Some of you may have seen the post on my experiences switching from Orcon to Vodafone.

Vodamoan - Over It.A brief summary – A couple of months ago I switched from Orcon to Vodafone to save money. It should have been a simple process, yet Vodafone managed to screw up almost every part. First was a week with no ADSL, then it went from working, then slow, then not at all. A quick blog post later and find myself ‘escalated’ and receiving daily telephone updates. I did feel there was finally a person genuinely making sure things were being actioned. These calls were always pleasant and generally ending with a big apology from the other end.
Of course I still had to wait over 4 weeks to finally have my line setup as I originally signed up for – or so I thought.

Last week, my mother started claiming that she tried to call me at home but could get through – I just accused her of being crazy and proved her wrong by calling the line via my mobile while I skyped her – no problem.

Now fast forward¬† to last week, I get a call from my flatmate –
“Is there any reason the home phone would be disconnected?” he asked.
Nope. Bill was good. Conveniently I was at my parents at the time so I tried the line. Weird tones.
We did indeed have no incoming line as my mother thought but also no outgoing either. Super.
By the time I got back our ADSL connection started constantly going up and down. Sometimes it would stay up for hours but more often it would just reconnected every 15mins or so.

A quick call to Vodafone Monday morning and thanks to it being a fault in the landline along with the ADSL, I wasn’t forced to jump through the usual morons check list.
Fault Lodged.
Chorus would be in touch within 24hrs – and Indeed they were.
By 4pm Chorus had been in touch, the man asked a few questions and then said he’d call me right back, which he did.
“It seems theres no problem with your line. The problem is caused by something wrong at Vodafones end. Although calls from their network will go through, people calling from Telecoms network can’t connect properly. Your line has some porting issues.”

I have now leant that from the day Vodafone started supplying my phone services chances are no one with a Telecom based service, and I suspect any provider using their wholesale network, have never been able to call my land line.

It makes it all the more annoying that when Chorus were proactive and called me back, Vodafone couldn’t muster up a similar level of customer service. The Chorus person worked on it on the Monday – yet by Friday I still hadn’t heard anything back from Vodafone.
This was last night – as usual they stuck me on hold for 5 minutes and came back claiming they would need to re-lodge the fault again.
“Why?” I ask “It hasn’t been fixed the first time.”
For some reason my last fault, although and being actioned, went nowhere.

This whole process makes me wonder once again if there is some big issues with the processes inside Vodafone. I understand they are a big corporation and you will always get anomalies and get weird customer setups but I’ve found that almost every step of this switch looks to have been done incorrectly or done in a half arsed or short-cut way.

I find it quite impressive that a telecommunications company don’t use it’s own services and actively call someone back. It’s quite infuriating to have the Chorus guy call me back and then pass it to Vodafone to fix but then never have them call me. Why is there not a process to instigate a callback to tell the client what’s going on? It doesn’t have to be the specific person techie but at least someone from customer support.

UPDATE (Saturday 17)
I just received the following txt from Vodafone – apparently there’s nothing wrong.
Yet my ADSL connection just reset, only minutes after I received the txt.
Of course this is Vodafone we’re talking about¬† – I’ll have to call them.

UPDATE 2 (Monday 19)
Heres a few screen caps of my modems ADSL connection speeds for random points over the weekend and this morning….. No fault was found…… crap.

UPDATE 3 (Monday 19)
So I just called the help line to find out where we were at and am told that ‘Only July 16 a technician looked into it and there is no fault.” Strange that I only was sent the txt on the 17th. Why didn’t they txt straight away? Did they even check?
The next logical step for Vodafones phone person was to just start the hoop jumping game fresh – “Can I ask you to disconnect any phones in the house….”
I’m over it. I finished that call and then call straight back.
“Put me through to Escalations.”

UPDATE 4 (Monday 19)
Conveniently the out of country call centre just couldn’t handle my request to be connected with escalations and instead put me through to the person who looked at my fault – against the guidelines.
The funny thing was it was exactly the person I needed to talk to, and a after a civil and actually productive conversation he saw that although things looked fine – there was a much bigger problem. 140 disconnects in a 24 hour period is apparently not normal…. no shit. He did everything he could and has organised another Chorus tech (again) to come look at the line today (Tuesday)

It’s so incredibly frustrating that the internet has been broken for 2 weeks, the landline for 2+ months and that I’ve had to lodge 3+ faults until I finally talk to someone who can actually fix it.

Foolishly in an attempt to save some money, I decided to switch from my perfectly good iSP (Orcon) to the slightly cheaper one, Vodafone. Big Mistake. Below is a quick run through the month and a half long process of switching to Vodafone – so far.

This is the second time in 12 months I’ve signed up to a service at Vodafone and the second time the processes the company uses have had major failings and caused me to waste hours of my own time, just trying to get the services I signed up for.

For some background – my partner does a 2nd job hosting a couple of TV shows and relies on the internet in the evenings to do the necessary research. Having no internet is a big issue any time but on top of this we had a couple of friends visiting before permanently moving to Austria – both needed internet access to sort the last bits and pieces before flying out.

—-

The signup actually felt pretty good, a quick online form and the process was started. Within hours later I received an automated email saying that my account number was wrong but not to worry, all I needed to do was reply with the correct information. Done.

Then 3 weeks of nothing. No install date. No call back to say there’s a problem.

I call Vodafone.
Why is my internet not switched to them yet?
“Sorry sir, it would seem someone had set the account number with Orcon as my home phone number.”
Fixed. Over the next week a flurry of automated emails welcomed me to the wonders of Vodafone. My switch date was set. No services would be disrupted.

Then on the day of switching, a Friday and in the late morning, the phone rang a couple of times and stopped. My inner nerd told me it was them probably switch the lines in the cabinet. Great, just as I had been told.

Then the internet went off. No DSL link my modem reported. I gave it an hour or so and then called Vodafone to see how long it would take before we’d be back online.
“Yes we have indeed taken over your phone line, but your internet won’t switch til next week. It will still be on and if you are having any issues call Orcon as they are still your provider.”
Are you sure I asked.
“Absolutely”
I commented I hope like hell Vodafone hadn’t just cut my internet for a week as there had been zero warning that might happen.
“No Sir, please call Orcon for help.”

The call with Orcon took another 40mins as I was forced to run through the dreaded idiot proof checklist before a fault could be lodged.
“I’ve lodged the fault sir, our provisioning team will look into it in the next 24-72 hours.”
Keep in mind this is Friday afternoon – so that meant Monday. No Internet all weekend.

Monday comes and you know what – Orcon called me back (take note here Vodafone).
“Unfortunately sir we don’t have control of that line any more, Vodafone does.”
Just as I thought when I first called Vodafone on Friday but was promised the opposite.

Back on the line to Vodafone I was told there was an unexplained hold on the install. They lifted the hold but said that I was now on the list and the internet would be on ‘soon’.
I had thought this was meant to be a seamless process and to all happen almost instantly –
“I usually does sir”
Another 2 days without the internet.

Wednesday finally came and our DSL was activated and the internet back. Problems solved – now the easy bit for Vodafone – sit back and profit from my passive income that is my monthly bill.

The next day I did receive a random email saying my cap had been blown but as I signed up for 40gb of data I assumed it was just a hiccup in the system. Our internet was working normally and I was well and truly over Vodafones hold music.

Of course, I should have known better – just after 9pm Friday night comes and midway through some tragic MTV reality show – the internet stops. What better way to spend ones Friday night than a 40 minute tech support call.
So it seemed my account had two issues – the plan was set to the EasyPack plan (1GB, Full down, 128k up) but far more importantly – it had been canceled.
“Why?”
“I don’t know, there seems to be two accounts, I’ll stop the current cancellation and get that account working again”
I asked that if I had blown the 1gb cap in their system, will I get a 64k speed limited internet when the account works again?
“No Sir, it should all be running at normal speed, you will need to call back tomorrow (Saturday) though and talk to sales to get you moved back to the unlimited upload speed though.”
After the phone call and a modem restart, the internet was not running at normal speeds and clearly the limit was still in place but by now it was late and I was well over Vodafone.

Saturday morning and another call to Vodafone (also funnily enough just as I get a physical letter confirming apparently I had requested cancelling my account).
“I’m very sorry about this sir, it would seem you have been put on the EasyPack plan, and you clearly signed up for the ‘Ultimate Pack’ – unfortunately I can’t physically change the plan here as provisioning need to make a change.”
“I will upgrade you to the ideal pack (5gb, Unlimited down, 128k up) and add another 5gb so you can use your internet without issues until I can sort it out on Monday morning.”
“I will call you back on Monday once we’ve sorted it out.”

Suffice to say its now Wednesday, I’ve blown my temporary 10gb cap and am yet to hear back from Vodafone.

UPDATE
Well posting experiences on bad service does seem to get things fixed. And Vodafone eventually made everything right although it still took 3 weeks of atrocious service and support. And now, a few months on from my experience our service has worked flawlessly since – it’s a shame the signup and setup process at Vodafone is so terrible.

So after a relatively pain-free experience with an Orcon Homehub at work I decided to get one for home.
My main motivation was my wondering if my DLink DSL-502T & a WRT54G modded to run DD-WRT were causing double NAT issues and resulting in slow connections/torrents. You would imagine an all in one solution would at least half the possible causes for slow speeds. And since upgrading so far so good – more green lights than amber in Azureus/Vuze.

But as I’ve come to get used to the Homehub, I was hoping to get a feature of Leopard/MobileMe working – Back to My Mac.
The general use is to setup a zero configuration VPN between your various Macs that aren’t all in the same location. If this thing
actually worked it would be an awesome. Remote Desktop/VNC, File Sharing – even Bonjour support all with no complex setup. The problem is it only works in ideal configurations – and most of those are centred around America’s cable connections – and not an ADSL setup in NZ.

Back To My Mac - no fun

Back to the Homehub – although offering uPnP, it would seem to be lacking true NAT-PMP support. Via this Apple Discussion, I’ve found that looks like the same issues but on a BT Homehub (which is in no way the same box as Orcons).

OK, so the problem is that the BT Voyager 2100 only supports the WANPPPConnection service of UPnP, while Apple currently only supports the WANIPConnection service. There’s a chance Apple could add WANPPPConnection support in a future release, but until then you’re out of luck.

When I used Lighthouse, a dynamic port forwarding utility for OS-X, to give me some in depth info, it reports –
Lighthouse could not associate with the router ‘192.168.1.1’ because of invalid protocol implementations
The router ‘192.168.1.1’ sent invalid responses to Lighthouse’s requests to associate with it. This may happen if your router doesn’t support NAT/PMP or UPnP (please check its manual) or because their implementation is incomplete. It may help to upgrade your router to its latest firmware version (information on how to do this should also be present in the router’s manual).

So my options would be to loose the Homehub, replacing it with a NAT-PMP supporting ADSL2+ Modem, ideally that supports Bridge mode – this turns it into a dumb modem that forwards everything through to your routers WAN port – including login and authentication – and hopefully NAT/uPnP. The I can use my Airport Extreme to get proper NAT-PMP.
I did some reading and it would seem that the newest revision of the DLink DSL-502T does this – look out for Revision C.

Has anyone out there managed to get a bridged modem connection working into their router and if so what gear are you using?

Also – Orcon seem to be shipping a 2nd revision of the Homehub, its still based on a Siemens SX763, the new model has a WPS button on the back to allow for easy Wireless pairing (if you’re other gear supports it). The new Homehub also has a Orcon Logo screened on the top and theres no standard Siemens packaging – just a Orcon branded slip around a white box.