MWeb touted with good service?

This short entry outlines my experiences with them on Tuesday and this morning. Needless to say – if another companies name appear on this blog it’s almost always for the wrong reasons.

This time it’s MWeb’s premier support. I’ve got a client in Middelburg with an MWeb business account, and who are paying for premier support. Now here is the rundown. They’ve got a small IP block of static IPs with the router (a /29 block, so 5 usable IPs). Initially the router was shipped to the client without these IPs being activated/made available in any way. 192.168.5.1/24 was assigned to the “internal” side and masquerading was working correctly for this range.

On Tuesday after sitting with them on the phone for approximately 20 minutes the range was added to the LAN the public range got added to the internal interface, and this range now worked, 192.168.5.1 was still pingable from any other machine on the 192.168.5.x range, but this range could no longer connect out.

After about 10 seconds of guessing I proved that the problem was a simple masquerading problem on the CISCO business DSL router. It was simply not masquerading the traffic, so let’s say 192.168.5.2 sends out traffic to 196.35.70.139 then 196.35.70.139 would actually see the private IP address.

Do you think MWeb can fix this? On Tuesday alone I had to phone three times, got placed on hold more times than I care to count and just got my intelligence insulted to the point where I wished I could go to the MWeb call center and show the “techie” how to enable masquerading. Even though I have VERY limited experience with the CISCO IOS I am confident that hacking the CISCO (Yes, I have actually done this before – granted I had physical access which helps) and making the configuration changes myself would have been quicker than sitting on hold with these guys. After about the third call and about two hours on the phone someone finally realized that he just needs to enable masquerading for the 192.168.5.X range! Everything worked.

Until yesterday afternoon. Seemingly the techie forgot to issue the “write” command to save the live config to flash. So this morning I get a call from myt client.

I’ve been on the phone for an hour again already, so far none of the three technicians I’ve spoken to even seems to UNDERSTAND the problem, insisting that what I’m asking for is impossible (even though it has worked that way for at least a 24 hour period) and that we can either have the public IPs or they can map the publics to privates for us (the guy explained this to me like I’m a child and then was like “we call this port forwarding”, which is technically not correct seeing that it’s IP forwarding at the level they’re doing it – they’re mapping an IP to another IP, not a single port to another port. This after I already referenced concepts such as masquerading, NAT and public vs private IP address ranges).

I just spent some time with one of the managers who at least agrees that the fact that I had to call multiple times because I get placed on hold, and the level of understanding is unacceptable. He put me through to a senior engineer now which has grokked the problem in approximately 10 seconds flat, is on a competent level and actually seems to know what’s going on.

I’m hoping to have this issue sorted out in about 10 minutes from here on. Why does one almost always have to throw a tantrum before you are connected with people that has a clue?

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