I recently went to a friend’s house to work on a DSL router/modem/WiFi unit that he had acquired in 2003. It was a perfectly good 2Wire unit supplied by the phone company -- AT&T or its predecessor. DSL technology hasn't changed much; so as long as the electronics are serviceable, this unit should function forever.
But there is a rub. In recent years, the credentials used to connect the DSL modem/router to the telephone company’s service needed to be changed. Normally, this is an easy thing to do. You access the unit (if you have a separate router, you access that) and update the credentials. This requires a password to get inside the DSL modem/router. Since this was a unit installed many years ago, my friend couldn't immediately remember the password.
Luckily, the modem supplier had thought of this and included a "forgot the password" link on its support Website. Clicking this brought up a nice page that gave instructions to call customer support and give them a 20-digit number to receive a temporary password. I thought I had the problem solved, but I was wrong.
I called the phone company, AT&T, since the modem company, 2Wire, refers all customer contact to it. AT&T's response: We can't do that anymore, and we don't support that modem. Its solution: buy another modem.
If they had the program (probably a Web page) that would transform the 20-digit number in front of them, this could be solved in less than a minute, but it took over six hours to determine that they had no solution. In addition, several times I was told to find a reset button, which isn't available on this model.
I was ready to administer impact therapy to this device when my friend suddenly remembered the password. I changed the credentials, and the modem works fine now.
I liken this experience to locking the keys in my car, and then being told that replacing the car is the only way to solve the problem.
This entry was submitted by Tom Watson and edited by Rob Spiegel.
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