[Linux-aus] telstra (adsl) broadband and support for linux (or lack thereof)

Rick Marshall rjm at zenucom.com
Fri Feb 7 16:49:01 UTC 2003


everyone has horror stories from their isp. i use i-primus for my own
servers and for my clients (a lot of connections) because a) they're
linux friendly and b) as a commercial client i get quite reasonable
support - can't comment on home support. i-primus actually has their own
gear in some exchanges so i don't have to always put up with telstra,
but i'd have to say that where they use telstra gear the dropouts,
particularly over the last couple of weeks have been far too numerous.

one of my assistants uses another isp (sorry can't remember their name)
and swears by their service as well.

but then you can't always win. we're about to install a telstra adsl
line because china telecom can only route directly to telstra or optus
ip addresses in australia (the default route for everything else is
sprint in the us). and if you think dealing with telstra is difficult
try china telecom....... i couldn't even find a support line.

it really is the dark ages still.


On Fri, 2003-02-07 at 18:04, Tony Nugent wrote:
> I've had an ADSL connection with telstra now for two years (heh, for
> better or for worse).  My linux router/firewall works just fine with
> it, no problems (with stock-standard pppoe).  However, I certainly
> can't say the same about the reliability of the side of the link:)
> Tesltra's stated (and enforced) policy is that they only give
> support for "approved" operating systems.
> Needless to say, linux is NOT on their approved OS list... and no
> way would I put a (gasp!) windows box up-front on an internet
> connection, no way at all!
> I'm getting pretty jack of this situation... I ring their support
> desk to (politely) inform them that they have (yet another) problem
> with their concentrators (routing and authentication problems,
> frequent dropouts, timeouts waiting for PADO packets and so on) and
> they flatly REFUSE to "esculate" the problem simply because I cannot
> give them the exact error message generated by a windows box sitting
> behind the adsl modem[1].
>   [1]the alcatel modem they initially sold me is a security hazard
>   and they know it - but that's another story.
> Oh crikey!  I can tell them *exactly* what the problem is at a
> technical level - my linux box produces logs that give me the
> precise nature of the problem at the LCP level.  But oops, as soon I
> mention that I'm using linux, they give me the same old story
> ("sorry, we don't support that") followed by deafening silence and
> immediate inaction.
> I admit that in my own situation I am my own linux support, I
> personally don't really need them specifically for that.  But I pay
> good money for this adsl connection (probably too much), and also
> for the support that is supposed to go along with it.  I tell them
> that they have a real problem and exactly what it is, but they
> choose to ignore me.
> I generally tend to laugh this off, but I've just about given up
> ringing them because of this stone-walling, which is not good -
> neither for them (so that I can "officially" inform them that there
> is a problem), nor for me (so that I can confirm that the problem
> isn't on my side, which btw has _never_ been the situation).
> I'm wondering if others here are also frustrated with the same total
> lack of support for linux (from telstra or other ISPs), and if it is
> somehow possible to get some lobbying happening at a "higher" level
> (L-A would be ideal) to raise awareness of the situation and get
> something done about it.  If there is, how to go about it?  I would
> certainly volunteer to help in any way I can, but I have no idea
> where to start nor what would need to be done to bring about any
> effective changes.  If L-A was instrumental in helping to bring
> about this sort of change, then it would certainly be a feather in
> its cap.
> Do other ISPs do the same thing, offer no (or very limited) support
> for linux with adsl/broadband?
> Perhaps I should change ISPs... any recommendations?  I'd really
> like a permanent (or even leased) IP, but I'd have to pay around
> five times as much for having that "privilege".  (No, not for public
> hosting purposes... that would be abuse of the service).
> Is anyone from telstra listening here?  If so, then listen
> carefully...
>   Get real telstra... linux is out there, it exists, and it WORKS!
>   Lots of people use it, and lots more people will be using it in
>   the future.  More and more businesses are and will be using it,
>   especially for backend network services (with an increasing uptake
>   in desktop environments).
>   And I hear strong rumours that internally your own organisation is
>   about to widely deploy linux as a cost-effective and stable
>   desktop solution to replace that unreliable and expensive
>   licence-ridden black-box thing that you are currently using.
>   In the end, using linux with adsl/broadband isn't so much of a
>   support problem, not at all.  Once adsl is set up and working on a
>   linux/unix box (which is relatively trivial to do[2]), it is
>   highly stable and requires hardly any on-going maintenance at all.
>   It just works.
>     [2] and out-of-the-box with no need for extra "add-on" software.
>   It would be trivial for you to create some web pages and/or small
>   booklet with basic (and advanced) setup instructions, along with
>   some hits (and literally thousands of URLs) about setting up
>   things like simple but effective (masquerading) firewalls.  (Not
>   to mention things like spam/virus email filtering and so on).
>   And it would not be so expensive nor short-sighted to train your
>   installation crews, and then ensure the 24/24 availability of a
>   small number of helpdesk people (and eventually all of them) who
>   have the ability to deal with it.  Heck, you'll increase their
>   intrinsic value by skilling them in real-world computing!
>   In fact, using linux on an adsl connection should be *encouraged*,
>   not - as is the current situation - discouraged!
>   So what's the big deal telsta, what are you afraid of?  Spending
>   pennies?  Heh, *I* may be small-fry, but you'll end up loosing
>   lots of clients (big and small) such as myself...
> A linux group does exist on telstra's own broadband news site where
> I could raise this issue with a more targetted audience, but after
> posting to it *once* two years ago, I'm *still* getting spam from
> the auto-harvesting that's done with usenet groups!  (I know, I
> deliberately used a valid "no-spam" email address to post to it).
> Never again will I do that.  At least by using (most?) mailing
> lists, I am much more protected from that sort of thing.  But I
> digress... :)
> So, am I alone with my frustrations?
> Cheers
> Tony
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Rick Marshall <rjm at zenucom.com>
Zenucom Pty Ltd

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