WTF, Comcast?
January 3, 2006 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Does Comcast hate World of Warcraft?

Frequently (like maybe three quarters of the time) when I sign on to World of Warcraft, my Internet connection suddenly dies and I'm disconnected from World of Warcraft and AOL Instant Messager. Internet's back within a minute but it's a real pain because of login times and "That character is already logged in" errors that happen if you try and login just after getting disconnected.

Anyone else have this problem? More important, anyone know what the hell is going on?
posted by dagnyscott to Technology (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've never played it, but my brother has comcast and plays WOW um.. well.. way too much. He's never reported such a problem to me.
posted by twiggy at 3:07 PM on January 3, 2006

I have comcast in Seattle, and play WoW near constantly, without the issues you describe. Not saying I never get disconnected, just not frequently, and generally during times when the forums are full of people all over the world, complaining of similar issues, so I assume it's not a comcast-specific issue.
posted by nomisxid at 3:16 PM on January 3, 2006

My guess? You have an onboard NIC or use a USB modem and when WoW loads it's consuming so much CPU that your machine drops the connection(s).

Determining if this is the actual problem is a bit more tricky, you can sniff the packets if you're savvy enough with Ethereal, release 1.9 (in Windows) supports CPU priority via the Task Manager, so that might be worth a look as well.
posted by iamabot at 3:24 PM on January 3, 2006

iamabot -- I do use an onboard NIC, but I never had this problem even once when I was on DSL for a year.
posted by dagnyscott at 3:28 PM on January 3, 2006

What's also likely is you have something else saturating bandwidth, not something pegging your CPU. Make sure no one else is using p2p apps, or limit the upstream being used. When your upstream is maxed out, your connection will choke like an eighth grader at a piano recital.
posted by cellphone at 3:28 PM on January 3, 2006

dagny -- interesting is it at the map load or just the account sign in, authorization, realm selection, toon selection screen ?

If it's not at the map load my guess is off, the map load is the significant part where you're injected in to the realm server and start the texture loads.

Account sign in by that same token doesn't consume all too much bandwidth or CPU, however WoW does run a process in the background looking for bots and ..erm, non sanctioned software.

There should be something describing this in the forums if it's widespread, but I understand that they are notoriously bad for achieving any real support.

There are a couple of ways to determine if it's a machine problem or application. Bittorrent can saturate your internet connection handily, and converting a video from one format to the other will peg the CPU.

Probably an overly complex approach but at least you'd be able to isolate it to the application..
posted by iamabot at 3:39 PM on January 3, 2006

On the other hand, I've never had a problem with XP dropping an onboard NIC's internet connection because of the CPU being maxed out. I'm willing to even say this is a rare occurence. Check things that could saturate your bandwidth. It's almost definitely your problem.
posted by cellphone at 3:42 PM on January 3, 2006

I was having the same problem with timeouts and disconnects about four months ago. Only for WoW, and that was after playing with no issues since retail release. Comcast support insisted it was a modem issue, so I just took my modem in to the local office and got it exchanged for free.

Sadly, it has started happening again this past week, even with the new modem. I have been checking the signal levels (via the diagnostics at, and the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) is way low at about 26.3 dB (should be 30-33 or so). So, I think it's a Comcast problem for me at least, and they have agreed that it looks suspicious and to send out a technician to check it out.

If you have eliminated other possible culprits (malware stealing bandwith, switching to wired if you are on a wireless connection, etc.) you should check to see if is a modem and/or signal issue for you. Note, though, that I think a lot of people have had connection issues over the last few weeks, which may be related to the overpopulation of realms.
posted by gemmy at 6:19 PM on January 3, 2006

I used to use a Belkin router that, whenever I VNCd in from elsewhere, crashed within a minute. Could be worth trying your PC connected straight to the modem, and see if that fixes it.
posted by Leon at 2:17 AM on January 4, 2006

I had a similar problem with a LinkSys router. It had to do with WoW using ports in a range that, for some reason, the Firmware BIOS didn't like. I upgrade the Firmware on the router, and it fixed the problem.

I'd take Leon's suggestion, and try directly connecting to the internet, and see if that does the trick. If it does, either replace your router or make sure you're completely upgraded.
posted by thanotopsis at 7:46 AM on January 4, 2006

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