faster, so why wouldn’t we want it???

I have learned a number of things in the last couple of days, which I offer for the edification of others.

  • Belkin does its tech support out of a call centre in India. (Most companies with off-shore call centres for Australia use Malaysia rather than India).
  • When you upgrade to ADSL 2+, you also need to upgrade your splitter/s (line filter/s) or you will start getting line noise on your telephone.
  • All things being equal, it is better for one person to do all the communication with the tech support.  If either I had spoken to both TPG Soul and Belkin, or Hugh had, we could have solved our problems somewhat faster.
  • Apparently, some people who ring Belkin do not know how to open Internet Explorer!! I received a major accolade from my friendly tech support person because by the fifth time I had reconfigured the router, I could do it without any instructions.
  • Your ADSL 2+ ready modem/router may nevertheless require a firmware upgrade to deal with some peculiarity of your particular ISP. The person at the other end of the phone may not think of this if you don’t ask because s/he is dealing with calls from people running a huge variety of hardware and there are other people taking calls in the same room and s/he is only human. I really wouldn’t like to work in a call centre.
  • It is very frustrating that you can’t get onto the same support person each time you ring, because you can’t apologise for making a mistake which kept both of you on the phone for quite some time making unnecessary tests.
  • A handsfree phone and a laptop are quite useful if you have more than one phone socket in your house.
  • Even if you don’t buy your modem/router through your ISP, it is helpful to buy a model that they support. This means you don’t have to ring the modem/router manufacturer as well as the ISP.

So, we now have faster internet, but the connection keeps dropping out. Hugh is of the opinion that we need a new router. He could be right.  Looking at the box that this one came in (it is only about 6 months old), it appears that he should have selected the model that is suitable for high definition video, online gaming, high bandwidth applications and VoIP products, rather than the one that he came home with which is two levels down from this and only useful for surfing the web, emailing and instant messaging. The intermediate version is good for streaming music and videos from the Web, file sharing and transferring photos. With a degree in computer science,  you would think that he would make wiser hardware choices to support his preferred internet usage, wouldn’t you. 🙂

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