[Tfug] Dilemma: Qwest or Comcast?

Matt Jacob m at mattjacob.com
Mon Jun 2 15:43:13 MST 2008

There was one other thing I forgot to add, but it's not really Qwest's 
fault (I'll say half user error and half Actiontec's fault). With cable 
modems in the past, I've always been used to the modem passing the 
external IP (WAN address) on to the router. The free "basic" modem that 
Qwest gives you is actually a basic router, except that it only has one 
ethernet port (smart, huh?).

So after much searching and tinkering, and a little cursing, I finally 
discovered I had to set the modem to operate in "RFC 1483 transparent 
bridging mode". Ahhh... good ol' RFC 1483 to the rescue. Then I could do 
PPPoE authentication on the router side, which is exactly what I wanted 
(using the Tomato firmware on my trusty WRT54GL, which runs Linux, of 

Getting the PPP credentials was another story entirely, which I also 
forgot to mention in my last post. Qwest sends a CD and a "quick 
connect" username and password in the modem box, the idea being that the 
CD will automatically configure your computer to properly access the DSL 
services. I'd sooner hammer a 3" nail through my toe than install an 
ISP's software---even on my Windows box---so I called up tech support 
and asked for the "real" PPP username/password, to which the tech obliged.

I don't think I've forgotten anything else, but I guess I wouldn't know 
if indeed it was forgotten. :-)


Matt Jacob wrote:
> So, it's been about a month since my original post, and I ended up going 
> with Qwest. The service has been decent so far, with a few exceptions.
> The most glaring problem is that service was connected to my primary 
> phone line (running into the kitchen) even though I explicitly asked for 
> a hook-up to the secondary line (running into the office). I have no 
> desire to station my networking gear and servers in the kitchen, obviously.
> When I called Qwest to get the problem resolved, the tech said I might 
> be charged $85 if the dispatch guy has to come inside my house to check 
> the wiring. I told her I would absolutely refuse to pay the fee on the 
> grounds of the problem being their fault and not mine. She said the fee 
> would be added to my bill whether I wanted it or not. Knowing that the 
> technician will have no need to check any internal wiring, I told her to 
> send a guy out, and that I would most definitely fight the fee if it 
> showed up on my bill.
> Also, the service level I'm paying for is 5 Mb/s down and 896 Kb/s up, 
> but actual speeds are 4100 Kb/s down and about 650 Kb/s up (it varies, 
> of course, but those are the top speeds I've achieved). I'm planning 
> another call to tech support to address this issue after my wiring 
> problems are taken care of. And who knows---the second jack has much 
> newer wiring than the first one, so the problem might just fix itself. I 
> realize that quoted broadband speeds are always in terms of "potential", 
> but I'm only getting 70-80% of what I'm paying for.
> Two weeks in, and I'm not completely sold yet, but I feel I'm happier 
> than I'd be if I had gone with Comcast.
> Matt

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