So the Windstream field tech showed up and wanted to look at my indoor equipment. He almost immediately “found the problem” by simply eyeballing the network rack. He went on to explain how this and that were done wrong, out of date, or whatever. I just let him roll with it, replace connectors, whatever.

I then went on to explain how everything has been in place for years without change, how my neighbors have the same issues that I do, and that I have basic proof of where the fault was not (inside). I showed him stacks of graphs (including realtime) showing average packet loss of 50% over the past few days - as measured from the firewall to its gateway. Which means the segment from my house, through the modem, to their first hop. He hooked his gear up to the inbound cable and found - (GASP) - the same thing I just showed him. After fidgeting with it for a while and wondering about flaky power, he finally moved outside and hooked up to the cable coming from the pole to the house. And he found - (GASP) - the same thing.

Well, sir, it seems like we may have an area problem, not something related to your house after all.

Really?

So hours later he called and asked me to re-check my graphs. Things looked good at that point, but I saw 100% packet loss just a few minutes prior. He said they had just fixed their issue and wanted me to verify. And it has been good for the past hour, so they probably did find/fix their problem. Which apparently was a pair of inline amplifiers - one upstream, and one down.

I asked about the ditch construction going on up the road from the house, and he said it was Windstream - and that they were laying fiber. So now I’m cautiously excited about a possible future with fiber, and no longer having to worry so much about losing my link when it rains. Who knows, they might even finally offer business class service - and every little issue might not require 2 hours on hold in the future. But then again, I probably won’t be able to afford those kinds of improvements …