01-04-2013 07:34:42 PM
So, we live in an apartment..Moved here in April of 2012. Had Uverse at the old residence, got something else when we moved here, then quickly switched back to Uverse. New account, new equipment. Everything worked great until just after Thanksgiving. That is when we started getting longer than usual blue screens with the loss of signal message (what I have affectionately called the U-SCREEN OF DEATH). We had gotten them in the past, but they only occurred every once in a great while, and only lasted for a couple of seconds.
This was different. It would start with pixelation, followed by frozen screen, followed by the USOD (U-SCREEN OF DEATH). These instances would last a minute or two. As days went by, the duration and frequency of USOD increased, to the point where, at their worst, they were lasting five to ten minutes, and when the signal came back, it would only last only a couple of minutes. I also noticed that the internet was being affected at the same times.
Finally, on Christmas morning we woke up to find that turning on the living room tv, with the DVR STB, produced a red x with two dots. I researched and found out what this was, so I called att.
Chapter 1: The First Technician:
So I took the day off work (not terrible, an extra day after Christmas) and met the tech. He seemed very competent. He replaced the DVR, ran his tests inside and out, found "multiple errors", and proceeded to replace the line from the RG to the jack,plus the home run, as well as something outside involving "connecting my line directly." He ran more tests, and everything came back rosy. He explained about interference, etc. I told him that nothing had changed in regard to our equipment or anything else in the apartment, other than getting our wireless receiver for our new bedroom tv. He left and everything worked again...WOOHOO!!!
Except it went right back to regular visits from USOD about two hours later.
Chapter 2: The Second Technician:
I called again and took another day off. Second tech came, I explained everything to him, and he said that yeah, he had run tests before coming up, and it showed my system shooting out tons of errors. He did his thing, ended up replacing the RG and re-positioning it slightly away from the wall. He was concerned with interference from old wiring in the circuit. He ran more tests inside and out, and it all came back good. We said goodbye and he left. Tv never looked better to me at this point. New DVR, new RG, everything is beautiful.
Yup. An hour or so later, USOD came out of hiding again.
Chapter 3: The Third (and Fourth) Technician:
Took a third(half of one, anyway) day off. Boss is NOT happy. Third tech came out. Just as nice as the previous two. He ran his tests. Lots and lots of errors. Essentially reset the RG, shook his head a little, and said almost sheepishly that he did not know what else to do. So, he did what anyone with a little sense does when confronted with a problem that they can't resolve: He called someone else. He scheduled and outside lineman. The outside lineman came about a half hour later, and did his thing for about an hour or so. Again, a helluva nice guy. He told me that he gave me a new port on the VRAD (I think.) He also did a couple of other things of which I cannot remember. When finished, his tests came back green for go. He said if anything happens after that, the only thing he could think to do was run line from the interior phone box to the outside, nearly a thousand feet. (Btw, I had no idea that this line is ordinary phone wire!) Not a bright proposition considering its an apartment.
So, he leaves, and we set about watching our tv. The whole time, I'm just waiting for USOD to rear his butt-ugly head again. An hour passes. Two. Two and a half. Thre...Nope. Just into the beginning of another movie, the little SOB laughed in our face. Yes, the U-SCREEN OF DEATH was back in the house. Un-freaking-believable. Now I'm a little bit upset. (for those not realizing that I have very little writing skill, that means I was p**sed off. Royally).
Chapter 4: The Tier Two Support Experience:
I didnt want to wait again, so seeing as it was still business hours at this point, I called again. After having gone through my story again over the phone, the nice lady put me through to a gentleman in tier two. He politely dealth with me, explaining that the lineman should have dispatched someone to reset the RG and double check everything. Well, we went ahead and did his factory reset, as well as resetting the wireless STB. He ran his tests. After about 45 minutes with him, everything was back up and peachy again.He gave me a ticket number, "just in case." We didnt have the energy to watch things for much longer that evening, though. The next morning while I was at work, my better half, who works afternoons, calls me. USOD was waiting for her this time. That's right, he wasn't even going to let her have a little tv time before work. I actually said out loud that I never thought I would miss Comcast.
Chapter 5: The Fifth Technician:
So I go ahead and call again. Go through the story (don't these people keep notes?) again. Get another tech scheduled. Take another half day off. Tech comes up, runs his tests. Error central. He is there about a half hour, communicating with someone else while he works. Puts in a super duper special surge protector for the RG, as he is also concerned about the possibly old wiring in the wall. (I was plugged directly into the outlet.) We discussed the things that might have changed around Thanksgiving which could be causing the issues. Same things that I discussed with the others. Plus one other thing that I missed before...but more on that below. Anyway, I thank him and he leaves.
Before I go further, let me explain that I have also been researching quite a bit during this week of being under siege from USOD. I have learned quite a bit about VRADs, RGs, etc. I've learned how incredibly fragile Uverse equipment and lines are, especially in regard to interference. I came up with a list of things that changed right around Thanksgiving, when this all started going downhill. First was the addition of the wireless receiver. I got it and installed it to check it out on the new tv I bought for the missus for Christmas. The Tv went back into the box until Christmas, but I left the router for the wireless receiver hooked up. Second was the addition of the Christmas tree lights on the same circuit that the RG and DVR are on. Third was the Christmas lights on our outside balcony. I don't know if it is the same circuit, but knowing apartments, its entirely possible, and they are right outside of the sliding glass doorwall, which is right next to the RG. Worth mentioning anyway, as they went up the same time as the problem began in earnest. Fourth, but probably not quite as relevant because this did not happen until the weekend after Christmas, was the addition of a home theater audio system, complete with sub woofer. Again, though, USOD was well entrenched in our home for a few weeks before this. Finally, the thing that did not dawn on me until I spoke with the fifth technician, was the fact that we started using the furnace right around Thanksgiving. The furnace is located directly on the other side of the wall that the RG is next to. EMI? Maybe, but the Central AC unit is located in the same spot, and we had no problems with USOD while the air cranked all summer long. So, those are the variables that coincide with the problems starting.
Ive also been reading about UVrealtime. But I never installed it until after the fifth technician's visit (which was yesterday, the 3rd of January.) Why didnt I install it up until now? Because I am not bright. Oh well, better later than never. Ive included a couple of screenshots somewhere in here.
So after the fifth guy leaves I power up UVrealtime and start watching tv. Time goes by. Not even a stutter. It shows a couple of corrected blocks, but nothing else. (Keep in mind that the RG had just been reset by the fifth tech. I go about other business, leaving the DVR STB on. Come back later, still no errors. SWEET. Could a simple (but super duper special) surge protector have been the answer all along?
I go to bed to watch a little tv before sleeping. Then...a little pixelation. Then again. Then USOD.....but just for a brief moment. It happens like that a couple of more times. I dont have the energy to get up and check UVrealtime. So I sleep.
Chapter 6: The Tier Two Experience Redux:
Next morning (today, actually) I get up and check UVrealtime before work. To me and my untrained eyes, it looks like USOD has been playing all freaking night long. Later at work, I talk to the wife at home, and she informs me that all is well in the land of Uverse. No USOD sightings last night or this morning. But how does that explain the mounting errors? I decide to call att again. I go through the usual with the first CSR (again, very nice), then get promptly transferred. I am going to assume that the next person was Tier two, but Im not sure because when I first started speaking, she thought I was a field technician calling her for help. In any case, once I got her up to speed, she ran tests. She said she showed no modem downtime or restarts since last night. (This person was the first Att person who acted like she didnt want to be bothered.) I said ok, but did you see the errors I saw with UVrealtime? Of course she had no idea what that was, but insisted everything was good because she was seeing no RG downtime or restarts. So I ask her if she had access to logs from before last night. She said yes, and that she showed no downtime or restarts there, either. SO of course I ask if there were none of these before yesterday, but the problems were still occurring, how did their absence today indicate that the problems were fixed? She said that she saw errors both before yesterday as well as today, but that everything was good. Ok, whatever. The apparent absence of USOD late last night and this morning was a good thing despite the mounting errors showing on UV realtime, I figured.
Epilogue: Oh, USOD? Come Out and Play, USOD?:
So I've been home from work for about four and a half hours. Turned the tv on , checked out UVrealtime (more errors), but no freezing and no USOD. Somehow, this has become me daring him to show himself. I mean, it really couldnt be a case of that super duper special surge protector banishing USOD, could it? No, of course not, because he is hiding in all those mounting errors that UVrealtime is showing. He is just waiting for a real good show or movie to come out yelling NYAH, NYAH!!!
I haven't checked out the bedroom tv, yet, but I will, because that was the last sighting of problems, last night. If he returns, I will of course post a sequel (much shorter, I promise) to this story. For now, I suppose my question to all you fine readers out there is: Despite the (now) twenty four hour disappearance of Mr. USOD (which is the longest he has been gone in over a month), what exactly do all those errors mean in regard to his possible return? Just a matter of time, or nothing to worry about?
Thanks for reading!
Note: In case you were wondering, no coax hook ups in the apartment. If you have any other questions or need for clarification, feel free to ask. I promise to attempt brief answers. O.o
Also, just to reiterate. All of the techs I dealt with were patient, seemingy competent, and polite. No complaints there. Especially when I asked each one of them if I was going to be charged for their visits. They all said no, for the record.
01-04-2013 08:20:10 PM
Really, a novel?
Since this is account specific I would recommend that you send a private message summarizing in less tha a paragraph to the escalation team at ATT Customer Care and someone will get in touch with you. Their normal business hours are from 7am to 10pm Central Time. Please take into account weekends when contacting them.
Customer care is not the same as customer service. They are a dedicated escalation team that gets issues resolved when other means have failed.
01-05-2013 06:43:34 PM
Just saying 99.9% of the folks here won't read anything that long. If you need assitance take my advice and contact customer care.
01-07-2013 02:31:33 PM
FWIW, I was trying to tie the UVRT screenshots back to his multi-chapter post. But no time line in the post, so I failed.
Last pic looked pretty good.
01-08-2013 10:14:01 AM
It looks to me like at about 10:00 AM (local) on 1/4, someone worked on your outside lines. It took them approximately 45 minutes, and after that your RG resynced and your error counts are a lot better since.
It's kind of strange, because looking at your bitloading graphs your downstream has gotten much better but your upstream got slightly worse.