High speed connection attempt frustrates him

The little green light was blinking on my new DSL modem. Unfortunately, it was supposed light steadily, not blink. Thus started the saga of my long awaited high speed Internet connection.

For the last couple of years I have wanted to connect to the Internet using DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line, the high speed connection available over standard telephone lines. Each time I checked I was told that DSL was not yet available for my specific telephone number. This because I live too far from the telephone company central office at the corner of Browning and Irvine Boulevard.

However, the telephone company has been installing Remote Terminals that extend the distance over which DSL will work. So I was pleasantly surprised when I got an email from Earthlink, my Internet service provider, that now I could subscribe to DSL. I responded immediately and waited for my modem kit to arrive. Earthlink asks the subscriber to install the modem himself.

I installed the modem and the accompanying software and was ready to connect. Sorry, the little green light blinked signifying no connection to the DSL computer in the sky.

Monday evening I placed my first call to Earthlink technical service. After a long wait, with music, I spoke to Mark and was assigned a case number. No luck on solving the problem however. Tuesday's call to Mike led to Isaac who eventually got me connected to Tony. Tony called others while I was on hold and finally found the problem: Earthlink's DSL connection provider, a company named Covad, had said that my telephone number was serviceable, but it isn't. Alas, I still was too far from the central office. Even SBC, the local telephone company, could not supply me. I never should have been notified or signed up.

A call to Anthony, more holding and music, got me a return authorization number that will be mailed to me. Then I can return their modem kit.

Back to my old dialup Internet connection. But, not so fast. Now the dialup connection doesn't work. I tried many things but could not get it working. A Thursday evening call to Zach at Earthlink technical service helped solve this problem; the Earthlink DSL software I had installed Monday messed up a bunch of internal computer settings. With Zach's help, I removed and reinstalled a number of network settings and got the dialup Internet connection to work again. In the mean time, however, I have lost my in home network connection. This will have to be reinstalled and hopefully not interfere with the dialup system.

Why this long story? Because it points up how careful you must be of anything that has to do with computers. It's easy to see why high speed Internet has not met its high expectations. If my case is typical, getting a high speed connection is just too complicated. Streaming video and pictures on demand may remain something in the distant future until getting connected gets easier and foolproof. I still don't have my system working as it did before I tried installing the Earthlink software but at least I can check my email and browse the Internet. More about these remaining problems later.

If you would like to hear more about high speed Internet and troubleshooting, or other computer topics, visit "Coffee and Computers" at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. 'C' Street, any Friday morning from 9 a.m. until noon. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.


Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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