Comcast ISP problems - Part 1, a ruined VPN

A new install of Comcast cable, wipes out a VPN

In Ed Foster's The Worst Vendor Poll back in January, Comcast beat out 23 other companies and was voted the second worst company, just behind Microsoft. After my first dealings with Comcast cable Internet access, I can confirm the opinions of those voters. While installing new service in an apartment, the Comcast guy screwed up my VPN.

Things started out on the wrong foot, the installer called ahead to his next appointment to say he'd be there in a few minutes before we were done. He had done the physical hooking up, but hadn't yet verified the Internet connection. So, when things went wrong with the initial net connection, he no doubt felt under the gun.

His first reaction when things didn't work, was to call the home office to activate the modem (or something to that effect). At the same time, he also opened Device Manager (the machine was running Windows XP) to see the Network adapters. That's where things went bad. When confronted with Network adapters that he didn't understand, the cable guy got rid of them, figuring they might be screwing things up.

In addition to the usual Ethernet and WiFI adapters, the computer (a laptop machine) had two VMware Virtual Ethernet Adapters and a TAP-Win32 adapter from my VPN. The cable guy disabled the two VMware adapters and removed the TAP-Win32 adapter. Re-enabling the VMware network adapters after he left was no big deal, but I lost access to my VPN at a time I really needed it. Fortunately the VPN software produced an accurate error message that pinpointed the problem (how rare is that?) and my VPN provider responded to my plea for help fairly quickly.

That Comcast doesn't train their employees about the various network adapters used by Windows XP is shameful. That they also don't train installers not to delete things willy nilly is downright disgraceful. No wonder so many people in the poll hated Comcast.

See a summary of all my Defensive Computing postings.

Tags:
Security
About the author

    Michael Horowitz wrote his first computer program in 1973 and has been a computer nerd ever since. He spent more than 20 years working in an IBM mainframe (MVS) environment. He has worked in the research and development group of a large Wall Street financial company, and has been a technical writer for a mainframe software company.

    He teaches a large range of self-developed classes, the underlying theme being Defensive Computing. Michael is an independent computer consultant, working with small businesses and the self-employed. He can be heard weekly on The Personal Computer Show on WBAI.

    Disclosure.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Show Comments Hide Comments
    Latest Galleries from CNET
    Seven tips for securing your Facebook account
    The best 3D-printing projects of 2014 (pictures)
    15 crazy old phones from a Korean museum (pictures)
    10 gloriously geeky highlights from 2014 (pictures)
    2015.5 Volvo XC60: updated tech, understated design
    Busted! CNET readers show us their broken devices (pictures)