Anyone have Internet speed issues with Time Warner Cable Wideband?
October 15, 2010 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Anyone in Brooklyn having Time Warner Cable Wideband (DOCSIS 3) issues?

Forgive my language, but I'm going batshit insane here.

I signed up for Time Warner Cable Wideband Internet service last month. Generally, I was pleased with the service but not getting anywhere near the 50/5Mbps promised. After sending out technicians and a few phone calls (all of which lasted over an hour thanks to hold times), it was determined that my modem was not "bonding with all four channels" and causing me to get the slower speed.

Fine, they'd fix it on their end, change out my modem, etc. At least the problem was identifiable.

Earlier this week, my modem started to bond with all four available channels instead of just one, so I was pleased to see speeds of anywhere between 48-52Mbps down. However, that's only when it works.

Ever since the channel bonding started to work, my Internet basically stopped working. Whether I'm connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi or an ethernet cable, it's the same thing. It will work for a few minutes, then grind to a slow halt and ultimately stop working.

I've found that switching between Wi-Fi and ethernet helps temporarily alleviate the problem, but that isn't helping me when I work from home.

Time Warner Cable conducted a 72-hour monitor of my service to see if there was something going on. I received a call today where I was told, "Don't know what to tell ya; everything looks fine on our end."

Thinking it could have been my computer, albeit somewhat coincidental with the channel bonding problem, I decided to go to Starbucks and test my connection there. It worked perfectly fine. I also tethered my laptop to my iPhone and that worked flawlessly, too.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Thank you!
posted by consilience to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Response by poster: I should also add that TWC has tried resetting my modem, I've power-cycled the thing and I've also hard-reset the modem a few times as advised. That didn't help.
posted by consilience at 3:59 PM on October 15, 2010

I got Time Warner Wideband like...a year ago? Right when they rolled it out to North Brooklyn. For us, it took quite a bit of tweaking to get it to actually work right, from the TW techs. The other thing is the techs vary a lot in how much they give a shit, etc.

I think there are two good possibilities here:

It seems that the Wideband service is substantially more demanding on the cable infrastructure than anything else. Basically, there are n channels which are such-and-such wide bands spaces at whatever point in the spectrum. The cable guys just call these "frequencies", like "your modem is only locking on three frequencies". It has to lock on some number to get good wideband service, but the problem is that the modem can only tolerate a certain signal level for each frequency: too high OR too low and it doesn't work. The little attenuators they have though are not able to be frequency-customized (I'm sure they have some slope, but there's no knob to adjust center frequency, for instance). So they might look at your setup and be like "Oh, this one's too hot", so they put a splitter on there with a -6db tap and that knocks out some other frequency that was already marginal.

Note: this won't make your service totally NOT work, it will make it work slower. Unless you fail to get lock on the minimum number.

So weather, corrosion, connectors, attenuators/splitters, even run length (due to capacitance-induced high frequency rolloff I'm guessing but I don't know) affect the levels your modem sees at each frequency, and its basically trial-and-error to get it to work well. A tech can come out one day and get it to work, but the levels can be marginal, or rust can finally cross some threshold on the outside box, and it will break. If you move the box in your house, it can break.

The second thing I can think of is what are you using as a router? When we got Wideband, they were giving out this pretty high-end modem that also had like a wireless N router and stuff in it. We didn't want to use it for a variety of reasons, but we also found that it causes us a lot of problems in the day or two we had it. There's no way for the end user to turn off the LAN router, but if you call time warner, they can log in to your modem remotely and put the modem in "bridge" mode (that's what you have to ask for, "bridge mode") which makes it work like a WAN router and the uplink port you can connect to any router and have it work normally. Note: with our modem, the router immediately locked to the MAC address of the first device we plugged in (my work laptop) and saved it to NV memory, so we couldn't get anything else to work with it and ended up having to clone the laptops MAC address into our router. Just a warning if you try this.

A lot of home-grade lan devices really have a hard time with this bandwidth. We had an older WRT-54G and it would get slow and eventually crash (running 3rd party firmware) if there were a large number of connections. We bought a Netgear WNDR 3700 and it worked great.

Another weird thing about having a 50mbit downstream connection is like...your disk bandwidth will be the limiting factor sometimes. Wireless easily will be, especially in brooklyn where there are almost definitely eight zillion 802.11[x] networks in earshot and so your N router will have to run in backwards compatibility mode, which kills throughput (if there's a/b wireless bases in earshot).

So, yeah, my advice is basically:
1) Keep getting the techs out there and get them to build you good cables, connectors, etc.
2) Don't use the LAN side of the Time Warner provided router, call up and get it changed to bridge mode and use something like a Netgear WNDR 3700. Consider running a wired network.

Its frustrating, but TW Wideband is awesome when you get it all set up. Its one of those things where its so much faster that the internet becomes qualitatively different.
posted by jeb at 4:58 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I had this problem too... and for me, it turned out that, my homegrown *nix firewall that I was using simply wasn't able to keep up, and it's cpu was at 100% from nic interrupts. I don't know if it was the 100mbit network card to blame, or the somewhat older hardware (1.8 ghz processor) I was using for it, but, I ended up swapping that out for faster hardware and then it was fine for me.
posted by yeoz at 3:15 PM on October 30, 2010

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