Best Telco Stories

Unanswered Question
Jan 5th, 2011

Most of us in the networking world have had issues working with telcos.  Here is your chances to share your funny telco stories!

Here is mine....

One site had a frame relay circuit that was bouncing and spent more time down then up.  The client was running on their backup ISDN circuit and getting huge bills.  I kept working with the telco and they kept saying it was a CPE issue.  We replaced the WIC 3 times and same condition.  I told them that the issue was with the line and when they tested it they said they saw no issue.  Finally after about two months of this, I asked my field engineer to go on site and hang out for at least 2 hours.  Then I called the telco and told them that all the equipment was replaced, the chassis, card (again), everything.  The telco tech broke into the circuit and told me that he now sees the issue.  That the faulty Cisco equipment was masking a secondary issue with the circuit.  They repaired the circuit and it came back up.

The funnies part of this, we didn't replace anything the last time.  The chassis was never replaced and the WIC was, but it was never the issue.

I just love dealing with some of the telco's out there!

Happy New Year to all.


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Overall Rating: 5 (55 ratings)
Kimberly Adams Wed, 01/05/2011 - 12:47


That is a good one!  I am sure you have a lot of good stories working for a telco!

Give you a +5 for this one.


Rob Huffman Wed, 01/05/2011 - 12:20

Hey Kimberly,

I used to work for a Telco, so I have many stories

This is the most recent one that happened right before the Holidays. There is a

small business on our campus that is using ADSL for their connectivity. The poor

guy who runs the place was having problems and he needed a hand to try and get things

fixed up. The service was really flaky so we had the Telco do a cable transfer which seemed

to help a great deal.

About a week later his service is completely dead. I contacted the Telco and was very surprised

to find out that they had gone and done another cable transfer. They didn't let anyone know that this

was taking place. WTF! I asked the Telco tech if they thought the cross-connect jumper in the

main demark would just magically move when they did this change and he said he was unaware that anything

would need to be done at this end

Love em!



Kimberly Adams Thu, 01/06/2011 - 08:54


That is great, I will always have to remember rule #3!  +5 for the rules.



Rob Huffman Thu, 01/06/2011 - 05:39

Hi Kimberly,

Thanks for posting back so we could give your great story the +5 it deserves

It sounds like you used "reverse Telco Psychology" on them. Hahahahahaha!

I thought you might like this Telco story......from back in the day. We were going

through Safety training and of course there were many lists of Rules. The one that

struck as pretty crazy was Rule #3.

RULE # 3 - No Riding on moving buildings.


So we swore on our hearts that we would never ride on a moving building and passed the

Safety training.

Years later I found out that the reason the rule existed was due to the fact that some guy who was

supposed to disconnect an aerial service so a building could be moved off its foundation decided that

he would just ride on the building and hold the line up out of the way instead. It turns out that the guy

got pulled off the building when the line he was holding got caught on some other wires. I guess he broke

some bones but was lucky to walk away at all.

So remember.....

RULE # 3 - No Riding on moving buildings.



Rob Huffman Fri, 01/07/2011 - 13:25

Hey Kimberly,

I guess you and I are the only people who have trouble with Telcos

Here is the latest one. Just happened 10 minutes ago.

The Telco always asks me to help them extend circuits to new locations here on campus

due to the size and intricacies of the place. So this lady from the Telco phones me to ask

if I can help one of their techs next week. I say "no problem" just let me know what date and time

you are coming. She replies "we'll be there on Tuesday January 11 between 8:00AM and 6:00PM

Whaaaat? .............................................................................................

I remind her that I'm helping them out here and that a 10 hour window of waiting around for them

probably won't work. "But that's how we always do it" she says. Typical telco response!

We managed to work out a time between 12:30PM and 2:30PM. Hahahahahahahaha!



Kimberly Adams Fri, 01/07/2011 - 13:43

Hey Huff,

I gues you and I are the only ones with Telco issues.  Yeah I personally just love the 10 hour window for a little assistance!  Nice!

One of my customers was standing in front of the smart-jack, when their circuit was down, telling me that there was a big red alarm light on it.  I called the telco and they said, it was an issue with the CPE (client premise equipment).  I conferenced in the client and he said he was standing in front of the smart-jack with a red failure light on it, the telco tech wouldn't beleive him or me.  I dialed into the router remotely and saw loss of frame, loss of signal, and an AIS alarm.

I demaded they replace the card in the smart-jack after fighting with them for a couple of hours.  Finally, the telco said, we will dispatch to the site, but if there is no issue with our equipment we will bill you.  We don't usually do this and perfer to have the client address their equipment issues before sending anyone on site.

I told them to bill the crap out of me if there is nothing wrong with their smart-jack.  The next morning the tech showed up on site and found an issue with the smart-jack.  Replaced it and magically all was fine!!!!  Go figure!

Good luck with them next week.  +5 for your story.



Rob Huffman Fri, 01/07/2011 - 14:13

Hey Kimberly,

That's the way to do it buddy! Just tell them to bill the **** out

of you if they can prove the problem is not theirs.

Put their money where their mouth is! Sweet! +5



marikakis Fri, 01/07/2011 - 14:06

Hey Rob, your badge just changed color in front of my eyes!

burleyman Wed, 01/12/2011 - 06:50

Great is my on going saga

We deal with a few telco's but 2 main ones.

One of them, who I will leave nameless, whenever we have an issue with a circuit down or flapping I call them to report the situation. When I am 100% that it is their issue causing the problem i always answer yes to all their usual questions no matter if I did what they ask or not. So I open the ticket and monitor the circuit. Almost 100% of the time about 20 to 30 minutes later the circuit comes back up and it is almost the same amount of time every time. I call back and let them know it is back on line and ask the most difficult question of all..... what happened? And nearly 100% of the time with this telco I get "we did not do anything". I thought it was so funny one time when I opened another ticket I told the person when they said " I will get a Technician on the problem", I told them there was no need that me just placing the call to you should be enough to fix the problem. They asked what I meant and I told them, "Every time I call the circuit comes back on line in 20 to 30 minutes and when I ask you what happened I get the same answer, " we did not do anything, so I don't think I need a technician", needless to say they were speechless and guess what....they said they found a problem and let me know what they did....go figure.

Now for a good telco....the other telco we deal with the most is great and I will mention them by name because they earned it, Paetec. Whenever I call them they will tell me exactly what happened even if it does not put them in the best light. How refreshing and honest. Now the funny part with them and they even could not believe me when I told them.

On another call with Paetec's circuit they said they could not find anything on their side but the last mile provider could be the issue and they would contact them. So I asked who they were and they told was the provider I just mentioned above. So I told Paetec my stories about them and they laughed. So now when Paetec called the other provider and let them know they saw a issue with the circuit on their end they took the info. Guess what about 20 to 30 minutes later the circuit came back up and the Paetec tech called me right away to let me know it was back up, but when he called I could tell he was hold back laughing. Before I could say anything he goes to me..."go ahead and ask me what happened" followed by laughter that he could not I asked, he told me they said they did not do funny...even telco to telco. The Paetec tech has called me twice since laughing to tell me it happened again with another customer.


Rob Huffman Wed, 01/12/2011 - 07:22

Hey Mike,

That's so funny and yet so true! +5 my friend hahahahaha!

You might remember a TV show called "Hogans Heros", in it

there was a character named SGT. Shultz (sp?). Most of the Telcos

use his most famous line all the time.....

"I know nothing!"

Nice to see you back Mike!



Kimberly Adams Wed, 01/12/2011 - 07:45


That is so very true with telco's!  +5 for your stories and I think I know which telco you didn't name....we work with them too!!!!!!

Huff....nicely done with the Hogans Heros reference!!!



burleyman Wed, 01/12/2011 - 08:16

Oh the fun we have.......

Rob...should we call you Hogan.......after all with the first honors of being awarded the "super gold" you are CSC's hero..... 

I slay myself some times.... 

Congrats Rob, much deserved!!


Rob Huffman Fri, 01/14/2011 - 06:10

Hey Kimberly,

Just a follow-up here on last weeks story.....remember the Telco tech was

going to come out yesterday.....

We managed to work out a time between 12:30PM and 2:30PM. Hahahahahahahaha!

Well he showed up @ 10:15AM and forgot to Call b4 coming. UUGGHH!

Same old story



Kimberly Adams Fri, 01/14/2011 - 07:39


Yeah it is just classic telco!!!  Well at least you didn't spend all day waiting for them to show up.  hahahaha....



lgijssel Fri, 01/14/2011 - 08:58

Not exactly a telco story but still so funny that I'll never forget it although it is almost twenty years ago.

IT was not as advanced as it is today and standards were still not implemented as torough as they are nowadays. The Internet was an unknown phenomenon and Novell was in its heydays. I was working for a Telco as a network engineer.

We had an assignment with a customer who was migrating to the latest technology. A 10BaseT network.

They also had a mainframe which ran important business applications, I believe it was a Unisys.

At the time there was no standard solution to enable communication with that mainframe over a network.

Still, a smart salesman had managed to find something:

There was a guy from Denmark who had developed a Protocol Gateway to enable this type of mainframe to communicate over IPX.

The server was rolled in together with the guy and I was asked to support him regarding the network.

He was totally excited when he learned that I was able to capture network traffic on my PC. We would not call this baby portable nowadays.

His "product" appeared to be anything but plug-and-play so he needed to make a huge amount of adjustments. Still we got along quite well and I think he appreciated my help. Our understanding was clear though: he was the master and I was the pupil.

Then we got to a point where his software crashed due to some unknown cause.

Noticing this, I said to him: "It's crashed."

He then spoke to me the unforgettable words: "No, they are just option negotiating".


Kimberly Adams Fri, 01/14/2011 - 09:06


Nice, I will have to remember that one!  "Option Negotiating".  Thank you for sharing a good story.

Thanks and cheers.


Rob Huffman Fri, 01/14/2011 - 11:35

Hi Leo,

"Option Negotiating" sweet! I'm going to use that one going forward



Rob Huffman Fri, 01/14/2011 - 11:49

Hey Kimberly,

Here's the follow-up, follow-up from yesterdays visit from the Telco

So, I extend the circuit for the tech to the Riser room in the area where he's

hooking up the new service. I meet him down at the customer location and take him

to the riser. There is a couple of new Cat6 cables hanging at the Bix cross-connect

for him to use. I ask him to go ahead and terminate the cables on the Bix...........

well he looks at me like I've got 3 heads and says "R66 block" ..........I'm like ....what???

I ask him one more time to go ahead and punch down his 2 new cables on the spare

Bix ............then he looks at me and says "we don't do that" ...OMG ....USELESS!

So he takes one of the new cables and skins it back to reveal the pairs, the sheath of the cable

where he has been working looks like it has been chewed by a Junkyard dog (no offense to any dogs

out there). He takes the W/BL pair and punches it right on the Bix where I've run his circuit to .....very nice!

So, I'll have to go back next week and re-do all this clumsy work

I just cringe every time I have to work with this group! It is painful to say the least.



Kimberly Adams Fri, 01/14/2011 - 11:59


I completely understand about them being completely useless!!!  I do feel your pain and have some of my own coming up soon with a really undesirable telco...not fun.

Have fun with cleaning up the telco mess.



hobbe Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:07

Ok here is one of mine..

I was having problems getting out on the internet with my home line with a fixed ip.

and at this time the telco did not like firewalls and basically they did not help you if they found out that you had a firewall connected.

"unsupported" they would say.

so during my own testing i connected a switch with a span port so I could sniff the outside of the interface.

I come to the conclusion that I can not reach my own default gateway, in fact I can not se a single packet coming from the WAN link.

no counters on the interface and nothing in wireshark.

I call the telco support and tells them my problem and I get a support guy who starts to go through the normal faliure list.

After about 20-25 minutes of trying to get them to start looking in their end he proudly proclaims that there is no error in their side and there is nothing wrong with the link, he can see my computer.

I then am a bit stumped for an answer since i have not seen any packet at all from them, he insists that he can see my computer.

I then ask him how he can see my computer and with what tool since i have not recieved any packet on the WAN link . he proudly proclaims that he is using NSlookup and that he can se my computer and ip address there.

I then proceed with explaining to him that just because he can see me in the phone book does not mean that my phone works.

same with nslookup.

He agrees to file a error report to the backend.

Problem solved after a couple of hours.

Kimberly Adams Fri, 01/21/2011 - 07:52


Yeah, you got to love the front line telco techs!

+5 for your story and thank you for sharing this.


Rob Huffman Thu, 01/27/2011 - 07:11

Hi Kimberly,

Hope all is well

Here is the Final (I hope) outcome of our simple (for most) ADSL install.

Well ...............after 4 "so called" Techs,10 missed appointments, 43 phone calls

16 new grey hairs, 100 moments of meditation, 77 #@%! words, 10 hours of

standing around waiting and 6 minutes of "small business man" hand holding

it's all done.



1.Learning new languages

2. Explaining where our University Campus is located (Campuses are generally quite large landmarks )

3. 3 cable transfers (one planned - two unplanned)

4. a Tech who wanted to re-punch all the Bix connections with an "Exacto" knife

5. more "we don't do that's"

6. 4 "where do I park" questions

7. learning new meditation techniques (mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!)

8. Priceless

The poor guy who opens his new shop on Monday finally has his ADSL circuit.

I can't wait for next time



Kimberly Adams Thu, 01/27/2011 - 12:04

Hey Huff,

All on this side is ok, I am fighting with yet another telco but that story is not ready yet! 

hahahahahahaha-----for the hightlights of your latest telco issue!  I am sure you can't wait for the next time someone needs something!!!!

+5 for your recap!



Rob Huffman Thu, 01/27/2011 - 13:15

Hey Kimberly,

With my newly found meditation techniques I'll be ready for anything the Telco

can throw at me .Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

I'll be waiting for your latest story my friend!



Rob Huffman Fri, 01/07/2011 - 14:11

Hey Maria,

Happy Holidays my friend! Hope all is well with you and your




Rob Huffman Fri, 03/18/2011 - 13:10

Hey Kimberly,

Hope all is well with you!

It's been awhile since our last story so I thought it must be time to add

another one from my "Telco" past life

Way back in the day of 1A2 Key Equipment telephone systems there was no such thing

as Cat5 or 6 cabling. Some phone setups needed 50 or 75 pair cables.Hahahahaha! These

were always a real Bear to pull especially for long runs. day we were pulling a very long run of 50 pair cable through an extremely

difficult office/warehouse configuration. The conduit had alot of 90's and bad connectors that made

the pull even worse. In the middle of the run there was a pull-box and this is where I was located

for the cable pull. So, we have spent almost 4-5 hours pulling this cable and we get almost to the

end. The last bit of slack is getting pulled up into the pull-box I am my horror I realize that

I've taken the cable out of the pull-box on one side of a nice wooden (visible) beam and back up the other

side. The beautiful Gray 50 pair cable is forming a lovely loop around the nice beam ............Oooooooops!!!

Needless to say I've always been more careful when doing any wiring/cabling jobs



or for Leo "Smooth Rob"

Kimberly Adams Mon, 03/21/2011 - 09:54

Huff "Smooth Rob" 

Things here are as good as they can be....working and such!  LOL  I am glad that things are good with you.

Love your newest telco story (+5 for you), I am still fighting with a telco for my newest story!

Have fun!


Rob Huffman Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:41

Hey Kimberley,

Work is never too much fun ...that's why we come to Leo's Cafe

to share Telco stories (+5)



Leo Laohoo Mon, 03/21/2011 - 14:14

2. Explaining where our University Campus is located (Campuses are generally quite large landmarks )

In GPS-language, give them the EXACT coordinates from a western branded GPS unit.  Then again, this could back-fire and someone could be using the Eastern-branded (GLONASS) system. 
Rob Huffman Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:44

Hey Leo,

We'd need to send them the coordinates from a Telco GPS

upside-down, inside-out, backwards and inevitably "always right"

Hope all is well buddy! +5


Smooth Rob the "GPS-direction giver"

Kimberly Adams Fri, 04/22/2011 - 12:40

Hey Huff,

How are things going for you out there?  Sorry I have not been around much, it has been really crazy in my world.  A long story that starts towards the end of March........not sure if you all want to hear my stories of woe...not much humor but all did work out in the end.  If you want to hear it just ask.

I am back here and seeing what I can do to help out and have a little fun during the day.



Rob Huffman Sat, 04/23/2011 - 05:54

Hey Kimberly,

Welcome back my friend

I'm up for any stories you have....bring em on!



Kimberly Adams Mon, 04/25/2011 - 10:07

Hey Huff...

This is the classic, welcome to my  crazy life story.  It started on the last weekend of March, when I got  this nasty cold and felt horrible.  I had to fly to California for work  on the 30th, fly out in the morning and fly home that evening...what a  long day with a terrible cold!  The next morning I figured I would just  work from home since I felt so bad and not wanting to spread it around  the office.  My director sends me an email asking me to come in and when  can I be there.  I said I can be there in an hour.  The company has not  been doing well and I told my husband I think I am getting laid off.   He has been out of work for over a year and a half after he got laid  off.  I went into the office and made sure to bring all my stuff with me  and found my director and the HR lady.  Yep, I got laid off and then  needed to finish my expense report and do a project hand off and clean  out my office.

That afternoon my husband gave some  encouraging words of advice and such and said he isn't going back to  school, but back into the job market again with me.  We drank the night  away!    Friday morning I updated my resume and resumed all my job board  searches and started applying for jobs again.  I met with a headhunter  on the following Tuesday, but told him that my husband would be a better  fit for the position (since we both are Network/Security Engineers).   Wednesday I got an email from another headhunter to meet me for a  position they are trying to fill as a contract to hire.  Thurday morning  I met her for coffee and then she asked the hiring manager to talk to  me.  I left there at 10:00 AM and then my phone range at 10:09 AM and  the company wanted me to start the following Monday.  Well....I thought  things were going to be rough for us, but I was only out of work for a  week and 2 days!

So, this is my crazy story and why I have not been around very much here lately.  But I am back!



Rob Huffman Tue, 04/26/2011 - 05:23

Hey Kimberly,


What a whirlwind story for sure! I'm so happy to hear that you are back to

work already, and after only a week and a bit. That must be a record in these

economic times

Your story also proves the "old" adage;

"When the going gets tough,

The tough head for drinks!"

How bout hubby? How is his job hunt going?

We're glad to have you back @ CSC!!



Kimberly Adams Tue, 04/26/2011 - 08:05

Hey Huff,

Yeah it has been a whirl wind time with plenty of highs and lows.  And in these times, the tough do head for drinks!  Hubby is not having as good luck as I am.  He has had a couple of really promising interviews but then nothing.  They turn out to be more of a nightmare than anything.  He knows Networking and Security like the back of his hand and he had a terrible interview yesterday.

He sat down with the 2 network engineers and the hiring manager.  The hiring manager hardly said a word to him, but sat and stared at his resume.  One of the engineers decided to ask him about spanning tree.  Hubby explained to them how to configure and monitor and troubleshoot it.  The engineer said, yeah that is fine, but is the formula and algorithm behind what makes it work?  Shocked Hubby said, off the top of my head I don't remember.  (Honestly, who knows that except for someone writing the IOS code at Cisco!)  The engineer reluctantly proceded to the next question about routing protocols and asked him to explain EIGRP.  Hubby explained again the configuration, monitoring, and troubleshooting of it.  The engineer again said, but what is the formula and algorithm behind it making it work?  Hubby looked at him and said what?!!?  The engineer repeated the question and hub said, in order to configure, monitor, and troubleshoot any routing protocol, you really don't need to know the algorithm behind it!  The engineer said, it is obvious you don't know very much about EIGRP then, so lets move on to OSPF.  Hubby at that point had enough and professionally end the interview.  When he was leaving he told them, I didn't know this was a Cisco CCIE R/S written exam, if I had known, I would have studied for it.  Have a nice day and walked out!

Hubby is a little jealous now that I keep having better luck then him on the interviewing and landing a job.



P.S.  Hey maybe we need to start a new topic on job hunting/interviewing horror stories! 

Rob Huffman Tue, 04/26/2011 - 09:50

Hi Kimberly,

Why must some people who are running interviews act like such a$$e$ Why, why, why????

As if anyone needs to know that type of detail.............I'd love to hear them explain  the formula and

algorithm behind Spanning Tree or EIGRP!!

Tell Hubby, he's better off not working with people like that (to be sure!!) If they act like that in an

interview, what would they be like when the "you know what" hits the fan Tell me how much the

formula and algorithm behind Spanning Tree or EIGRP matters then!! HA!

My Dad always used to say;

"Good things happen to those who wait"

And I truly believe that. Keep on trying and it will all work out in the end.



Kimberly Adams Tue, 04/26/2011 - 10:18

Hey Huff,

Yeah I do completely agree about those who wait and are patient.  After he told me about what happened during the interview, his initial thoughts were that they just didn't want to fill the position and the "higher ups" were making them fill an opening.  But I was thinking about it and came to the conclusion that these two engineers don't want anyone to come into their group and pi$$ in their sand box.  It honestly sounded like they have their boss baffeled a bit and a lot of other people in the I.T. dept have been replaced by contractors and they don't want to be.  This made much better sense to my hubby then his first thoughts.

Honestly in the grand scheme of things, the formulas and algorithm behind anything doesn't really matter.  Can you configure it, monitor it, and troubleshoot it seccussfully?  If yes, then all that other stuff really doesn't matter when the "STUFF" hits the fan.  My hubby is the smartest person I know and would trust him over most for info or help on anything switching, routing, or security!!!!

I have faith that all will work out in the end.

Hope you have a good day.



JohnHeller_2 Tue, 04/26/2011 - 17:46


Anyone from Australia will know about the largest ISP over here called Telstra. Here is one of my many stories about them.

Last year just before xmas, I had a task to installed ADSL modems at a very remote town, about 1000 miles from where I am based by 4wd.

The client had ordered 6 adsl services, 4 for houses, one for the local town council office and one for the general store.

The modems had been mis-delivered and I had only been able to locate them by going to the local post office and describing that size and shape of the 6 boxes.

I drove out to the town and was able to install 5/6 modems on the first attempt.

I then went to the office there and tried to do the same thing.

The ADSL light came up on the modem but the login details didn't work.

I did some basic trouble shooting, and found that another modem with alternate login details worked, and the modem assigned to the office would work at another site with other account details.

Then I spent 12 hours, yes no exageration, on the phone explaining to differenet sections like billing, accounts, tech support... what the problem was and got passed around.

The annoying thing is that some flunky would hardly listen to what i was saying, and would switch me to another department, but of course I would enter a queue at that section for 45mins to an hour.

I had a heated arguement with a women who was apparently a level 2 tech and team leader. She explained to me that the only modem that would work on the circuit was that one that they had assigned, and that no other modem would do the job. I told her that this was completly wrong and that I already had a working modem on the line and all that I needed was the account to be reactivated. She told me that this was impossible. I told her...look that only way I looked up your tech support numbers was using the modem you are telling me wont possibly work on your service.

She got really angry and told me that she was going to post me a new modem and immediatly cancelled the account on the line. this caused all sorts of administrative problems overs the next 6 hours as Bigpond can't seem to uncancel a cancelled service.

I ended up having to order a new adsl service on the line with no modem in the package.

Then after a few hours i was able to talk to a level 3 tech who fixed the problem in about 30 seconds.

I find that you get a sore ear and a crick in your neck from using a handset for that long.

Eventually I did get a replacement modem, about 3 weeks after xmas. Im glad i didnt wait on site for it!! I kept it as a spare to mail out to any client that had issues as a trouble shooting tool. I'm pretty sure they never billed me for it either.

JohnHeller_2 Tue, 04/26/2011 - 18:10


Another problem I always seem to ahve with all telcos is that they always assume that the problem is with CPE equipment.

I always try alternate cables, modems or whatever before calling the Telco, and tell them it's all been replaced with known good gear.

The base grade flunkies in the indian call centres usally have no choice but to follow a step by step trouble shooting guide, so you just have to answer them the way they expect.

The hardest part is to actually get a tech to come on site. They don't like doing an end to end test. The faults are usally in the last mile, and ther testing only works to the last bit of telco equipment.

One solution I have found with faulty adsl circuits is to tell them that when you plug a telephone handset into the circuit that the dialtone is quiet or sometimes not present and that you can sometimes hear other peoples phone conversations. This has actually sometimes been the case in older areas of my city. But nowhere near as often as i report!!

The privacy laws in most countries are pretty stingent and this makes them take action immediatly. I can usally get the last mile recabled or at least get them to switch pairs, and this usually fixes the issue. Otherwise I can complain for weeks or months to get similar action taken.



Leo Laohoo Wed, 04/27/2011 - 19:12

Hey John,

Telstra ... Hmmm ... aren't they all in the same boat?  Telstra, Optus, etc.  The bigger the corporation the more out-of-touch they are from the clients.  I believe that the first thing they'll "train" you in big corporations like Telstra is that the cost of taking a call and customer management don't mix.

I've dealt with Telstra since 2001.  Nine out of ten times when I log a fault and have them "check a line failure" they quickly reply that "we've done our test and find that you're remote equipment is faulty".  It's like a worn-out script.  It's your fault and not ours.  The only way for me to settle-this-once-and-for-all is to get Telstra to put a loop on the line so I can send packets down the "tube".  And this is when they'll admit that something has just failed in their side when I tell them that I'm shooting packets and nothing is coming back.  Whoopsie.  So what test have you done again?

I've worked in a call centre too.  Guess what, the best way to raise your "call stats" is do perform "cold" transfer of calls from one department to another.  Do me a favour, when you get into a situation like that, get the operator's name and post your comment in Whirlpool.

hobbe Thu, 04/28/2011 - 01:04

I agree to that the important thing is not to know formulas and the nitpicking of things, its important to know where to obtain that information if and when you need it.

A while ago I was at a meeting with a telco operator in sweden.

There was a discussion on how different spanning tree models worked and what was best to use in what situation, ie someone tried to overpower someone else by making them look dumb, in the end I just raised my hand and replied This is how it works and by the way it is all explained inbetween the pages so and so in the book so and so.

everyone just looked at me with a somewhat sceptic look on their faces that I was a complete and total egghead.

At a pure coincidense I had been reading up on that just two nights before because I was looking to take a test that included that.

Do I know it now if someone asks me ? obviously not. And it does not interest me one bit since if and when I need to, I know where to find that information.

Rob Huffman Wed, 04/27/2011 - 11:26

Hey John,

I'm glad you didn't wait either +5

Great story! It's good to know that this fine level of service is Universal! Hahahaha!

Cheers! Thanks for sharing.


Kimberly Adams Wed, 04/27/2011 - 13:46


I completely agree with Rob, great telco stories!  Yes it is very good to know that the issues we all have with telcos are universal.  We have the same issues in the U.S. with it always being CPE.....even when you look at the smartjack/demark and see it alarming.  It is totally the same story over and over again.

Thank you for sharing your stories with us.  +5


Leo Laohoo Wed, 04/27/2011 - 18:54

Hubby explained again the configuration, monitoring, and troubleshooting of it.  The engineer again said, but what is the formula and algorithm behind it making it work?  Hubby looked at him and said what?!!?  The engineer repeated the question and hub said, in order to configure, monitor, and troubleshoot any routing protocol, you really don't need to know the algorithm behind it!  The engineer said, it is obvious you don't know very much about EIGRP then, so lets move on to OSPF.  Hubby at that point had enough and professionally end the interview.  When he was leaving he told them, I didn't know this was a Cisco CCIE R/S written exam, if I had known, I would have studied for it.

I don't understand WHY.  Ok, what IF your hubby could answer these questions?  Are they going to pay him THAT MUCH?

But I was thinking about it and came to the conclusion that these two engineers don't want anyone to come into their group and pi$$ in their sand box.

Then you posted this.  I believe you are right.  It's an ego trip for the engineers.  They want to prove to their managers that they are THAT GOOD.  I can't wait to see them wipe that silly grin on their face if someone can answer these questoins.  Then again, they have an upper hand:  To the person who can answer their questions they can hit you back by giving you a pay of a level 1 trainee.

Honestly in the grand scheme of things, the formulas and algorithm behind anything doesn't really matter.

Not unless you work for the multi-national ISP like Verizon or AT&T, etc.

Let me put my two cents worth:  The line of questioning by these engineers are "old school".   I've met a few people who can answer a few of these questions but  has never touched a networking appiance.  I've read an article in CIO magazine that prospective employers would like to determine:  a.  what can you do; and b.  what have you done.

Please don't get offended when I say that it's good your hubbie didn't get the job.  I don't think I want to work for a group of ego-centric man1ac like that.

*Gotta calm down!*

JohnHeller_2 Wed, 04/27/2011 - 19:05

That really sounds like an interview from hell.

The sort of questions that they were asking are the sort of things that you memorise parrot fashion for the routing exam for your CCNP exam and then promptly forget.

If you ever get stuck on a real life WAN routing issue, you can always drag out your textbook again. But in all seriousness so much of what we learn in Cisco courses we are unlikely to use again. If we do come across something unfamiliar, there are so many other resources to refer to. Command references, course material, forum sites aka here.

I think that your hubby aquitted himself well if he could describe how to implement and troubleshoot WAN systems, and that company wasn't worth working for.

I know that America is having a hard time economically, but it is a great shame that people with your skills are getting laid off or can't find work.

Is it a problem in your area, or over the whole country?

Just move to Australia....we need you. Lots of work here . Or try for an overseas posting with someone like raytheon?

Kimberly Adams Thu, 04/28/2011 - 08:30


I would never get offended and I am glad he walked out the interview.  This is most definitely some place that I don't think anyone with any sense would want to work.  We are not that desperate that he would have to work at this place.  By the way, they really didn't pay THAT much and not enough to endure that kind of environment on a daily basis.

Honestly, my husband doesn't do well in places like this.  He can get seriously "lippy" and run his mouth.  Which means that he wouldn't have lasted very long there anyway.  I told him that this is beyond a good thing he didn't get this one, there is another out there waiting for him.


The economy here in the States has gotten better in the last couple of years.  He gave up on looking for work when I beat him out for a job and decided to go back to school....until I got laid off.  But now he has an offer coming today and he is pretty excited about it.  We will see how things go here, but good to know that other areas are doing good.  There are jobs here, but you have to be willing to move or work in areas you really don't like.  But oh well, what can you do?

Cheers all!


JohnHeller_2 Thu, 04/28/2011 - 19:51

Here is another Telstra story:-

About ten years ago two businesses decided to start online gambling in my town, due to the unique legislation that exists in the Northern Territory. One of the businesses was the local casino and the other was an independant bookmaker who was specialising on sports betting.

Two friends of mine owned a data cabling business and were given the task of cabling up the sports betting site, which was one of the first Category 6 sites in Australia.

No expense was spare on any part of the operation. The server room was a modern raised floor design with air circulating through the racks from below. The had really good UPS systems, top of the line HP servers. All very nice.

They approched Telstra and got a 2 meg syncronous internet connection, which was the best that was available. The local casino also rented the same connection for their operation.

After going live and getting a large number of American and Europen gamblers signed up, they complained about a lack of network speed. Clients were complaining that it was taking too long to place online bets.

The company wasn't happy, so we tested every component and there was nothing wrong with the cabling, switches etc.

I ran a number of speed tests on the link and found that it was maxing out at around 300k.

We complained to Telstra and they basically said the link was working as intended. They blamed overall traffic to the link being the problem. I did tests to the telstra routers in adelaide and the results were the same.The casino apparently had the same problem.

This link was costing about $5000 per month and they could have gotten the same bandwidth out of a couple of ISDN links for 5% of the price!!

I found out off the record that the total bandwidth to the town was only 8 megs at the time, so Telstra sold two corporate clients half the towns bandwidth without any equipment upgrades. Im not sure which is worse, the fact that they sold half the bandwidth effectively meaning that all other private and business clients were losing half their overall bandwidth, or that they were ripping of the two big companies by not delivering what they promised.

Eventually Telstra fixed the problem, but it took months for the links to deliver what they were supposed to. I suspect that they gave traffic prioritisation to the sports betting business and casino, rather than increase overall bandwidth to the town.

Now that ADSL-2 is being offered in Alice Springs, I am finding that the speed is barely better than what ADSL-1 uncapped can achieve. Probably the same issue. When will ISP's be forced to advertise the effective bandwidth of their services rather than the connection speed?

Leo Laohoo Thu, 04/28/2011 - 19:58

When will ISP's be forced to advertise the effective bandwidth of their services rather than the connection speed?

Nice one John.  I'm afraid not in Australia.  As you and I know pretty well Australia is the only place in the world where the ISP term "unlimited" as a number of asteriks at the end.  You'll also need a high-priced lawyer to get the meaning of this. 

burleyman Thu, 05/19/2011 - 11:27

Well hello everyone it has been awhile......mainly because I have been dealing with Telcos..... 

The latest good one....

We had a T-1 start flapping and finally went down to one of our offices 2 weeks ago. I called our provider and they checked the circuit and did see some errors. They then checked things out and it looked like it was the last mile provider that was having the errors, so our provider opened a ticket with them. The last mile guys called me and said it was our equipment and not their issue which this last mile carrier always does on the first call and I mean always.

For example, about two months prior we had the same issue with another office and they flat out refused to do anything until we replaced our card in the router. So what I did was tell them I had called for the replacement and it would be there with our contracted 2 hours, we have 4 hour but I told him two. After about two and a half hours I called them back and told them I replaced the card and it was still down. They told me they still had the circuit down for testing which was why I was still having the problem and they would turn it back up. Two hours later it came back up and they called me back and they said "well it looks like it was a failed card, sometimes they fail without showing in the router as failed", I chuckled and told them I did absolutely nothing on the router because I knew that was not the problem and I knew the issue was on your end, and that looks like the case. They were not too happy.

So when they said basically the same thing on this call I outright laughed at the person on the phone when they said I need to replace the card in my Cisco router after there was no errors at all on the router indicating a problem and told them of the other call. So they went back a started checking things. Two days later after allot of back and forth they sent someone on site, against their will. So I get this call from this very rude lady from the telco asking very snotty, "Where are you, I have a technician on site and I am NOT!! having him wait forever!!!" I calmly told her that I was not the on site contact and they were to call the on-site person to gain access. She again very rudely says WELL THAT NUMBER IS NOT IN THE TICKET!! Again calmly I said it was because I just talked to the technician who did call the on-site person from the number listed in the ticket. She asked if I could make sure he is still there. so I set my cell phone down and not on mute, on purpose. I called the office and ask my person there to find out what they found. I could hear the tech in the background answer, "I did not find anything and it must be our equipment" and my person relayed that to me. Now loud enough so the rude lady on my cell phone could here I told my person to relay to the tech,"It is NOT! our equipment and they need to do more testing and find this issue. This company always says that to buy more time to fix their issue and I am not going for it!" I then hung up from talking to my guy and picked up my cell phone. I said hello you still there? and the nice rude lady is not happy and the first thing out of her mouth was " you know you did not put the phone on mute and I could hear everything you said and the technician could as well!!, I said that I know I left mute off so you could hear it, if you missed anything I could repeat it. Needless to say that was fun for me but not her. That ended our phone call. I then called our provider who actually has been great through all this and told them what happened and that we may need to escalate this higher up the chain. It was escalated and the next day they found some faulty equipment on the last mile provider and repaired it and we have been good ever since.

So now if I have the same problem I am going to jump right to the chase and tell them on the first call back here is what I did before I called you..... I replaced the wiring, and when that did not work I replaced the card in the router, and when that did not work I replaced the router and when that did not work I rebooted the router 3 more times and now I am calling you. I figured then I would just get the circuit fixed and then call them and let them know it is backup and running so they can say the other line they love to use, "we did not do anything yet?"

Telco's gotta love'em


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