Is my modem dying?
December 4, 2011 2:14 PM   Subscribe

Is my modem dying or is my ISP to blame for my connectivity woes?

Months ago I had problems with my internet connection randomly dropping. It wasn't the router and happened to my Ipad, phone and PC simultaneously, so it's not the devices in question. A reset of the modem temporarily fixes the problem every single time, only to have it reoccur 30 minutes later. I went months with no issues, then suddenly this weekend I can't seem to stay online for more than an hour consecutively. The ISP has come out and inspected the lines to the apartment and checked my signal, which is fine immediately after a modem reset. They seem to think that because I didn't buy their branded modem, it's all my fault. This modem was fine before, with zero problems in another house, so is it possible it's just dying a slow death or being flaky? It's been doing nothing but sitting there doing its thing this whole time, and has suffered no abuse. I am ready to switch ISPs over this, but I want to be sure that it really is not my modem. Two techs and over five phone calls have been unable to resolve this. Short of buying a new modem to prove a point, is there anything I can do or ask to be tested?
posted by slow graffiti to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Modems do go bad. Could you ask them to loan you a modem for a period of time to see if that fixes the problem? I also suspect you could buy a modem, if it doesn't fix the problem, return the modem you just purchased and let the isp know what happened.
posted by tomswift at 2:20 PM on December 4, 2011

Three years ago I moved into a new place, bringing my Comcast modem and service with me. The installer says "Hey your modem is kinda old, want a new one?" and I replied "Sure, why not?". From that moment on I had intermittent service issues, but because I was downloading heavily I thought they were just throttling me.

Fast forward two and a half years. Service goes out completely three times in a week, Comcast sends out a tech and they declare the lines fine. I disconnected the modem, drove to the local office and said "Hey this modem gets really hot and it's old and I'd like a new one" and the nice office attendent says "Sure, here's a brand new DOCSIS 3.0 modem. Have a nice day!" Took it home, installed it, and then everything was peachy keen.

The moral of the story is, yes it's probably the modem, and renting your equipment has definite advantages even if it costs a bit more.
posted by zrail at 2:23 PM on December 4, 2011

I answered this question many moons ago and the answer still stands. As the other posters state, it's the modem.
posted by TheRaven at 2:31 PM on December 4, 2011

My (rented) cable modem suffered a similar slow death -- randomly dropping connection, poor bandwidth, better for a while after power-cycling it. Immediately and obviously better after replacing it.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:58 PM on December 4, 2011

Okay, sounds like replacement it is. I didn't trust the ISP to tell me that since they are pushing their modem rentals which are a rip off compared to owning your own.
posted by slow graffiti at 4:17 PM on December 4, 2011

I just got one from Costco for $80 and it is superfast.

Motorola DOCSIS 3.0
posted by snsranch at 5:28 PM on December 4, 2011

You don't say if it's DSL. I recently, after talking to five different techs over a weeks time, was finally switched over to somethingrouter at the TelCo. Whatever router at their side was overloaded and I'd lose connection during busy times intermittently. Now that they switched me, it works fine.
posted by thylacine at 6:49 PM on December 4, 2011

Whenever I've had problems like this, doing a firmware upgrade on the modem has helped. It's gotten to the point where the *very* first thing i do when a new modem comes out of the box is upgrade the firmware.
posted by colin_l at 3:02 PM on December 5, 2011

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