Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

My DSL Signal Slows Down

by Dennis D. McDonald

I first noticed the problem about a week ago. My iTunes streaming radio channels stopped working. I listen to various channels most of the day in my office when I'm not on the phone, usually a mix of electronica, ambient, classical, jazz, and lounge music. But every time a station started playing, it immediately stopped and a "rebuffering" message appeared as the audio stream reloaded. This happened repeatedly, with every channel, on all three of the machines I have at home (two connecting wireless, one -- iMac -- connected via an ethernet cable directly to the modem/router).

I tried rebooting the machines. No luck. Turning the modem/router on/off for the suggested 15 seconds also didn't work. I even crawled behind the desk to make sure the digital filter was plugged in directly to the phone line feeding my office phone and answering machine (this is happening on my main business line). No change.

OK, I figured, this is temporary and will sort itself out. I waited a few days, and nothing happened. Then when I worked with my Podcast Roundtable colleague Robyn Tippins to set up a three way podcast with blogger Iyzy Sabo in Israel using the GIZMO web VOIP service, I realized that something was amiss -- I could hear them but they couldn't hear me correctly. I was also having trouble downloading large files (e.g., an iTunes update, and a sample software application to test).

I called Verizon technical support. Quickly and efficiently they walked me through a few tests and verified, yes, you are definitely not getting the speed you are paying for. They advised a service visit.

Within 24 hours a Verizon technician arrived. First he checked the outside connections. Everything was OK. Then he came inside and checked the connection to the router. Everything OK. His conclusion -- the router was the problem. (Of course, the warranty had expired last November.)

So I called Verizon and ordered a new wireless router ($49.95 with an annual  subscription). I'm now waiting for the modem and my new set-up experiences which I shall recount in a follow up to this.

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