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Peter B

Identifying when speed of connection is not the issue

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For the last 3 months I have been arguing with my ISP and the cable supplier (copper to the house) that I do not have a cable to the exchange issue, it is data corruption or packet loss further into the network. They have sent 6 engineers over this time ( have had new line to the local cabinet, moved to new port at the exchange but no change), planned to move me to a local fibre connection (but cabinet full), so I finally got a free 4G wifi out of them for this month so at least I now have a temporary reliable service. What the ISP looks at is the Signal Noise Ratio and Line db (up and down) and as I had a record of these from my router I could see the same as them, line was ok, same signal as in the past when good service. Speed tests showed 6Mb download and 0.2Mb upload (dropped from previous good service times of 0.8Mb). They say unless you are gaming or uploading lots of data 0.2 is a working service.

So I had run other tests, Ping tests and Trace Route, which showed loss of data. Now refining this to the first IP addressable device in the network it showed data loss as well so to me it was going to be an issue between the exchange and this first IP device which in my case was my ISP gateway. Running other tests that ran ping tests and showed packet loss they all came back with 20%-50% packet loss and the only way to capture this was by capturing a screenshot. This still did not get them to agree with my diagnosis, send another engineer!!

Every discussion with ISP and other users is always focussed on download speed which I do not always see as the issue, I am happy with my 5-7Mb as only usually stream on thing at a time, Email and web pages were quite quick as well.

Capturing Ping tests and working out data corruption/packet loss has been vital to my argument and is a simple/quick test if it can be run and recorded reliably.This may answer other posts about poor speeds as if the upload packet gets lost you are into a timeout and recover on the applications and communications protocols, which will show up as speed issues.

 

The other area is how to really work out what speed is suitable on a personal basis. How to know the speed requirements if you know what sites you visit, Its easy to do streaming tests, speedtests and youtube or TV catchup ( do any of these pause in the middle of programs (not when it switches to adverts) but general sites. I find nearly all sites I use are quick enough with a 5Mb connection. I did accuse my ISP of messing with my service so I would pay to switch to fibre. 

So would it be possible to select certain sites and time the download of the page, plus record these timings. If we could do this and store them locally we would have evidence when they argue the service is fine. Its a problem when you just do not know if the service/speed you are buying is suitable or not. Upgrade and find that 90% of what you use is the same and its a waste of time upgrading.

It may be that the ping test to gateway and packet loss recording can build this sites reputation and we can use this to tackle bad service that is not the line from the house to the local Dside cabinet or exchange.

 

 

 

 

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(Moderator:  As this message got long and is likely in the wrong place, please forgive -- I did read FAQs and rules, but dealing with my network is like a full time job now. My problems 1) DO INCLUDE DOWNLOAD SPEED, 2) are persistent, 3) include many of the issues above, 4) related directly to Spectrum taking over TWC, 5) are enhanced by the fact I now possess a Spectrum parallel test kit (modem, box,and tv), and 6) all past and future info collected (by me) will go straight to the BBB in my open case file.  I'd be happy if a superuser wants to communicate directly -- or even take over my machine as necessary.  I'm probably attaching too many files, but I want to be helpful to someone who may see a SPECIFIC problem beyond sucks.  Thank you.)

 

WHY AM I RESPONDING HERE

I have an extremely close set of issues that the poster above describes -- right down to the unhelpful provider -- that have happened beginning the week Spectrum took over from TWC. I'd had 18 months of a stable cable and Internet connection.  Spectrum engineers took over the back end, and now, suddenly my equipment is the obvious issue, even though it worked fine for the previous 18 months. One interesting thing I've learned in the process: EVERY tech/manager has his/her own setup with personal modem and  router, not a TWC/Spectrum one.  And they all have problems, too.

 

SYNTHESIS

  • my service coincidentally went haywire the week Sprectum engineers took over from TWC
  • 3  engineer teams have visited, and if everything is rebooted, things improve for about 24 hrs, then degrade to a predictable baseline
  • Please pile on with suggestions.  Tests to run.  Definitive ways to catch compression, packet loss, trace issues, conflict issues, throttling, etc.

  • What are the 3 or 4 irrefutable things I can do now that I have parallel (Spectrum test) kit in the house to suggest the issue isn't mine; I have 1 month to prove, and the BBB (which has yet to issue Spectrum a rating due to the volume of complaints) is watching (literally, a rep came yesterday to see the test kit setup and run her own tests)

  • I want to nail them, and NOW is the time

 

THE GOOD

I currently have a Spectrum test setup alongside my system, installed 3 days ago to monitor issues.  They are supposed to be monitoring, too. In the last 3 2-hr visits, everyone checked my router and modem software, switched router settings, pegged the 2 5G bands to 44 and 152 but let the 2.4 float (btw, I've assigned several internal devices to the 2.4 band to reduce competition/conflicts), checked connections, created all new coax ends, ran interference tests, ran HDMI end-of-run strength tests, etc. Curiously, 2 of the 3 teams had similar answers -- when the big boss came out with his 24 years of industry experience, that team was the one that deviated and made things worse.  In fact, each time, a big boss now accompanies, and every time slips up and says TWC, only to be reminded by one of the other techs (techs I've had out for years, who solved issues). 

 

THE CURIOUS

Each group also always makes mention of Sprectum's impending attempt to go 'full digital', either directly stating or implying the 'off-site, unreachable engineers are searching for bandwidth.  One tech said he has to reboot his modem 2-3x/week, which they've been told is acceptable going forward -- as in, "you should tell customers this is acceptable."

 

ISSUES

There are plenty, but the one that gets the most head-shaking acknowledgement by techs, relates to video compression.  I pointed out early (beyond things like service drops, new and sudden IP address conflicts, devices kicked off my network, packet loss achingly slow speeds) is that I have programming recorded on their box from 9 months ago. If I watch it and pause, frame-by-frame gives a clear picture.  Anything I record now, if I play back and pause, the fxf is a jumbled mess. I don't have visibility into the paltry Cisco 8640HDC box, but if I delete an old 1hr recording, I 'gain' 10x space on the HD.  Clearly, programming has been compressed.

 

More irritating, my 'highest speed you offer' service NEVER exceeds a 50MBps cap, my latency is through the roof, my speed variance on multiple 24 hr tests in >90%.  The speed is 'steadier' 8am-4pm (very relatively so), but my wife and I work from home -- always beyond this 8-4 time frame.  All other times the graph looks like LeBron's perfomance in Games 3 and 4 -- either missing or completely unreliable.  Even Spectrum's own info texted to me of a 7-day grab shows an average speed that is 35% less than what I used to get and now pay 52% more to have the privilege of receiving.

 

Cable issues include pixelation, video on and off (with sound), and a drop in overall picture quality (I use an LG 2016 B-series OLED).  The difference is almost analog-like at times.

 

WHAT CAN WE (SPECTRUM) DO (so says an exasperated Spectrum, since they claim all my neighbors have no issues -- none reported and none seen when they look at service levels)

The techs admit there's only so much they can do as 'engineers in the background' are playing with things.  But then a manager (who now comes on every service call -- 4 in 6 weeks after I finally filed a BBB complaint -- quickly turns the conversation to my previously unproblematic setup, or congestion, fairies, bad wires, or, whatever.

 

MY PROBLEMATIC SETUP (i.e.,someone always mentions one of the above issues is caused by one of the components, all of which worked fine until 3 months ago)

  • Netgear CM500 modem (with a TWC Antfonix VRA900B 8-port amplifier first in line)
  • Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 TriBand router
  • 2 Netgear switches (5-port and 8-port, with 3 POE)
  • A stone age TWC/Sprectum Cisco Explorer 8640HDC box
  • Redmere unidirectional HDMI cables (Monoprice), 1 x 15ft, 1 x 75 ft)
  • Whole house Cat 6 wiring
  • Modem and router sitting happily on top of rack with fans
  • Modem, router, box plugged into APC BGE70

 

  • Browsing, testing,streaming with a brand new Lenovo ThinkpadT460, running Windows 10 Pro with NO extra software, Firewalls off, most Windows processes (Edge but not Cortana) decapitated -- in other words, a 'clean' Windows environment
  • Also simultaneously testing on an HD cleaned Lenovo E420 running Windows Home and Student.
  • Not to mention 2 Samsung tablets (one a new S model), 2 Samsung phones, and 1 Apple 6s

 

SUMMARY

Have done a 24 wireless test that yielded the attached files (keep in mind, I'm also suddenly paying 52% more $ than 3 months ago for the 'all you can eat buffet"). Synthesis, speed never went above 24Mpbs and often dropped to single digits (wireless).  Even using Sprectum's test site, I can't get above 20MBps. Right now.

 

Plan is to repeat straight off the test modem next 24hrs.

 

This is a lot of info, and, even as a newbie to the site who's read the posting guidelines, I may be in totally the wrong place and breaking protocols.  If so, move me,but I was responding to the previous poster's battles with his provider.  Apologies for any mistakes, and advice on how to catch these execs is welcome, since I can test straight off the TWC/Spectrum test kit currently wired in parallel to my system (their pipe, bypassing my 'crappy kit.)'

 

SUGGESTIONS, superuser intervention (even takeover), tests to run, all hands on deck if possible.  Definitive ways to catch compression, packet loss, trace issues, conflict issues, throttling --  ALL THE THINGS SPECTRUM (CHARTER) SAYS IT DOESN'T DO.  I WANT TO FIND IT!

 

THANK YOU!

Marc

 

______________

 

SAMPLE INFO -- TRACEROUTES (other things attached)

 

Traceroute direct from 'new' Spectrum/TWC modem (the test kit) yield

 

Tracing route to testmy.net [64.111.22.10]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1     5 ms     2 ms     7 ms  192.168.1.1
  2    12 ms    12 ms    10 ms  142.254.150.145
  3    34 ms    53 ms    17 ms  24.164.102.225
  4    13 ms    10 ms    11 ms  be22.sgvlohaj01r.midwest.rr.com [24.33.103.100]
  5    21 ms    14 ms    17 ms  be11.clevohek02r.midwest.rr.com [65.29.1.97]
  6    75 ms    16 ms    22 ms  be25.clevohek01r.midwest.rr.com [65.29.1.32]
  7    23 ms    24 ms    21 ms  bu-ether17.vinnva0510w-bcr00.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.70]
  8    21 ms    18 ms    20 ms  0.ae3.pr0.dca20.tbone.rr.com [107.14.19.160]
  9     *     1280 ms  1224 ms  ge-7-1-6.pr0.chi10.tbone.rr.com [66.109.9.74]
 10     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 11   292 ms   410 ms    77 ms  4.34.32.38
 12    75 ms    72 ms    72 ms  g7-42-edge5.core1.cos1.vis.data102.com [64.111.16.72]
 13    71 ms    68 ms    76 ms  po1-core01.dist07.cos01.vis.data102.com [64.111.16.195]
 14    74 ms    72 ms    71 ms  testmy.net [64.111.22.10]

Trace complete.

__________

 

Over my wireless, traceroute is


Tracing route to testmy.net [64.111.22.10]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1     5 ms     2 ms     7 ms  192.168.1.1
  2    12 ms    12 ms    10 ms  142.254.150.145
  3    34 ms    53 ms    17 ms  24.164.102.225
  4    13 ms    10 ms    11 ms  be22.sgvlohaj01r.midwest.rr.com [24.33.103.100]
  5    21 ms    14 ms    17 ms  be11.clevohek02r.midwest.rr.com [65.29.1.97]
  6    75 ms    16 ms    22 ms  be25.clevohek01r.midwest.rr.com [65.29.1.32]
  7    23 ms    24 ms    21 ms  bu-ether17.vinnva0510w-bcr00.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.70]
  8    21 ms    18 ms    20 ms  0.ae3.pr0.dca20.tbone.rr.com [107.14.19.160]
  9     *     1280 ms  1224 ms  ge-7-1-6.pr0.chi10.tbone.rr.com [66.109.9.74]
 10     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 11   292 ms   410 ms    77 ms  4.34.32.38
 12    75 ms    72 ms    72 ms  g7-42-edge5.core1.cos1.vis.data102.com [64.111.16.72]
 13    71 ms    68 ms    76 ms  po1-core01.dist07.cos01.vis.data102.com [64.111.16.195]
 14    74 ms    72 ms    71 ms  testmy.net [64.111.22.10]

Trace complete.

______

and this -- more problematic in the outset.


Tracing route to testmy.net [64.111.22.10]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1    34 ms     3 ms     2 ms  192.168.1.1
  2    21 ms    15 ms    12 ms  142.254.150.145
  3    34 ms    26 ms    32 ms  24.164.102.225
  4    12 ms    10 ms    10 ms  be22.sgvlohaj01r.midwest.rr.com [24.33.103.100]
  5    16 ms    22 ms    15 ms  be11.clevohek02r.midwest.rr.com [65.29.1.97]
  6    23 ms    14 ms    18 ms  be25.clevohek01r.midwest.rr.com [65.29.1.32]
  7    26 ms    19 ms    24 ms  bu-ether17.vinnva0510w-bcr00.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.70]
  8    49 ms    36 ms   156 ms  0.ae3.pr0.dca20.tbone.rr.com [107.14.19.160]
  9     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 10     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 11   137 ms    77 ms   226 ms  4.34.32.38
 12   169 ms    88 ms    73 ms  g7-42-edge5.core1.cos1.vis.data102.com [64.111.16.72]
 13    71 ms    70 ms    82 ms  195-16-111-64.auto.vis.data102.com [64.111.16.195]
 14    75 ms    76 ms    72 ms  testmy.net [64.111.22.10]

Trace complete.

_______
 

May 22 Internet speeds 12 hrs Graph.GIF

May 22 Internet speeds 12 hrs.GIF

May 22-24 98217105722-testmy.net-stats.csv-1.txt

May 22-24 Testmy 48hr set sample.docx

May 23 SPECTRUM FLASH Speed test 1am.GIF

May 23 Speed auto tests Daytime HTML5 Details 2.GIF

May 23 Speed autotests Daytime HTML5 Details.GIF

May 23 Speed autotests Daytime HTML5 v2.GIF

May 23 Speed test 1am #2.GIF

May 23 Speed test 1am HTML5.GIF

May 23 Speed test Daytime Site speed details 3.GIF

May 23 Speed test Tues Daytime HTML5.GIF

May 23Speed test Daytime Site speed details 2.GIF

May 24 My wireless trace3.txt

May 24 Speed test IP details.GIF

May 24 Speed test provider rankings.GIF

May 24 trace4 straight off Spectrum test modem.txt

Speed test explained 2.GIF

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Marc,

 

You are just as frustrated as I am. All working fine then the service declines.  My tracert/ping results clearly show the failures in the network.

 

to my gateway device: Note the failures in tracert and ping.

 

Your connection appears to get past the gateway all of the time.

 

My router shows a good line with say 8Mbps down and 0.8Mbps up. Speed Tests show 7Mbps down and 0.2Mbps or less up.

this is the Testmy results. When they sent me a 4G MyWiFi unit instant speed uplift and even though over a mobile network errors have gone, no pages saying connection to server lost, outlook getting emails etc

 

 

Ping and tracert to first addressable device on the network that responds. fast and no errors on the mobile network.

 

 

So EE can no longer argue that its my setup as my whole home network is now through the mobile MyWiFi device.

If they come out again see if you can get them to take your home router and connect it into the cabinet directly in the street, then using their laptop test the service. If it has the same results it can not be anything to do with your home or equipment. I had them suggesting LED lights interfering, and lots of other remarks. The engineer taking my router to the exchange proved to the line engineer it was nothing in the copper cables or my home so network issue.

 

Can you use your phone on 4G/hotspot and tether a PC to it, use that PC to host your home network. If the results show reliable service how can it be your equipment.

 

I still don't know how to get a test recognised by the ISP or physical network provider.

 

Peter

 

 

 

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Peter

 

Thanks so much for the thoughtful response. Amazing it should be so frustrating.

 

This idea:

 

"If they come out again see if you can get them to take your home router and connect it into the cabinet directly in the street, then using their laptop test the service. If it has the same results it can not be anything to do with your home or equipment. I had them suggesting LED lights interfering, and lots of other remarks. The engineer taking my router to the exchange proved to the line engineer it was nothing in the copper cables or my home so network issue."

 

is gold because they have to return to get their own modem, box, TV.  I'll try to get the tech I know best to come out, because I know he'll do it.  I've taken my own equipment to a friend's house, and it worked fine there.  Not convincing evidence for them, however.  And the stakes are higher because of a myriad of conditions of the Comcast-TWC merger (America's 2 most despised companies).  It's likely, the new FCC Chairman will simply throw out the conditions (he's already thrown out one provision requiring competition in one area), and Net Neutrality is 2 months from death.

 

The second thing you suggest:

 

"Can you use your phone on 4G/hotspot and tether a PC to it, use that PC to host your home network. If the results show reliable service how can it be your equipment."

 

Is also a fantastic suggestion.  Will report back.

 

Thanks.

 

M

 

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Pgoodwin1: MarkV and myself have pressed the suppliers with the facts that prove its not us but they bury their heads in the sand. My complaint is now with the government Ombudsman progressing slowly.

 

MarcV: I now have a free EE 4G mywifi device running my home network. All of the packet loss has gone and I raely get server not available but something is still ocationally dropping/losing connection somewhere, I think its when running a https connection. More testing needed here. The 4G obviously is a far better speed ( 30mb down 14Mb up, as to 7Mb down and 0.2Mb up (which originally was 0.8Mb up before problems) than the copper service but as I believed it only shows up noticeably faster on bulk downloads. Even using the TV players from the main 4 broadcasters does not show much improvement over a fully working copper adsl line.

This is why I suggested that we need a recognised test that will show up faults other than speed of service. Something that can measure time taken to load web pages etc.

Have you made any further progress

 

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