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My DSL has been extremely slow in the evenings recently.

To test it, I telnet to my DSL Modem, and ping the gateway. This way I eliminate internet congestion and local network issues. In the mornings I get 30ms - 50ms pings. In the evenings, it bounces around a lot, but 10000ms pings are common.

I complained to Qwest support, and they said it was a known issue on their end, their engineers were working on it, and wouldn't say anything else.

A couple days later I complained again, and they sent out a technician. He tested my house wiring and found that one of them had a short. It was an unused line, so we disconnected it, and he said things looked better and left. My daytime speeds improved at this point, but evening is still bad.

I complained to Qwest support again, and they said it was a problem with DSLAM congestion at their end, and that they were working on it, but no ETA.

My neighbor has Qwest DSL and doesn't seem to have these problems. That seems strange. I go use her network when I absolutely must get online and mine is behaving badly.

I can't tell if they're yanking my chain or not. Regardless, these speeds are crap. I'm paying for 7Mpbs but am lucky if I get 1/10th that in the evenings. My kids like to watch Netflix streaming movies, and it's just impossible after 5pm or so.

Should I wait it out? Will complaining again produce any results? Should I change my subscription to a lower speed until they fix their end? Or switch to cable?

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I recognize there are a number of similar questions on superuser. Mine is a little different, because of the claim of "DSLAM congestion", but here are the others I found, for reference:, – Jay Bazuzi Feb 7 '11 at 6:14
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you have high user contention ratios on your exchange, it can definitely affect your speed. It sounds like the area is oversubscribed. Usually they only improve this if enough people complain, or it gets saturated, and there's no real way for you to force their hand.

Whether the contention is actually the DSLAM is up for conjecture and there's nothing you can do about it. Vote with your feet and find another ISP, or complain loudly. But check around your neighbours and see if they're also having issues. Maybe if enough people complain, it'll help.

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Thanks for your response. My closest neighbor has no problems, which seems weird. I told Qwest that I'm leaving them because I don't like the way they treat me and they said they couldn't help me. Today I dropped my speed down to the lowest they offer, to save money on service that I'm not getting, and I'm looking for alternatives. Cable, satellite, 3G. (No 4G or fiber in my area.) – Jay Bazuzi Feb 10 '11 at 7:23
Maybe there's a problem on the port of the exchange with your line. It could be as stupid as water in the line or a loose connection. Since they don't seem prepared to help you, switching is probably a good idea. – user3463 Feb 10 '11 at 7:26

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