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How Much Does Your Work Depend on the Internet? 322

malord asks: "I work for a small company that has recently had problems finding a stable internet connection. It started when we moved our office in order to upgrade our connection speed. We decided to go with cable internet through Comcast, since they offered the best speed for the price and told us that it would be available before we moved. Unfortunately, Comcast did not provide any service for two months after we moved, so we piggy backed on an existing (slow and unreliable) wireless account with another company in the meantime. When Comcast finally came around, the service that was provided was far from adequate with a consistent 30% packet loss and multiple disconnects everyday, which was confirmed through Comcast's tech support. Throughout this process, we have realized that having a reliable internet connection is more important than having a phone line and almost as necessary as electricity. What would you do if your internet was suddenly like dial-up for weeks at a time? How much money would your workplace lose if it was out for an hour or an entire day?"
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How Much Does Your Work Depend on the Internet?

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  • How timely! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Southpaw018 ( 793465 ) * on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:31PM (#16027639) Journal
    On Monday, 8/14, we were due to hook up a T1 line with our new ISP. We hadn't had any severe problems with the old one, but our contract with them was up and they seemed apathetic when looking at negotiating a new one. So, we were going to cut over the lines, run the services concurrently for 2 weeks, and then terminate the old one on 8/28. On Saturday morning, our line went down at 1:01 AM. I was in the office at 6 AM Saturday, and I was NOT HAPPY to say the least. Tech support, however, seemed happier beating off than trying to help. They told me they'd give me a call back. The line was down all weekend. Monday was an exercise in frustration; instead of taking 2 weeks to do a changeover to avoid any interruption, we did the whole damn thing at once. We were up and running, completely changed over, DNS and all, by 4 PM.

    You may think: hey, that's not bad. You only lost one day - really less than a full work day. Oh, but that's where the pain comes in. I run all our services in house: Goodlink (a Blackberry-like system), Exchange 2003, DNS, everything. Plus, while the lines were down, anyone who called our office heard five rings and was then disconnected. The loss in customer service is irreparable to one major client, and three unbelievably important emails were lost forever - the kind where the intended recipients weren't really in a position to say "Hey, can you resend that for me?" We'll never know exactly how many emails were lost. In a world that works 24/7, business never stops, and an important email that comes in at 3 AM is just as critical as the important email that comes in at 9 AM sharp.

    Direct answer to your question: Our T1 line is beyond essential to the daily operation of the organization. It's absolutely mission critical that we're connected at all times, without interruption or major packet loss.
    • Lost forever? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by XanC ( 644172 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:34PM (#16027645)
      Wouldn't the sending email server have continued to retry for four days or so? And wouldn't the sender have gotten a notification that the message failed if it had?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Exactly. Unless you've had the problem we had once where the drain bamaged secondary MX accepted email, but never forwarded the email on.

        I'm mildly sceptical of the need for secondary MXs, especially ones you don't manage yourself.
        • by 7x7 ( 665946 )
          Not all SMTP servers play nice with queues and retries. Ebay for instance never retries.
        • by WoTG ( 610710 )
          Yep, had that happen before....

          Our webhost, who offered us secondary MX for "free", changed their hostnames for SMTP servers. Apparently they updated DNS records of those whose DNS records they manage.... and didn't bother to tell anyone else. Now I have to test the secondary MX services every few months just to make sure they still work.
      • Re:Lost forever? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 01, 2006 @09:32PM (#16028132)
        Not if he hosts DNS behind the T1. All SMTP servers I know of cause permanent failure when they can't look up the MX record. This is why you should always have redundant DNS. I can see letting a backup MX slide as it can be complicated to set up, but hosting all DNS behind one connection just shows you don't care.
    • Re:How timely! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anubis350 ( 772791 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:35PM (#16027649)
      hate to say it, but if it's *that* critical, you *should* have 2 concurrent lines running, from different providers, on different trunks, with your servers set to fail over to the secondary if the primary dies...
      • Re:How timely! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @08:18PM (#16027858) Homepage
        In some areas, two lines aren't enough. I worked for an ISP with a data-center near a major fault line. They had six different OC48s going out in different directions to make sure that if the data-center survived, it would have at least one connection to the outside world. Of course, most places don't need that much reduncancy, but putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea.
        • Hang on... (Score:5, Funny)

          by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @09:11PM (#16028064)
          The ISP placed their data centre near a major fault line. OK i've heard of bravado but that's taking the piss. "Hahaha mother nature, we have six lines. SIX! Mwhaahaha... Do your worst!" CEO gestures at the ground cackling wildly.

          • by WebCrapper ( 667046 ) on Saturday September 02, 2006 @05:57AM (#16029033)
            I worked for an insurance company that had a call center that was down for a week due to a car accident. When they moved buildings, they made sure to pull double everything. Double water, power, phones, etc... Spent millions on the extras. They claimed it was the most up-to-date call center in the city. 3 days later, the whole thing was down again. This time: A car ran into the _1_ pole that ran the power, cable and telco lines into the building - some people are just stupid.
      • Re:How timely! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by samkass ( 174571 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @08:45PM (#16027968) Homepage Journal
        If it's that critical, and you're not yourself an ISP, then you shouldn't be pretending you are. Pay some ISP to do their job and get all the critical services off-site immediately. This is one case where you get what you pay for, and if your company is on the line, it's worth more than a single T1 without redundancy. Whoever decided on that setup should probably be replaced by someone who knows how to set up a company's infrastructure.
        • Re:How timely! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TufelKinder ( 66342 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @09:58PM (#16028214) Homepage
          Okay, this doesn't really make sense. What if your company
          runs on extremely tight deadlines? Where clients don't
          always double-check that their emailed order was received
          but expect a job to be done/shipped/delivered the same day?

          It's not exactly feasible for most companies to offsite
          one or more employees just to maintain a constant internet

          Web hosting isn't the only vital internet service.
        • Pay some ISP to do their job and get all the critical services off-site immediately.
          Don't know about the OP, but my "critical services" that need internet access consist of roughly 400 humans sitting at desks who can't do their jobs without the 'net.
    • Re:How timely! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Night Goat ( 18437 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:39PM (#16027667) Homepage Journal
      Hopefully you come away from this with some new insight on how important the service is to you. Consider redundant T1s from two different companies. And consider using backup MX records for your e-mail, so that mail is queued rather than getting lost. Also, rather than having all of your phone lines running over your T1, you definitely should have at least one POTS line in case of power outages. Some of this was your ISP's fault, and some of it rests squarely on your shoulders for being unprepared.
      • I'd like to commend you on your response. You hit all the right points. Many people noted that he could have had multiple T1s running with failover, but I think that's only one of many techniques that should be in your arsenal. The fact is, there are many ways to protect yourself from internet outages, and buying 20 T1s isn't the most efficient (or effective) method. Multiple connections, an extra POTS line, mirroring/colocation-- you have many techniques available, and you should use as many as possibl

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      >> Direct answer to your question: Our T1 line is beyond essential to the daily operation of the organization. It's absolutely mission critical that we're connected at all times, without interruption or major packet loss.

      And you only have 1 T1?

      If it really was that mission critical you'd have a second dual-diverse line.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Southpaw018 ( 793465 ) *
        Dang, I was trying to share my experiences as part of an underfunded one man IT department at a nonprofit organization. I wasn't fishing for snide comments!
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jeffmeden ( 135043 )
          ACs are modded -6. I don't read you, I don't mod you, I don't see you. Don't like it? Don't be a coward.

          Uh huh. Meanwhile, he made a good point. If you need guaranteed services, you have to realize what it takes. Hosting web services in house has some mythical attraction that i've never grasped. Get this, host at a colo that has multiple very fast very reliable incoming connections, and you then only worry about your internal people.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          The juvenile elements of society always have a stupid comment to make :)
        • Re:How timely! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by scdeimos ( 632778 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @08:41PM (#16027944)
          I wasn't fishing for snide comments!

          South, the only person likely to read that as snide is you.

          He's completely correct - if connectivity is as critical to your business as you're trying to make out then you should have at least N+1 redundancy not just for your comms links, but for your core servers like mail and web (if you're hosting your own).

          You work for a non-profit business. That doesn't mean you work for a no-money business! Make a business case to your management *now* to get a redundant link so you're not a repeat victim. Don't wait one, two or six months to do this, do it now while the pain is still fresh in their memories! You may not be planning to change providers any time soon, but do you honestly think you'll always have completely unimpeded 100% uptime?

          If you fail to do anything about this then you're no better than the noob at home who thinks his RAID array is enough for backups and then complains about losing his multi-terabyte porn collection when he's defrag'd after "accidentally" deleting it.

      • Does anyone here keep multiple internet connections at home?

        I currently have microwave fixed wireless and i'm considering getting a cheap dsl or cable package as a backup. I work from home and since i'm paid hourly it costs me dearly when my connectivity drops off.
        • When I was doing a lot of important work from home for a company, I had cable and DSL and used a linux firewall to route between them and merge the links (to a point). The most efficient way to merge bandwidth across 2 consumer-level ISPs at the time was to split traffic to the different ISPs (web, email on one, torrents on another, etc). Anything that had a cache on my firewall could be merged from both at the same time (NNTP, some HTTP, etc). I used a custom script to ping every second and then in the eve
        • "Does anyone here keep multiple internet connections at home?"

          If you have a cell phone, you have a net connection for that "emergency email that just has to go out", etc.

          If you have a laptop with wireless, a bit of wardriving or a stop at a Starbucks gives you another alternative.

          So yeah, a lot of people have multiple home connection options.

    • WTF? If a receiving server's down the sending SMTP server will spool the mail until it's back or it times out, usually 5 days. The sender is notified if the mail bounces.

      Direct answer to your question: Our T1 line is beyond essential to the daily operation of the organization. It's absolutely mission critical that we're connected at all times, without interruption or major packet loss.

      So... Why do you have only one of them? It all comes down to money, did you lose more than the T1 costs when you lost the ma

    • by mgabrys_sf ( 951552 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @08:09PM (#16027821) Journal
      re:"Tech support, however, seemed happier beating off than trying to help"

      I think that would apply to just about everyone on the planet (and many animals from what I've seen at the zoo). Why single out tech support?
    • Our data center has three backbones coming through here.

      If we're down, we know for sure that we have bigger problems than an outage: namely, it's time to crawl into a bomb shelter and wait things out. :)
    • Re:How timely! (Score:4, Informative)

      by peted20 ( 412418 ) <petedoyle@@@gmail...com> on Friday September 01, 2006 @09:30PM (#16028124)
      We are in the similar situation having Exchange in-house behind a (quite stable) DSL line. Thankfully the DSL has been out only about 30 minutes total in our first year, but unfortunately our Exchange server can't say the same. We've gotten an amazing value using a backup mx service, which silently queues mail for us until our server returns. It works amazingly well-- once our server is back up, the queued mail comes flowing in. Its a beautiful thing.

      We specifically use EasyDNS [easydns.com]'s DNS service which includes the backup MX service. We use their DNS Plus service which only costs about $40/year, and allows us to use their CLUSTER of backup MX servers (How cool is that!?)! Its also available on their DNS-only service (~$20/yr). I don't work for EasyDNS (just a happy customer). You can also get the same service from lots [zoneedit.com] of other [no-ip.com] places [dyndns.com] as well.

      Realistically, I think you need to use an external DNS service to do this for network outages (since other mail servers will need access to your domain's MX records to find to the backup MX servers). For us, this meant we needed to use a different DNS server inside our local network. The external dns points people to our mail server's public IP. The internal dns points to our internal ips.

      Another note, we use PFSense [pfsense.com] as our firewall (great product!). Recently, I think I saw support for NAT Reflection was added (allowing internal machines to contact internal servers using a public IP address), which might negate the need for the "split" dns described above. Haven't tried that yet, though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kindbud ( 90044 )
      The loss in customer service is irreparable to one major client, and three unbelievably important emails were lost forever ...

      If it was unbelieveably important, a courier should have been hired to deliver a CD or hard drive. That's what professionals do. Email is designed to be a "best effort" service. It's perfectly fine for routine day-to-day communications, but not for "unbelievably important" things. If it's really that bad, the people who sent the material by email should be reprimanded or fired.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    we have realized that having a reliable internet connection is more important than having a phone line and almost as necessary as electricity.

    Wow, what an amazing conclusion. Next thing you'll be explaining that lower contention and higher service levels are why business class DSL is sold at premium. Please, keep us informed of your awesome discoveries.

  • by inio ( 26835 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:39PM (#16027666) Homepage
    > We decided to go with cable internet

    Mistake #1.

    You're a business. There's no reason a business should be using anything less than SDSL. It costs more for a reason - it's reliable.

    quoth http://www.speakeasy.net/business/dsl/ [speakeasy.net]

    > Symmetrical dedicated line DSL with throughput SLAs, rigorous uptime and repair time.

    That means they guarantee it'll be fast, it'll work, and if it doesn't, they'll fix it fast.

    If a couple hundred per month for internet is too much for your internet-dependent business it sounds like you've got bigger issues than packet loss.
    • Speakeasy (Score:4, Informative)

      by beeblebrox ( 16781 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:59PM (#16027775)

      I can't recommend them highly enough. Pick-up-after-a-few-rings, by-a-person-who-can-talk-dBs-and-DNS grade service, 24/7.

      And that's on their residential product.

    • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:59PM (#16027777)
      Is it cheaper/better to...

      1: Buy an SDSL business service from one supplier, with SLAs, rigorous uptimes and repair times.


      2: Buy cheap ADSL services from two or more suppliers but forget the SLA, uptime and repair time guarantees?

      I strongly suspect that (2) is the cheaper and more robust system.

      • If you are running externally viewable services, then there's a lot of voodoo that must be accomplished to handle the failover. The cost of the voodoo (DNS alternative records, alternate email servers, and the hassle in dealing with 2 incompetent suppliers instead of just 1) probably outweighs any savings.

        If you just want to surf the web, and you don't mind a little wierdness and in-office NATing, then your solution is the right one, but for services offered to the world, you either become a network admin
        • by samjam ( 256347 )
          The cost of that voodoo is a skill cost.

          15 second TTL for your mail handler DNS should handle failover quite nicely; you only need once mailserver in-house and N DSL lines.

          As has been said, iptables and masquerading to fix the outgoing route is the simplest solution, and update your zone file to point to a working route for your email server.

          The cost of coping with N incompetent suppliers could well be high, and beware if they use the same "wholsesale" provider for the underlying service.

          We have 2 DSL lines
        • Line failure could be handled via dynamic DNS, the voodoo isn't really very difficult, the outgoing connections should be routed fairly normally anyway. In terms of suppliers, a 0.1% failure rate sounds about right for consumer ADSL, so 00.01%, 4 nines isn't bad for a cheapo connection.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by T-Ranger ( 10520 )
        The failure isnt just with the DSL part, but possibly with the copper too. Say you have two connections with shitty SLAs, and the pole out front of your building that has 500pair on it, 2 of which are yours, and it gets taken out by a car. Telco comes by to fix it, and they have only 250pair cable in the van, who do you think they are going to fix first? Their own end-user customers, and then ones with high SLAs which are resold to high SLA end-users. Not you, in other words.

        You low SLA providers are sure a
      • by EtherMonkey ( 705611 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @11:59PM (#16028485)
        2: Buy cheap ADSL services from two or more suppliers but forget the SLA, uptime and repair time guarantees? I strongly suspect that (2) is the cheaper and more robust system.

        Except for the fact that both the ADSL lines go over the same copper bundles from the same CO from the same LEC regardless of whether or not they come from the same ISP. Most businesses feel that $600/mo for Internet service isn't worth the price until they realize how they've built themselves into a corner.

        A sad fact is that most small and medium businesses will go through this pain and suffering at least once each year for several years before learning better and, in the end, spend more and lose more money trying to do Internet on the cheap than paying up-front to do it the right way. And while it seems sensible and cost-effective to host mission-critical services in-house, the reality is that if they are truly mission-critical and you can't afford proper redundancy, than those services are best off being hosted or deployed at a co-lo center that does provide N+1 redundancy and 24x7 business-class service and support.

        Lessons learned:
        • Public DNS should almost always be outsourced. This is a security as well as an availability issue.
        • Email and eCommerce servers should always be hosted or co-located unless you have N+1 servers and N+1 sites with N+1 Internet connections and reliable failover technology.
        • Internet service without an SLA is not suitable for mission-critical applications. This includes consumer-level xDSL, FIOS, and particularly CATV-provided cable Internet.
        • Two ADSL's from competing ISP's is not N+1 redundancy.
        • Your best options for mission-critical Internet access are (in decending order):
          1. 2x [fractional] T1, each separate carriers.
          2. 1x T1 and 1x SDSL, different carriers
          3. 1x T1 and 1x Business-class ADSL or Cable Internet.
          4. 1x SDSL and 1x Business-class Cable Internet

        I've been out of the small/medium business consulting market for a few years now. But when I was consulting I encouraged customers to host or co-lo all mission critical applications and use terminal services (Windows remote desktop) or Citrix for access. The hosting or co-lo center provides all the redundancy and 24x7 service and support, you just pay the bill. The cost was not unreasonably more expensive than hosting these apps in-house when you consider downtime, maintenance and ongoing consulting fees to keep things going.

        That's just off the top of my head. I could go on, but then I'd have to send someone a bill.
    • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @08:07PM (#16027815)
      You're a business. There's no reason a business should be using anything less than SDSL.
      How about no choice due to poor communications infrastructure and regulations that prohibit any roll your own solution? If things were really critical a satellite link may be a possibility, but in a lot of places the low end of consumer grade ADSL is as good as it gets - even in state capitals in Australia 15km from the CBD.
    • by mr_zorg ( 259994 )

      > Symmetrical dedicated line DSL with throughput SLAs, rigorous uptime and repair time.

      That means they guarantee it'll be fast, it'll work, and if it doesn't, they'll fix it fast.

      I'm just playing devil's advocate here, but I find it amusing to do the math. Also from their site:

      99.9% uptime SLA guarantee

      Do you realize that works out to 9 hours of down time per year? Or 10 minutes of downtime per week? Or 2 minutes per business day? While 99.9% uptime sounds good, you have to ask yourself if th

      • You mean, you have an SLA agreement on your cable modem? SLA's are there to protect both customer and the business offering them. Most likely it wont be out at all, but they need to cover their a**es
      • by fm6 ( 162816 )
        Do you realize that works out to 9 hours of down time per year?
        If that were true, it wouldn't be so bad. What happens in the real world is that somebody gets his own 9 hours, and plus the 9 hours of a bunch of other customers!
      • Still, the 99.9% uptime SLA with a good business-level ISP is going to serve you better than a consumer-grade ISP with no SLA whatsoever.
    • Enough dinging the guy for a stupid mistake. He learned the hard lesson. And I think he made the point relevant to this article: the internet is a crucially important element of many peoples' lives and livelihoods.

      Personally, I can't wait until congress finally legislates Net Neutrality out of existance, so everyone can truly find out how sweet we have things right now (or actually, how sweet we had things in the 1990's).
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:40PM (#16027668) Homepage Journal
    I think the sales and marketing people in my company probably use the Internet more than the programmers do. Us programmers look up an API reference or nifty articles about things going on in our field every so often and we push distributions between offices fairly regularly, but e-mail is the life blood of the sales and marketing people. I think if our internet connection were to go out we'd have a bunch of those guys wandering around looking lost and confused, like small furry animals after a natural disaster.

    'Course I have a backup connectin through the bluetooth connection on my cellphone and T-Mobile's unlimited data service. Which leaves me in the perfect position to score with the hot sales babes if our provder's border routers ever go down. Aww right!

  • I'm on PlusNet btw. I raised a ticket yesterday. Today, they traced the problem to their LLU supplier Tiscali and did something to my PPP profile, it's been fine so far. Their service has been pretty good as far as I can see. They know there's a problem, they're working on it.

    If you depend on the internet and your internet connection is fubar then by definition you are fubar. If your supplier is telling you to go f*ck yourself by denying there's a problem or refusing to fix it then change suppliers. They ar
  • 100% (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:42PM (#16027680) Homepage
    If my Internet connection is down- I go home.
  • Irreversable Damage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AjStone ( 743464 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:43PM (#16027684)
    My company would almost cease to exist if the Internet went down locally. I mean, it would be the end of life as we know it. That's why we are going to invest (in the new office building) in two seperate connections to the World Wide Web, with two completely independant companies.

    Using two ISP's is a relatively untapped resource today, much like mirroring hard disk drives in a RAID array was a few years ago. Today, nobody will build a server without at least one redundant drive. I believe Internet connections should be the same way. How often do businesses complain of "sorry, our network/Internet is down" and lose customers? Do a Google search on a "Dual-WAN" router and see there are a few products around. I love my HotBrick LB-2 router that I use at home. There are about half a dozen people that can easily stress a standard RoadRunner connection. Using my friend's DSL connection going to the same house, it both load-balances and has failover capability. I don't even think twice before unplugging my cable modem. Without any downtime, the router will use the DSL line to pick up the slack.

    Is it affordable? Well, that's the same question people were asking about mirrored hard disk drives years ago. The question becomes, is it nessesary? I'm not willing to move into a house that doesn't have the availablility of having two ISP's.

    • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @08:13PM (#16027837)
      Using two ISP's is a relatively untapped resource today,

      Um... It's pretty much been standard practice since day one. It's how the Internet provides robust routing. All businesses relying on their network should be doing it. Diverse home networks? Depends how important your porn supply is to you.

    • by imroy ( 755 )
      ...we are going to invest in two seperate connections to the World Wide Web, with two completely independant companies.

      What about email?!?

    • by fm6 ( 162816 )
      Today, nobody will build a server without at least one redundant drive.
      You've got to be kidding! Do you really think all those 5-dollar-a-month web presence providers have that much extra cash?
    • Using two ISP's is a relatively untapped resource today

      Not among business of much size. Multiple T1s with some sort of load-balancing is pretty standard practice, really. Providing services to the outside world over those connections can be a bit tricky, but outgoing connections are easy as pie.

  • by macadamia_harold ( 947445 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:44PM (#16027688) Homepage
    How Much Does Your Work Depend on the Internet?

    Pretty much all of it. But then, look at the crowd you're asking.
  • None at all (Score:5, Funny)

    by Terminal Saint ( 668751 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:47PM (#16027699)
    How much money would my workplace lose if we didn't have connectivity for an hour or even a day? None. In fact, we don't have an internet connection or even a dedicated fax line.

    Hooray for state parks!
  • for a 1/2 hour connecting to the mainframe, we lose thousands of dollars. That is why all the tech people have company paid for cable lines run to their homes. Those are business class cable lines, with 24 hour garunteed fix times (yeah right). Does this help you to understand?
  • So if my companies network connection goes down and I can't vpn in....I'm not coming into work... Plus 90% of communication in my company is via e-mail/IM's.... we're pretty much screwed... Plus all of our hosted sites would get really really pissed at us as they couldn't do any business... Plus there would be a riot.
  • I'd bitch like crazy - to the cable co, to the regulators, etc. That tends to get some results.

    I remember when we moved our offices it turned out our current dsl provider didn't serve the area, a T1 fro Verizon was hideously expensive for too little bandiwdth. We ended up going with Cox, we've got a 10mpbs link to them, and then two 2mbps feeds to our other offices. Works very well.

    However when they had New England Line drop the runs from the MDF to our point of presence, they used stranded connectors
  • Same here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mir@ge ( 25727 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:52PM (#16027731) Homepage
    We had the same problem with Comcast here as well. They were largely unresponsive to our requests for assistance. After suffering with it for about 3 months, I finally convinced the boss to dump the money on a replacement. I called Comcast and explained to them that their service was unsatisfactory and we would be stopping it, breaking the contract and no longer paying them anything. It was fixed within a few hours and we have not had trouble with it since. Get tough with them. I think they save all the good technicians for when the customers threaten to leave. Typical.
  • by starrsoft ( 745524 ) * on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:53PM (#16027739) Homepage
    What would you do if your internet was suddenly like dial-up for weeks at a time?
    Commit suicide.
  • by 7x7 ( 665946 )
    Dedicated T1s are more expensive and provide less speed, but they are typically very solid.
  • Redundant feeds (Score:5, Informative)

    by mschuyler ( 197441 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:55PM (#16027751) Homepage Journal
    And THAT'S why redundant feeds from different providers is necessary for any peace of mind. By the time I left my last job I had two T-1's from different providers entirely (I checked to make sure the cables were physically different coming at us via different paths), plus a third fiber optic feed. I was close to adding cable as a fourth. If the Net went out at that place I would have literally hundreds of people pissed within ten seconds. So have redundant feeds, redundant routers, redundant servers, redundant backups. Did I mention that redundancy is important?
  • It's amazing how things changed in ten years, the computer feels truly neutered without the net.

    Which reminds me, if the internet is down, is there a good firefox extension or other thing that saves almost everything that one surfs? Scrapbook is nice, but requires manual use from what I have seen. The cache doesn't cut it either.
    • by 808140 ( 808140 )
      You really want a chaching proxy like squid for this sort of thing. It can be configured as a transparent proxy (meaning you don't need to fiddle with proxy settings on the machines on your LAN) and it is really, really blazing fast. If you've only got one computer on your LAN squid won't speed up your normal surfing much, unless you consantly view the same static pages, but if you have a lot of computers used by different people (or even the same people) squid can also make the internet seem incredibly r

  • Verizon EvDO comes to mind. Sprint offers a similar service. There are sometimes local LMDS providers. Cable, DSL, ISDN, T1 (it's not always as expensive as you think).

    An EvDO or similar data card is typically around $60/month, and can be used by travelers to boot. Every business should have a backup when affordable, and this one is....
  • At my present workplace, if there's no service for more than 30 minutes everyone in my department ups and leaves.
  • Working sucks, and therefore I hope the internet goes down. If it did, my company would be screwed until it came back up. I would have the day off, and I could go home and play games. If MY internet connection went down, THAT would be terrible.
  • by J05H ( 5625 )
    As a home-office entrepreneur, I rely on the 'Net almost all the time. That extra 1% is pedalling to the Post Office. Cox network's consumer cable modem/phone connection has been very reliable.

  • Not much (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NineNine ( 235196 )
    I own a retail business, and although we do use the Net for several things (credit card processing, music, web site sales), I would never depend on it. It's still several order of magnitudes less reliable than electricity and a land line. We use it every day, but I have backups for everything that we do with the Net, and Web sales aren't going to make or break us. I think that making your entire livelihood depend on an Internet connection is very foolish at this stage in the game.

    I'll give it another 10-
  • This whole issue falls under disaster planning. The terms does not just cover terrorist attacks and acts of god...

    My father is currently an executive director for a billion dollar/year company, managing the disaster plan and more. They do increasingly more bussiness via telephone and internet, though its probably still mostly "storefront." Regardless, if the internal network went down (it spans much of New York City) or the net connection died, they stand to lose over USD $1,000,000/day (on an off day).
  • I run my own company from a home office. I do web & print design, php/mysql coding, app installations and customizations for people's sites.

    I've lost power -- 2 hours this week, one friday for 24 hrs into saturday, etc. on several occasions. Losing power is disasterous.

    I have lost internet without losing power, but far less frequently. There's only so long the cable modem stays up on a UPS ;)

    Without power, my laptop battery goes from 2-4 hours. I can still usually code and design for a bit, wrap up
  • bah that's nothing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Danzigism ( 881294 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @08:18PM (#16027859)
    try working for an ebay powerseller that lists 500 items a week, where the office is located the bumfuck of delaware, and using a dialup connection shared with 3 employees for 4 years straight.. each person's job requires an internet connection, and the bosses aren't exactly willing to put forth much money for anything tech related.. there has been no broadband offered here, yet my boss's house which is 2 miles away, can get cable internet.. I've looked in to distributing their net connection from home, to the office, but no can do due to line of site and expensive equipment.. same goes with satellite.. the satellite providers charge way too much, for a crappy service.. some even have download limitations that decrease your service to dialup speeds if you overflow your quota bucket.. that's after you spend a couple hundred in equipment, and probably around $100 a month for a business connection..

    we're right on the border to where Medicom and Comcast seperate.. and verizon is simply a joke.. I've actually contacted the President of Verizon for Delaware's district, to no avail.. One of those typical, "I'll get back to you on that" phone calls.. For us to get DSL, would require them to spend a few thousand dollars in running new lines underground, as well as special hardware for the fucking FIBER FED PG BOX literally a hundred yards from our office.. Cable companies have also said, that they'll need to dig underground, costing thousands, just to lay some cable to our little warehouse..

    I've thought of every possible solution, and they are either too cost worthy, or they simply won't work.. we can't afford to have downtime, and dialup is better than nothing at all.. but I did do the math, and we lose a maximum of a 1000 hours every year in productivity due to waiting for pages to load, uploading high res images for products, and the bulk submission of hundreds of ebay items.. ahh well.. i've definitely gotten used to it, but it makes me wonder how much more money we could make, if we just had a faster internet connection.. I certainly understand that even a crappy satellite investment could help us out big time.. but my bosses are still struggling to pay the monthly bills, so its really out of the question until someone like Verizon, Mediacom, or Comcast can offer a decent $30-70 a month internet connection..

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grozzie2 ( 698656 )
      If the business is all online (ebay) and it cant afford $100 a month for a net connection on satellite, then it's not a viable business anyways.
  • We just hooked up a 100mbit link to our data center at the Last.fm office, so we have 100mbit internet now.. very handy. Can't get any work done without it, as our staging servers and development platform is hosted with our main servers.

    This afternoon a crappy netgear router blew up (you get what you pay for..) and we lost our internet connection a couple of hours before the end of the day.. Perfect timing on a friday, early pub :)
  • by FST777 ( 913657 )
    Too bloody much! The company where I work for now has moved in January. Since we were told (too late) that there was not telephone available at the location, we were offered VoIP. That's where the trouble started. The VoIP ran over ADSl, for which you need a phone-line, which wasn't there. We've fought our way through four months of ZERO connectivity (and a few lawsuits). Count the losses.

    Currently, I'm in the process of setting up a new company. We will rely on the internet even more, since we will deve
  • Verizon FIOS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by greenlead ( 841089 )

    We've been using the business class of Verizon's FTTP service for a few months. Their entry level is $100/month, and they give you a solid connection, no nonsense, and 5 public IP addresses. They do the install and everything.

    We've been pretty happy with it, but recently Verizon seems to have been doing maintenance, and connection speed has gone downhill. This is not typical, however.

    An added advantage of using Verizon for the connection is that they also provide residential connections. This allows tho

  • Dude:

    I telecommute as the editor of a fairly lage magazine (circ. ~ 100k). Net outages or low bandwidth are killers to us (I up- down-load hundreds of megs of text and photos daily). Because I am in a rural area, I hve NO choice of ISPs. Were Comcast one of them, I would NOT choose them because of theor lacadasical attutude toward outgoing spm from zombied machines on their network.

    Comcast sucks.

  • Just to help those who don't understand redundancy.

    Two providers; A and B. Provider A has a 10% chance of failure, provider B a 5% chance of failure. If you have a single line then you want provider B and have a 5% chance of losing your line. If however, you use both providers at the same time and don't rely on just one of them. You now have only a 0.5% chance of losing your internet connection, assuming both lines are completely independant. The nice thing is that IP was designed from the ground up to take
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @08:46PM (#16027973) Homepage Journal
    I'm a technical writer. I use the web to research the stuff I write about. It's essential. I seem to recall that I was able to do research before I had an internet connection — but I'm damned if I remember how!
  • The business can't function if the office devolves into Lord of the Flies [youtube.com].
  • by CFD339 ( 795926 ) <andrewpNO@SPAMthenorth.com> on Friday September 01, 2006 @09:30PM (#16028123) Homepage Journal
    I no longer have a T1 to my home office server room. I have a consumer cable modem. I moved my public facing content to a machine at ServerBeach. It's faster, more reliable, and about 1/10 the monthly cost (I live a LONG way from any reasonable POP so a T1 was very expensive).

    Now, the stuff clients see is 100% reliable (I have a failover server). The cable modem for my own use works fine -- in fact has been more and more reliable as the cables companies are now trying to compete for phone service and discovering people don't tollerate phone outages nearly so well as cable tv outages.
  • by Benzido ( 959767 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @09:41PM (#16028163)
    The internet is super-critical to my job - philosophy. If the internet went down for a day, I would have to go to the LIBRARY!
  • Well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by 8ball629 ( 963244 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @09:57PM (#16028210) Homepage
    When our T1 (internet and digital phone) went out, we watched the newly released Pink Floyd Pulse DVD if that tells you anything.
  • by Stonent1 ( 594886 ) <stonent@nOSPam.stonent.pointclark.net> on Friday September 01, 2006 @10:20PM (#16028285) Journal
    then why are they not fixing it? I've had comcast for years and have had numerous issues relating to my connection going down when it rained. It took them almost 2 years to come out and reassemble the stupid box in the yard but that still didn't fix anything. Turns out the only way I was able to get it fixed was to move to a neighborhood with brand new wiring (there are houses still being built). Since then, there's been no issues that I can think of.
  • Lose? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Muggins the Mad ( 27719 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @10:29PM (#16028308)
    > How much money would your workplace lose if it was out for an hour or an entire day?

    For some of us, we'd probably make massive *gains* in productivity.

    - MugginsM
  • by Brian Stretch ( 5304 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @11:02PM (#16028371)
    malord may need a Motorola 484095-001-00 Signal Booster [amazon.com]. Check your cable modem's internal webserver at [] and if you do have a weak signal problem like I suspect (see Comcast's support forum and/or the Comcast forum on dslreports.com for how to do the diagnosis) then buy the amp. Yes, you shouldn't have to, but it's your best chance to actually fix the problem. Install the amp at the earliest possible point, before any cable splitters (if you have any).

    If Comcast had any brains they'd keep a whole bunch of these in every Comcast service guy's truck and train their people to read the cable modem's signal status page. It'd be a helluva lot cheaper than repeated truck rolls to the same very annoyed customer. Better yet, they'd replace more of their aging copper with fiber before FiOS poaches all their best customers (alas, I'm in SBC/AT&T territory), but that's another rant entirely. Overall I'm reasonably happy with Comcast in my area but I'm still jealous of folks who can get FiOS.
  • $130 000/hr (Score:4, Interesting)

    by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Saturday September 02, 2006 @12:36AM (#16028570) Journal
    Yep. A hundred and thirty thousand dollars per hour, 14 hours per day. That's a major player in the oil and gas commodities trading industry. That's why...

    Servers are clustered.
    Spare desktops are available.
    Floor switches are redundant (and on separate power feeds).
    Internet service is redundant (through two major carriers).
    People have backups who know their job.
    All service contracts have specific performance requirements.

    If Comcast isn't meeting their stated performance, then they'd better FIX IT NOW! It's their job, after all. Mind you, if they haven't guaranteed anything to you, then they don't have to worry about any more penalty than losing you as a customer.

    Get the SLA it in writing, hold them to it, and if they fail, legal action may be neccessary as a last resort.
  • The military does... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by n3tcat ( 664243 ) on Saturday September 02, 2006 @02:39AM (#16028789)
    The military is becoming so dependant on the internet that when the net goes down, many combat support units are unable to do large portions of their job effectively. Combat support does not include the guys kicking in doors for launching artillery rounds downrange. It's all the guys who make ID cards and fill out insurance forms and fix the soldiers financial problems and such. Without the internet we can't connect to the databases we need to get to in order to modify Soldier's data.

    Now this doesn't mean we can't do the job at all. It just means we have to switch back to the old paper and mail methods. This is significantly slower obviously, but it works.

    It's interesting to me how the military doesn't do this for money, but rather for this idea that a Soldier's life is at stake. So does that mean that these companies that abandon paper methods don't take their work as seriously as the Army? Or just that the risk of saving money by abandoning these methods is worth it in the long run?

    Does a day without net really matter? Or as the parent post mentioned, do months really matter?
  • by Sandman1971 ( 516283 ) on Saturday September 02, 2006 @02:44AM (#16028798) Homepage Journal
    If your internet connection is mission critical, why go to the lowest bidder in order to save a few bucks (which won't happen when the service goes down, you'll lose money)? When will people realize that for critical services, go for the most reliable you can realistically afford. If it happens to be the cheapest then consider that a bonus, but it shouldn't be one of the main factors in choosing a service. Can you afford a T1 with a DSL backup? How about a DSL with a cable backup, or vice versa? You need to crunch numbers, see how much money/productivity you'll lose for every hour/day without service and decide accordingly.
  • by The Tyro ( 247333 ) * on Saturday September 02, 2006 @05:36AM (#16028986)
    Working in Emergency Services, I use the internet pretty much every shift.

    I'm expected to know/do something about virtually anything that walks in the door, including industrial toxin exposures, any/all medication overdoses, even "my child ate this weird plant" complaints. I can access pill databases, get radiology reports and images, look up MSDS, and even have a few botany sites bookmarked for exactly that kind of weird stuff.

    Standard ER stuff I can do with my eyes closed, but reference materials online are absolutely essential for the bizarre ones, and it's why I have redundant internet connections (one of which I set up and maintain myself).

    I'd be far less effective without it.
  • by Eggplant62 ( 120514 ) on Saturday September 02, 2006 @07:13AM (#16029151)
    I recently switched from my computer tech position to a home-based medical and legal transcription gig. I ftp down audio files from my employer, transcribe the reports, and return the finished work via ftp. No download work, no get paid. This summer, I've worked out on the deck in my yard, from my ex-wife's house in TN, and from various motel rooms I've stayed in during vacations and trips to pick up my son for spring and summer visits. The freedom is awesome, but it makes booking a motel room a real bitch, especially if you want to stop and stay the night in the middle of KY, where internet access is a rarity, to sightsee.
  • by Spiked_Three ( 626260 ) on Saturday September 02, 2006 @08:17AM (#16029261)
    I have been programming for 20+ years. The last 5 or so was done from home. One day I had the brainstorm that since I worked at home I could move somewhere less expensive and with less traffic, so I packed up and moved to east Tennessee.

    Guess what I found? They barely have internet here. I had to pay $600 a month for a T1 from Bell South and then found out the infrastructure and/or local workers could not make it run reliably. I had SLAs which were totally ignored. Monthly credits were usually close to the cost. And finally the line went down completely for over a month. I was forced to switch back to dial up, and if I got a 2400 baud connection I felt (feel) special.

    Needless to say, I have lost all of my clients, all of my work, they take my car in a month. Moving is not an option for unrelated reasons, but the bottom line is there are still places in the country where internet can not be reasonably obtained (i put satellite in the unreasonable group - it sucks - try VPNing with a dish) and it cost me everything. No this is not made up.

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, nor can it be returned without a receipt.