As of October 2013, it seems that AT&T has gone through some pretty monumental changes. Unfortunately, none of these changes seem to be for the better from the customer standpoint.  Whether you’re an existing customer or looking into the possibility of becoming a customer, this applies to you.

AT&T Existing Customers

We’ll start with AT&T’s existing customers who are probably getting a little nervous right about now.  For those of you who haven’t seemed to notice any changes since October, you appear to be some of the very lucky few.

Throughout the last couple months, we've noticed a considerable increase in the number of people who have problems connecting to their DVR remotely.  In most cases, they’re finding that their mobile applications are timing out and are completely unable to connect.  Further examination of this issue has shown us that it doesn't have anything to do with networking or port forwarding.  Whatever major changes AT&T made have caused a vast majority of their customers’ upload speeds to drop drastically.  This renders your remote access capabilities completely useless because your devices can’t connect under such slow speeds.  What we consider to be slow but still functional/usable is an upload speed of around 0.25Mbps (megabits per second).  What we’re now seeing with AT&T customers is an upload speed of less than 0.1Mbps.  With or without the video feed coming through, this is too slow to even connect to the DVR.  If you've fallen victim to this, it would appear at this time that the only solution is to switch to another service provider.

Check your upload speed:

AT&T Future Customers

For you aspiring AT&T customers who got through that and are still thinking about making the leap, this next part will probably ruin your day.  Networking and port forwarding can easily be the most difficult portion of installing a security camera system, especially if this is the first time you’re hearing the term “port forwarding.”  Due to this fact, we always offer to do the networking portion of these installations for our customers.   As we do this all day, every day, we’ve seen every possible way this can go.  AT&T had always had a minor hiccup in the past.  As we would wrap up the networking, we’d notice that the ports we had tried to open to allow for remote access were being blocked by AT&T.  This is the worst case scenario.  This means that the only people who can fix this are those at AT&T.  In past experiences, after a long and aggravating phone conversation, the problem would be resolved and full remote access became possible.  This is no longer the case.  Thanks to these changes at AT&T, they no longer offer what we’d view as true technical support.  What AT&T customers are now left with is a tech support department who don’t understand what you’re even asking for.  AT&T admittedly no longer offers actual technical support in house anymore.  Instead, they’ve opted to refer their customers to an overseas third party company which they’ll happily transfer you to.  Here’s the worst part of this whole ordeal.  Before this third party tech support company will even speak with you, they demand payment information for a $99 charge upfront before they’ll even hear your question.  For those of you wondering, this overseas company can’t even solve the problem.  They refuse to make alterations to hardware that is not their own.  At this point in time, AT&T is the only one capable of providing an answer to this but continue to offer no solution.  The end result for new customers is that if you have any intention of accessing your camera feed from outside your network, you can throw that capability away with AT&T.

Don Stephens is a Technical Support Manager at CCTV Camera World, a leading Security Camera distributor located in Buffalo, NY. His area of expertise is in designing professional security camera systems for medium and large scale businesses, schools, and government projects.

Connect with Don via: Email  |  YouTube