North American Network Operators Group

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Re: ISPs' willingness to take action

  • From: Alan Spicer
  • Date: Mon Oct 27 15:25:59 2003

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Eric Kuhnke" <[email protected]>
To: <[email protected]>
Sent: Monday, October 27, 2003 8:34 AM
Subject: Re: ISPs' willingness to take action

> One significant contributing factor to the lack of care or clue by mid and
> large size ISPs is the level 1 helldesk.  I do not intend to insult
> who is doing level 1 support, but you are not going to find people with
> serious network engineering expertise for $12/hour (or when outsourcing
> tech support for $5/hour to India).
* It's $9 to $12/hour ... and it isn't the reason that the management is
clueless. There are some pretty sharp persons in Level 1 Tech Support,
although not a LOT of them. That's why they have such a turnover, the good
ones move on to more money. The clueless ones stay there forever. But
network engineering expertise isn't the job for Level 1 support anyway ...
if they don't know how to handle it, that call or incident should be
escalated to another level. There is some level there that has a care or a
clue, although that level may be severely constrained by management and
budget constraints.

I spent a lot of time at level 3 tech support ... handling the escalated
calls. (You know, I'm the guy that gets frowned at by the rest of the call
center crew when I help a customer with Linux or with a Router ;-) So I know
what it is like.

If level 1 spent time helping every customer install firewall software,
anti-virus software, (and it goes on to residential gateway routers and
wireless access devices) then you're gonna need more people to cover the
phones. IMHO this is why some ISPs are starting to try and charge more for
certain levels of service, including HOME NETWORKING.

> Far too many layer 1 people have to deal with clueless users who call in
> saying "Your mail server is haxxxing my firewall!".  How do you seperate
> the legitimate abuse complaints from the chaff?  That said, if somebody
> a fast connection, hand-holding them through the process of using Windows
> Update by phone isn't terribly difficult.
* Yep, that is true, and it comes both by phone calls as well as email. And
again, IMHO, you gotta draw the line somewhere as to what your going to
hand-hold for. You start doing Windows Update, and end up hand-holding
entire Windows installations ... maybe even Hardware installations. And what
is Windows Update going to fix related to Viruses and Spamming anyway? Most
users get hand-held going on to sites like: to get the virus
remove tool. And if that bombs out or they have other serious problems ...
they get offered a service call to their home (which they have to pay for)
or they can have anyone do the service call for them.

> I think one of the smartest things a DSL/Cable ISP could do is negotiate a
> bulk license purchase with an anti-virus software vendor such as Kaspersky
> (makers of AVP), which can provide licenses for as little as $10 each in
> bulk.  Is $10 per customer per year too much to pay for comprehensive
> auto-updating virus-scanning of client PCs?
* Hmmmm, $10 per customer times 10,000 or 15,000 or 30,000 or more. And once
you open the AV software door, you also have to open the Personal Firewall
door. Ohhhh this is getting ugly. The management and bean counters are not
gonna like this. What about the many homes with multiple PCs? You have to
give them one software package for each PC and Laptop? Might as well throw
in that residential gateway and support the whole home network.

Alan Spicer ([email protected])
Systems and Network Administration,
and Telecommunications