Now to start off with, I believe I would be considered a pretty easy going person in many circumstances. Dealing with boneheaded tech support might not be one of them.

Take for example my recent interaction with TELUS tech support. Despite having my name, address, account number, phone number, and a few other details, this particular tech support agent seemed to have a big problem finding my account. That should have been a clue.

After explaining I’m seeing my TELUS router reboot several times; loss of wireless and other connectivity, by the time it comes back the router reports like 3 minutes system uptime.

I get to the point he is going to remote to my system to check the settings. Goes like this

[7:05 PM] Lourdes Hi Bill.
[7:05 PM] Lourdes I am now connected.
[7:05 PM] Lourdes Can I use your computer to check your modem settings?
[7:05 PM] Bill there yo go
[7:06 PM] Lourdes Alright, are all those devices connected to the modem yours?

Now to be fair we have more than a few things here. 6 computers (at least), 2 ipads, 2 iphones, and android, a couple printers, a web cam, Apple TV and 3 TELUS boxes at a quick count.

[7:06 PM] Bill yes,
[7:07 PM] Lourdes Alright that seems a lot of devices sharing your internet bandwidth.
[7:07 PM] Lourdes That is where the issue.
[7:07 PM] Lourdes Are you aware of bandwidth sharing?

Now Johnny Sunshine here as jumped to the solution without much of a grasp of the facts.. the TELUS device is restarting.. I try and get it back to that.

[7:08 PM] Bill not a bandwidth issue
[7:08 PM] Bill loss of connectivity
[7:08 PM] Bill System Up Time: 0d, 0h, 35m
DSL Link Up Time: 0d, 0h, 33m

The uptime is clearly indicated in the web interface on the TELUS device I am logged into and he is looking at remotely via my screen. But now I’m going to get a little customer education

[7:09 PM] Lourdes If you have multiple devices and they are all using wired and/or wireless connection, they are sharing your internet bandwidth. Bandwidth sharing means all your devices (For example : computers, smartphones, tablets and game consoles) including the Optik TV boxes are sharing the internet bandwidth. Let’s say you signed up for High Speed with up to 25.0 Mbps. You will not enjoy the full speed if all your devices are using the internet bandwidth. It will split the bandwidth depending on the usage of each device. Now, regardless of signal strength, if you don’t have enough bandwidth for the other device to browse the internet, you still get an internet connection but unable to browse or slows down. The best solution in this case is to make sure that you turn off other devices not being used as it may have some programs running the internet bandwidth and remains connected to the network. Some internet activities can also slow down your connection, this includes but not limited to streaming online videos (Netflix, Youtube), playing onlines games, downloading huge files such as music, videos.
[7:09 PM] Bill unless the router is runnig out of resources like nat translations and crashing
[7:10 PM] Lourdes Changing the NAT settings on the router also affects your router’s performance.
[7:10 PM] Lourdes Remember that your Optik TV boxes are also using your internet bandwidth.

I mention the other impact, not just non-response but actually going offline

[7:10 PM] Bill The wireless connections are actually dropping not a low bandwidth issue
[7:10 PM] Bill My Ipad goes off wireless onto 3G for example

I mention wireless and get another ‘education’

[7:11 PM] Lourdes There are a number of variables that could be causing your wireless network’s signal quality to fluctuate so dramatically or disconnect from time to time. One of the biggest and simplest factors affecting range is the number of walls, ceilings or other objects that the wireless signals must pass through. Your wireless output signal ranges, depending on the types of materials and background RF (radio frequency) noise in your home or business. Most dwellings made of wood and sheet rock are not too restricting, but a building made of steel and concrete can cause considerable interference.

[7:11 PM] Lourdes Most wireless modems and routers transmit on a frequency range of 2.4 GHz which is the same as many cordless telephones. If your wireless modem is situated near a cordless phone base station, there is the potential for interference between the two devices. Ideally, it would be best to have them not in the same room together but at the very least, we would suggest having them no less than 6 feet away from each other.

The key to maximizing your wireless signal range is to follow these basic principles:
– Keep the number of walls and ceilings the signal must pass through to a minimum: Each wall or ceiling can rob your wireless products of range. By limiting the number of obstacles between your PCs and modem, you can greatly increase your signal strength.
– Building Materials make a difference: A solid metal door or aluminum studs may have a negative effect on range. Try to positioning your wireless devices so that the signal passes through drywall or open doorways and not other materials.
– Keep your wireless devices at least 3-6 feet away from electrical devices that generate RF noise, like microwave ovens, electric motors, UPS units, computer monitors, TV sets, other sources of high voltage electrical appliances.
– If you are using 2.4GHz cordless phones or other wireless devices, your wireless connection can degrade dramatically or drop completely. Any device operating on the 2.4Ghz frequency can interfere with your wireless network.

[7:12 PM] Lourdes Those are the factors that can affect your wireless other than your bandwith which can cause this issue.

So not only am I using too much bandwidth, my house is built wrong or perhaps I’ve got a high voltage transformer next to the TELUS device in question.

Starts to feel like a turing test and I’m losing, and, predictably start losing it.

[7:12 PM] Bill I don’t need you pasting in stuff from WIkipedia about RF preformance

Undaunted our little junior network engineer continues..

[7:12 PM] Lourdes I would recommend you change your wireless channel after the modem reset.
[7:12 PM] Lourdes If issue persists, please continue to monitor your connection with only 4 devices 1 wired and 1 wireless and the other 2 Optik TV boxes.
[7:13 PM] Lourdes This way we can eliminate the issue of bandwidth.

Can you eliminate the issue of the Router showing 30 min uptime???

[7:13 PM] Bill I dont’ need to eliminate the bandwidht issue
[7:13 PM] Bill this is of no help at all

Apparently not, and the interaction doesn’t get any better.

[7:14 PM] Lourdes Okay, if you are unable to troubleshoot the bandwidth, we can proceed with resetting the router and reconfigure the wireless and change the channel.
[7:14 PM] Bill don’t bother, your wasting my time

At this point I just need to treat it like hanging up on a telemarketer… I don’t appologize for that either, your a dude in a call center taking about something that is of no help to me.. hangup time.

I did find it interesting on how fast he could search Wikipedia tho…

3 thoughts on “The Tech Chat Turing Test

  1. Heh … good stuff Bill. I’ve often wondered if the big corporations don’t even have Call Display! From my perspective this stuff is diagnostic … symptomatic of a society that’s based on 80/20 mentality, settling for what often works for most things most of the time.

    But say, I want to ask you about plugin for harvesting Tweets. What plugin are you using?
    Mine died in 2012 … I assume because Twitter changed something in API.
    Can haz?

    cya during the game!
    –ben

    p.s. I notice that heh kinda like not having Call Display … since this is a WordPress blog, it could recognize me, no? or maybe that’s just for WP.com? anywhoo … cya

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