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Does Verizon really think 15% packet loss is OK?

© January 2009 Anthony Lawrence

I have a customer who has had some VPN troubles - flaky connections, disconnects, inability to connect. I've been telling them it's Verizon, but Verizon kept telling them that I'm wrong, so I went back in for another look.

I started in office A and pinged office B through the VPN. I got 10% to 20% packet loss. I pinged the outside interface of the router at B, same loss. I then installed a replacement router and repeated the pings. No different. I set up a VPN to office C (normally wouldn't need this) and tried the same pings: no packet loss.

I packed up and drove to office B. I pinged office A and saw the same 10% to 20% loss. I pinged yahoo.com and several other sites and got the same bad response.

I had brought the router I had taken out of A, so I installed that and repeated the pings. No change. I then swapped wires and ports and did everything you'd think I'd do to eliminate any idea of bad wiring - everything was good. I knew that anyway because there were no local networking issues or problems. We got Verizon on the phone and got them to look again.

"No, everything is fine", the woman at Verizon insisted.

"But it's not fine", I retorted, "I have up to 20% packet loss!'

"Your VPN is bad."

My VPN is bad?? I'm pinging Yahoo, for crying out loud! I reminded her of that.

"But it does ping - you can get to the Internet. So it's not our problem."

I was taken aback. "You don't consider 15% packet loss a problem?", I asked.

"You are getting to the Internet", she insisted.

I was a bit angry now and asked to speak to a supervisor.

"He'll just tell you the same thing".

Really? I'm looking forward to that. She finally agreed to let me speak to her supervisor but warned me that it "might take a while". After five minutes on hold, the line went dead.

Of course she never called back. After waiting ten minutes or so, my customer agreed that there really was no point in my staying - she agreed that this had to be a Verizon problem. It can't be the routers, can't be any local wiring issue - that leaves Verizon and their equipment.

I heard later that a supervisor did call her and finally agreed that yes, packet loss like this is unacceptable and yes, it sure looks like a Verizon problem. What happens next, I do not know.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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-> Does Verizon really think 15% packet loss is OK?


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Thu Jan 8 18:12:30 2009: 5105   TonyLawrence

My feeling is that these low level support people are trained to look for something to deflect the problem with. Customer using a VPN? That's the problem.. using Linux? Oh, no wonder..

Thu Jan 8 18:15:13 2009: 5106   TonyLawrence

What annoys me the most is that this ran up nearly $500.00 in charges from me to the customer. There's no reason that had to happen. It's fine for me - this is how I earn my living - but it's just not right that they look for any excuse not to be responsible.

Thu Jan 8 21:27:05 2009: 5109   BruceGarlock

You should tweet this, Tony. When I tweeted an issue that I had with Comcast , I had someone from Comcast sending me an email in no time. I don't know if Verizon is on the ball when it comes to twitter, but it couldn't hurt. It also gives them some bad publicity, that they certainly deserve. Verizon needs to feel some of the pain that most of their customers feel when they have to deal with them.

I certainly know your pain in dealing with Verizon. They always say it's not their fault. One time I ended up writing a letter to the president of Verizon "North East" or "New England" operations (or something like that). Anyway, it was an issue with a T1 circuit, that Verizon always blamed Multitech for. But when they finally did dispatch an engineer, the engineer found that it was trouble on the line, they fixed it, and our outages went away. It took 6 months to resolve that ticket! I was young, and didn't realize that I even could go further up the chain of command. Actually, I think you were the one who recommended it to me :-)

I'm getting stressed just thinking about having to deal with Verizon. I have to call them because one of my phone lines at home got torn off our house recently, and I'm almost ready to coil it up, and leave it on the side of the road, because I don't want to have to deal with them. It's so damn frustrating dealing with Verizon.

The real hard thing is, they probably have the fastest network when it comes to data (EVDO), and they do have a strong signal, and network coverage. Everything else about that company gets an 'F'.

I wish you the best of luck. I'm sure we could sit around and talk for days about all the horror stories we have had to deal with, when it comes to Verizon. :-)


Fri Jan 9 03:33:51 2009: 5114   TonyLawrence

The part I love is when they insist upon taking your number immediately "in case we get disconnected". But if you do get disconnected (and it's odd how often that happens, isn't it?) they never call back.

Fri Jan 9 12:56:32 2009: 5117   NickBarron

Sounds like a complete mess. As with all conglomerates though, they can just ignore you and hope you go away.

Very aggravating indeed.

Fri Jan 9 18:46:50 2009: 5122   TonyLawrence

I heard that Verizon showed up and replaced "something". No more packets dropped.

Fri Jan 9 19:14:17 2009: 5125   NickBarron

Ah good, just in the nick of time then!

It's the excellent technical explanation that makes our jobs so much easier 'something' :)


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