Thursday, August 14, 2003

Bandwidth Starvation

For most of this week my ISP has been experiencing severe difficulties, which finally seem to have cleared up today. DNS services were flaky, bandwidth was way down, my IP address (assigned via DHCP) was fluctuating. This leads me to suspect that the local Network Operations Center was having server problems. Given that this was the same week that the SanLuv worm was active and generating headlines, I have to wonder if there is a connection between the two events.

The thing that I find most worrying about this is the frequency with which this is occurring. We hooked up with our ISP after moving to Pittsburgh last October. Through the beginning of July we had no problems at all with them -- bandwidth was constant and high, and I don't recal the connection ever going down. Then on July 1st the sale of our ISP to another entity was completed. Since then we have gone through two multi-day bandwidth limiting events. As part of the sale, I assume that our current ISP bought the entire infrastructure of the old system, so I really don't know of a technical reason why they would be suffering outages. I suspect that it is either management problems or understaffing, and I find that worrying. We also don't really have a choice in provider, as far as I can tell, unless we were to undergo a major change in technology.

If this sort of thing keeps happening monthly, however, we will probably have to start looking at DSL as an alternative. But the horror stories that I heard from friends about DSL in Austin make me very wary of going that route. (In the worst case, I know someone who changed apartments within the same complex, and it took his DSL line 6 months to follow him).