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Thread: Broadband cable Frustration

  1. #1

    Default Broadband cable Frustration

    I just got Earthlink cable two days ago, which is supposedly one of the better services and I'm feeling a combination of frustration and disappointment. When it's good it's very good, but when it isn't it's just plain lousy.

    I had to go back to my dialup connection which was much faster than cable an hour ago. I wasn't even able to get the NYTimes or CPF on cable. I was warned about "peak time" slow downs but I had no idea the service would be this incompetant. I'm quite surprised to say the least. There are perhaps not so cynical rumors that the cable companies deliberately amplify the slowdown to encourage switching to more expensive "premium " service.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    What's the point of paying for a superior connection when its superiority is part time?

    Brightnorm



  2. #2

    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    Primetime slowdown is not as bad as everyone says, I usually can't tell the difference anymore although cable is a little slower than a few years ago when I was the only person in my side of the city to have it [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Earthlink is the AOL and of broadband, it is crap. I have had several poeple in my office try earthlink and have nothing but problems.

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    No, thats not a "peak time" slowdown, you have some other problem going on. At least I hope you do. I don't know anything about earthlink in particular, but I know a little about cable modems in general as I worked in the R&D offices of a major cable company when they were testing these things for roll out. (course, on unrelated projects, but some of it rubbed off [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img])

    Make sure you call in to their support and let your unhappyness be known. The fact that you can't get any packets through at all is a much different and more seriuos problem than just saying your throughput drops to 10k or something.

    I had a cable modem for 2 years at another house through comcast and it was great.

    Good Luck

  4. #4
    Flashaholic K A's Avatar
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    I have Cox Internet myself and am fairly happy with the service.

    There are many factors which could contribute to your problem. A bad signal getting to the modem is one of them as the modem is more sensitive to signal degradation than a TV. Try answering these questions.

    How old is the coax coming into your house, or did they run a new line just for the modem?

    If the line is old does it have any splits along the length or have any corrosion on connectors? Both of these can cause signal loss.

    Does the line going to the Modem go through any splitters? Splitters do cause signal loss, more loss the more splitters it goes through.

    What brand modem to you have? Surfboard modems have an internal diagnostics webpage. Not all brands have this internal webpage though. http://192.168.100.1

  5. #5
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    Welcome to the world of broadband. I was an early adopter (almost 4 years ago with @home..became @attbi...became @comcast. But that is another story).

    So, I have had lots of chances to "fix" things. Right off the bat, what operating system are you using? Any Windows based system other than XP is not going to be set up for broadband correctly. You then need to do some investigation to see where the system slowdown is occuring. It can be anywhere along the line from the initial server to your local "node". Anyway, the tools do exist to find and fix almost any problem. I would start at the site that is to broadband what the CPF is to flashlights:

    http://www.dslreports.com/

    On the left side of this page you will see a heading "Our Tools". Do a "tweak test" first and make whatever corrections it recommends. Then do a "speed test" and compare the results to what is being advertised for your service. You can then do a "line quality" test to get some idea of where things are going wrong (if they still are). You will then be in a better position to contact tech support, if necessary, and get beyond the "power cycle your modem" stage.

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    DougNel,

    That "other story" ($44 to $57/month) will be worthy of a future thread. Phonelines at my address are only good for abt 15kbps, and they got me bt the b***s. Wireless rates come down, and I am outta here!

    Larry

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    Just got broadband cable through my cable co. Usin a moto SB4200 cable modem. Really like this modem. Speed is really good. Sounds like either a software problem or a problem on the other end. Haven't really experienced any "slowdown" periods yet.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic K A's Avatar
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    In reference to what DougNel said. If you were previously on dialup, or never had broadband before.. Then standard Windows 9x TCP settings do constrain the connection a bit, XP and 2000 fair a bit better.

    There are programs out there that will let you change registry settings to help your connection perform better. Or you can use premade 'tweaks'. Basically just registry settings that you can import.

    DSL Reports is a good starting place. There are a few other places to check which escape me this late hour. A local sysadmin for a large Airplane company came up with his own version of tweaks that does work great. Though your mileage my vary since cable networks do vary.

    His webpage is here. But be warned. He has a wave file that plays, bringing the page download over 1meg. If you can avoid downloading the wave just page down to the section about Network Performance.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    Thanks all very much,

    You've given me enough information to start figuring things out. Ironically, as I'm typing this at 1:30 am the connection is faster than "greased lightning"; literally no comparison to how it was before.

    Thanks again,
    Brightnorm

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    Brightnorm, sometimes there are variations in speed with no apparent reason behind it. I have Earthlink ADSL,5 years now and it's been pretty consistent, of course cable broadband is a bit different. Unfortunately, once you get used to fastter speeds, there's no going back. Good luck getting it sorted out, DSL reports does have some good info, earthlink should be able to trouble shoot for you, that's what their tech support is for. I've used them a lot.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    Doug--Us too.

    Wireless, down all the time.

    @Home to @attbi (Thank goodness we still had AOL, it was out for days) @attbi to @ comcast.....now we're forced to buy basic cable...

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    Just off the top my broadband cable, which usually runs at about 2.6Mb/S has been having problems lately where packet loss has approached 100% for an hour at a time. It appears that there are some serious problems that are not at the ISP, but at the cable provider ...

    First off, with Earthlink on Cable you are NOT getting your cable service from Earthlink. They are only providing the ISP services and are generally not aware/responsible for the physical cable plant - that's from whoever provides the cable TV services to your home. (The cable provider hauls it to their local "headend" and puts on a router leased to Earthlink.)

    If you have broadband troubles, call the support number. You will probably get an Earthlink person. They will do some brief checking with you of some basic stuff then contact the cable carrier if it appears that there is a cable service problem.

    For me (I have Earthlink service as does my mother) the cable provider is Comcast (was AT&T, and before that TCI). Most every problem I've had, other than an actual Earthlink server failure last year, can be laid directly on the cable provider's transmission link. Not that it is overloaded, not that there are too many customers on it, but that the condition of the cable plant is abominable (I spent 25 years as a high-speed digital service engineer, and have a reasonable idea what GOOD plant looks like).

    BIG SUGGESTION: DO NOT RUN ANY SOFTWARE FROM EARTHLINK. Sorry for yelling, but I needed to get that accross. If you have competent software on your computer there is no need for the Earthlink software. In some ways, Earthlink IS similar to AOL, but ONLY if you run their software. It is not necessary.

    Earthlink servers and their service in general (except for anything they might want to have installed on YOUR computer) is competent and reasonably reliable. Not too many problems, which is why we used to recommend them to clients who needed nationwide dial-up service.

    This evening, my thruput on cable has been anywhere from 2.6Mb/s to .001Mb/s. Looking at the cable service, I can see the noise level increase and signal level go down, indicating there is a physical cable problem. Right now I'm running about 1.6Mb/s, but my modem is screaming at about a +58dBmV upstream signal level, which is about the max allowed (this modem can actually hit +62, many can only make it to +55). I have a report in (again) to Comcast for them to FIX their crummy cable.

    Anyway, if you have cable trouble it's the cable carrier. If you have server type troubles, it's likely Earthlink. Either way your best start is to LET THEM KNOW there is a problem - they aren't mind readers - and get them to work with you in resolving the problem.

    I'll shut up now.


  13. #13

    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    Thanks Keithhr and Tomas,

    CPF is quite an extraordinary resource for so many things besides flashlights. When you get several thousand intelligent, knowledgeable people together, that's a lot of computing power.

    The fact that we're all obsessed with light and nuttier than a bunch of fruitcakes is of minor importance. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Brightnorm

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    I have Roadrunner here and service is super. The DHCP server hasn't gone belly up in quite a while, and there hasn't been weather related damage in wuite a while (last one caused most of Ohio RR to go out).

    AOL has its own Cable broadband.

    Win98SE defaults to 10 Mbps, while Linux defaults to 100 Mbps. You can change that in network properties in wundoze, to force a 100 Mbps connection.

    I used to have Bright.net for my dialup: no special dialers or software needed, and used an external Zoom modem for both win98se and linux.

    Since I went with Roadrunner Cable, I would hate to have to go back to dialup, particularly on SprUnt local phone service.

    Mandrake Linux cable internet setup is a breeze: just type in your computer's host name.

    They provided me with a Toshiba PCX 1100U cable modem and it has been trouble free.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    [ QUOTE ]
    K A said:
    I have Cox Internet myself and am fairly happy with the service.
    *snip*
    What brand modem to you have? Surfboard modems have an internal diagnostics webpage. Not all brands have this internal webpage though. http://192.168.100.1

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I use Cox and it is reliable, even though it's a monopoly in my area (Northern VA).

    For most routers there's a diag page and it's usually 192.168.0.1 (the universal address for local networks).

    Dan

  16. #16

    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    I didn't know you could use Earthlink without their software, that software was probabally most of my users problems, without an earthlink connection its one of those things I couldn't try myself. I have had Time Warner here in Ohio for years and have had my power off more than my cable, I have even bee able to surf running the laptop on battery, cable router and wireless on ups battery without electricity for over an hour a couple different times in the summer. RR must have decent backup power [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  17. #17

    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    I speed-tested my connection late last night and just now.
    Every test tells me I'm running very fast, which was obvious from the superfast connections I've been getting.

    The problem comes at those d*mn "peak hours". I'll call Elink as suggested but I'm pessimistic about results.

    If it would run 24/7 at the speed I'm experiencing right now I'd be more than content.

    Brightnorm

  18. #18
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    [ QUOTE ]
    brightnorm said:
    I speed-tested my connection late last night and just now.
    Every test tells me I'm running very fast, which was obvious from the superfast connections I've been getting.

    The problem comes at those d*mn "peak hours". I'll call Elink as suggested but I'm pessimistic about results.

    If it would run 24/7 at the speed I'm experiencing right now I'd be more than content.

    Brightnorm

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Glad it is working at least some of the time. The inconsistancy means that the problem is most likely external to your computer/modem.

    BTW, I have found the following utility to be a useful in a broadband setting: DU Meter

    This allows you to see how you are doing from a speed standpoint in "real time" not using a test site. Not free, but not that expensive either. And it works.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    My reason for shunning Earthlink would be their blocking of port 25. They, like a few other providers, are trying to appear as if they are fighting spam from their users by blocking the normal port for sending email through any server but their own. What they're really doing is blocking legitimate use, and disregarding standard protocol. If they were really serious about blocking the spam being sent over port 25, and they should be, they could simply set a flood control, requiring prearranged access for any users that have a legitimate use to bypass the flood control for mailing lists or whatever. It's a bit more involved than simply cutting off port 25, but at least it wouldn't be a phoney display of trying to stop spam. They aren't stopping spammers. They're just crippling the non-spamming users.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    Empath, Earthlink blocks port 25 (as do many other ISPs). Earthlink also does not allow me a UNIX shell login using my normal accounts (my other ISP does).

    Not having shell access and not having port 25 open does not affect the plain vanilla uses I put my Earthlink service to. If it did, I would obviously move to another provider.

    I suspect, however, that most of the users of their service, both here on CPF and in the general public, don't even know what "Port 25" is or is for ... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    I do appreciate that the Earthlink servers are UNIX and not something "MS," though. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]


  21. #21
    Flashaholic K A's Avatar
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    Cox is also implementing a port 25 block, not active in all areas yet. I have no need to send mail through another server so am not affected.

    The only thing that is getting my goat is the download quota they are also implementing. 30gig down/month, 7gig up/month, 2gig down/day, 1gig up/day.

  22. #22
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    I have forgotten a lot about the details of how the cable modem system works, but I'll share what I can remember. On each "head end" there are a maximum of about 250 cable subscribers. If each one has a cable modem then you're sharing your bandwidth with 250 people max. But no one person can steal all the bandwidth as the individual modems are limited in their up and down stream speed. So one person, or even a dozen can't use it all up. It's only this last leg where the limitation has any meaning, there is plenty of throughput from the head ends on up.

    I have a friend in a high rise in Chicago who has a cable modem. Every day during the "prime hours" it drops almost completely off line. And has for weeks. But the interesting observation is that it only does this on hot and sunny days, and it pops in for a few minutes here and then and then goes away again. Cooler days, or cloudy days it does not happen. It's obviously that some equipment up on the roof somewhere is overheating and dropping in and out. He is on his 4th modem, and everyone else in the building is having the same problem, but the support folks just can't seem to get this through their heads. They close the tickets each time they send someone out to replace the modem!

    So definitely call support, it can be SO many different things and the timing could be coincidental.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    I have Cox cable internet and the cable line coming into our house was old. Cox came over and for free dug up some of the old cable line and replaced it. It was much faster afterwords. My cable speeds have always been consistent.

    Now if only they got faster mailservers. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon23.gif[/img]

  24. #24

    Default Re: Broadband cable Frustration

    [ QUOTE ]
    IlluminatingBikr said:
    I have Cox cable internet and the cable line coming into our house was old. Cox came over and for free dug up some of the old cable line and replaced it. It was much faster afterwords. My cable speeds have always been consistent.

    Now if only they got faster mailservers. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon23.gif[/img]

    [/ QUOTE ]

    And now I have no complaint. All through "prime time" today my cable was extremely fast. Why should Tuesday be so much faster than Monday (yesterday)?

    Brightnorm

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