First, some background. The building that I live in, a luxury high-rise in Jersey City, NJ, has a deal with Verizon Enhanced Communities to provide the residents with Internet service, free of charge. Sounds like a great deal, right? It sorta is. The problem is that the service is only 1.5Mbps, which as you know is quite anemic by today's standards. All of my co-workers have 20-30 meg connections, and I'm stuck back here in the dark ages (I also pay much more than them in rent - something doesn't add up. To be fair, I live in a very nice area and very nice building).
Now, I can't get my Internet from anywhere else (no DSL, no cable modem, no FIOS). This stirkes me as more than slightly unfair and monopolistic, but that's for another time. This Internet service had been very reliable, if slow, so I wasn't complaining that loud.
Up until tonight. Around 5PM, I noticed that I couldn't get to my GMail. Figuring that it was a Google problem, I dismissed it for a few minutes. Then I tried to get to Bugzilla - no go. eBay, no go. Anything else? Nothing. I've got something of a complex setup at home, so I immediately figure that some part of my infrastructure is busted (my crappy Linksys router occasionally just gives up the ghost for no reason). But everything checks out this time. So I plug my Windows machine directly into the wall. It gets an IP, but doesn't get to the Verizon registration page that it should since it's not a recoginized MAC address - same symptoms as my other PC's.
The interesting thing is the exact symptoms. I had a connection to IRC, and that was fine (until a few minutes ago). So long-lived TCP connections appeared to be OK. I simply couldn't establish new ones. I'd get a 3-way handshake sometimes, and then the session would be disconnected. There might have even been some data transmitted (I tried telnetting to 6667 for IRC and get some stuff back before being disconnected). Absolute weirdness.
So I call up the neat folks over at Verizon. They tell me that since I have an IP address, the problem is "assuredly" on my side. Now, if I didn't have the simplest setup in the world at that point (a Windows box plugged directly into their Ethernet with a public IP - ewww), I might have been inclined to believe that.
They tell me that my computer must be broken, and that I have no clue what I'm talking about, essentially - there must be some firewall or anti-virus on my computer that's blocking me from getting out.
I guess it doesn't matter that I have a Sprint EVDO card and can use that on the same computer just fine (in fact, that's how I'm posting this).
I'm resigned to the fact that I'll never have functional Internet again. Sigh.