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Legacy777

Looking for help in diagnosing slow upload speeds

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Hi everyone,

 

I am looking for some help or input on troubleshooting my slow upload speeds.  Some background on my issue; I am in the Houston, TX area, have Comcast, and I currently have the 25 mb/s download and 10 mb/s upload package.  I've had cable internet at this address since 2003 with Time Warner before Comcast bought them.  Overall I've been happy with the service despite a few issues here and there.  When Comcast blocked port 25 I was forced to move to their business service since I run a server do work out of my house.  Because of this I use upload speeds a lot more than your normal user.  When I moved to the business service the package level I had was 19 mb/s download and 3 mb/s upload.  I had been on that package for over 2-3 years and it was fine for my needs.

 

Beginning this past November (2015) around the middle of the month my upload speeds just hit the floor (400-500 kb/s).  When I called I was told there were a lot of outages in the area.  I continued having issues and had a tech come out in early December.  He checked everything, verified all the connections and lines, and told me that there was noise in the line which was affecting the upload speeds.  I also found out that Comcast added a fourth upload carrier signal around mid-November.  I was told by a couple of the techs that they knew there was noise in that frequency range.

 

I have had several techs come out, and that the maintenance department has been working on the lines to reduce the noise.  However, I still have intermittent times where my upload speeds are below 1 mb/s.  Even those times that it is above I find that the speed is very inconsistent.  Yesterday morning I had a very short period where speeds were good, browsing was "snappy" again and upload speeds to my off site server were good.  The techs have escalated my issue to their supervisor and I've been communicating with him and they are trying to resolve things.  Where I'm at now is that they've come out and run speed tests from Ookla or their own speed servers and speeds were fine.  So I need to try and explain those test aren't an accurate representation of my speeds.  

 

I currently have my own modem, a Surfboard SB6183.  The modem is new as I replaced an older surfboard to eliminate that as a possible cause.  My normal network runs through an older Linksys WRT54GL router running dd-wrt firmware.  However I have direct connected multiple computers to the modem to see if that affects speeds and it doesn't; I still get the same results.  If the techs tell me they've done everything they can do, then my next option is to try one of the Comcast modems as a last ditch effort.  If that doesn't work I'll have to find another ISP because I can't continue to deal with the intermittent slow uploads.  It's affecting my work, and I've spent a lot of time trying to troubleshoot and don't seem to be making any progress.  If there are any diagnostics or tools I can use to try and help pin point the issue to pass along to the Comcast techs I would be extremely grateful.

 

Here are my test results for the past 90 days.

 

https://testmy.net/stats/?&t=u&d=01302016&x=90&l=25&q=Legacy777

https://testmy.net/stats/?&t=u&d=01302016&x=90&l=25&q=Legacy777

 

 

 

I've also attached my modem status, event log, & configuration pages for review to see if there's anything in there that may be useful in troubleshooting my problem.

 

Any help would be extremely appreciated as I'm nearing my wits end.

 

Thanks

Josh

Modem Status.docx

Modem Event Log.docx

Modem Configuration.docx

Edited by mudmanc4
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I doubt a new modem is going to remedy anything.  It also sounds to me like you've taken the proper steps to establish an issue outside of your control.

 

Upload a video to youtube in front of them... it will back up TMN's results.  That and facebook are probably the most common things people upload to.  Right there you can show them that the test they're using isn't representing what you're really seeing in the real world.

 

If they'd stop dismissing the results here they might save on repeat service calls.  TMN was an aid to me when I was a cable tech for Cox Communications, I had the lowest return call rate in the system.  Over 98% of my calls were resolved on the first visit... not all of my calls were Internet related issues otherwise it would have been 100%. ;)   TMN was an important tool for me to establish the true quality of a customers connection.  At it's core it's the same now as it was then.  This was built by a tech for techs.  By contrast speedtest.net was founded by the former CEO of a large ISP.  Who do you think that test is designed to benefit?  It's no surprise that every ISP is on board... the test makes them look better than they really are!

 

I recently had upload issues with my consumer level Comcast service.  Upload dropped to a small fraction of what I'm used to.  After it returned to normal I ended up getting a $120 credit.  

 

Make sure after this is all done that you get your due credit too.

 

Can you scroll further down on that status page for me?

 

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Thanks for the reply!

 

Yeah I don't expect a different modem is going to change things at all, but have to go through the motions to prove it's not my equipment.  I had an older Surfboard modem that was working fine and was told that was a "no longer supported" modem.  I just hope they can find something.  I had one tech from outside of this area tell me that the node I'm on needs a hardware upgrade and they can't get the money to do the upgrade so they just keep putting band aids on.

 

That's a good idea about YouTube as that's a public site and something that would be difficult to argue against.  I have done tests to my offsite website and uploading data to it.  When things are good I get around 500 kb/s and when their bad upload speeds can be in the 20 - 40 kb/s.

 

I've been getting credits as I go for the service.  I haven't paid anything towards my bill since November.  I've got a $40 credit on the account right now, but need to call again before I get my next bill.

 

What is in the Word document is all that's on the status page.  I've attached a screen shot of the lower part of the status page and everything that's there.

 

One question I have is why is the channel numbers different on the upload, channel 1 has a channel ID of 4.  Any idea why Comcast has done this?

 

Thanks

Josh

 

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The channel ID and channel difference won't matter.  On my SB8141 the upstream channels show...

 

56b35eadec75e_ScreenShot2016-02-04at2.50

 

 

So you can see, although mine are a higher value... they're also out of order.

 

56b35eac83a7a_ScreenShot2016-02-04at2.52

 

 

Says I'm offline too which is obviously not the case.  I think I need to reboot the modem after the issue I was having, even though it's running fine right now.

 

XNyM4nzCD.png

 

According to the first screenshot you wouldn't think that result would be possible... I watched it data flow, it happened.  So take your modem's status pages with a grain of salt.

 

You need a good in house tech.  Request that.  At least at Cox Communications, if you request an in house tech they'll send one... if you don't then chances are you may get a contractor. In my experience, working for Cox, an overwhelming majority of my followed up calls (company had to come out more than once to fix the issue) were from contractors.  They want to get in and out.  At the end of the day in house techs care more.  They have more accountability and are often better trained.  Not to say there aren't great contractors, some of them are even better than in house.  Those usually start as in house techs and start their own businesses because it's more lucrative.  Too often good contractors hire on guys who don't get the proper training and understanding of the system.  They shouldn't be going out on service calls at all.  When I worked at Cox they would preferably send in house techs on all service calls but sometime there was just too much work.  Also to be noted, there are terrible in house techs too.  But if you request an in house tech... hopefully the dispatcher is smart enough to realize that she/he should probably send one of their better techs to make sure you're a happy customer at the end of the day.

 

You've been getting credited since November, in my mind that shows they've accepted blame on their end.  It's probably something outside of your control.

 

On February 3, 2016 at 8:20 PM, Legacy777 said:

I had one tech from outside of this area tell me that the node I'm on needs a hardware upgrade and they can't get the money to do the upgrade so they just keep putting band aids on.

 

Can't get the money!  They're Comcast!  If they can't deliver the level of service people are paying and they've known about the issue as long as they have in your case, they should contact their customers and adjust ALL the bills in the affected area.  They have an obligation and should have thought about those possible future issues before making promises, should also have an ample budget for those issues.  If you tell a customer, ESPECIALLY a business class customer, that they're getting X Mbps upload... they should at least get near that speed.

 

I hope you're back up to speed soon.  Happy to hear that at least you're not paying for it right now. :)

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5 hours ago, CA3LE said:

You need a good in house tech.  Request that.  At least at Cox Communications, if you request an in house tech they'll send one... if you don't then chances are you may get a contractor. In my experience, working for Cox, an overwhelming majority of my followed up calls (company had to come out more than once to fix the issue) were from contractors.  They want to get in and out.  At the end of the day in house techs care more.  They have more accountability and are often better trained.

 

I had my experience of a dreadful engineer visit for the fixed wireless ISP I've now cancelled, which were probably contractors.  When they arrived, I tried explaining just how slow and intermittent my connection has been for the past couple of months, but they told me upfront - "If we see Internet connectivity from the antenna, there will be a service charge for this unnecessary visit!".  They did not care that the connection was erratic, upload speeds dipping below 100kbps (for a "10Mb" package), etc.  It was only for the fact I saw they had trouble loading up speedtest.net (page kept timing out) that I managed to escape the call out charge, where they basically accepted the connection as being fixed by a software upgrade on the antenna.  After that, I wrote to cancel the service and recorded a 10 minute demo video of the connection acting up trying to do just basic web browsing and stuck it on YouTube.   

 

5 hours ago, CA3LE said:

Can't get the money!  They're Comcast! 

While visiting relatives in San Francisco, they asked if I could help them extend the Wi-Fi coverage through their long house.  I suggested getting a pair of HomePlug adapters, where the second unit acts as a Wi-Fi access point, but they were convinced they would not work.  So I asked why they think that.  They said that Comcast told them that due to the length of their house and the limited Wi-Fi coverage, they will need a second Comcast Internet subscription to provide Wi-Fi coverage at the other end of their house. :o 

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I believe I've been getting in-house techs coming to my house as I've gotten emails from them with a Comcast email address as well as their boss having a Comcast email address.

 

I'm going to go through the systematic troubleshooting as best I can with them.  I have contemplated seeing if a local news station would be interested in the story, but don't necessarily want to play that card unless I'm completely out of options.  The next step I've talked with the techs is to try one of their modems, which due to my schedule may not be until next week.

 

I'll update the post when I get some new info.

 

I've reattached the modem screenshot I previously attached.

Modem Status 2-2.jpg

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2 hours ago, Sean said:

[...]

While visiting relatives in San Francisco, they asked if I could help them extend the Wi-Fi coverage through their long house.  I suggested getting a pair of HomePlug adapters, where the second unit acts as a Wi-Fi access point, but they were convinced they would not work.  So I asked why they think that.  They said that Comcast told them that due to the length of their house and the limited Wi-Fi coverage, they will need a second Comcast Internet subscription to provide Wi-Fi coverage at the other end of their house. :o 

:whaa::lol:

Haha, sorry not funny, but geezus!

 

Rather than adding a basic switch,  dropping a line through the attic, or crawl even duct,  and doing what you wish at the other end, they wanted to add a secondary drop? Do it, of course there should be no fee lol

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Something else to mention, I've noticed my modem is warm to hot and has a bit of an electronics smell to it.  Could this modem be running hot or have some sort of issue with it?

 

The first tech that came said the signal levels were a bit high and he put a 4-way splitter outside to lower the levels.  He used the analogy with the power levels as if the signal was shouting at the modem and by lowering the levels it would be helpful/beneficial to the modem.  

 

I don't know if the power levels or the modem running hot have any coincidence, but thought I'd mention it.

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On 2/4/2016 at 0:56 PM, Legacy777 said:

Something else to mention, I've noticed my modem is warm to hot and has a bit of an electronics smell to it.  Could this modem be running hot or have some sort of issue with it?

 

The first tech that came said the signal levels were a bit high and he put a 4-way splitter outside to lower the levels.  He used the analogy with the power levels as if the signal was shouting at the modem and by lowering the levels it would be helpful/beneficial to the modem.  

 

I don't know if the power levels or the modem running hot have any coincidence, but thought I'd mention it.

 

There is definitely a sweet zone that you want the levels to be at.  See https://www.speedguide.net/faq/what-cable-modem-signal-levels-are-considered-good-78

 

As for your modem running hot and smelling... depends on how hot it is and much it smells.  It could very well be an issue if it's excessive.  My SB6141, using an infrared (no touch) thermometer, has a max of 91 degrees fahrenheit in one concentrated area... overall it's between ambient temp and 86 degrees.  I wouldn't call that hot at all.  But if the vents were obstructed it would get much hotter and eventually fail.  As for the electronics smell.  My modem doesn't have it at all but I've had other brand new electronics (including modems) with that smell even before applying power.  Isn't always bad.  There's a more specific fried circuitry smell that's pretty similar.  If possible check the actual temperature of the modem.  Also, make sure that you don't have anything on top of your modem or router and that they're free to the open air.  Do not put them inside a cabinet for instance.

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I just checked my modem with an IR thermometer and the max I got was 107 deg. F.  So it's a little bit warmer than your modem and my old modem.  I may do a little homework to see what others are experiencing for normal operating temperatures. 

 

On another note I did have the Comcast modem and it didn't change anything with the upload speeds.  They are going back to the node to do some tests.  I haven't heard back about the tests though.

 

Unrelated I had a different tech stop by yesterday to check for ingress noise.  The tech said I didn't really have any.  It really sounds like the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing at Comcast.

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On 2/21/2016 at 9:21 PM, Legacy777 said:

I just checked my modem with an IR thermometer and the max I got was 107 deg. F.  So it's a little bit warmer than your modem and my old modem.  I may do a little homework to see what others are experiencing for normal operating temperatures. 

 

107 doesn't sound too hot.  I had the SB6183 and remember it feeling hotter than the modem I have now... it was also heavier.  It's a 16 channel modem vs my 8 channel so there's more going on inside.  I found an example SB6183 review where they observed 102.4 degrees Fahrenheit.  So I would say that you're in the normal range for that modem.

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On 2/26/2016 at 1:32 PM, CA3LE said:

 

107 doesn't sound too hot.  I had the SB6183 and remember it feeling hotter than the modem I have now... it was also heavier.  It's a 16 channel modem vs my 8 channel so there's more going on inside.  I found an example SB6183 review where they observed 102.4 degrees Fahrenheit.  So I would say that you're in the normal range for that modem.

 

Thanks for the link to that review about it running hot.  So yeah it may be normal then.

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On another note, I have an update on my slow upload issues.  I got a text this past Thursday from the technician I've been working with to resolve my issues and he said that they decided to shut down the new signal due to the slew of maintenance issues it brought forth.  He said that the noise was on the fourth signal and in fact the fourth signal was causing a disruption to the other three.  I rebooted my modem and sure enough, they shut off the new signals and I now only have one upload signal, however upload speeds have been good and steady so far since they made the change.  I'm going to continue to monitor things for the next week or so, but hopefully they will not reintroduce the new signals without first addressing the problems it caused.

 

I attached a recent modem status with only the one upload signal.

 

Thanks for the help and website which helped diagnose my issue, I greatly appreciate it!

Josh

Modem Status 2-25 (Modem reset-factory defaults).docx

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Interestingly, I had another technician stop by today to do further checks of ingress noise.  He said that while they did shut down the new signal, they plan to start them back up once they find and address the noise.  So we'll see if they are able to address all the noise and get things working properly or if I'm going to have problems again.

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