So, quite a while ago, I wrote about how my ISP sucks for ignoring my complaints about my internet just not working correctly. They eventually ended up having to reply because my fellow dormmates were also being incredibly vocal about the internet issues and hence a lot of things have happened that I wanted to talk about today. This – btw – is not supposed to be an attack or a rant or something like that… Just an interesting turn of events, which is why I’m also not going to name the ISP in question. We complained, got responses with empty promises and ended up all being rather disappointed. The new solution to the problem seems so incredibly weird and even out of place that I just felt like writing about it because of how silly the situation it is.
Alas, my internet connection is still incredibly slow and most of the time barely functional.
To make things clear, I do utilize the internet for a plethora of things from blogging to gaming to contacting my family to research for university and even some university classes entirely that take place in Zoom meetings – even if most of them take place in person this semester. Hence, while it’s annoying that I can’t stream on Twitch with this connection, I’m perfectly fine with that. I understand that it’s not meant to be fast enough to support such a hobby. I don’t understand that the internet doesn’t even work for what it’s meant to exist. I say this in case someone wants to point out how I shouldn’t expect to have an internet connection for streaming when it’s just dorm internet. I’m not expecting that at all. I’m expecting the internet connection to be good enough to host the Zoom meetings that I have to take part in because of the ongoing pandemic.
First things first though. I live in a dorm that isn’t too far away from our university. While the dorms that are right next to the university have no issues with their internet connections, my dorm has been having struggles like that for the past two years (and longer in some cases). A friend of mine hasn’t had a working internet connection ever since she moved in about a year ago. Meanwhile, mine was barely functional if at all. It’s annoying because our dorm has to deal with being a bit further away from our university on top of the internet struggles. Meanwhile, the dorms closer to our university (a five-minute walk instead of a five-minute bus drive) pay the same amount and have no issues at all. It’s annoying but hey, at least the rent’s relatively cheap.
As part of our contract here, electricity, water, heating, and the internet are provided and part of the rent. I pay a certain amount and all of that is included in the rent. Given that the internet connection isn’t working correctly, I’d expect the rent to go down a bit but that’s not the case, probably because the logistics behind decreasing the rent based on certain factors would be too complicated for the people handling our dorm to do.
When we ended up being more vocal about the issues and how they affect our grades and our studying, we finally got some responses. The internet situation would be resolved if everyone in our dorm would turn off “DHCP” in their router settings – something that apparently causes interference. Similarly, we need to use “static” in contrast to “dynamic” IPs. Also, we need to turn our routers into “access points” instead of “routers”, which is also a setting. Doing all of that results in the internet being worse than before. On top of that, my router stopped working entirely and I had to order a new one – the cost of which was not being covered by the dorm administration but by me. This makes sense because it’s my fault (I guess?) that the router broke after I changed the settings to what they suggested. The issue I have with that, however, is that a total of five other routers stopped working in five other apartments, meaning that it can’t be our fault entirely. Three of those five other routers were, btw, completely new – which is odd. How does something completely new stop working entirely because of some settings being changed?
Anyhow, my internet connection with a new router that I ordered didn’t get fixed even though everyone changed the settings. Hence, I contacted the IT tutors who then told me that my specific router doesn’t need to change the settings in question because it’s a new model that doesn’t interfere with other routers. Hence, I changed it back and now it’s back to “barely working” instead of “not working at all”. As time went on, the ISP sent a few technicians over who would look at people’s internet connection and their routers and suggest a plethora of setting changes. People that live together in the same apartment didn’t get the same solutions offered despite having the same routers in their separate rooms. Despite her flatmate being offered help, a friend of mine didn’t get any help at all because the tech guy wasn’t called for her. My friend perceived that guy’s behaviour as quite rude, particularly because of his way of speaking and attitude.
Fast forward to March 1st when the dorm administration sent out an e-mail to the residents of our dorm talking about the current situation: In that e-mail, they talked about a plethora of things. The internet provider is now taking action to fix the issues in question. It’s going to take a while and be resolved in four to six weeks. The extra technical equipment needed and all of the extra bandwidth getting added will cost a lot of money, resulting in an increase in rent. So, we get better internet (hooray) but we’ll have to pay 3-4€ more every month. Hence, our dorm administration was going to ask the state ministry responsible for this sector for extra funds to help even out the costs, so that the rent wouldn’t go up too much. Well, it’s been six weeks and the issues haven’t been resolved at all. Nothing has happened. Apparently, the state ministry stopped responding after two weeks and nothing has happened ever since, which brings us to today.
It’s Easter (well, nearly?) and nothing has happened but our dorm administration has sent out an e-mail informing us how nothing has happened and about their new solution. Apparently, we’re now getting wifi in every dorm apartment because that will work a lot better than before. The issue I see with this is… if they can’t get our internet to work at the moment, how is wifi going to solve this? And what do people like I do whose computers don’t have a wifi receiver thingy? Will they provide me with a stick or whatever that allows my computer to be able to get a wifi connection going? Will I need to pay for that as well?
All in all, it’s a weird situation. Our previous ISP went into insolvency and then got bought by this company. The issues have become more apparent ever since and it’s annoying because, at one point, the ISP tried to get rid of all the responsibility by saying “hey, how could we have known that the internet is used for something other than a simple google search?” – which is a load of… shoes. It’s not a good excuse because online classes are not something that was kept secret. There were many people and news outlets in Germany that were very vocal about it. Our university practised “University@Home” for two years. How could our ISP possibly have known that we would need good internet for our classes? It’s almost as if they knew and just shrugged it off because we’re still paying our rent and they’re still getting money. Meanwhile, the “simple google search” they mentioned isn’t even working properly at times. The internet slows down, cuts out, and at times even reconnects and disconnects endlessly, which is tiring and obstructed two of my exams. So, excuses are wild. I also find it a little bit droll that our ISP thinks that university students simply read books and go out every day and don’t do anything for their entertainment, like watching a movie at home in 2022. It seems silly.
I wanted to just talk about this and give an update. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. But I try to stay positive and possibly, I can use this as an excuse to extend my current rent contract. I really don’t want to move at the moment, especially as finding a new apartment has proven to be difficult as of late with plenty of my calls and mails not getting responded to even though the offer still stands. Hence, I’d love to stay in the dorm for a little while longer (by that I mean another year) so that I can finish more of my university modules and make progress without having to worry about packing, moving and unpacking and all of that. Maybe that will work and possibly, our internet situation will get better soon. Let’s keep our “thumbs pressed” or as non-Germans say “fingers crossed”.