This post shall try to enumerate the issues faced by me and a fellow compatriot/broadband user.
For the last 4.5 to 5 years except for the last 6 months or so I had been a somewhat happy BSNL broadband unlimited user/consumer. Last 6 months since my machine had been giving trouble and coincidentally I had been on and off on the move I had disconnected my broadband connection.
This time around about 2 months back when I came back I applied to BSNL for a broadband connection (new). The sweet lady at the counter said it would take anywhere from 2-3 weeks to avail a broadband connection. Because this was not acceptable to me I started hunting around for a temporary broadband solution for a month or so. In my hunt, somehow I landed at an MTS’s stockist. For those who are unaware, if you are ever see an ad. proclaiming high-speed Internet and the logo is in the shape of an egg with a red background, that’s MTS . http://www.mtsinida.com .
Anyways purchased the Wireless modem and set it up on a friend’s lappy as the modem works only on Windows (as advertised on the box). Hunted around the web (googled) and landed at Abhishek Srivastava’s blog post as how it works under Ubuntu . Same things and I was a happy surfer for the time being.
What I did not know at that point is it doesn’t work at advertised. First of all, the FUP i.e. Fair Usage Policy is given in the brochure in small letters unlike say Airtel or some others. This was the reason I came to MTS rather than go to Airtel or/and Reliance. This is breach of trust.
The second thing which I realized as the days went on, is that on the week-end I am unable to connect. Let me be more correct, I was able to connect to MTS’s site, wikipedia and in.yahoo.com and perhaps cricinfo.com but no other site. This phenomena I observed all the 4 weeks till the connection I had. The connection used to go out every Friday evening and come back either on Monday late evening or Tuesday late afternoon or something. So of the 31 promised days, I was able to surf only 31 – 3*4 = 19 days. That is truly pathetic. So here’s what I tried to do about it.
I rang up the MTS Customer Complaint Number 9146126126 is toll-free only if one has MTS Mobile. I used both my land-line and my cell-phone and waited 10 mins but music is running and nobody answered. I also tried their previous number 9145126126 but same, apply apply no reply.
I talked with two-three representatives of MTS India – a Mr. Mahesh – 91460000372 . He seems to be an agent for a company or something. Anyway he did try to help me but was no help at all. We called the number and got through in around 20 mins. Here another shocker was waiting for me. They can take the complaint but there is no docket number or nothing they could give me to assure that a complaint has been taken. I also spoke with an MTS Technical person a Mr. Sudesh – 9146000372 but again no satisfactory response.
The only saving grace in the whole affair is that I could use this expensive proposition when I am roaming (i.e. going to some place if need be) although they are also not clear with what the roaming charges are ?
While I was going through these travails of mine, I came across another compatriot/fellow traveler who’s also a heavy broadband user, a Mr. Prayag Porwal. Mr. Porwal lives around 500 metres from my home and he’s a National Petroleum dealer/stockist. He maintains a portal on the product and hence need to be exclusively online all the time updating and getting updates from dealers and other people and getting stock movements. So for him, being online is as much important as me or/and perhaps more as his turnover runs into millions and lot of people are dependant on him . (Unlike me).
He had actually tried all of them, he had tried MTS, Tata, IDEA and BSNL – all wireless broadband solutions, both on GSM and CDMA platforms. The only one he hasn’t tried is Airtel and he confirmed the same finding. Usually on week-ends MTS goes to sleep and doesn’t wake till couple of days next week. He had another shocker for me. He had bought Tata’s wireless solution as Tata’s antennae is just in front of his house, he still cannot get connected. The device shows full range but somehow no connectivity. Of course for such issues you can’t get the device replaced, you have to repurchase the damn thing.
Now I come to BSNL http://www.bsnl.in For the last 5 years or so I had been using and touting the DSL-502T (a D-Link product) while BSNL had been giving users the Huawei’s and UTStar’s and now Teracom modems. The first two are products of Chinese Companies and don’t really know the status of Teracom. They do have a site http://www.teracom.in . At that point in time when I had to purchase a router/modem I had chosen D-Link as they have a factory in Goa and some of the money would go into Indian hands. Also D-Link (should I say Cache Tech in particular) has a Technical support centre off J.M.Road (about 200 -250 metres from my place) . This is slightly aside from the main story/incident but still relevant as will become clear as things progress.
I should really commend a Mr. Dinesh and the rest of the Cache -Tech maintenance Department People. The Staff is just not knowledgable but also cordial to boot. The modem – router I had purchased about 5-6 years back and still they gave me after-sales service free of charge. Mr. Sudhir almost 3-4 hours even going to the extent of taking out the Cache-Tech office communications router and putting my simple router in state to prove its not a hardware issue. The D-Link after-sales support is actually near Kothrud. They also have on-site consultation scenarios, the charges seem okish, I guess.
What is interesting also is that D-Link has now splintered into DigiLink and Digisol. Some would say it was just a partnership and it survived for as long as possible. How does it affect firms as Cache Tech are concerned I don’t know.
Cache-Tech at least for me would have a strong pull when I decide my next router/modem for my networking needs.
A Mr. Dinesh of D-Link Technical support took my modem/router, tested it fully, went to the main sales office and took out the modem/router which was there and put mine in. I didn’t get to see which modem/router they had as it was on a high shelf but I was able to see the Ethernet light blinking (which means traffic is moving) and I was able to surf to whatever local IP they had set to the modem/router. Tata Indicom has a different/separate local IP it needs (192.168.1.1 doesn’t work or something, don’t know) or perhaps it might be a security policy as almost every Tom, Dick and Harry knows the default IP Address. In any case the hardware was not the connection issue.
Back to the main story though . After giving 2-3 applications (in writing) I finally got the username and password. As the settings and everything were there already in the router/modem I thought it should be a no-brain affair and i would be off and running in no time. Was I to be shocked (again). Even after giving the user id and password it didn’t work. For trouble-shooting purposes changed the settings in the router/modem from PPPoE/A to Bridged mode and tried dialing out. Got an error saying that the username and password is wrong.
D-Link router issues :-
The D-Link router/modem does have another issue which I do not know has been improved upon or not in the new version, if one connects through windows, and then comes into GNU/Linux the connection stays. If one tries connecting from GNU/Linux (from scratch) the router/modem doesn’t respond. Which means I need MS-Windows. It also tends to get a bit hot.
Anyways, on MS-Windows it gave me Error 678. I would like to know if people have tried the slightly newer version GLB-802C connecting from Debian/Ubuntu/FreeBSD anything other than MS-Windows and what their experience has been as far as connection is concerned.
Meeting Mr. Alexander, the point man for BSNL broadband in Shivaji Nagar Exchange was also fruitless. He blamed the router/modem as saying it probably is not good or something. Here I have to really say that the D-Link people really outdid themselves.
Then Mr. Alexander, who had been wanting to send a technical guy from day 1 told me this is the only solution. I relented and waited for couple of days for the Technical guy to show up. Of course, for technical trouble-shooting all these services are outsourced. The Technical guy showed up on the 3rd day and was somebody else than the one promised. Anyways, we tried my device first, after struggling with it for sometime (it has become slow and sometimes doesn’t respond as it should, modem-routers are supposed to be on 24*7 and not on and off like I had been doing.) Then we tried a Teracom modem, he had bought a 4-port ethernet router modem with a 802.11g wireless access point modem, good to see. Again, the modem/router was in bridged mode so had to do nothing just use the already made connection in MS-Windows and still no go. The username and password was wrong. We tried again and again and still the same issue. Then he called up few numbers – a NIB Bangalore number as well and came to know that the connection is pending. This is where the status quo is as of today, I either buy an expensive but not so good MTS connection or otherwise wait for broadband to come or a third remote option is of using a lame 56 Kbps internal modem and wait for things to improve (again an expensive and frustrating experience.)
Blogging from a cafe in the interim. In conclusion I would like to link to Matthew’s Carley’s interview which also says some of the same points. Over and out for now.