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I'm one of many customers of Windstream, the only internet provider in my area, and just after having hit the 1-year mark of being a customer, my 10M internet connection became about a 512k connection. I occasionally get my actual 10M speed, but typically I get the 512k. After talking to many other customers in this area, they all tell the same story. After about a year of service, network speeds drop to nothing, and replacing hardware and talking to tech support doesn't fix it.

Several of us more technical have called in to their tech support about it, and we have been told that the problem is a "latency outage". A Google search for "latency outage" only returns results pertaining to what customers of the same service have been told when they called in for support. On my last call, I informed the lady that I spoke to of this, and she was very adamant that a latency outage is a real thing. So, what is a latency outage?

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closed as off topic by Sven, devicenull, Scott Pack, Michael Hampton, Ward Jan 15 '13 at 4:02

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I've said this before related to these types of questions: If you want to know what a particular term or turn of words mean, ask the party/person/entity who used it. We can only speculate what they meant. Since they used the term they should be able to define it for you. If they can't then they're giving you a load of bull. –  joeqwerty Jan 15 '13 at 3:01
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See also: Helsinki Smash Rod –  Chris S Jan 15 '13 at 3:15
    
Muffler bearings and prop wash all the way. While you're at it, bring me back a spool of flight line. –  Fiasco Labs Jan 15 '13 at 4:28

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

That's not how it works. The person making the claim has to back it up, not the people they're trying to convince. If she can't explain what a "latency outage" is, then it's as if she said nothing -- meaningless noises aren't communication.

(That said, if you're talking about Windstream, the problem is that they've oversold their bandwidth and their DSLAMs are overloaded. You can usually identify the problem with traceroute.)

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I long ago stopped expecting tech support to be technical. –  Nathan Wheeler Jan 15 '13 at 2:36
    
@NathanWheeler: Yeah, they're just machines reading from a script. And, of course, the fact that they've already oversold their capacity isn't stopping their sales folks from going ahead at full speed. –  David Schwartz Jan 15 '13 at 2:38
    
Tech support aside, traceroute shows that from me to the nearest SpeedTest.Net server, the largest amount of time (currently 65-80ms) is spent in the 5-6 hops through Windstream routing getting to the AT&T line. (I'm not sure the 6th hop is actually Windstream...) –  Nathan Wheeler Jan 15 '13 at 2:42
    
@Nathan - 1. Bandwidth (capacity) and latency (delay) are two different things. Together they make up what is the perceived "speed" of your internet connection. If you had a 1Gbps connection at 1,000ms of latency and I had a 10Mbps connection at 1ms of lateny I would have a "faster" internet connection than you. 2. 65-80ms of latency is definitely in the realm of "low latency". 3. Tracert is a route tracing tool, not a network performance analysis tool. The fact that your Tracert results show 65-80ms of delay through Windstream means almost nothing to diagnosing and identifying the problem. –  joeqwerty Jan 15 '13 at 3:26
    
@NathanWheeler: The problem with traceroute is that the measurement includes the time it takes the router to process the "time exceeded in transit" error, form a response packet, and put it in the queue to send to you. Routers put their priority on routing actual traffic, often primarily in hardware. Handling exceptional cases like that has to be done in software, and the CPU puts its highest priority on things needed to keep traffic flowing like maintaining the routing tables. –  David Schwartz Jan 15 '13 at 11:56

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