After suffering with the slow internet access as long as I could, I finally called Time Warner technical support. It reminded me a lot of the David Spade Capital One commercials – I got the feeling this guy’s real job was to get me the hang up the phone and reduce the call volume. I told him that the access was slow and he pushed back with “How do you know?” When I said that I have a network monitor in my menu bar that always shows me that, he said “You know those things take up RAM and slow down your computer right?” Good god. So, I suppose the previous four months when I saw numbers on that monitor of 300 Kb/s for downloads were a fluke, and the current sub-dialup 1-2 Kb/s are standard? Give me a break.

Even though I didn’t expect it to do anything, I went along with him and his unplug/reboot business. He about had a duck when I mentioned that I was using wireless, which of course he immediately blamed for the slowdown. The connection was still exactly as slow when I plugged the laptop straight into the cable modem. Somewhere around there my cellphone dropped the call, and blessedly I was released from talking to this guy. I did notice that somewhere in the multiple reboots and restarts of the cable modem that I picked up a different IP address. Before that, I’d had the same one since I moved to this house. Once I got the new IP, things picked right back up. However, when I plugged my network back in, no love.

It’s hard to tell if things things were related or not, but when I put my Netgear box back into the chain it all took a dump. The Netgear refused to pick up the IP address from the cable modem, no matter what I did. I ended up resetting it back to factor and power cycling it a dozen times, no luck. Finally, I had to just set the Netgear box aside, and use the Linksys WAP as the router as well. It’s not a problem to do that, it’s just not how I had it configured. The only big problem was the fact that Linksys only allows you to use 192.168.1.* networks. You have no control over that. The internal network previously had been configured for a 192.168.0.* one, so things with fixed IP addresses like my Linux server and the networked printer all had to change. It was kind of a pain in the ass. For now, I’m back up and working and things are fast, but damn what a painful time it was getting this all straight. I’d like to extend a special middle finger to the guy at Time Warner tech support for going the extra mile to be both unhelpful and rude simultaneously.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father.

7 thoughts on “Rebroadband”

  1. I had a number of issues with downtime a few months ago, and I too started monitoring to track outages. The cable company sent a guy out (while I was not home) who coundn’t find a splitter and promptly left. I called to complain, and they sent another guy. This guy checked everything, replaced a splitter, checked the cable outside, and since then it’s been golden. He even showed me how to check the cable modem itself. I’d like thank that guy, so “cable guy” thanks to you…

  2. I had similar problems recently, but with DSL. Everything was running slow. Two techs came out on two occasions, said everything was fine, but I got one to make the central office plug me into a different fiber card, which seemed to get me back to almost normal speed. Ultimately, though, I found that replacing my Linksys router boosted the speed the final 10%, so it can, in fact, be your equipment that causes a problem. Which of course I hate to admit, but now I know.

  3. I’ve had a similar problem with comcast before. The symptom was that it appeared that my network access was slow. What appears to have happned is that they cross wired something so that I had two different routes to my home box, which caused some huge snafu. Through various reboots, powerdowns etc, and the like, I got a new IP address and miraculously everything started to work again.

    They don’t change my IP very often, but now whenever I have hideous indescribable slowness I refresh my DHCP server settings, and that seems to help.

  4. You must have found this out, I’m sure, but just in case you didn’t (or someone else reading this): Cable modems usually need to be turned off completely before they serve an IP to a different device that is directly connected to them. So, if you want to connect a different device to the modem, first turn off the cable modem’s power.
    Hope that helps.
    Good luck!
    PS I had dropouts on Cable. A guy/gal changed something in the local neighbourhood hub to boost the signal: no probs anymore!

  5. I can’t access my local Time Warner SMTP server ( I can resolve it’s IP but cannot ping it. I too called Time Warner and after 30 minutes of menus and hold time I got a person on the other end. I had traceroutes and pings all copied to a text doc ready to be emailed but noooo, I was forced to do the idiot dance too. Tear everything apart and plug a WINDOWS computer with OUTLOOK EXPRESS to test a friggin’ SMTP server? Where do they get these ideas? So I humored mr phone tech dude and did everything he asked. It still wasn’t working and he suggested that I must have done something wrong. I lost my mind, which is so unlike me, and totally cursed him out. He hung up and I still can’t use their cruddy SMTP server. Oh well, I have other SMTP’s I can use but what a pain. Remind me why I send them a check every month?

    By the way Dave, I highly suggest checking out Smoothwall Express, a Linux based firewall that is VERY easy to set up and has a great user community that are always doing cool mods to it. I have mine running on an old PII 350mHz box. Runs great.

  6. oh my god pete – you let a cable guy into your house unattended?

    are you a brave man or do you just like to live on the wild-side 😉

    usually the level 1 folks who answer the calls initially run off of scripts – which is why they make you go through the idiot dance…

    it’d be nice if they would publish the script online so that knowledgeable customors could try the steps necessary first, and then when they do have to resort to calling in, can simple say “i did everything up to step 17b” – tech support can pick it up there and not waste time, or more likely route you to a level 2 person…

    level 2 folks are normally knowledgeable and deductive, rather than purely script-based; at least in my experiences 😉

    one more thing to try if you haven’t already, dave – verify that you have the latest firmware on your router/wap devices…

  7. I’ve had similar issues recently as well. I’ve been on RoadRunner for years, with juat about nary a problem, but within the last few months I’ve had more issues with my cable modem than I have had in the previous 7 years combined.

    I too run Netgear, currently using their Super G wireless router (only running in b and g mode). As of late, I’ll be ripping along playing my latest MMORPG (World of Warcraft runs quite well on OS X and the new iMac G5) and all of a sudden the network just dies. I go take a look at the cable modem and the ‘Recv’ light is just blazing away and ‘Send’ light is dark. Reboot the cable, reboot the router and things are fine again until at some random point in time (typically under heavy network usage)when it happens again. Sometimes this could be a coupla three days, others just a matter of hours or minutes; on average, prolly once a day for the past month or so. Reading forums and such there seems some issues with some of the cable modems Time Warner uses and that if you can get TW to flash the modems with the latest firmware it seems to resolve some folks issues. I have some time off over the holidays and hope to experiment with things a bit and possible exchange out the cable modem with TW. Whatever the isssue I think there is something funny going on out there on the ol’ net; as I stated earlier, up until a few months ago my network connection was never an issue, almost like the phone landline, it was just there, it worked and you never gave it a second thought.

    Personally, I think it all somehow has something to do with ipV6, BIND and DNS servers but have absolutely no information to back this up and for the most part just talking out me arse.

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