Friday, 29 February 2008

Interbaun to Uniserve - ISP Blues

When we first started dealing with the locally based ISP Interbaun, they were a pretty good little outfit that went out of their way to provide us and our clients with good service and support.

We stuck with them, and signed up a number of our clients to their ADSL services over the years.

There were some issues with the company and their administration procedures, but we were willing to overlook them due to the one-to-one support contacts they were providing us.

Then along came Uniserve. A number of years back, Uniserve purchased Interbaun.

Since that time, the local offices have been either closed or downsized, we no longer speak with someone here but out East, and things have gotten a lot worse on the administration front.

Our own provider, Nucleus, uses the same upstream provider: Telus. Our service is still online with no issues.

But, lately, our Interbaun/Uniserve clients have been experiencing intermittent Web site access since early on the twenty seventh. It now turns out that Uniserve as seemingly downed the local DNS servers and moved them elsewhere.

However, our clients did not receive any notification email indicating connections with true static IP addresses needed to change their DNS server IPs or a timeline for that change.

So, we have been trying for two straight days to get through to the Uniserve Technical Support people to get the new IPs. But we can not because the hold times are insane.

Even a simple notice on Uniserve's news items site would be enough to eliminate the need to stay on hold for hours for those who have alternate Internet access or outside I.T. support as is the case with our client.

Besides the DNS issues, our client's DNS reverse PTR to their SBS box has been deleted. How did we find out? Our client was trying to email one of their own clients and received a 554 5.7.1 PTR Missing NDR.

A Telnet session into the receiving SMTP server using our client's domain in the EHLO and their sender's address brought up the error there.

So, not only do we need to wait on hold for the first issue, we need to try and get the second issue fixed as soon as possible so our client doesn't hit other NDRs.

As far as we are concerned, this is the last straw. Our client affected by this outage and email problem (one in the same) is already prepared to accommodate an interruption in their services to switch to Nucleus.

In our case, we can be fiercely loyal to a company ... to the point of overlooking some of the company's deficiencies. However, there comes a point when the value we are receiving for their products and services is no longer higher than the amount of grief the deficiencies cause.

If we are unable to address the deficiencies causing us grief with that company, to somehow swing the value back up over the grief, it is time to cut them loose.

We have reached the cut loose point with Interbaun/Uniserve.

UPDATE: We got through!!!

It turns out that the particular issue we were facing was an upgraded internal DNS server that did not have the appropriate IP addresses set in the allowed to query list. The issue mentioned above was for other Uniserve customers.

All in all, the technician apologized, as they were having a really bad week. So, now we wait to see if they actually fix the PTR as requested ...

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

4 comments:

Robert said...

Philip, I agree with you that it's time to cut them loose, but in the mean time, you can use OpenDNS IP addresses for their DNS needs.

s/Bob Muir
Practical IT Services

ZC1 said...

Sorry to hear of your client's struggles.
Like Bob Muir, I'd have to say goodbye, not worth waiting for more unpersonalized service.

OpenDNS gave me connectivity problems about 6-8 months ago, so I finally let em go.

I still use DynDNS for clients though.

ZC1
Beta tester of "0"s and "1"s

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Philip E. said...

Robert,

I am not entirely comfortable with key services via the Cloud yet.

ZC1,

DynDNS is a service we haven't looked into.

Again, the Cloud.

With ISP based problems, we are relatively isolated in our exposure. If all of our clients were sitting in that one basket and that basket fails or hiccups, we are toast.

A,

I am a fan of clean XHTML Strict + a properly formatted set of CSS files. When I see this type of code, especially if the coder took the time to format their indents and comment everything appropriately, I see a work of art.

Java and scripting really doesn't cut it for me.

If we were to look at scripting, which we are in a sense, we would be publishing our sites on Windows SharePoint Services ... which we will be when our new servers arrive.

Your site grades:
Style: Black is dead D-
Colour Scheme: No real pizzaz C-
Coding: Too much styling to individual DIVs ... too much maintenance to keep up for simple style changes. D-
Ease of Maintenance: F

For ease of use on LAMP or similar IIS, look into Joomla or a similar CMS.

Thanks for the comments folks!

Philip