Friday, December 14, 2007

Be Gone!

I was a Be Internet subscriber for just under 24 hours. I got my line up and running at 10:20 today, and I requested cancellation at 23:10 tonight. While their bandwidth and line speed are amazing (I was downloading at around 768kb/s consistently as opposed to around 425kb/s with Zen), their technical support and ability  seemed sincerely lacking.

While a 'ludicrously fast internet connection' is nice to have, solid customer support and technical ability are far more important to me and Be has shown a dire inability to meet these requirements during my initial dealings with them. As such, I have absolutely no confidence that Be would be able to responsively and effectively assist me should a serious technical issue occur which affects my ability to access the Internet. I went through that with Mailbox for 6 months and I'd rather stay with Zen on 400kb/s with their excellent support than risk my sanity for 200kb/s.

Be's catalog of errors is as follows:

1. The instructions given for configuring the router were completely wrong in a number of ways as detailed below...

1.1 -- Point 2 of the instructions states to select 'Static 3 Data Ports' in the configuration. This profile does not exist. Only 'static 4 ports' and 'multi-ip 4 ports' exist.

1.2 -- Under section 3 the instructions imply that you should enter all 8 of your IP addresses into a field in the router configuration. This is impossible as only 1 IP address can be entered in this field. Furthermore, after consulting with Be technical support, it turns out that NO IP information should be entered into the router.

1.3 -- For a multiple-IP configuration, 'Static 4 Data Ports' is the incorrect profile to use. The correct configuration is multi-ip.

2. The technical support I received when attempting to resolve the issues with the printed instructions was appalling. The engineer didn't know what I was talking about when I was reading from the instructions Be had sent me. There seemed to be a serious disconnect between the instructions and what the support engineer was referencing.

3. When asked about setting up reverse DNS, the engineer kept insisting that I needed to do this on the router I had been sent. This is not possible - Be have control of the zone for this IP range, and Be need to make this change. The engineer eventually put me on hold for several minutes while he went to confirm this.

4. The router configuration did not function correctly and after completing the information for the multi-IP configuration, I received a '404 not found page' in the popup box where the configuration takes place. This occurred with both Safari and Firefox. The configuration was still in place after a router reboot, but no indication of this was given during the process.

5. The 'Update from Be' e-mail sent to me on 14/12/2007 at 09:26 states 'If you have any questions, please raise a ticket through the member centre (click here to be there now)' but there is no hyperlink present in the e-mail at all. This is such a basic thing to get right, and their inability to do so scares me. A lot.

6. I raised a support ticket at 10:32 today to have reverse DNS for my IP addresses configured. At 22:58, over 12 hours later, this ticket is still in the 'new' state. With my previous provider (Zen), this was a change I could make myself through the customer portal and it would be activated and propagated to the provider's DNS servers within 3 hours.

While not an error, I'm including point 7 because it is just something that I am not comfortable with.

7. The way Be assign private IP addresses is to assign a number of addresses from a /20 range. You are then supposed to configure your router in bridged mode and then assign those addresses to individual devices. This is an odd solution, and I much prefer the standard ISP offering where a /29 is routed to me and I use one of these as the internal IP address on my router. All other machines in my network then use this address as their default gateway.

All in all, I think I'll Be a Zen customer thank you very much!

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