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PSA: Call Before You Dig!
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PSA: Call Before You Dig!

raindog308raindog308 Administrator

Yesterday about 10:30am my Internet went out. I did the usual modem reboot, etc. but no luck.

I called Xfinity and they said “your modem is old and defective. We are looking at logs and can see the errors from it.” I was skeptical but the agent said “I guarantee you this is the problem and promise this will fix it.”

Bold words! So I drove to the Xfinity store and swapped it. Came back, cabled it up, and…no joy. Called back (guarantees and promises broken!) and they say they have to send a technician out. It was an hour of twisting arms to get a next-day appointment. I thought they should be here in 15 minutes, but whatever.

Then about 4pm a contractor who’s fixing part of my backyard fence says “I’m done for the day. Oh, and I think I may have cut some kind of cable in the ground…”

Besides the fact that all that modem log-reading would be what some might term fiction, a reminder to all: Call Before You Dig!

Thanked by 2Liso SLMob

Comments

  • coldcold Member

    I had a similar problem, they changed my router I think 10 times in 1 year... even if I told them that a cable is damaged... but the technicians said it was the router... in the end they replaced the cable and since, its working perfect

    Thanked by 1raindog308
  • raindog308raindog308 Administrator

    @cold said: I had a similar problem, they changed my router I think 10 times in 1 year.

    Knaves. They're all knaves.

    Thanked by 1cold
  • ralfralf Member
    edited September 9

    Years ago I got an ADSL2 line installed and all was well for a few months and suddenly it stopped working.

    The technicians were adamant it must have been something I'd done, and when I'd followed all their instructions multiple times they begrudgingly sent round an engineer a couple of days later. He confirmed that while the phone line was working, when testing in my house there was no answer from the ADSL at the other end. He went back to the exchange, and found my line wasn't connected to anything. He then rather sheepishly explained that a new engineer had been practising installing ADSL in the exchange and accidentally pulled my card from the rack as well as I was the only person connected to it and he thought it was something he'd connected when testing.

  • james50ajames50a Member
    edited September 9

    Years ago rogers wanted to upgrade the cable line to the house. They dug a big ass hole and swapped out the cable, but on the way down they cut the neighbors bell line. So bell techs come by to fix their line and cut the rogers cable out of spite. Was a headache and a half trying to explain why they needed to send someone out again...

    Tldr sometimes knowing where the cable is ain't the issue.

    Thanked by 2TimboJones Erisa
  • emgemg Member

    We had 2-1/2 km of fiber cable laid between our company's two buildings. The fiber was buried underground along the major roads. A backhoe working along the major road hooked, pulled up, and stretched the cable, killing the connection between the buildings. The majority of the company and its people in one building were dependent on that fiber for access to servers and the internet at the other building.

    It happened around 9:30 in the evening and I was at the site within a few minutes. I never learned why a backhoe was operating at night. I assume it was a damaged water line or an urgent drainage issue. The backhoe stopped immediately, and I could see the black fiber line hooked on one of the prongs of the backhoe's scoop in bottom of the ditch. There were twelve fibers in the bundle. Eight were severed and the other four were badly damaged. There was no slack in the line where the damage occurred.

    Today, there are simple tools for patching broken fiber optic cable. Those new tools make it easy and they are fun to use.

    Back in those days, making a repair like that was nearly impossible. Our company found a specialist in Toronto and got him on a plane to Vancouver. After the best efforts of the expert, four fibers were repaired, four other fibers remained damaged but could be used as backups in an emergency, and four fibers remained broken forever.

    The company was shut down for two days, but survived. Later, we backed up the fiber with a direct microwave link between the buildings. We learned a lot of lessons from that experience, but I do not know if our fiber cable would have been included in someone's "call before you dig" list. It was private, but had been approved by the city, of course.

    Thanked by 1ralf
  • NeoonNeoon Member, Community Contributor

    What you need is an Edge Router X and some cheap LTE router/modem.
    Instant failover.

  • Daniel15Daniel15 Member
    edited September 9

    There's a town near here that only has one fiber optic line for their internet, with only one wired provider (Spectrum). Last year, some construction work accidentally cut the fiber and the entire town was without internet for a few days...

    Get a Firewalla. More expensive than consumer-grade routers, but it's a really nice product. There's an addon product called the "Firewalla Wi-Fi SD" that lets the router use a wifi hotspot (like your phone or another 4G/5G wifi hotspot) when the main internet connection is down, automatically switching back to the main connection once it's up again. I've got their new Firewalla Gold Plus on preorder. It's got four 2.5Gb Ethernet ports which is great because faster speeds are becoming more common in some areas - even Xfinity's cable service goes up to ~1400Mbps down now (it's advertised as 1200Mbps but they usually over provision by 20%).

  • @raindog308 said:
    Besides the fact that all that modem log-reading would be what some might term fiction, a reminder to all: Call Before You Dig!

    This makes total sense. Right up until the cable was fully cut, the fence dude was trampling and damaging it until it went offline. The SNR goes to shit when fucking with the cable and errors occur. So, of course it'll look like eol modem's dying gasp.

    You were being skeptical and didn't want to agree with appropriate action and had to be guaranteed something. You were likely not a good call for the CSR. They have no insight into who is digging in your yard. You actually cost them money with this debacle.

    I'm surprised you're not more annoyed with your careless contractor. When being told he was done for the day after cutting your cables, I'd say, "the fuck you are".

  • @Neoon said:
    What you need is an Edge Router X and some cheap LTE router/modem.
    Instant failover.

    The failover in Ubiquity is buggy, last I checked. Would also be pretty complicated with site-to-site VPN over LTE.

    The direct radio link would definitely be the way to go if it was an option.

  • NeoonNeoon Member, Community Contributor

    @TimboJones said:

    @Neoon said:
    What you need is an Edge Router X and some cheap LTE router/modem.
    Instant failover.

    The failover in Ubiquity is buggy, last I checked. Would also be pretty complicated with site-to-site VPN over LTE.

    The direct radio link would definitely be the way to go if it was an option.

    The Failover worked for me, should try that with openwrt, since its available too.
    You could run all traffic via wireguard tunnel, so the WAN exit doesn't matter.

  • raindog308raindog308 Administrator

    @TimboJones said: You were being skeptical and didn't want to agree with appropriate action and had to be guaranteed something. You were likely not a good call for the CSR.

    I am a perfect gentleman, but I can be annoyingly tenacious.

    Xfinity: "I don't think we have a slot until Monday..."

    Me: "Now, Deepak, I believe you are a problem-solver. I don't think someone rises to the level of supervisor in a multi-billion company like Xfinity without being able to think outside the box and solve unusual problems that come along. Even in the short time I've been talking with you, Deepak, I can sense that you are a leader. Let's roll up our sleeves and solve this problem. How can we get someone here a little sooner? I believe in your, Deepak. This is your time to shine."

    @TimboJones said: They have no insight into who is digging in your yard. You actually cost them money with this debacle.

    I have no doubts that the initial rep I was dealing with was reading from a script. The quality of both his English and comprehension plummeted the moment I asked any question.

    I take it you've never been an Xfinity customer. If so had been, you would have a lot less pity for them. They are, alas, a monopoly here. The actual techs who come out are awesome and truly go the extra mile - just fantastic people. But the CS is a nightmare - tons of non-optional automated "now say" phone greetings to go through, script-reading agents, etc.

    I'm surprised you're not more annoyed with your careless contractor. When being told he was done for the day after cutting your cables, I'd say, "the fuck you are".

    He couldn't fix it

    A neighbor recommended the company, and a middle-aged Hispanic man came out. He spoke excellent English and scoped out the whole project. The guys who showed up to work barely speak English, though they are crackerjack fence guys. This has been a very typical experience with any kind of tradesmen here over the last 20 years. The guy who broke the cable barely speaks English and very apologetic. When mister middle-aged supervisor comes back to collect the check, there will definitely be deductions.

  • raindog308raindog308 Administrator

    In 1999 I was working at a large aerospace company and a contractor stepped on an orange fiber cable in the datacenter. I went in to see why storage was offline and found him standing on it.

    He looked down and said "aw, man, I'm sorry...um, can I splice that together for you?"

    Not unless your skills are truly exceptional.

  • raindog308raindog308 Administrator

    @Neoon said: What you need is an Edge Router X and some cheap LTE router/modem.

    And again only one provider (Verizon) and only 1 to 1.5 bars. I get 5G flickers now and then but it's LTE only, and the signal is not great. I'm on that with a hotspot. An LTE router would be more convenient but for the cost I can't justify it.

    And yes, I am within the city limits of the 26th largest city in the United States. You'd think this was central Alaska.

  • TimboJonesTimboJones Member
    edited September 9

    @raindog308 said:

    @TimboJones said: You were being skeptical and didn't want to agree with appropriate action and had to be guaranteed something. You were likely not a good call for the CSR.

    I am a perfect gentleman, but I can be annoyingly tenacious.

    Xfinity: "I don't think we have a slot until Monday..."

    Me: "Now, Deepak, I believe you are a problem-solver. I don't think someone rises to the level of supervisor in a multi-billion company like Xfinity without being able to think outside the box and solve unusual problems that come along. Even in the short time I've been talking with you, Deepak, I can sense that you are a leader. Let's roll up our sleeves and solve this problem. How can we get someone here a little sooner? I believe in your, Deepak. This is your time to shine."

    @TimboJones said: They have no insight into who is digging in your yard. You actually cost them money with this debacle.

    I have no doubts that the initial rep I was dealing with was reading from a script. The quality of both his English and comprehension plummeted the moment I asked any question.

    I take it you've never been an Xfinity customer. If so had been, you would have a lot less pity for them. They are, alas, a monopoly here. The actual techs who come out are awesome and truly go the extra mile - just fantastic people. But the CS is a nightmare - tons of non-optional automated "now say" phone greetings to go through, script-reading agents, etc.

    I'm surprised you're not more annoyed with your careless contractor. When being told he was done for the day after cutting your cables, I'd say, "the fuck you are".

    He couldn't fix it

    A neighbor recommended the company, and a middle-aged Hispanic man came out. He spoke excellent English and scoped out the whole project. The guys who showed up to work barely speak English, though they are crackerjack fence guys. This has been a very typical experience with any kind of tradesmen here over the last 20 years. The guy who broke the cable barely speaks English and very apologetic. When mister middle-aged supervisor comes back to collect the check, there will definitely be deductions.

    Regardless of your experience with the English challenged, that doesn't change the fact that the symptoms seen by the CSR is more than likely NOT fiction and went out of his way to get you a technician sooner than later. Deepak is practically the only competent party here (you had two opportunities to see that the modem wasn't seeing signal).

  • raindog308raindog308 Administrator

    @TimboJones said: Deepak is practically the only competent party here (you had two opportunities to see that the modem wasn't seeing signal).

    That doesn't make any sense. Modem suddenly said it was offline (upstream light flashing). Power cycling didn't fix. I would expect the CS rep to be able to tell that he couldn't communicate with the box, given that they definitely have the capability to reach out, reboot it, interrogate it, etc.

    If he'd said "we can't connect to it" and replacement was the next logical step, I wouldn't have complained.

    In fact, now that I think back, I read him the MAC address off the bottom of the old router and he said he was "connected", so...

    I didn't write out every detail of the conversation because I didn't think I needed to.

  • emgemg Member

    @raindog308 said:
    In 1999 I was working at a large aerospace company and a contractor stepped on an orange fiber cable in the datacenter. I went in to see why storage was offline and found him standing on it.

    He looked down and said "aw, man, I'm sorry...um, can I splice that together for you?"

    Not unless your skills are truly exceptional.

    Times have changed a lot. The techniques and tooling have evolved to the point where mere mortals can do the work.

    About five years ago, a family member became a sales rep for a company that sold fiber optic splicing equipment. They were very good at sales, but lacked technical skills. They asked me to help them learn how to use and demonstrate the equipment. I got to figure it out, play with it, and helped them learn to use it. I don't know how much the fiber optic splicing tools and equipment cost or how common they are today, but they were easy and fun to use.

    I have worked on projects with fiber optic cables as far back as the mid-1980s. They were incredibly delicate in those days. When we reorganized a facility and had to move the fiber optic cables around in the hung ceilings, we handled them with the utmost care. Still, we lost around 30% of them to damage, despite our best effort. I wondered how they were able to protect them when they were originally installed - lots of testing and replacements, maybe?

    Thanked by 1raindog308
  • trewqtrewq Administrator, Patron Provider

    A couple of weeks ago a vertical drill did a number on one of our dark fibre paths in Sydney. The vendor was onto it quickly but it still took a few days to get light over it again due to the extent of the damage.

  • raindog308raindog308 Administrator

    I never new dark fiber was so dirty. Those must be the lines for pornography.

  • Elon: lmao ok

  • With all those provider tags, I assumed you could have a redundant fiber from at least 2 independent providers, working as MWAN when they are up, falling back to 5G in worst case. Guess not.

  • @emg said:
    They were incredibly delicate in those days. When we reorganized a facility and had to move the fiber optic cables around in the hung ceilings, we handled them with the utmost care.

    Yeah, it's crazy now. I have FTTP and it's literally just fibre inside a bit of plastic that's strung up form my house to a telegraph pole 50m away where it goes down the pole and into the underground conduit to the cabinet up the road. They're all like that round here and mine is one of the closer ones to the cabinet. Amazes me that they can swing in the wind like that and not snap.

  • Only thing that shocked me here is that you did not connect the dots yourself.
    My internet went down, modem/router complains about connection, I have a contractor in the backyard digging.

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