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Contacting Network Admins Of Large Internet Companies?

Cliff posted more than 13 years ago | from the I'd-like-to-speak-to-your-superior-please dept.

News 327

lisa asks: "I work as a sysadmin for a national DSL ISP. Unfortunately, we've recently found that @Home.com is not allowing connections to port 25 from some of our primary mail servers: this of course means that our customers can't send mail to theirs. I've called and talked to people in their tech support, and only after several calls have we been able to get them to acknowledge there may be a problem. The trouble is, I can't seem to get in contact with any network admins there. Even the tech support person I spoke with expressed less than hopeful sentiments about being able to get this issue escalated. Has anyone had trouble like this with @Home or other simliar Internet companies?"

"What is the best way to get in touch with a Network Admin or someone who actually can do something about a network issue in cases like these? It would be nice to know that just writing root@home.com would get to their systems department, but I was told all of that mail goes through support first."

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327 comments

shotgun approach (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#493646)

Of course, always try the normal channels. However, if that fails, dial up the heat. Contact, all via CC: on the same email:

  • the administrative and technical contacts listed by network solutions [networksolutions.com]
  • the contacts listed by ARIN [arin.net]
  • investor relations at the company (if publicly traded). visit their web page for IR contact.
  • try to find email addresses for higher ups (VP responsible for infrastructure, CIO/CTO, etc.)
  • postmaster@, security@, hostmaster@
then let it rip. You'll get mixed results, but often this will get someone's attention. Keep the email polite and to the point, but remind them that, after all, you've been trying for weeks to get this resolved the simple way, but THEY haven't been keeping their end of the bargain.

Re:I had similar problems with Netcom (1)

drdink (77) | more than 13 years ago | (#493648)

Go read this page [mail-abuse.org] about MAPS DUL. It will most likely explain your problem to you.

Re:Are they really blocking port 25? (1)

drdink (77) | more than 13 years ago | (#493649)

I saw this behavior in the entire last week. I was trying to send e-mail to somebody on @Home, and it took about 4 days of retries before it finally went through. At the same time I called this person and asked if they were receiving any mail at all, and they were. So what the hell?

NOC contact list (5)

zztzed (279) | more than 13 years ago | (#493650)

You might want to look at this [nether.net] . It's a list of NOC contacts for many major providers.

I don't know how up-to-date it is, though.

--

Advice for dealing with tech support (4)

defile (1059) | more than 13 years ago | (#493653)

Most ISP technicians learn to assume that everyone has no idea what they're talking about unless they have proven otherwise. It's a safety mechanism. Failing to do so could result in hours of wasted time.

Also, if you want to be taken seriously, don't mention that you use Linux if you can help it. 5 years ago it would've meant "hardcore programmer on the line escalate to admin", it now means "Windows dork trying to survive with Linux, much hand holding is about to occur. Shield busy admins from harm!"

Don't just drop techno babble. If the technicians don't understand what you said, they'll assume (for their own safety) that you don't know anything. They will not escalate you.

Flat out asking to speak to an admin will probably just make the technician feel insulted and less inclined to help you.

For best results, if possible, work with the technician, try their suggestions (and tell them that they all failed), make him take out a trouble ticket so the whole spiel is recorded and doesn't have to be repeated. In most cases they'll escalate it when all of their suggestions fail.

These are just my observations from the inside. *shrug*

issues. (1)

Maznafein (1895) | more than 13 years ago | (#493658)

by chance are your mail servers in the RBL? I'm not sure if @home uses it, that might be one of the problems.

Other than that I can't think of any reason why a valid (and popular) mail server would reject mail from yours.

-maz

like act you're a big sysadmin (1)

hazard (2541) | more than 13 years ago | (#493661)

I work as a senior sysadmin at one of the bigger ISPs in country, so most of the time I deal with major problems.

Usually when I have a problem which is in somebody's else network (mostly BGP routing/mail filtering) I call to their official tech support, make serious voice and say "Good day, I'm a senior sysadmin from XXX, it seems you have a problem and none of customers can reach you, can you connect me to somebody responsible for routers / BGP / servers / SMTP?"

Believe, most of them time I get connected at least to somebody who can recognize the problem and connect to a higher level admin if needed.
So, in your case, try calling them and pretend that you have a bigger problem than it really is. :-)

And don't know about @Home, but here I go through unresolved cases through our support system from time to time, just in case the problem didn't get to higher levels.

port scan usually gets a response (1)

drwho (4190) | more than 13 years ago | (#493669)

Seriously, nmap their servers. when someone writes back complaining, you have a contact to get stuff fixed.

I'd also check whois on thei main domains.

If all else fails, dig for titles on their web page, sr. whatever and work your way down. that's a lot easier than working your way up.

Help me figure this one out.. (1)

MentlFlos (7345) | more than 13 years ago | (#493675)

I go to school here at Rochester Institute of Technology. I came back at the beginning of the year and was pleased to find out that port 25 was unblocked. So, when I registered my domain I threw a mail server up. A few weeks ago I just stop getting mail. I can send fine, just not receive. Resnet's reason is the following.
Port 25 is blocked to prevent the proliferation of email servers. When someone sets up a mail server, and then moves, the mail going to the original server location defaults to the main campus servers. This presents numerous problems for us. Thus, it was decided in ages past to block port 25 for the entire campus.
Now I just don't get this. If you send mail to a user@ipaddress and the machine is down, why would it attempt to hit a totally different server (related only in domain name, and even that isn't always true). Does it try and hit the secondary mail server even though it didn't do any lookups for the first? Someone please help my brain out.


---------------------------------------
The art of flying is throwing yourself at the ground...
... and missing.

Re:Good idea, do it. (2)

einstein (10761) | more than 13 years ago | (#493679)

Do you have any idea how frightfully outnumbered we are? If every (seriously) technically competent dsl user dropped off the world completely, I doubt they would even notice.

true, we are outnumbered, but there is nothing keeping the less technical from using the service if it proves superior.

Re:Think... (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 13 years ago | (#493682)

Your work should have a VPN to minimize sniffing of internal mail traffic sent by work-from-home people.

Likewise smtp.work.com shouldn't be relaying messages from random IPs just because the sender claims to be someguy@work.com. Otherwise smtp.work.com *will* become a spam server.

Limited Port 25 access is going to be a universal fact of life on the spam-filled Internet of the future, so everyone might as well get used to it. Most of this is due to the limitations of the SMTP protocol, so it only makes sense to layer other authentication mechinisms such as VPNs.
--

Re:Earthlink is doing the same thing. (2)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 13 years ago | (#493683)

According to http://www.isi.edu/in-notes/iana/assignments/port- numbers, SMTP runs on 25/TCP and 25/UDP. Although most traffic is on TCP, perhaps there's MTAs that would accept UDP.
--

Re:Earthlink is doing the same thing. (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#493691)

Earthlink does not offer SMTP connection services. They offer email through their arrays of mail servers. This is not censorship; it's just a decision about what mechanism they choose to offer.

Re:AOs/L/HELL/ (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#493692)

Actually, it's a GOOD way to get their attention. Since you can PROVE in court that their network architecture sucks, you can win. But you see, you let them sue you and THEN you get a lawyer contact their. Then you settle out of court, but now you have a contact ... "uh, we need to restore our slander against you, again, because your network is fucked up again ... fix it, again".

Re:shotgun approach (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#493693)

You wouldn't get those messages if your front line people responded correctly. In fact I have specifically dealt with ZoomNet [zoomnet.net] before, before it was part of Earthlink, and I had to call by phone and get one of the owners on the phone to get a DNS problem (incorrectly coded MX record) resolved. They did correct it within an hour. The thing is, sometimes it just takes finding someone who has AUTHORITY to get things done.

Re:Should have sent less spam to them! (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#493694)

A lot of places get blocked for being open spam relays. Anyone finding themselves blocked should make sure their own house is clean.

Re:Get used to it... if you are a geek. (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#493695)

The problem is, because the tech support guy you do get has read the first 3 chapters of the first book towards his MCSE, he thinks he has the Black Belt in networking. Unfortunately, you might not impress most of them (even if you know 1000 times as much as the sum total of them all ever could learn).

The other unfortunate reality is that most of these companies do NOT want geeks as customers; they use the bandwidth too heavily :-(

Re:My solution (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#493696)

Oh My God! That would mean we'd be back with an Internet the way it used to be about 10 years ago, with competent admins and engineers, and less crap and spam.

Re:Exactly! ... Wrong! (3)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#493713)

No it doesn't take away the right to send email. It only NOT OFFERS the right to make SMTP connections. There's a difference. By blocking it, they force dialup/DSL/cable users to use the ISP SMTP server as first hop, where they can enforce (not all do, but at least they can) their no-spam policy.

Re:Port 25 blocking is unfortunately common... (3)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#493714)

If Pacific Bell allowed the customers to connect port 25 directly, then it would create a massive headache, and high costs, for them to deal with the spam (and it would happen for certain, and probably has happened a lot in the past to get them to do this).

When you sign up for service, you are told what SMTP server to use for outgoing mail. Use it. Or find whatever other way works for you. But they are not offering SMTP connection services to you. The solutions are easy, so deal with it.

Re:We're blocked (3)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#493715)

Have you made certain that your network never has sent out spam (and I mean EVERY machine on your network) and they your domain is not in one of the domain based anti-spam zones? You say you are running Exchange. Since Exchange has installed with relaying on by default (at least when I last checked it about 6 months ago) you may have been a spam conduit in the past (if not still one now). Test every mail server by getting on the machine and running telnet to mail-abuse.org [mail-abuse.org] (standard telnet port 23) and having it check to make sure you are not an open relay.

Port 25 blocking is unfortunately common... (4)

Grit (18830) | more than 13 years ago | (#493720)

I have a Pacific Bell DSL line, running my own mail server with my own domain name (actually a subdomain of stanford.edu). The problem isn't on Pac Bell's side; my parents use Earthlink, and my email to them was bouncing. Some investigation showed that they had configured their mail servers to reject any mail traffic from Pac Bell IP addresses other than the Pac Bell mail servers. This was an explicit decision on their part, again with the motivation of "reducing spam."

Fortunately, I was able to relay my SMTP traffic through Stanford's mail server (since I'm using a valid *.stanford.edu address) for each set of mail destinations that does this access control.

I think it's pretty stupid to assume that a DSL line is going to be using the ISP's email services as well--- especially since Earthlink has no problem _delivering_ mail to that account.

simple (1)

GC (19160) | more than 13 years ago | (#493723)

All mail domains are obliged to have postmaster@domainname.whatever routed sensibly.

I would therefore send an email (from a different domain/SMTP server) to postmaster@home.com.

If they don't reply to that, or worse, it bounces, they probably don't have a mailman.

Re:I had a problem with @home like this (1)

GC (19160) | more than 13 years ago | (#493724)

@home run RIP? or IGRP?

Amateurs!

If they're a real ISP they would be running OSPF & BGP.

Re:I had a problem with @home like this (3)

GC (19160) | more than 13 years ago | (#493727)

OSPF is explained in RFC1131, later replaced by OSPF V2 in RFC1247.

Explaining the internals of OSPF is beyond the scope of this forum.

You can, however, RTFM RFC1131 [landfield.com] and RFC1247 [landfield.com] . These are in Postscript.

BGP is described in RFC1771 [landfield.com]

Now, listen up, go get a life!

I had a problem with @home like this (5)

Nicodemus (19510) | more than 13 years ago | (#493728)

At the time I was working for a web site, basicly, and the problem we were having is that @home customers in san francisco couldn't get to the site. After talking to a few of these customers, I had a couple do a traceroute to our server, and somewhere in the middle of @home's network a split horizon (i think that's what they are called) happened. It was where the packet just kept getting bounced between 2 of their routers back and forth until one of them finally dropped it. This only happened to traffic destined for our little network. I called @Home and was escalated to the top tech, who finally believed me. Then I was called back by a sysadmin there who required a lot of convincing. So he finally acknowledged the problem and said that they would get to it. Before I left that company I don't think it had been fixed, but it might have by now. It actually seems like it was a problem with their RIP or IGRP config, so maybe when a router was rebooted it would fix it's tables. Who knows. But the short of it is that I got ahold of a sysadmin and nothing was done. So good luck when you get that far. The journey may still not be over.

-Nicodemus

EARTHLINK IS DOING SAME ME (1)

rilliam (21558) | more than 13 years ago | (#493729)

I just recently set up an exchange server on my dialup account (dont ask). After looking at tcpdump output I figured out that earthlink is blocking smtp from going anywhere except through there smtp server!

they should inform there tech support (1)

rilliam (21558) | more than 13 years ago | (#493730)

I have called and asked why i can not send through my server and the tech support and there supervisor say its a problem with the 5 servers i tried!

The scoop with Earthlink (2)

RebornData (25811) | more than 13 years ago | (#493734)

They block TCP Port 25, but they allow relaying through their mail servers for other domains IF you're part of their network. You can read about it at http://help.earthlink.net/port25 [earthlink.net] . I'd bet that they are putting some form of blocking / throttling intelligence into their mail servers. Sure, you could do this in filters with a sophisticated enough firewall, but I'm not aware of any products that have that level of sophistication AND can handle the kind of traffic they do at a reasonable expense. Mail servers are designed to understand mail, so it's much easier to put the intelligence there.

How to get something done. (4)

RISCy Business (27981) | more than 13 years ago | (#493736)

Okay, first off, you're doing it wrong.

You need to call their NOC, *NOT* tech support. Get their NOC number, which is according to my records, 650-556-5599. If that's not the NOC, you can get the NOC number from them.

Once you get to the NOC, make them create a trouble ticket, and get ready to use your "I'm NOT HAPPY WITH YOU" techniques. The ONLY way anything will be done about it is if you ride them. Hard. They probably have the TT from Tech Support, so have that number ready, and give it to them. Start riding them hard. Demand supervisors, etcetera. Remember, the NOC is going to be setup with a front line defense (NOC techs), second line defense (NOC NetEng, NOC Unix Admin, etc), third line defense (NetEng, Unix Admins), and finally supervisors. That's NOT how it's managed, but how it's going to progress. Escalate often. Just keep calling them.

That's the only way I've ever gotten anything done with Crack-Home or any other moronic overly large ISP. If they're big enough to have a NOC, then rest assured you'll only get things done if it gets to the NOC. The NOC will likely scream at Tech Support if they get TT's from them (I know we did when I worked in one) and generally have a fit, and ignore the ticket as much as possible. NOC and Tech Support typically do not get along.

Hope this helps, and good luck.
your company here. [fuckedcompany.com]

@home has many regional suppliers (1)

Baloo Ursidae (29355) | more than 13 years ago | (#493741)

Saying that @home does anything worldwide is pretty rediculous. @home has a few dozen regional providers in five countries worldwide. Saying that @home blocks 25 is entirely false, that's your local cable company doing that.

So, when you're complaining about @home, BE SPECIFIC! What cable company are you complaining about?

--

My solution (1)

adb (31105) | more than 13 years ago | (#493744)

There are two classes of Internet sites, for mail and for everything else: those that are run by clueful and caring people and those that aren't. Hotmail, Collegeclub, and NetForward all fairly recently pulled this crap on me, and what little tech support I could reach was provided by utter morons who don't know what "Connection Refused" means and refused to escalate.

I'm not paid to make mail work. Dealing with idiots and assholes is Not My Problem. Just this morning I issued a full-scale rant on this subject to my users, and then chopped all the broken email addresses from all my mailing lists. I simply no longer give a damn about sites that are not run by people I know and respect in person or by reputation, and that's that. I give mailboxes on my machines away freely to friends and acquaintances, and I talk to other mail admins and try to make things work, but if a site gives me the big fuck-you, it stops being my problem immediately and forever.

I encourage everyone to adopt this solution. There will then effectively be two mail networks: one that's run by people who suck, and the other that's not, and I will be totally happy not getting mail from the former.

whois (2)

blackdevl (34312) | more than 13 years ago | (#493748)

Try just doing a whois on the domain name then call the adminsitrative contact. Ive done that a few times, and either its the correct people (NOC) or they transfer you to them. Saves me alot of time going through tech support.

Re:EARTHLINK IS DOING SAME ME (1)

MadAhab (40080) | more than 13 years ago | (#493753)

I found that same problem while using an earthlink account on the road from my bsd laptop.

So much for getting an earthlink account for those situations.

You can, however, send mail to anywhere using whatever you want for your address. Presumably this is a spam prevention measure, enabling them to track spammers and have logfile evidence for quickly cancelling their accounts. On that note, I can't say I blame them entirely - of course there are other solutions that involve sniffing port25 and doing filter-based stuff on the output a la Carnivore. Which I could do with a perl script.

Boss of nothin. Big deal.
Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

For those who don't know (1)

bluesclues (40988) | more than 13 years ago | (#493754)

Here is the gest of a call I once had with @home tech support

support: Thank for calling @home tech suport, how can I help you?

me: Are you guys having a problem with your IRC sever?

support: I don't know, what is the address your trying to get to?

me: irc.home.com

support: Your typing irc.home.com in your web browser, let me try?

me: Do you know what IRC is?

support: Oh I'm sorry, you mean the little flower down in the corner by your clock?

me: Can I be passed up to "Level 2"?

support: I can't do that, and we don't support IRC?

me: IRC is not the flower, in the corner it's YOUR chat server.

suport: Can you hold?

me: ON HOLD ALREADY ok

support: (new guy Level two I think) Hi this is XXX what seem to be the problem.

me: your IRC server is down

support: We don't have an IRC server

me: irc.home.com, if it were up you could ping it.

support: That must be some one running an unauthroized server, we'll report them to the abuse depart me.

me:

Try nailing jello to a tree... (3)

tequila26er (46835) | more than 13 years ago | (#493759)

...because it's a lot easier that trying to get anything useful out of @home. I've been an @home user for three years now and I can honestly say that if it weren't for the fact that I can't get high speed internet access from a competitor, I would be switching.

I think part of your problem might be that the tech support staff are also kept in the dark. They can't help you if they aren't informed themselves. Maybe there's an @home techie out there who can answer this?

I do tech support for another major ISP in this area and I am proud to say that our users don't suffer from this same problem.

Re:Get used to it... if you are a geek. (2)

vectro (54263) | more than 13 years ago | (#493762)

It seems it would be pretty straightforward for a company to give their entry-level tech support people a list of keywords, that if the customer mentions enough of them, to send them on to the next level.

Keywords might include:

  • arp (for DSL)
  • MAC address
  • RFC
  • traceroute, packet loss
  • port n

Re:shotgun approach (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 13 years ago | (#493765)

I really hate when people do this.

Who are the people who do this...

The people no one wants to talk to because they are irrate.

In the end, they send a message to every system account, and anyone else (which usually comes back to me). I have never had any real issues come through such channels... this is usually the act of a idiotic fool.

I delete those messages.

Re:Exactly! (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 13 years ago | (#493766)

@home and several very large ISP's have some serious problems with spam. Every day the problem increases and more and more third party measures are coming into place to block such disasters. Take a look at mail-abuse.org (works beautifullly btw) or perhaps the orbs system.

Large ISPs are looking for a way to curb their outgoing spam and keep the risk of being blackholes to a minimum.

This large DSL provider who is complaining his customers cannot connect to @homes customers on port 25 is not giving you the whole picture. @home does indeed have a large number of customers who have pretty much open mail servers that allow relaying. Be it old versions of sendmail or simply bad configurations... it is truely a problem.

Also note, port 25 blocking is also outbound for @home customs as well. The way port 25 blocking normally works, is you have a set of hosts the customers are free to communicate on. It is normally not difficult to get a mail server on such a list.

This method prevents their customers being the victim of a fault configuration/software issue or causing such a problem by directly sending large amount of bulk spam to other isp's mail servers.

You can bet other providers are preparing to institute such methods in the future.

A violation of rights... I think not.. at worst... a nuissance for the customer at times. The pros do however, far outway the cons.

Re:I had similar problems with Netcom (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 13 years ago | (#493767)

The idea that customers can simply call up and get a systems administration or network engineer is a little odd.

If this were easily done, the people trying to do their jobs, could no longer do their jobs. Often customers want to talk to "the person in charge" for nearly any issue. A good deal of the time, it is not an issue that needs escalated to the NOC.

What happens within large ISP's, frontline support needs to recognize there is an issue. This really won't happen until support starts noticing a pattern or consistancy. When they reach the point when it appears not to be a customer problem, but possibly a system problem... then it is escalated to the NOC.

Unfortunately, in every industry you will find people who really don't know all that much. A clueless operator or salesperson... or perhaps your brother ;).

Often, it helps to explain the problem in detail, making sure the representative understands the problem.

Re:shotgun approach (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 13 years ago | (#493768)

I seriously doubt you had the owners on the phone... unless of course this was 2+ years ago.
Even in that situation, you most likely spoke to management.

You should never get to someone who has AUTHORITY to take care of an issue, unless it is on a call back to clarify the issue.

Frontline support escalates odd/problem issues to those who can deal with it. This is the way it is and trying to go any other route will merely cause more problems. Its always in how you deliver the complaint... throwing jargon or tech speak at someone who has only a vague familiarity with the issue only compounds the problem.

Especially with our people.. they absolutely love to blame the server/hardware... it brings them warmth to escalate an issue out their hands.

Re:shotgun approach (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 13 years ago | (#493769)

Trust me, when it gets to this point, the person hardly makes a logical statement. Note the original author on these directions said to be polite and to the point... I cannot remember a time when I recieved a message similar to this.

Hint: boss forwards them back to me... quick reply to boss... delete... issue taken care.

I can (more or less) understand them (1)

JPS (58437) | more than 13 years ago | (#493774)

Imagine there were an address like sysadmin@home.com. It would get literally flooded with zillions of emails of users not being able to read their mail or to access their favorite prOn site.

My own humble experience at contacting network sysadmins (with some real reason) is that
first, you don't get through, then you don't get through, then if you eventually get through, the sysop will usually start by assuming you're just another dumbass. Finally, if you are lucky enough to reach him to make your point, then you might get an answer. At least in my case, when I (finally) managed to obtain the "private" email of the sysop and carefully explained the routing problem I had thought their network, I received a nice reply (and the problem was fixed) in a matter of minutes!

So, do your best at explaining that your problem is REAL and that you know what you are talking about ... But of course, theatre courses might be more efficient then CS here :)

Get used to it... if you are a geek. (3)

burtonator (70115) | more than 13 years ago | (#493780)

I feel your pain. I too have had huge problems with ISPs either not believing me or not listening to reason. I spent 7 hours (at least) on the phone with Earthlink (7 hours is much less than it takes to get another DSL provider) trying to fix a problem with their PPP servers. I was doing protocol analysis so I was *certain* what the problem was. The bad thing is that it was *very* technically complicated and not on one of their check sheets for their techs.

The point is that there is nothing we can do about this. I am sure there are a lot of *really* smart people here. The problem is that tech support people have to deal with a lot of Microsoft Morons so they just assume we are in the same category.

What is really needed is a way for a geek to say "I have mad Kung Fu and have a Black Belt in Network Engineering" and they would say... "oh... excuse me... I will connect you to our third tier tech support right now". Of course that is not realistic. But what they could do is keep track of people with mad Kung Fu so they can go right through the line.

If an ISP would do this it would SERIOUSLY increase their business. All the geeks would subscribe to their services because they don't want to deal with other ISPs. It would also increase their reliability because they would have *really* smart people fixing their network problems for free! Open Source ISP! :)

Somehow that is logical so I assume it will never happen. God forbid any Western country undertand Zen philosophy!

Adelphia (2)

Keefesis (70341) | more than 13 years ago | (#493781)

I've had this problem with Adelphia as well. Their support monkies form a wall that's very hard to get through. It's especially difficult since when you find someone who actually seems to know what they're doing, your replies go back into a 'support pool', not back to the person who originally replied to your message. I assume that the network admins have thier own email addresses like ts-jdoe@home.com. I believe your best chance would be to directly contact a known sysadmin through telephone or email.

Re:Earthlink is doing the same thing. (1)

lactose99 (71132) | more than 13 years ago | (#493782)

You can blame your fellow Internet users who spam for this. Its another case of having to create policies that prevent everyone from doing something so a few 'bad apples' can be stopped. If there weren't EarthLink users who used other smtp servers as spam relays, then this policy wouldn't be needed. Look at the laws in any city/state/country and you see the same thing. Unfortunate-- yes, but censorship-- no. Your ISP isn't a public facility-- they have investors to answer to and if their bandwidth is being used for impropper purposes (like spam) that violate their AUP, its their right/necessity to stop that from happening.

Re:Earthlink is doing the same thing. (2)

lactose99 (71132) | more than 13 years ago | (#493784)

Um...... no, this is not the same thing.

The original poster stated that her company's smtp servers were/are blocked by @home's smtp servers. Earthlink is not doing this-- they are not allowing users dialed into them to use someone ELSE's smtp servers directly; the users must instead use EarthLink's smtp servers to send mail. Why this bothers people still manages to stump me-- IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO'S SMTP SERVER YOU USE TO SEND MAIL. It will all get to the same place regardless. The reason that EarthLink chose to do this was simple, to prevent people using their dualup lines from spamming via someone else's poorly-configured smtp server. It really amazes me how some technically-sound decisions made by a company are twisted into bloddy-murder when people who don't know what they are talking about gripe about free speech this or censorship that. This is nothing to do with censorship and its not at all the same as the original poster's problem, which is a legitimate gripe.

@home mail network (1)

Keepiru (78270) | more than 13 years ago | (#493795)

I used to work for a portion of @home (now AT&T, formerly TCI) If I remember correctly, they have a very odd 3 tiered mail scheme, there are only a few mail servers available from the outside, after that the mail gets filtered down through 2 internal mail hosts before finally arriving at the mail host that the user actually checked, this caused us huge problems with messages sometimes taking days to be delievered. I wonder, are the mail servers you're trying to access actually the ones available to the outside. I've seen the monumental screw ups @home can make. All the information I received as a lowly tech was filtered and stupified by management, so I don't know to much about behind the scenes. I believe they are located in Redwood City, you might try the phone book.

Get involved

Re:You'll never get through tech support... (1)

Keepiru (78270) | more than 13 years ago | (#493796)

When I worked there, the relationship between the actual people was good, the problem was management. They always got pissed off and I almost got written up for directly calling the NOC, rather than having my manager call thier manager.
Get involved

Re:Port 25 blocking is unfortunately common... (1)

jidar (83795) | more than 13 years ago | (#493801)

Most providers will not allow anyone from an outside network to send mail through their mail servers that isn't destined for their local network. This is commonly done now to reduce spam. In fact if a provider does not do this they will likely be contacted from one of the various groups that police this, such as ORBS.

When you sign up for an ISP they give you a list of outgoing SMTP servers for you to use, and you should use them.

This is a good thing, trust me. If you think spam is bad now you have no idea what it would be like if all isps (or even a moderate number of isps) allowed outside relaying.

Re:Earthlink is doing the same thing. (1)

chakmol (88099) | more than 13 years ago | (#493803)

Yep, Earthlink's a port blocker. I travel to every nook and cranny of the USA on business during the year, so if I don't want to use AOL, Earthlink is about the only other viable choice. They are very good in so many ways, but I don't like this particular form of censorship of my legitimate use of their network.

Finding Intelligent Life (1)

holos (88324) | more than 13 years ago | (#493805)

Working for an ISP that uses UUNet for our provider I've had to call them a few times when we've had problems. Sometimes you just have to simply hang up and call back and hope to get a different person. Many times people just don't care or don't want to listen to what your saying. In this case I would suggest trying to find a Tier 1 person who is willing to work with you. When I discovered that one of @Home's routers (the one I was on)was dropping packets I called them and got a great tech support guy. He had me mail him some trace routes and some pings and then had the problem fixed within an hour. On the other hand I've spent 3 hours trying to get them to admit that their DNS or DHCP servers were down. Sometimes you just get lucky..

Getting their attention (1)

kaos_ (96522) | more than 13 years ago | (#493819)

What I'd suggest is first contacting the standard support channels as you've done. If you still receive no response (or responses with little help) and really feel this is an important problem that needs to be resolved, keep the whole conversation in one email message replying to their support and CCing as many addresses for the company you can find.

That CC: should include marketing department, CEO, CTO, webmaster, sales, WHOIS name registrants, security/abuse contacts, and whoever else you can find on their web page. At least this way you have a higher chance that someone will see the thread that will push it to a higher priority. Again this should probably only be done after you have exhausted the primary support channels to no avail.

network admins? (1)

bubbasatan (99237) | more than 13 years ago | (#493820)

@Home: "Oiga, senor, we are an ISP. You know, the broadband regime."

Customer: "If you're the ISP, where are your network admins?"

@Home: "Network admins? We ain't got no network admins! We don't need no network admins! I don't have to show you any steenking network admins!"

Whois (1)

mapinguari (110030) | more than 13 years ago | (#493826)

I hate to suggest the obvious, but have you tried the whois contact information?

Registrant:
Home Network (HOME5-DOM)
425 Broadway St.
Redwood City, CA 94063 US

Domain Name: HOME.NET

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
Kiewlich, Daniel (DKF336) abuse@HOME.COM
@Home Network
425 Broadway St
Redwood City, CA 94063 US
650-556-5399 650-556-6666
Billing Contact:
Du, Trung (TD2157) trung@CORP.HOME.NET
@Home Network
425 Broadway Street
Redwood City, CA 94063-3126
650-569-5437 (FAX) 650-569-5100

Record last updated on 14-Dec-2000.
Record expires on 19-May-2006.
Record created on 18-May-1995.
Database last updated on 20-Jan-2001 06:23:11 EST.

Domain servers in listed order:

NS1.HOME.NET 24.0.0.27
NS2.HOME.NET 24.2.0.27

I've had problems with @Home (1)

DeeezNutz (114051) | more than 13 years ago | (#493831)

I once had @Home call me up and tell me that I was running an "illegal" FTP server, which was true. The funny thing about it was that he was looking at someone else's ip address. The illegal ftp server he was talking about was not mine.

very common. (2)

wizman (116087) | more than 13 years ago | (#493833)

i work for an isp that resells several nationwide networks. most big networks, such as uunet, psi, c&w, etc all block port 25 traffic to all but allowed hosts. on uunet, we can unblock 25 traffic by sending radius attributes. but, in general, people who use our dialup service and need to send mail through their third party web hosting or mail hosting providers need to simply use our mail servers for outgoing. i recommend you tell your users to simply plug in mail.home.com, or whatever it is, as their outgoing mail server. all in all, this is less of a problem and more of a security issue.

Re:Earthlink is doing the same thing. (1)

demaria (122790) | more than 13 years ago | (#493840)

That makes no sense AFC.

UDP port 25...who cares? Mail runs via TCP port 25.

And blocking port 25 would block all mail, not just spam. So no mail could happen. That doesn't make sense unless earthlink didn't offer email.

Re:Think... (1)

demaria (122790) | more than 13 years ago | (#493841)

Use a VPN connection. Assuming you have one. If you don't, you can use a linux box for cheap (although not that great) VPNning.

Ignore @home (2)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 13 years ago | (#493844)

Forget it. Pretend no one mentioned it. Because it really isn't part of the question. The question is: "What is the best way to get in touch with a Network Admin or someone who actually can do something about a network issue in cases like these?"

Now pretend you're the network operator for a large company. Do you really want to be dealing with customers when you could be playing Starcraft? And even if you're not playing Starcraft all day on your carefully crafted network, chances are, you have better things to worry about than your company's customers. No, you have secretaries and underlings who take your calls and check your email. They sort it. They send it to you.

Imagine you're sitting there, happily flirting with your co-worker when suddenly your beeper beeps... "zerg0 down." Bloody hell, why'd the web server crash? And why isn't it back up? Lemme go check on it... Suddenly every phone in the fucking office lights up with angry customers demanding to know what happened. Some of them are probably the helpful sort who'd like to explain to you in minute detail what happened. Well, would you rather be working on the problem or dealing with customers? Well?

Therefore, the problem isn't how to contact the network operator, but to convince the underlings/secretaries that there is indeed a problem that can only be solved by having them put you in touch with an admin. Money helps. Lots and lots of money. A legal contract entitling you to contact the network admin when you need to (which no sane service provider would sign, but you never know) might also help.
--
Peace,
Lord Omlette
ICQ# 77863057

sys admin looking at support logs (1)

Therlin (126989) | more than 13 years ago | (#493845)

Maybe I'm in the minority, but as a sys admin I actually take about half hour everyday and go through the previous day's tech support logs created by our call center.

Sure, I don't read every entry, but often you can get an idea of something that may be acting up at random, or a problem that is starting to develop.

And yes, once in a while you do get a call from someone who does know what he is talking about, but he was dismissed by the support agent they talked to.

I just wish more higher up tech people would actually spend a few minutes of their day going through such logs. I know I find them fascinating (and sometimes too funny)

Re:Try nailing jello to a tree... (3)

patter (128866) | more than 13 years ago | (#493847)

I just left a job where I was doing front line support for one of the big US national ISPs.

The problem for us was two fold:

1 - front line tech support is staffed by people who have to learn that if the problem can't be fixed by them, it may never get fixed. In our case Tier 2 support was staffed by a bunch of idiots. Whenever I'd get an issue that I believed was legitimately our problem, we would try to escalate to them. Sometimes they wouldn't even understand the nature of the problem (most of them don't have any formal training, and don't have a clue what TCP/IP is never mind have a vague idea what routing is all about).

2 - The bigger the organization, the more it becomes steeped in 'procedures' and 'processes' meant to isolate the user from network operations. If you could convince them that it was an issue that had to be escalated further, it would seem to sit there and go no further. They tend to get lost in a mire of corporate policies, and rarely if ever do issues get routed to the network ops.

Needless to say, it was very frustrating when an admin from another smaller service wanted to contact our netops. I guess the bigger sysadmins would have established direct contacts, because we never got contacts from the larger ones.

Good luck (2)

caryw (131578) | more than 13 years ago | (#493850)

You're a sysadmin... imagine the pain of ordinary users trying to report real problems to their ISPs.

Try posting on @Home's newsgroups (1)

unix_hacker (136192) | more than 13 years ago | (#493854)

If enough @Home customers become aware of they problem, *they* might start complaining to tech support. Sometimes when a large ISP gets enough complaints about the same thing, they actually fix it.

Using Whois information (1)

aaronhaley (145305) | more than 13 years ago | (#493863)

I've had this problem before with our company and always had good luck with going through contact information from their web whois data. I might not always get the right person but I do get in contact with someone more high level than a tech support person.

Re:Earthlink is doing the same thing. (1)

Hitiek (150559) | more than 13 years ago | (#493867)

I see two possible reasons why you might not want to use your ISP's smtp server.

The first is a situation I was in a few months ago. I use a laptop for most of my email. I move that laptop from one location to another frequently. While I am on the network at work, I am using one ISP. While I am at home I used a different dial-up ISP. They ran two different SMTP servers. I can only configure my email program to connect to one at a time, so every time I wanted to send email from a different location I had to re-configure my email program. iname.com used to have a SMTP server you could use as long as you had a Reply-To line that included an iname.com email address. They have discontinued this ( I'm guessing because of spammers ), but for a little while this gave me a solution that did not require reconfiguring my email.

The second situation I can think of is one I have not personally expirienced ... yet. That would be when your ISP's SMTP server sucks. It may not be configured correctly. It may delay your email for hours while it twiddles its thumbs. Or maybe your ISP's SMTP server is blocked by the server you are trying to send mail to.

One other thought on the subject. I don't want my ISP blocking any of my outgoing connection attempts. It starts with port 25. What is next? They start blocking the port Napster is on? Maybe IRC is evil now because some people trade warez on there, so they block that. Eventually the only port we will be able to use would be port 80, and I think that would make quite a few of us rather unhappy.

I believe the problem is fixed. (1)

phoem (151397) | more than 13 years ago | (#493868)

a few days ago i noticed the same problem, it was i believe in one of their mail servers (which i now see is out of the list of mx entries) see if it is working now.

Think... (2)

djrogers (153854) | more than 13 years ago | (#493870)

You have 2 mail accounts, joe@earthlink.net and one from work. You need to send mail from the work.com account, but ELN's mail server don't relay for other domains. Normally, you would use smtp.work.com (or something along those lines), but ELN also stops you from doing this. How on earth are you going to get the mail out?

Re:You'll never get through tech support... (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 13 years ago | (#493871)

I dunno... Ay my company, they're trying to deploy SMS (BOO!!!) and there are accounts that have to be created with certain permissions that the managers (who rarely, if ever, make physical contact with the networks) are nixing for "security reasons". They don't like the idea of accounts being available with such access that aren't used by normal users. As much as I don't want SMS in, this is a perfect example of how managers can over-ride the NE's best (and usually better) judgement for various non-technical reasons.

AOs/L/HELL/ (2)

tshak (173364) | more than 13 years ago | (#493878)

Yes, I used to work for a company that AOL couldn't get to, period. Not just email, but everything. We found out later that it was a DNS problem, and a change we made weeks earlier still hadn't updated to all the proxy's. This went on for almost 3 months, when finally AOL's cache was completly flushed. All other ISP's had updated their cache within 24 hours. I was so mad I put up a message on the old IP saying that if you where an AOL customer that you wouldn't be able to access our systems until AOL fixed their problematic architecture... we almost got sued for slander, so I don't suggest that route.

Bottom line - I too talked to (clueless) AOL tech support for hours at a time to no avail. We just had to wait for this wierd caching problem to go away. Problem is, our customers thought it was our problem... they seem to think that we control how they get to the Internet. You just have to educate your customers that you can't control 80% of the process (computer hardware, OS, browser, ISP, backbone/NAP's).

Re:I had a problem with @home like this (2)

_ganja_ (179968) | more than 13 years ago | (#493882)

Sounds like you have been bullshit'ed:

Split horizon is a complicated term for distance vector protocols that does something very simple: Its says that a routing update cannot be sent out on an interface which is was recived from. If I hear that the router on serial 0 can reach 10.10.10.0/24 and that is my on ly way to get there, there is no point in me telling the router on s0 that sent me the update about it.

RIP / IGRP are classful routing protocols and it is very unlikely that any ISP would use them for there IGP now as they don't support the sending of subnet masks in updates. OSPF / ISIS as an IGP is more likely.

@home is nothing but trouble (1)

flikx (191915) | more than 13 years ago | (#493889)

less than 50% uptime some weeks, and the worst customer service I've ever seen..

They're the ones that suggested that I "call linux", because the problem was "obviously at my end". Turned out that they made a big mistake with the records for my company. It took three days and climbing up several levels of command to get any action.


--

Good idea, do it. (1)

Jordan Block (192769) | more than 13 years ago | (#493893)

I'm serious, if we could pull off a system like that, the rest of the ISPs out there would have to take notice when 1/2 of their broadband client's switch over.

xs4all blocks Chello (1)

marcovje (205102) | more than 13 years ago | (#493895)

I heard Dutch provider xs4all blocks ranges from the Chello (=UPC) cable company.

True (1)

TheFlu (213162) | more than 13 years ago | (#493897)

That's probably true. Someone else mentioned here that sometimes he'll call tech support and get someone who obviously can't help him, so he'll hangup and call back again in the hopes of getting a better "tech support" person. I've actually done that on several occasions myself. That said, I still like my "packetstorm" phrase :O)

Common problem (4)

TheFlu (213162) | more than 13 years ago | (#493898)

As a Systems Administrator myself, it's painfully obvious that others here have run into the same problem I have when I call technical support. You have to take those extra few minutes of time to convince the fellow geek on the other end that you are indeed a member of "geekdom". I propose that we have a secret geek codeword that can immediately identify each of us as a member of the geek commmunity, kind of like fraternities all have secret handshakes. Hmmm...let me get the ball rolling here, I propose the phrase "I hear there's going to be a packet storm at midnight.". Any other suggestions?

We're all geeks over here>>> The Linux Pimp [thelinuxpimp.com]

Dont use @home... (1)

Vexorg_q (216760) | more than 13 years ago | (#493899)

I've heard some bad reviews from users of @home. Apperntly, the tech support is the only way to contact the sysadmins.

It must be very hard for normal users.

Port Wars! (1)

ziffle (220259) | more than 13 years ago | (#493900)

This has popped up for some of my popsite and uunet dialup customers - we opened up port another port in our firewall, mapping it internally to port 25 and told them to change the port number from 25 to the new one, and everyone is happy.. Port wars any one?

Earthlink is doing the same thing. (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#493903)

In fact, I tried submitting this one to Slashdot [2001-01-08 16:48:31 Earthlink blocks UDP port 25 (articles,censorship) (rejected)]. The excuse is that blocking port 25 allows the ISP to crack down on spam. The average spammer uses a proggie to send hundreds of spam e-mails every hour, so why don't they just monitor the SMTP transfers per hour and then draw their own conclusions?

Re:Exactly! (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#493904)

And blocking port 25 would block all mail, not just spam. So no mail could happen

Exactly why people are speaking out against blocking port 25. It takes away their right to use other e-mail providers through SMTP. IMHO That is an infringement on an Internet User's basic rights. I sincerely think that a "Netizen's Bill of Rights" should be written and put into law so that things like this don't happen.

Re:Common problem (1)

mikeplokta (223052) | more than 13 years ago | (#493906)

If you can actually get to a geek on the phone, you don't need a password -- "I'm the sysadmin for <ISP> and your mail servers are rejecting SMTP connections on port 25" will do nicely. The problem is getting past the non-geeks on first-line tech "support".

techniques (1)

Scott Hazen Mueller (223805) | more than 13 years ago | (#493908)

Use whois (via geektools.com, which follows things through multiple registries) to get some contacts. Large ISPs most likely have postmaster@ and abuse@ routed into the front-line support organization. A typical structure is customer service (billing, signups, and so on), tech support (can't connect, what's my mailserver, and so on), NOC (basic service monitoring, fixing/reporting simple outages), then possibly a deeper net ops group (fixing BGP, things like that), a sysadmin group (running servers). Beyond those you get into engineering (building new infrastructure) and possibly development (custom coding). People beyond the NOC level are expensive enough that management doesn't want their time occupied by lower-level work, so they tend to be hidden. They are sometimes exposed in things like WHOIS entries, which is why that's a good route. Other than that, you need to be active in the communities where these folks hang out and just pay a lot of attention. For instance, the NANOG list is a good place to find network ops and engineering types. inet-access - if you can stand the volume - was another place I recall seeing a lot of ISP types. There are probably also some other (limited-access) fora with some of the "right" kind of people kicking around - if you're in the business, you'd probably want to find these anyway.

Get their attention the easy way (2)

0WaitState (231806) | more than 13 years ago | (#493911)

Hit 'em with a denial of service attack from one of your boxes. Then they'll be pounding on *your* door. Don't hurry to respond.

Sounds like a product problem not a sysadmin thing (1)

Neumann (240442) | more than 13 years ago | (#493916)

it sounds like you have the wrong type of product rather then a tech problem. I am on the @Home network with Shaw up here in Canada, and you cant run a mail server with the home product, because they do check for servers and stuff, but they have a business product that allows you to set up any server at all, which I have a share in. Its more expensive, but it also has more bandwidth available and static IP's and stuff. We have a mail server on that one. We also have a very good relationship with our salesman, and he takes very good care of us.If there is any problems, we get escalated pronto. We then slip him a case of beer or two and a letter of recomendation. It works well.

I had similar problems with Netcom (5)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 13 years ago | (#493922)

I recall suddenly being unable to email anyone with an ix.netcom.com address, being given a boilerplate message by the SMTP server to the effect that my email system was misconfigured and I should use my ISPs. The MX records for ix.netcom.com clearly pointed at the SMTP servers I was delivering email to, and after a lot of stress, including routing email via my ISP's email server (I normally get sendmail to deliver directly) and finding the same problem, contacted them.

There was a lot of hassle involved. Netcom, then owned by Mindspring, clearly had a massive wall between their system administrators and their support people, with no direct way of contacting the sysadmins. I'd email the support address, and get an email back from someone clearly too clueless to know what an SMTP server or MX address is, insisting the problem must be my end or with my ISP. In the end I basically had to persist, phoning their 1-800 number in the end, getting names of support staff involved, and following up every inch.

I found it tough. The more you point at RFCs and stuff, the more you look like, well, the sort of people you get on TV claiming you don't need a drivers licence because the states aren't constitutionally allowed to forbid you from using the roads or that banks are allowed to create money because of some legal loophole. The person you're talking to has no idea what an RFC is, or an MX record, or anything like that. All they can do is accept that you've tried it all different ways and can't send email.

In the end they put a ticket in with their system administrators, who knew exactly what the problem was and fixed it.

From what I can figure out, the problem was because my ISP's IP address block is smack in the middle of BellSouth's (BS providing the connectivity), and Mindspring had configured the Netcom servers only to accept email sent directly from BellSouth's email servers, not from BellSouth customer IP addresses - my bellsouth.net account continues to this day to have the same problems but I'm buggered if I'm going through the hassle again. This is stupid anyway, but of course as the complaints were coming from people who deliver their own email, or from people with ISPs in similar positions, of which there are probably relatively few, few enough for it to look like most email is being delivered perfectly and therefore it "obviously" being a problem on the deliverer's end.

Why they did this is anyone's guess. I think, given the problems I have being let onto any IRC servers these days, that a lot of the hacking being done at the moment is being done from Bellsouth.net addresses, but I haven't read anything anywhere to back that up. Mind you, the problems emailing ix.netcom.com started a year ago, whereas EFNet's clamp down is at most 4-5 months old.

My advice? To be honest, just keep trying, and keep piling on the pressure until they relent. Send email to the support addresses. If you don't get a response, start calling - preferably calling the @Home customer's 1-800 support line. Keep calling, get names of support people, and don't stop until the situation is resolved.

If Mindspring hadn't finally relented and put in a ticket to their system administrators, I'd probably have used Usenet or something similar to start embaressing them, a little log of an nslookup, telnet to an SMTP port, and then this posted on an appropriate newsgroup. But as it was, it got fixed.
--

Question about Adelphia (1)

bedouin (248624) | more than 13 years ago | (#493925)

Cable hasn't arrived in my area yet, but when it does, it will be under Adelphia.

Right now, I keep my box connected all day via dial-up to my ISP, and run some mailing lists that me and my friends communicate by, as well as Apache. I have my own domain and use a dyanmic DNS service to keep it updated.

I'm not really concerned about port 80 being blocked, since I could just set Apache to run on another one; but I am worried about Adelphia blocking port 25. Is anyone with Adelphia running a mail server successfully?

On another note, there are some cool dynamic DNS services that do port forwarding, so if your ISP blocks port 25, you could keep SMTP running on any other port, while your domain still is able to receive mail on port 25. They generally cost a little more than average though.

IP addresses for @home mail transfer (1)

ryloth (249823) | more than 13 years ago | (#493926)

@home (at least publicly) uses the following IP addresses for mail exchange.

24.0.95.20, 24.0.95.21, 24.0.95.22, 24.0.95.23, 24.0.95.25, 24.0.95.231, 24.0.95.240, 24.0.95.241

Try using the IP addresses above as your SMTP server when sending mail to the @home domain and see if that 'fixes' your problem.

Re:Good idea, do it. (2)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 13 years ago | (#493928)

I'm serious, if we could pull off a system like that, the rest of the ISPs out there would have to take notice when 1/2 of their broadband client's switch over.

Hah!

Do you have any idea how frightfully outnumbered we are? If every (seriously) technically competent dsl user dropped off the world completely, I doubt they would even notice.

--
All men are great
before declaring war

Do what I did... (2)

gr8fulnded (254977) | more than 13 years ago | (#493929)

I was having serious problems (line down for 3 months at a time) with our connectivity, so I took matters into my own hands so to speak.

After searching their webpage, I found an email addy for joeShmuck in accounting, it was first letter of first name, then last name@isp.com (i.e., Jloser@isp.com). Pretty obvious.

On a hunch, I went to their Management page, and looked at all the bigwig's name's. From there, I sent an email to each of them based on the pattern of the accounting person's email address. Each describing the problem and the lack of customer service to fix it. Soon as the VP of and the Pres of , ect ect, all the big people, read my problem and contacted the network admins, I've had great service. Anything I need, I get (they couldnt figure out how to fix the physical line, so they bought and gave us their wireless gear for our connection).

Sometimes unorthadox, roundabout ways are the only way to get something done. Contact the Big Cheese's and let them know whats going on. I'm sure it'll be cleared up in no time.

--Dave

You'll never get through tech support... (1)

Primer 55 (263965) | more than 13 years ago | (#493933)

I've worked at the tech support, admin, and programmer level, sometimes more than one of these at a few companies. If you have been on just one side, you can still relate. It seems rather clear to me: despite the similar skills and knowledge set of admins and support staff, the relationship between the two is never one of full cooperation.

Forget about getting ahold of the admins -- what you really want to do is get ahold of their bosses. The admins will resent you, but it is likely the only effective way to reach them (if someone here doesn't step forward).

Re:Get used to it... if you are a geek. (1)

TwitchSGL (265659) | more than 13 years ago | (#493934)

Dude I work as a help desk techie. if you said exactly that. "I have mad KungFu & a black belt in network engineering" I would hook you up with the best of my abilities & resources. (talking NOC escalation here). I have talked to everyone from switch techs to Cisco Certified Idiots (scary some do exsist). I is true that we are kept in the dark. Mostly because the admins don't believe that were are capable of understanding what they are saying.

We're blocked (2)

Punchinello (303093) | more than 13 years ago | (#493939)

When my small consulting company tries to send email to our customers on the @Home network we get this message back (edited to exclude our domain):

Unable to deliver the message due to a communications failure.
550 5.0.0 Mail originating from that domain is not welcome here.

We host our own email from our Exchange server. There's no reason our domain should be blocked. How can I check if @home is blocking us?

A surprisingly common occurence (1)

TheBracket (307388) | more than 13 years ago | (#493944)

One of my clients uses a local ISP to provide their DSL connection. This in itself is something of a nightmare, since one phone company manages the internal wiring, another manages the connection from the building's outside to the exchange - and then routes it to the small ISP's network. The ISP doesn't have much of their own infrastructure, they largely resell another company's bandwidth - who in turn are reselling another company's!

This never really sounded sensible, and the absurdity of the situation became painfully obvious a few weeks ago when we discovered that nobody at my client could connect to a specific server on the other side of the country. After waiting long enough to be sure it wasn't the usual sort of Internet connectivity issue, we began trying to find out what was happening. We could ping the server, and could traceroute to it - but connections to its primary services always timed out. It took a week of phone tag to find out that the reason was that a router, several layers up the provider-tree, was misconfigured. Even then, it was only fixed because my boss happened to know someone at the appropriate company!

Its pretty frustrating, overall. Each ISP one calls tries very hard to filter you out with their regular support staff, presumably to ensure that their sysadmins remain sane. It shouldn't take a week of phone calls to get one configuration issue resolved (or explained) - but that's the downside of a big, distributed, barely regulated system!

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