Ok, so last Friday I started up a batch of anime torrents, was hitting peak DSL speeds, and then all of a sudden the DSL light on my modem went red. Weird, I thought. I let the torrents keep going, and every 5 minutes, while they were active, the DSL light would go red and it would spend another 30 seconds trying to refresh the DSL/Internet connection. I didn’t really start thinking it was the torrents, maybe the bad t-storm that just passed through, so I just continued doing things as usual all weekend, up until yesterday. Then I started getting pissed. The ATT high speed tech support was useless as expected, so I finally demanded they send a tech down. He arrived this morning, and this is what ensued:
First, he did a signal test. No problems there. 20db down, 8db up, which, he told me is better than most signals (he said that most average between 12 and 16 down and 4 up, with 10 being the minimum to maintain a stable DSL connection). He then asked me if anything had changed on Friday, if the modem had been moved, if I had changed wiring, etc – nothing. The modem has been in the same place, doing the same thing, for the last 11 months. I then told him I was an avid anime watcher and used bittorrent often to download legal fansubs, and so he proposed a test (at the time I had no torrents going and the DSL signal was at 19.7db down). He told me to just start up 5 or 6 torrents that had a lot of peers, so I used a bunch of DB Bleach and misc Spice & Wolf 2 torrents. We then sat there at his diagnostic screen and literally watched the signal tick down from 19.7, to ~14, to ~10, finally to ~2, when the light went red.
At this point he said that it looked like the bittorrent traffic itself was somehow causing the DSL station to cut signal strength to my line. He asked me to stop each torrent one by one, and sure enough, the signal would go up, bit by bit, until I had stopped all torrents. We tried another modem and same results.
He couldn’t tell me if this was intentional or not, due to him just being a hardware tech, but since I have downloaded plenty of torrents over the last 11 months and never had a problem until last Friday, I’m extremely suspicious. The guy though, being overly cool, gave me a technician’s diagnostic modem and told me he’d just write it off as defective – this modem essentially sends a special signal to the DSL station telling it it’s a diagnostic modem and should be allowed to do, basically, whatever it wants, including going beyond whatever maximum speed my DSL plan allows. We plugged it in, started up a bunch of torrents, and the signal remained at 22db, never dropping.
I find it hard to believe this is a coincidence, especially after the reports of the 4chan debacle and so on. My DSL is now working fine and performing better than ever, but it took a diagnostic bypass modem to do it. Seriously, these are legal fansubs, I’m not downloading movies or TV shows or anything – what the fuck is going on? I’m sticking with the diagnostic modem for now unless something goes wrong, since it’s now working perfectly, but if I see that DSL light start going red, I’m dropping it. Unfortunately all we have here for options is Cox (hate them) and ATT.
Anyone hit similar issues lately?