After giving Telstra ample time to figure out it wasn't entirely a problem their end, I decided I'd had enough of the terribly unreliable internet and went in to town to pick up a new modem. The tiny office supplies place in Maryborough only had three to choose from - a TP-Link, which I am less than fond of, a Linksys/Cisco (which are nowhere near what they used to be, but I have had some decent success with them) and a Belkin at over $200. I wasn't spending that much considering I've had less than stellar experiences with Belkin gear before, so we came away with a still-overpriced Cisco Linksys X2000.
We brought it home and... no PPPoE. Rang Telstra, and it's not on their supported modems list, basically we'd have to go to the Telstra shop and buy one. Considering that just about every piece of gear Telstra supplies is an absolute travesty IMHO, I said no way. All I wanted was the encapsulation and the VCI/VPI stuff. Oh and they made me reset the password for the DSL at the same time for some reason.
They escalated it to their "level two" techs who I was promised would ring back in a few hours. I went outside and did a Google search and found the answer in about 15 minutes - I probably should have done that before phoning up and dealing with Telstra's inane level one people. We're up and running, with no packet loss. Hooray!
Except my laptop still sees periodic packet loss, and that turns out to be the TP-Link WAP we're using, as other Wireless devices experience it as well. Tried upgrading the firmware on the WAP, changing the channels to various values, and disabling Wireless N but no luck. Dropping the beacon interval as low as it will go (40ms) appears to have smoothed the dropouts out a bit (it recovers quicker), but they're definitely there. At least the proxy can keep going while the WiFi's acting up and if we really care about it we'll run ethernet cable everywhere.
This was nice to see though:
fwaggle@redlion:/home/fwaggle % fetch http://ftp.au.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/ISO-IMAGES-amd64/9.2/FreeBSD-9.2-RC3-amd64-bootonly.iso FreeBSD-9.2-RC3-amd64-bootonly.iso 100% of 162 MB 494 kBps 00m00s
No complaints about that download speed for a shitty ADSL service right on the boundary of ADSL serviceability.