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Guest thecableguy

Having problems with your cable ISP? Here's how to deal with it and get action.

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Guest thecableguy

There is nothing more frustrating than waking up in the morning and seeing the cable light flashing on your modem (for those that don't know...flashing cable light means you won't be getting on the internet this morning  :angry5:) or in the middle of the battle of a lifetime in your favorite FPS only to have your modem flap and poof, you're booted off your server (and we know the rest of it right....)

There are ways to handle these problems that will get quick results....

1)  Assuming that your cable light is just flashing (especially if you have Toshiba Modem), before you call, power cycle the modem (that means unplug the power for at least one minute).  If you have a router, make sure that you power cycle it as well in the same manner AFTER you cycle your modem.  Close all browsers, wait one minute (2 or 3 if you have Windows 2000) then try again

2)  Please understand that your cable company does not monitor your specific connection 24/7 (this is about to change) but until then....if you have problems with your connection you need to let them know.  Make sure when you call that you are actually speaking with the department that handles internet issues and not just the cable customer service department (they are VERY different).  If the issue is determined to be signal or hardware related insist that a tech be sent to your home and make sure you keep the appointment (crucial!).  A history of missing your appointments is a great way to insure that a Technical Specialist is never sent to your home.  They get paid very well and their time is extremely valuable (not to mention in demand) and your ISP is only going to send their very best to accounts who have a good history of keeping their appointments.

Each and every successful tech roll to your house is tracked and constant problems will (there is a magic number) result in a specialist being sent.  Also check with your neighbors when your service fails, if they are also affected it

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3) When you finally get the technician on the phone be courteous NO MATTER HOW FRUSTRATED YOU ARE!  Your cable company support technicians are humans too and you will find them to be far more understanding and willing to help and go the extra mile if the first words out of your mouth aren

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Guest thecableguy

I feel for you although I am not surprised given your location.  Has Chello managed to protect its monoply with government help or were they just lucky?  Given the countries served by Chello one has to think that they probably receive an enormous amount of government protection although I have no information to back that statement.

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I have to tell you that I used to love those "You Suck" people.

You could be standing in their living room and they will cut you and your company down, then start cutting you down personally.

And all the while I was thinking - "I know where you live, JACKASS!!". lol

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There are reasons for the tech having you go through specific steps, most of them related to the diagnostic tools they will use to assist you with your problem (you would be amazed at what the technician can see on his/her screen with regards to your services). Don

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I have to tell you that I used to love those "You Suck" people.

You could be standing in their living room and they will cut you and your company down, then start cutting you down personally.

And all the while I was thinking - "I know where you live, JACKASS!!". lol

I will tell ya something.. I have a thing for cingular people.. I always get the run around from those people on the phone and their stores are even worse.  At the end of the day when someone who doesnt understand IT/broadband stuff has their connection go down it can make them really pissed off...  I am sure that the in house techs take a lot of crap for the company.

But at the end of the day the company is selling you a service.  If it isnt working what is the point of having it?

haha double post..

hey thecableguy.. is there a customer SLA that we dont know about?  I know for most business connection, coming from a national providor on a non dedicated line, it is at like 99.8 per year...  which allows for about 32 hours or so of outages. Are they on a seperate node or something that the companies can offer that type of SLA to them and not to the normal consumer?

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I feel for you although I am not surprised given your location.  Has Chello managed to protect its monoply with government help or were they just lucky?  Given the countries served by Chello one has to think that they probably receive an enormous amount of government protection although I have no information to back that statement.

Chello is part of UPC, the only company that is allowed to serve cable internet/tv where I live. So, lots of government protection it is. The other option is DSL, but as I said that requires one to be disconnected from the web for at least 3 weeks, and is not a valid option for this household, as my motherfucker uses 400 gig a month. No DSL provider will allow that and thus I problably won't be able to convince him to switch.

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Chello is part of UPC, the only company that is allowed to serve cable internet/tv where I live. So, lots of government protection it is. The other option is DSL, but as I said that requires one to be disconnected from the web for at least 3 weeks, and is not a valid option for this household, as my motherfucker uses 400 gig a month. No DSL provider will allow that and thus I problably won't be able to convince him to switch.

Mofo - lol!!

Dear old dad..............that's funny - thanks for the Sun morning laugh.

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Guest thecableguy

This is a bit tougher to do at least for my ISP.. they require a certain ping to their site to issue credit.  I has to be above 85ms, or that is what I was told on the phone the last time I called in and asked for a credit on the account..

I guess I should have made myself a little bit more clear on this part.....  You've brought up one of the most frustrating things internally.  And gamers are the ones that are who bring these complaints to the table (almost 100% of the time).  The problem is that there are many causes of high ping times or ping spikes and most of them not in the control of or even the responsibility of your ISP.  What's worse is there appears to be a large cross section of the gamer community that are ISP hostile and no matter what the real problem is it's always their ISP's fault.  It could never be their game server host or their own hardware/software (after all they're gamers).  A real simple way to determine who is responsible for the ping issue is to remove all equipment from the modem for 12 hours (I know...take my car, take my wife, even take my HDTV but don't even think about internet for 12 hours, preferrably between 3pm and 3am).  During this time have your ISP monitor your modem.  Then connect everything as normal and run the tests again for the same duration same time period.

Issues that are your ISP's responsibility will continue to occur if the problem is from your modem to the NOC (hence an ISP handled issue).

If however the problem goes away and only reappears when YOUR hardware is connected (without your gaming software running), then obviously the issue is your responsibility.

If you can't duplicate the problem in either case until your gaming software is running then you need to find a new gaming host.  Preferrably one who doesn't oversell its servers or bandwidth at your expense (and this happens way more than it should...if you think the offending hosts will admit this....no way...).

When you speak with your ISP about these issues it's best to communicate openly about your application and problems. Humor the tier one tech so you can quickly passed to tier three or above.  Although most tier one techs have been trained on how to monitor these types of problems, most do not have the  knowledge or hardware experience to get into depth with you.  Far more frustrating not only for the customer but also the tech, most tier one techs must answer to the call center metrics monster and cannot spend the time needed to assist you without having someone knocking on their cube asking them if they are okay.  Tier one techs sole purpose is to diagnose, resolve, roll tech or transfer all in under 5 minutes.  Demanding to speak with a Tier three tech from the start is useless because the minute the Tier one tries to transfer the call up the chain he/she will be asked if basic troubleshooting has been done and if not the call will be rejected (that is of course unless you were lucky enough to get a tech previously who properly noted your account....here's that human factor again).

With Adelphia/Timewarner/Comcast (soon to be all the same if the government stays out of the picture) times are a changing.  Verizon's aggressive entrance into the many markets has already focused many ISP's to pay closer attention to their customer needs.  Not to say that Verizon is better, frankly given the parent organization and past customer service performance and reputation it's doubtful that Verizon will pose much of a long term threat to most ISP's.  Yes they can do things cheaper (for the short haul or at least until their stock holders have a stroke) but their union workforce, telco mentality and previous customer service track record will hold them back......how quickly i wander...anyway....

The whole purpose of the example above was to say this.....ping issues are not normally something an ISP is going to give you credit on unless it is proven to be your ISP's fault.  Have your ISP use the steps above to get that proof or at least help you resolve the problem. 

Signal and hardware problems are another matter altogether though.  If your modem is constantly flapping (reinserting itself into the network...to you that will look like a reset) or you if your modem is offline for any reason for any length of time....GET THE CREDIT and don't let them be cheap about it.  Your time is valuable and your inability to get online may well cost you a bit of money as well......a safe formula is for every one day offline get two days credit.  An account that is costing them vss profitting them will also get the appropriate attention it deserves as well......sooner than later it will show up on auditors report who well finally ask why in the heck the problems have not been resolved and get someone on it.

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Guest thecableguy

I will tell ya something.. I have a thing for cingular people.. I always get the run around from those people on the phone and their stores are even worse.  At the end of the day when someone who doesnt understand IT/broadband stuff has their connection go down it can make them really ****** off...  I am sure that the in house techs take a lot of crap for the company.

But at the end of the day the company is selling you a service.  If it isnt working what is the point of having it?

haha double post..

hey thecableguy.. is there a customer SLA that we dont know about?  I know for most business connection, coming from a national providor on a non dedicated line, it is at like 99.8 per year...  which allows for about 32 hours or so of outages. Are they on a seperate node or something that the companies can offer that type of SLA to them and not to the normal consumer?

Don't even get me started on Cingular.....oh my.....I can't....I won't......oh what the heck......THEY SUCK! and anyone who has ever had the displeasure of being locked into one of their hostage arrangements (they call them contracts) knows exactly what I'm talkin about.

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Guest thecableguy

hey thecableguy.. is there a customer SLA that we don't know about?  I know for most business connection, coming from a national provider on a non dedicated line, it is at like 99.8 per year...  which allows for about 32 hours or so of outages. Are they on a separate node or something that the companies can offer that type of SLA to them and not to the normal consumer?

You had to go there didn't you  ;) 

I can only speak for where I work.....the exact numbers will require me to go back to the contracts....off the top of my head I can't quote you the numbers.  I can say this much though, our best corporate customers have their own dedicated support staff and they are ready to move on an issue within minutes and MTTR is stunningly low.  In print I would imagine there is great latitude but in reality and by visible policy they are given an extremely high level of service.  The actual method of delivery on content to a corporate customer is determined by their actual bandwidth needs and network architecture.  Most are FTTP so reliability issues are not normally a factor as far as the actual connection goes.

General business class customers utilize the same method of delivery as residential with a few minor exceptions, however outages and premises issues are handled with a considerable higher priority.  Again the printed terms for such I'm afraid are very liberal for  obvious reasons.  Visible policy (or what the subscriber actually experiences) whenever possible will reflect a high level of service.

General residential class customers in written policy...well let's just not go there.  I'm proud to say that most will never experience service at their printed SLA (and for a very good reason).  Obviously their SLA is written very loosely to allow for almost any situation that may arise and it varies from ISP to ISP (but generally most are about the same).

Regulation is changing this at the consumer level and as more and more people become dependent on their broadband connection for everything from entertainment to telecommuting it may come to pass that ISP's are forced to adhere to a much more stringent and consumer friendly SLA imposed by regulation vss the honor system.

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Sure, it's always the ISP's fault anyway. How can there be someone else quilty, if they're the ones providing the access? ;)

On a more serious note, I noticed some time ago that a server I used to visit often was quite laggy, and knew it was in a not so perfect datacenter. Still, when doing a tracert to it, I found that a router maintained by Chello was responsible for the degrading ping speeds at night. Normally it was 30 (from Holland to Germany), but as time went by it worsened to 120 at 9 PM or so. I wonder how such a situation can be improved.

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my guess is that they are doing remote backup...  that can slam a router and kill throughput.. The only way to fix that type of problem, if that is what it is, is to build a separate dedicated network that handles all of that type of traffic.  My guess is that also their QoS give priority to that type of traffic during those later hours. 

As far as the ping times.. I agree that most gamers would bring up that issue and about 99% of the time it is when the long haul carrier network come into play.. but for some reason they have always given me problems that if my ping is below 85ms to their site then there is nothing they can do about it.. even if the modem is going in and out.. I guess for them it is a "good" connection.. What ever.. just my wonderful experience..

As far as cingular goes.. I am on my 5th phone of this year... So far all of the "like new" phones they have shipped me have broken.  Now I am going to try a V557 replacing my second V551.. I am just waiting for the day that the FCC and FTC investigates those guys..

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Guest thecableguy

As far as the ping times.. I agree that most gamers would bring up that issue and about 99% of the time it is when the long haul carrier network come into play.. but for some reason they have always given me problems that if my ping is below 85ms to their site then there is nothing they can do about it.. even if the modem is going in and out.. I guess for them it is a "good" connection.. What ever.. just my wonderful experience..

Okay....do this...call your ISP, have them clear off your modem event data in their DOCSIS tool (this will clear your P-ADJ and FLAP data, say thanks and call them back in 5 days.  When you call them back you want to know how many P-ADJ and FLAPS have occured and you want to know what time and date the last FLAP occurred.

Ideally when you call them back both of those stats will still be zero.  P-ADJ counts that are close to FLAP counts indicate a signal issue that needs to be addressed by your ISP.  An average of 1 flap per day is tolerable (not desireable but tolerable).

Now on the other hand if FLAP count is high but your P-ADJ count is low it means you have a flakey modem and it needs to be replaced. 

Please use the above with respect to the tech.  They will probably ask you how much you know about these numbers or might even ask you why you want the info.  It's hardly top secret (like not at all) but isn't exactly a question that the average tech will field on any given day unless they are speaking with another employee, field tech etc....

Modems with P-ADJ and FLAPS in the 50,000's are not uncommon if you are really having problems and any tech who ignores those numbers, resets you and says you are fine should be coached.

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