February 23, 2007


About two weeks ago, we decided to switch from Comcast -- heretofore our cable internet and teevee provider -- to a combination of Dish Network (for the teevee) and whatever incarnation of AT&T is around now (for DSL). The deal was quite nice, saving us about $35 a month, and Dish Network includes a DVR for free.

But switching internet providers had problems, as switching internet providers often does. I've never been able to tell whether this is a problem configuring my router or a problem getting it to work with the various modems, but Server Not Found errors are legion whenever I switch ISPs, and this most recent switch was no exception. I could, usually, load any given page by the second try, but loading more than one page at a time was right out. And that's after letting the connection `warm up' -- the first three to six attempts to load a page in the morning always failed. Calling technical support is useless, because all they ever tell you to do is turn your modem off and back on again. I've tried fiddling with router settings and Googling support fora, but so far the only fix I found was to wait for the router and modem to start playing together properly.

After starting to get seriously frustrated and wondering whether I had made a mistake this time around, I happened across a rave review for OpenDNS. It doesn't seem like anything big -- just an alternative system of DNS servers. (This is like trading one copy of the white pages for another.) But the tiny change of pointing my router at OpenDNS instead of AT&T's default fixed all my problems. Loading the eleven sites in my primary folder of blog bookmarks all at once takes a few seconds, with no DNS errors. This is faster than Comcast, and comparable to the T3 line I have access to on campus. There's also no `warm up' time when I first turn on my computer.

I'm extremely impressed, and recommend checking out OpenDNS even if you already have a fast, reliable connection.

1 comment:

allison said...

Noumena - Thanks for the mention, and glad OpenDNS is fixing the problem. :-)

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