It Either Works or It Doesn’t

These are the brilliant words from Ann, a technician at the Road Runner National Help Desk. Of course, she was responding to my question about whether the 3com Home Connect Cable Modem (aka Tailfin) was discontinued in 2001. I had my cable installed in 2003, and they brought me a used, scratched-up Tailfin.

Fast forward to my present day hell where I have to power cycle said Tailfin several times a day when I want to connect to the Internet. I thought "always on" was part of the reason I'm paying a premium for cable.

All the Tailfin's status lights show the modem is online and operational. I asked Ann whether I should be able to ping the local IP address of the Tailfin. She seemed to think that I should be able to, but she couldn't tell me how. (You know why. That's another department.)

No problem, Ann. I know how to ping it myself. When I ping the Tailfin, I get no response even though all the status lights show the modem is online and operational. That makes me think there might be something wrong with the modem. And the fact that I have to power cycle the damn thing multiple times a day. But, as Ann says, it either works or it doesn't.

Unfortunately for me, Road Runner's definition of "it works" has me in my basement touching networking equipment every time I want to network. The alternative, of course, is to sit on the phone with the very helpful folks at the Road Runner National Help Desk who walk me through step-by-step how to power cycle said equipment. Can you connect to the Internet now? Good, it works! Until I have to call again tomorrow.

According to Ann, all she can do reset the modem. My local office will have to send out a technician to troubleshoot the problem. Right, except the local office already did that. They sent out a very nice guy who scratched his head a lot. Actually, he replaced the cable that went from my house to the pole because "it looked old". It's good to know that Bright House is investing in its employees. Oh, I almost forgot, these poor guys aren't employees. They work for contractors.

If Ann's statement is any indication of Bright House's and Road Runner's standards of service, I can tell them that it definitely doesn't work.