Well the chap from Virgin Media, Norm, arrived yesterday about 2pm with the new "Super Hub" to replace the old and ailing Ntl/Virgin modem and re-invigorate my home internet experience.
He'd had a pretty tortuous day himself up until that point with every job having unforeseen complications. He had phoned me to say he was running late and in spite of the nightmare day, disgruntled customers, long hours of frustrating telephone tag with the office (it's not just the customers that get to play but the front line guys too), he retained a remarkably cheery disposition, that alone for which he should be commended. That he was prepared to do battle with his own organisation on behalf of their customers, whilst risking the wrath of those he was thereby delayed getting to, was doubly commendable.
We both joked we hoped that his fortunes were taking a turn for the better as he went through the process of connecting the hub. He mentioned that the old type modem tended to go downhill fast and the hub should make an instant difference. We also had a fun back and forth about dysfunctional offices as the hub sprang into life.
I could disconnect the old Buffalo wireless router too since "Super Hub" does it all. It does mean of course that I'm going to have to retro-connect every wireless device in the house - all umpteen of 'em - to the new box but I guess that's the price of progress.
I had the laptop booted up and went through the process of connecting to the new box - disconnect from the old one, find the new one, connect, type in new password, wait... connected! Let's just check that - well it's a little slow but I can get on the Net.
The desktop was relatively slower but both were still better than what I've been seeing for the past week. By way of a bonus my outgoing Virgin account emails which were getting blocked with an error connecting to the outgoing server are now getting out again.
Norm toasted his first uneventful success of the day and I thanked him for his help and his efforts before seeing him on his way. He turned down the offer of a tea/coffee explaining that he was well watered at his previous jobs. Nice to know that despite their vexation his previous customers at least retained their courtesy and ensured he was kept hydrated.
I checked the broadband speed. It was still relatively slow on the desktop - about 2.5Mbps - but much better on the laptop - over 20Mbps - pretty impressive by recent standards. Later in the afternoon the laptop was pulling download speeds in the 40+ Mbps bracket which is a huge improvement. The PC got up to nearly 9Mbps
Having given it a day to settle in I checked the speeds again this morning. The PC was still slow - 2.7Mbps at best. So I gave the browser a tune up and improved things drastically. Though the performance is still variable I'm getting download speeds this afternoon of up to 40Mbps though mostly low 30s. The laptop is running up to 43Mbps on download and up to 2.8Mbps on upload.
So thank you to Norm the star frontliner for fixing my recent internet connection woes. Thank you also to Dave and Marina at Virgin Media; the latter for picking up and orchestrating and efficient response to my note to Richard Branson and the former for diagnosing my problem and arranging the solution.
My son tells me there seems to be a problem with the Xbox, so we'll have to monitor that. I haven't reconnected all the wireless devices yet so we'll have to see how that goes too. But on the basics - robust higher speed internet connection - things appear now to be fine compared to this time last week. A day in I'm now running relatively seamlessly. Let's hope it stays that way.
A final note for Mr Branson. Although you probably remain unaware of my problems, thank you too for employing smart and caring staff, Marina, Dave and Norm. On this occasion I had the good fortune to have my difficulties come to their attention and once a problem is in the hands of good people, it's well on the way to getting fixed.