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DNS - the scourge of my virtual existence - Phil's Rambling Rants
March 5th, 2006
10:37 pm

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DNS - the scourge of my virtual existence
I think I've cried for help on this before, but I haven't gotten answers.

I live in a rural location where I don't have a lot of choice in how I connect to the Internet.  I have dialup through the bad regional service provider that bought up the good local service provider I had been with.  I have enough trouble actually getting and maintaining a connection that I'd switch if I had an alternative, but most of the time I can dial up and get on.  A much more pervasive problem is with DNS.  Even when it's working fine once I'm talking to a site, I usually have noticeable delays and occasional failures resolving host names, and sometimes I will be unable to resolve a host name even over multiple tries.  In every case, I am talking about host names that I know are valid and I think my computer should remember, but my software seems to think that DNS is reliable and cheap and therefore it should look up the name of my mail host every time I check for mail rather than using the known address, for example.  I have bad results using my own ISP's DNS, and I also have bad results when I use NCSA's, which ought to be reliable.  I suspect that at least part of the problem is that some settings are out of whack on my machine, but I don't know what they should be.

Can anyone out there offer any suggestions?  Remember, this is a string-and-tin-cans dialup connection.  Advice on any controls or settings on what my machine caches and how it will control what it caches, what the timeout/retry settings mean and what helpful values would be, or any other juju I'm not savvy enough to know about would be welcomed.  Suggestions of a couple of other public DNS sites that really work, all the time as opposed to "90% is good, right?" would be fine too.

Alternatively, if someone out there wants to endow me with a good high-speed connection, I'd be happy.  I assume that a lot of my DNS problems would be a lot less noticeable if I actually had enough bandwith.

Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
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(3 comments)

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From:sraun
Date:March 6th, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC)
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http://www.direcway.com/ provides a bi-directional satellite-based high-speed solution. No phone line required. The only complaint I've heard about it is that the latency it kind of long for on-line gaming - for normal web-browsing and e-mail, it's supposed to be pretty good. The claim is 'all you need is a view of the southern sky'.
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From:tigertoy
Date:March 6th, 2006 08:20 pm (UTC)
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For my own reference as much as comment, the cheap plan is $600 up front and $60/month (plus taxes? don't know) with a 15-month commitment. Out of reach right now, but I might want to look into how well it really works as opposed to what they claim in the ad for sometime.
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From:sraun
Date:March 6th, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC)
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It's an interesting trade-off.

Cheap Plan: $600 + $900 = $1500 for 15 months
Expensive Plan: $100 + $1500 = $1600 for 15 months.

The difference is $100 for a 15 month hardware warranty extension. I can see why they do that, I wonder how frequently they have to replace the hardware?

And did you notice the $100 mail-in rebate? It's good through at least 3/31/2006. I assume that it doesn't make a significant difference, but thought I'd point it out.
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