Maddening Blather on Hold with AT&T

December 30, 2010 | By | 2 Replies More

We lost our Roku internet connection this evening. Also the laptop connection, and the main computer. Basically, my internet was down.

So I went through all the usual things to find the problem. Computer was talking to the router that was in turn talking to the modem. So far so good. I managed to tell the router to tell the modem to change my IP address. Everything was working.

But I could not reach any web sites, email, or ftp servers. I finally figured out that the DNS must be down. Domain Name Service is the internet utility that converts name addresses (like to  numerical route addresses (like so your packets (requests, pages, images, etc) can find their way through the web.

So I called AT&T and answered a series of questions, like “Can you get online?” (No) and “Did you try rebooting and turning the modem off and back on?” (Yes). Finally, I landed in the service hold queue.

What to my wondering ear did appear in the cannot-get-online and did-reboot queue? An annoying loop of messages telling me all the wonderful support I can get online! This, plus the repeated suggestion that I try rebooting.


I sat on hold for 35 minutes before I decided to vent on this forum. Well, at least to write about it. I have to wait till either they fix the problem, or I get through and can ask for a numerical address for the address server to bypass the broken automatic one.

After 73 minutes (1:13) of this, I reached an actual person. I started with asking if she knew how long the DNS would be down, largely to jump past all the AnyKey suggestions. No, but similar problems typically are resolved in 4 hours. Then I asked if she had a bypass DNS address that I could use until theirs was working. No she didn’t have this information. I suggested that she pass upstream my frustration with the “just go online” message piped in to people who were calling because they cannot get online. She had no mechanism for this. Oh, well. I stayed polite. Tech support folks are in a miserable position when they have no way to fix anything, and the problem is real.


Category: Addictions, Communication, computers, Internet, Technology, Whimsy

About the Author ()

A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Dan. As you know, I live a couple miles from you. AT&T is my carrier too. I lost the ability to use the Internet. I also lost my ability to use the internet on my 3G iPhone. I also called, and I was also put on hold. I also heard the promos. I finally gave up, figuring that the problem was widespread, and not local to my computer. I'm back up, obviously. I was surprised that they didn't put up a phone greeting simply acknowledging that they had a widespread problem and that they were working on it.

  2. Dan Klarmann says:

    There was a lively discussion on my link to this on FaceBook. The best suggestion was:

    "I found that using other DNS servers works for this particular problem. I put in a google server: as well as the ATT ones, and it was up and running right away.

    They also have

    More info:

    I had to reply:

    Thanks. I would have liked it if the support tech had just given me any DNS so I could get online and look up others.

    It doesn't surprise me that Google would obtain and use a series of sideways infinities as their root server address.

Leave a Reply