Learning Uruguay

Every day brings ????

Technical update for the geeks

Posted by urufish on October 20, 2007

Sometime ago, I wrote about internet here.  I rated the two providers, Antel and Dedicado pretty much even.  It’s time to revise that.

As you know, I work from home.  I consider my work pretty important.  I’m sure my employer considers it important enough that they rely on me to be reachable and workable 24/7 and to be there during my regular hours, because other people rely on me.  Because of that, I have redundant connections in the house.  One from Antel and one from Dedicado.  Until last week, both performed equally well.  But this past week, Antel has definitely pulled ahead.

Most of us who use the internet, measure the quality of our connection subjectively.  We’ll say things like yesterday was creal crappy.  Or today it was unusuaually fast.  Because of the work that I do, I am familiar with LAN and WAN management but until recently, I’ve never applied it to myself.  Usually, I get involved with connectivity management when there’s a problem with the corporate LAN/WAN.  But this week, I’ve had to deploy those tools here on my connection. 

Early last week, we had bad weather.  I heard stories that Dedicado doesn’t like bad weather.  That during bad weather, its service worsens.  I never found that myself.  Not even sure I found it this past week, but I sure did find something. 

Starting late Monday or Tuesday, I started to get outages that lasted 2-3 seconds.  To most people, in most applications, this isn’t a big deal.  But in my job, I’m connected via a couple of technologies that get upset when things go dark for a few seconds.  I also take calls, mostly from staff.  Losing speech for 2-3 seconds on and off isn’t an ideal way to communicate. 

So I downloaded one of my favourite tools, a product from Visualware which measures several aspects of the connection in real time, and allows you to slice and dice it to analyze it.  The most interesting day was Thursday with Dedicado.  My service is 512/512 (like Glen’s).  When I first got it, I ran a day of tests and it pretty much delivered what it promised.  But Thursday was a treat.  When I sat down at my desk, first thing I noticed was my PBX connection was gone.  So I logged back in.  By the time I’d booted up, it was gone again.   When I ran the connection diags, I was getting 48kb down and 250kb up.  Jitter was all over the place.  Packet loss was 1-2%.  To us geek types, this is interesting, but nothing particularly unusual for a crappy connection.  Rather than call Dedicado and complain, I had work to do..  So I switched over to Antel and that was the end of that.

But I kept monitoring the Dedicado connection and the strangest thing was going on.  The quality of the connection (a combination of all the measurement features), was slowly going up.  And I mean slowly..   Over a period of 10 hours, it climbed all the way up to around 170kb downstream…  nearly 400kb upstream.  On Friday morning, I turned back on and voila, everything was back to normal.  high 4’s up and down..  0% packet loss.  No jitter to speak of..  Weird….. 

I’ll be running these diags now 24/7 for the next month.  I find it interesting.   

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