bow down, for i am enabled

note: this is going to get rather technical, so i’m going to use an analogy that i’ve used in teaching in the past about how the internet basically works. To explain how traffic (ie: internet traffic) flows from your computer to the internet, it works like this: You live in San Francisco. You know there is are many routes to get to San Jose. Do you Take 101? Do you take 80? Do you drive the backroads? The point is you have many choices, but which one do you take? Do you take the shortest path? The fastest path? Each packet on the internet makes these kind of decisions based on routing protocols (what they can and cannot do).

Now, lets throw up another scenario. You are looking at renting/purchasing a home. You want to make sure your path to work is less stressful and trouble free. You consult the home owners association, the builders and find out that taking a path down main st is guaranteed to be yours exclusively alone to use. Your family and yourself can drive virtually undisturbed to work without having to deal with overzealous commuters.

But wait!

one day you wake up, drive to work and realize that your comfortable drive has turned to hell. You contact the builders and the HOA and find out that the selling agreement in your property was “limited” due to “increase” in others wanting to experience their own comfort drive. Since the guarantee was verbal and not in the contract, you are basically screwed.

This is, in a nutshell, what paul and i found out about remington apartments this morning.

You see, we are bandwidth whores. After working at UUnet for nearly 2 years and having broadband at home, going back to anything less than cable internet is purely bullshit. Thankfully RoadRunner has upgraded their systems and I can experience damn near t1 speeds at home with fairly little congestion on the network. Now that it is time for paul and i to move, we started looking at apartments and fell in love with remington. Not only were they close to work (five minutes!), they had amenities up the wazoo and kept telling us that they had “t1 speeds wired into every apartment”.

We should have known it was too good to be true.

What tipped us off this was a ruse was when none of us (paul, myself, scott who now lives there, greg and nadia) could get a set date on the install of the circuits to provide said bandwidth. We had started stalking the apartments since last august. By October we were convinced we were going to be living in one of their “luxury” apartments. When Scott moved in, we started pestering him about the t1 speeds. “in a few weeks” he said (as he was told via bbrez, the firm handling the dss and internet connectivity), by january 19th we were told. By February 1st was another verdict. DEFINITELY by the time you move in (march 1st) we were told yet again when we went to go look at the apartments. “If not by the time you move in, they will be in big trouble!” we were told by the apartment manager. So paul and I felt confident that we would have the requisite speeds. So we dropped our deposit off on this past saturday and were excited about the prospect of our new home.

But something wasn’t right within me personally about the whole bandwidth issue. We were not getting a straight answer from anyone in the company (techs, sales, marketing, etc) about what is exactly going on, so i took matters into my own hands.

The latest we had heard from Greg was that there was a t1 being dropped into each apartment building. Each building houses 32 apartments. Lets say 2 people per apartment (since most are 2+ bedrooms) and you are looking at 64 people on that connection. You say that half those apartments have internet-ready computers. And half of those are users. You are looking at 16 people who will be sharing that t1 (being conservative here).

[side bar: a t1 has 24 dso channels. Each dso is capable of 64K (56K + 8bit overhead). You can theoretically get 24 people on a single t1 at 56K modem speeds — which is what ISPs use. Now to make money, ISP’s oversell their connectivity, with the ratio being 5 to 1, which means that for every t1 there is up to 120 people trying to get on it to get the interweb from that t1 ALONE. 5 to 1 is a conservative standard, i’ve seen it as high as 10 to 1 (with the rule that not everyone will be using the interweb at the same time, therefore they are reselling that bandwidth) with the average being 7 to 1.]

So, if bbrez was dropping a single t1 into each building, 16 people would be (conservatively) attempting to use that. Using the above the sidebar as a rule of thumb, we would not be getting split between us nothing more than dialup speed!

So I called and got the number for the VP of marketing. He gave me the song and dance and I told him “Look, I work for UUNet, do you now who we are? We are the largest tier 1 provider in the world. I do my living turning up t1s, t3s, and OCs. What you are telling me is not computing here as “high speed bandwidth”, it’s a little more than dialup according to your own conversions!” Then he started on the marketing and sales bs. I told him to shove it (i literally did). I was not a fluff head without any technological background, I did this for a *living*. He referred me to the VP of Technical Operations, with whom they called me back and did a conference call on this subject. They kept telling me my idea of “high speed internet” was unrealistic (um, okay) and I kept asking them “Can you guarantee me 384 up/down connection all the time”. No response. This went on for nearly 30 minutes, when they said they would “get back to me” and we hung up.

I got a standing ovation in the cube farm when I stood up to stretch from my co-workers and people asking me to dispute their bills.

And the kicker?

They are not dropping a t1 into each building, they are dropping the t1 into the WHOLE COMPLEX! 13 buildings x 32 apartments =384 units. On a single t1. FUCK THAT! “Well upgrade as needed” i was told. And when are they planning on dropping the local loop? They just got the order into verizon and they have a 45 day FOC date. Oh fucking please. Which means the service won’t even be available on our move on date!

To be a bitch, I called the vp of marketing and said “Can you please let me know whom your peering with and what your plans for aggregate bandwidth is and why you did not plan on dropping a tiered t3 at 3 or 6mbs and therefore could increase bandwidth when demanded instead of installing additional t’s. Call me at work tomorrow at Thanks!”

Doesn’t matter. I compiled a list of seven possible replacements that paul and i did a star system and i will be calling those places tomorrow. I already know that one place has available rentals for our time frame. as a preclude to this all, this wouldn’t be an issue if there were other options in that area, but there isn’t! RoadRunner (our current interweb cable provider) only covers fairfax county, and the new complex is in loudon county. There is aldelphia cable, but that is uni-directional (t1 downloads/modem uploads) which would be okay, but pauls work requires something a tad bit faster than dialup! The area we live in is so convoluted because we have three cable providers (cox (roadrunner), aldelphia and comcast(@home)) and in some areas whom you get is dependent on where you live. you could live five blocks from john doe and have a different cable provider. DSL is not an option since most of the newer apartments are having fibre dropped to the curbs, which rules out true dsl unless someone got off their duff and did PPPoE, like bellsouth.

I’ve already told bbrez and remington that I will be filing with the BBB for false advertising. But my bitching gave me a sense of betterness because this chickie does not take bullshit from anyone, especially when it comes to bandwidth.

lisa lisa