|Who's responsible for internet problems?|
Bad internet access problems
I've ended up in the middle of a cable supplier vs hosting company mess that's kind of interesting. I live where cable access is supplied by one company and they have a monopoly on the system. We also have dial-up available through another supplier. I have 30 web sites of my own and clients that I host, 15 on the west coast and 15 on the east coast.
If I try to access the server on the east coast through the cable company there is a glitch between the cable system and the servers on the east coast. What this means is that all of my sites located in the east are either extremely (30 seconds to minutes to load a page) slow or dead altogether. Occassionally they work the way they should. Using dial-up at the same time these sites are fine, proving that it's not a problem on the servers end (we have confirmed this).
The cable company refuses to accept responsibility for this stating:
"As to how you get these problems corrected, There are no good answers. As to who is actually responsible for solving these problems, that belongs to the owner of the domain name. The next one in line is the hosting service. Whomever you choose to host the sites should ensure that their IP classes are accessible from the Internet, and should track down any problems. This is why they get paid to host web sites in the first place. They are supposedly providing a reliable connection to the net (indirectly) and should become very concerned when this breaks down."
Here's the delema, the hosting company feels that the service they are providing as hosts is working correctly so this isn't their problem (and I tend to agree). They also feel that being a web site developer I shouldn't have to know how to solve these problems and I tend to agree with this as well. This same hosting company to their credit is looking into the matter even though they believe the access provider is responsible for providing service.
My feeling is the cable provider is being paid to provide access to the internet and since I am having problems accessing some of the internet through their system it is their responsibility.
Unfortunately for me one of their terms and conditions is:
"We reserve the right to terminate/restrict any access at any time for any reason. Our sole liability will be the refund of any unused portion of the monthly and/or modem rental fees; we make no claim as to providing guaranteed minimum/constant bandwidth and service may vary subject to subscriber usage".
Anyways, bottom line is my business is being affected drastically at this point, the cable company has a lousy attitude about this because they have a monopoly and some of my clients are getting upset because they and many customers cannot use their web sites.
Any ideas? We are beginning to look at the legal side of this but I can imagine this could be very expensive.
>clients are getting upset because they and many customers cannot use their web sites.
okephoto, if it were just you and no one else had a problem it would be one thing, but if several clients and many customers can't use the sites, I can't imagine it's because of the connection, it's because of the server they're on.
I had a similar problem with a site that was much to slow - at times, even affecting uploading files - at a host that has many boxes they lease. I didn't even bother writing to just report it because they'd write back with the standard response saything they just checked and it's fine. Instead, I wrote telling them about that and another problem or two, and said I believe it was because they had too many sites crammed onto one that it was laboring under the load. I also stated that if the site can't be accessed, especially by search engine spiders, it might as well not be on he net altogether.
I requested a change to another with a reasonable load, asking for return info asap to remedy the situation. In about 3 days I was notified that the site was move for me and the IP number kept the same, with an apology for the inconvenience. That is exactly what the problem was.
No, he did not admit it at all of course not. But neither did he deny it. Sometimes you can't ask, you have to tell them what the problem is to avoid weeks of email discussion.
If it's you, your clients and customers as well, it sounds to me like it's likely to be the host.
Also, okephoto, I don't know about cable, but the routing is different with using different ISPs. If it were only you, it could be a problem along the way, which is a different story. Try running tracert periodically for sites in different locations to see if there's a time-out problem consistently.
The only ones of us affected are the ones using cable. A few times I have had two computers side by side, one on the cable system and the other dial up. The dial up connection is fine, all the sites work properly. The cable connection is very slow or in one case when the cable techie was over here they couldn't access the sites at all through the cable system but dial up was normal. To me this points to the cable access being the problem, not the server. The techie even agreed with this.
The only clients who have complained about the sites being slow are using the same cable provider (a local monopoly). I have had no complaints from anyone using dial up. In two and a half years I have never had any other complaints of this nature.
There is no good solution to your siutation. You probably won't get the cable company to fix the problem.
If it was me, I'd consider switching to a host which *WORKS* with my ISP. No matter who's at fault!
Different story; then. Is it all the same cable company, or different ones in different places?
It's all the same cable company. Yeah, I may have to switch hosts, a huge amount of work but it might be reality.
Thanks for your input.
If it's all the same cable company it may be oversold service in the area and not actually net connections to the sites as such. I know very, very little, but what I understand about cable is that if few in the neighborhood are using it it's great, but once a lot of users start getting on at the same time it can crawl.
I had a similar problem when I was using MSN - it would have been constant busy signals had they not covered it up with making it "appear" connected, but you couldn't navigate anyplace. It happened when they did the rebate deal in the area - everyone and their second cousin got on the net in the neighborhood. Changing dialup numbers helped - can each be used by an unlimited number of people? I really don't know how it works, except there has not been one day of problem since I changed to a new ISP. Did they ever admit anything? Nope- stock answer check your settings. However it works, they oversold and taxed their capabilities beyond their limits.
I seriously doubt that the cable company would actually admit it. My host didn't admit anything, they just moved the site immediately as a "courtesy."
Another question is when this behavior shosw up, does it affect other sites. If they've really oversold cable access, it seems like that would affect a lot of browsing, and not just one set of sites.
This glitch hits my sites and a few others only. Typically all other web sites are very fast.
I think we (myself, the ISP and the host) have all agreed that it's a glitch somewhere between the cable company in British Columbia and where the servers are located in New Jersey, a string of 14 hops. In other words, not anyones responsibility. It just seems to me that the cable company should be a little concerned about this and follow up a little. My guess is there are only 30 of us using them in this area as they are new. Do they care?
I can't imagine that no one really is responsible to trouble shoot this problem. Maybe it is my problem but I certainly don't have a clue about these matters, I'm a graphics guy, not a techie. All in all I think it's just a service provider that doesn't care about it's customers and has no idea what good customer service is all about.
In my day job we track dozens of sites with various products, but the cheapest and simplest is a variant on trace route.
Look for such tool on tucows or download/shareware/etc.
This is what it does - it pings/trace routes periodically to the same IP address, and calculates the latency between the hops.
These software packages with time (a few days) can pin-point which segment of the trip between your machine and the web site is consistently slow or changing. This would be a sufficient proof in my business case to force the vendor to make corrections, or loose my contract. I do not know your leverage with your vendors.
An other potential problem is --- cable companies are just that - cable companies, and not Internet infrastructure engineers. So some routing issues might have crept in. The persistent trace route will show this too, because routes will change within the cable company's cloud.
okephoto - i had much the same problem with my cable company here in the uk. they explained that they use DNS caching to cache the quickest routes to IP addresses or to choose which POP to route through or something like that (ie, all calls to north america are routed via northPOP, all calls to europe via southPOP and so on).
in theory this should speed up internet access for cable modem users. by default, all internet access to IP addresses will be routed via the cached route.
however, sometimes the cache gets screwed or the quickest (cached) route / POP is unavailable. when this happens the cable system is supposed to find another route in the same way as normal dial-ups do. and if it can't do this, then users can only get a DNS error.
perhaps someone can tell me if that is right or if they were feeding a load of cr*p?