The Long Pink Line

We don’t need a faster internet, we need better programmers. I’ve spent the last three days analyzing performance of my newly-installed  Verizon FiOS internet. I signed up for 15/5 tier. My previous provider was Comcast (Xfinity). It says “Performance” on my bill, which research indicates should be in the 25/5 range. consistently reported 16/5. Which is why I thought a “dedicated” 15, as Verizon claims, would be comparative.

Performance on the first day seemed “normal”, no different that what I was used to. Coursera and Colbert videos were find. Zuma, ditto. I was paying very close attention, so it’s impossible to say whether it was faster or slower than Comcast. And besides speedtest, I had never taken any statistics.  I was sure I could live with it. I didn’t do a lot of internet on Wednesday, I was working for Mr. PC from about 10 am. Then came Thursday. Snow day. Whoa. The “connecting” message sat in the Firefox tabs for what seemed like minutes. It was countable time.

I spent a lot of time tweaking hardware acceleration and Nvidia settings.   It’s not possible to recall it all in detail. There were router resets, a lot of cache clearing, a lot of trace routes. I ran it wired and wireless. Basically it was neither predictable nor consistent. Sometimes it was fine, sometimes pokey. No low hanging fruit. But there is a jotting in my notes that says “Looks like a lot of DNS time”.

A breakthrough came on Friday. I “discovered” Network Monitor in Firefox Developer. That’s where I saw The Long Pink Line. DNS Resolution. Then I found Jonathan Rowney’s post on OpenDNS and the router and flushing. I have “SUCCESS” in my notes at 15:15. With thanks to Firefox developers, OpenDNS, Mr. Google, and all posters on the subject. I set the DNS server address on the router (to OpenDNS) and set the network to “obtain DNS address automatically”. Surfing was back to “normal”.  I shut off the computer (not the router) and was satisfied. And a tad smug.  That is until this morning…….

I turned on the computer, started my standard routine and……lag…….lag……lag. The Long Pink Line was back. And now ipconfig /all was showing IPv6 addresses and my router for DNS Servers. I am not paranoid, generally. But I have a stinking suspicion that Verizon is fracking with settings so that I will be inclined to upgrade to their 50/5 tier. Call my a cynic, I can live with that, but I need to remember to turn the router off at night. There is activity in the router log that certainly wasn’t me (it’s logged during sleep time) which I have yet to investigate.

I did a lot of searching and configuring and tracerting, and now I have it “working” again. For who knows how long. I have set the router to “automatic” and configured network settings to use OpenDNS. If it stays ok for two days, I will drop Comcast.

Which more or less brings me back to my original thought.  I spent a lot of time watching and reading and quasi-analyzing the Network Monitor in ff developer. There seems to be a lot of bloat. Which is always true for old code on any platform. Maybe it does make sense to go to a wireless internet because that code is much lighter, newer and sleeker. At least for the time being. It too will bloat as the platform ages.