Support group for victims of OS discrimination

So guys, know this xkcd comic?
Tech Support

This rang painfully true for me the other day.

Had a Wi-Fi signal strength issue. When the tech asked me "What OS are you using" and I replied "Ubuntu Linux", the answer was "I'm sorry but we are not offering support for this OS yet".
"But what does it matter what OS I'm using? This is not a problem with my computer, this is a problem with your Wi-Fi coverage"

"Yes but you see sir, I need to have you do things on your computer so I can diagnose the problem"

"What kind of things?"

"Well I need to know details on your connection."

"OK maybe I can give them to you if you just tell me what they are?"

"Well, I need to know the SSID."

"Alright easy, the SSID is: [blabla]."

"Okay now the Frequency?"

"Cool, that's 2.4GHz."

Pretty good so far, I felt optimistic.

"Alright, now I need the BSSID."

Ouch, it took me a few frantic queries to Google because the BSSID in the connection settings was empty, and I wasn't sure what to do. I ended up giving the one listed in the drop down list next to the empty field.

"Now please tell me what is the Band you're using."

What in the sweet baby Jesus?

"The Band?" - This is me panicking and heading over to the network settings again to read every freaking tab.

Yeah. Long story short, I wasn't able to find out what in the hell he meant.
And yeah, I had to go beg someone to lend me a Windows machine, which I can tell you, makes you feel dirty inside.

Using Windows I found out what the hell "Band" was.
It's actually a Windows name (In French) for "Channel", which btw should have been translated by "Canal" god damn it.


Here's what I learned, maybe this will help you handle such support calls one day.

nmcli c show

This will list every connection that NetworkManager knows, and their UUID

nmcli c show [uuid]

This will show every information for the target UUID that networkmanager knows (use it on your active connection - it's shown in green by the nmcli c show command)

Edit: replaced command below with a better one!

iwlist scanning | egrep "Address|Channel|Quality"

This will give you the Channel and BSSID needed to answer the SupportPerson's question.

If you have any tips to contribute to this topic (Clearing the Tech Support route when you're not using Windows) please post it here.


I’m trying to understand the connection between the title and the content…
IMO tech support is a nightmare. Whenever I need to call my ISP after they do infrastructure maintenance, it’s an absolute nightmare trying to explain that I’m not using Windows OR Mac… Then I have to explain that there are OTHER things that exist, because god forbid I get someone competent on the line. AND OF COURSE! After all that, and explaining that what my computer runs has absolutely no impact on the network, they come full circle, with an answer/solution that unsurprisingly was completely unrelated to my OS.

Once again though, how tf is “Support group for victims of OS discrimination” fitting of the content? I’d say it has more to do with incompetent tech support than it does OS discrimination… Just a thought. Might wanna look that over.

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I use Virgin Media optic fibre and it has been a nightmare from start to finish. The advertised speed is 100mbps. Notwithstanding the fact that if I have a windows machine connected to it, it only ever reaches a maximum of around 70mbps, when I connect a Linux machine it drops to around 25mbps. I have been round and round in circles with the Virgin media tech people who swear blindly that the speed is the same despite me sending them incontrovertible proof to the contrary.

Consequently, my only solution has been to pull out a scabby old notepad and put Win7 on it. Then wifi-connect this note-pad to the router. Then, I connect the note-pad to my main Linux rig with an ethernet cable with a shared internet connection. That way, I get the same internet speed as the notepad because my Virgin Media router does not “know” it is serving a Linux machine.

There are also several other issues not directly related to Linux that I have with Virgin Media. Namely the throttling of connections when using a VPN or torrent client despite their sales literature claiming to not do this.

I’ve got around 4 months left on this contract. At which point I will be changing ISP and be finally free of Virgin Media.

If you are a Linux user, I do NOT recommend them

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