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ZyXEL: "Routing table doesn't update when we change [to a] different remote IP" [Tuesday, 25 March 2008 @ 02:00]
Embarq's High Speed Internet

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Embarq appears to have had some major problems with their routing a few minutes ago (started at 05:19 GMT or 01:19 EDT on the 25th); it appears that the routing problems have now been resolved, and all dhcp addresses in the network were reassigned.

The interesting part about these reassignments is that somehow they break the routing table in some revisions of the authentic modems supplied by Embarq (for example, I have RAS version : V3.40(ACZ.1) |02/13/2006, Product Model : Prestige 660R-D1), where the modem effectively stops working, until you reboot it. This is absolutely unacceptable. ZyXEL knows about this problem (Routing table doesn’t update when we change different remote IP .(ENET ENCAP). is one of the Known Issues in the release notes of the latest firmware for P-660R-D1 from ftp.us.zyxel.com), and Embarq better know about it, too.

Yet on multiple occasions I've had to deal with this major inconvenience, and was not able to remotely access my systems back at home at the times I needed them most.

The most irritating instance of this was when I've upgraded from the 3.0Mbps to the 5.0Mbps package back in January 2008, by calling Embarq from Canada. I was told that the upgrade would be done the next day, and I confirmed that the service would not be interrupted, yet several minutes after my call my service was stalled for many hours, until someone was there to reboot the modem. (Interestingly, the modem did update my dyndns entry with the new ip address each time this reassignment occurred, and it does appear to respond to pings, but otherwise it remains disconnected from the internet until a subsequent reboot.)

At the same time, when this stuff happened, I tried calling Embarq's technical support. In the old days, I remember that one time Sprint even changed some of my private settings in my 645 without my permission, making some parts of my local network inoperable (they've removed an alias from my local interface). On the contrast, right now the technical representatives claim that they don't even have the right to reboot the modem!

Excuse me, but if your modems stop functioning after you change their ip-addresses, and require subsequent reboots, why must I live with the consequence of not being able to access my systems due to the fact that some internal policies were previously so disrespectful of privacy that now they were made so strict as to prohibit the representatives from having a basic functionality that is needed to preserve the functioning of the end points of the network?

This experience of mine is not based on a single ten minute call. I've called multiple times, on several occasions, each time I asked to speak with a supervisor, and spoke with someone claiming to be one, yet every time they have insisted that they currently do not have a way of remotely rebooting the modems. I've had quite a lengthy chat with someone who claimed that previously they indeed had the possibility of doing remote configuration changes and reboots, but due to privacy issues, such functionality was discontinued. On other occasion, when I was already familiar with the above ZyXEL's "known issue", I've tried mentioning it to the representative, of which he was somewhat sceptical and disbelieving.

Just to make it clear -- this post is not about me losing the ip address of my box. I use dyndns services, and my address is automatically updated in the dns every time it changes. I wanted to purchase a static ip feature at the original sign up of the service from Embarq, but the representatives in the local store were not familiar with the feature. After the signup, I also considered purchasing a static ip separately, however, there were no options to purchase it electronically, so I gave up. Moreover, the static ip feature doesn't provide a custom reverse dns record, so it is even less useful considering the trouble of getting it. If there would've been an option of getting multiple static ip addresses with custom reverse dns records, all of which could be ordered online, I'd go for it. This post is not about static ips, however, but about a technical problem with employed equipment that remains very visibly ignored.
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Cancelling the voice service, and then trying to get the updated ADSL prices [Monday, 28 January 2008 @ 17:43]
Embarq's High Speed Internet

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I called in on the 28th December 2007 to cancel my voice service. The original representative tried to convince me that it is not possible to have the internet service without the ‘local’ service. After a very lengthy discussion, and my numerous requests to speak with a supervisor, I was insistently told that a supervisor that can help me was busy, but that she will recall me later on. Since such promised recalls have never occurred in my previous experience with Sprint / Embarq, I had to ask for a specific and direct phone number, such that I can call the supervisor myself.

I was given some phone number with a local area code which connected me directly to the supervisor (after a few tries :). When I was finally connected, the supposed supervisor told me that she just finished putting my order for cancelling the voice service, and I will have the 44.95 3.0/640 stand-alone package starting from 3rd January 2008. (This supervisor was pretty nice, BTW, although not too knowledgeable regarding my questions of how much my total bills are going to be after taxes.)

So now I receive a bill, dated 13th January 2008. The bill went down from 75.37 to 43.11, although I expected it to be even lower for the first month, since there would be a reimbursement for the Local service charges worth about 10 days. So it turned out that I was charged a Local toll carrier change and Long distance carrier change! How can they possibly charge these fees if I no longer have a (real) phone number? Obviously doesn't make any sense!

So today I've tried calling Embarq to get rid of the overcharge, and also get the 5 dollar reduction on the new DSL prices, since the rollout of the 10Mbps package. From the 1-888-723-8010 menu, I selected the home phone service option, since the internet option was called "internet technical support" (although later I discovered that it had a sales sub-menu, too). The first guy that I was connected to was quite surprised by me not having a phone service (he even openly asked me how long have I had the internet without a phone). He said that he fixed the carrier change charges. When I asked about the new DSL prices, he hesitated, and said that another department handles those. After connecting me with some other representative, they were still unwilling to offer the new prices, even if I would choose to switch from 3.0 to 5.0 package. The call lasted about 40 minutes.

After having some break, I called 1-888-723-8010 once again, but this time I've selected the internet technical support option, HSI availability and sales suboption. Was connected to an agent almost immediately, before the end of the "all agents are busy" recording was muttered. ;) After talking to the agent, she convinced me that the option of the 39.95 for 3.0 was not available to me. After a few tries, I asked if the 5.0 would also cost me the old 54.95 price, but was informed that the 5.0 would run for only 49.95. I confirmed that it is only going to be a 5 dollar increase for me, and that no voice service is going to be required. So there it was, finally, from my own suggestion, I had the service I was looking for! I also confirmed that there would be no interruption of the serice, no new contracts or termination fees (since my original 1-year contract was up, it is all on a month-to-month basis now, as I was told) etc. Well, I hope they'll deliver! :)
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unannounced changes in Embarq—My Account—Pay Bill [Thursday, 27 December 2007 @ 15:16]
Embarq's High Speed Internet

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I always pay my Embarq bills online, using Embarq Pay Bill eChecking option. The way these things work, is that you give your banking information to the payment system once, and afterwords you simply initiate payments against the banking information that you have given previously.

The due date being soon, I've just logged into my Embarq account. To my surprise, after selecting to pay the bill, the only option in the "Payment Method" is now called "Enter New Bank Account Information". Considering that I have already given such account information to their web-site more than a year ago, and was using the Pay Bill service every month ever since, this is hardly acceptable without a prior notification, which I've never received.

Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that Embarq has decided to switch from their in-house payment solution to that of speedpay.com, apparently losing all previous account information. Did it ever occur to Embarq that it would be nice to notify their customers about such change? Obviously not. An unexpected change of this sort is specifically "nice" if you are on a trip of some kind, and don't have the account information handy.
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Embarq goes naked DSL [Wednesday, 5 December 2007 @ 23:02]
Embarq's High Speed Internet


Embarq uses ‘naked DSL’ to slow line loss:

I was very happy to hear this news a few days ago! Unfortunately, this comes at a time when I'm about to move to an area without Embarq, so I'm still undecided if I should cancel my phone service immediately, or leave it for a few more weeks&hellip In any case, this is a wonderful news for every Embarq subscriber, worthy of celebrating by means of creating a new community! :)

Please, feel free to drop a few comments in this thread on your experience in cancelling the phone service to go with naked DSL. Both good and bad!
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