Fixed.

I held off on this post because I wanted to make sure my internet was working correctly. It’s a been almost a week, so I’m going with “yes” at this point.

After about six weeks, seven tech visits and dozens of phone calls and contacts via @comcastcares, I left work early one day last week to meet yet another ACI (Comcast’s contractor in southeastern Michigan) technician at my house. This time, though, he wasn’t there to replace the coax from the pole to my living room for what would have been the fifth time. Instead, he told me there was a Comcast tech – in an Xfinity truck, no less – down the street, working on a pole. The ACI tech had asked him what he was doing and the Comcast guy replied that he was there on a trouble ticket for my house… along with some others.

Turns out squirrels had gotten into things, as they are prone to do, and chewed up quite a bit of coax and other yummy things. This, of course, is what I suspected weeks ago. To have been proven right, and that the problem was never actually in my house at all, was somewhat satisfying, though I’d have preferred that Comcast fix it right away.

After the Comcast tech finished up, all three upstream channels are now well within acceptable power levels, and the speed test looks like this:

2016-07-27 18.09.00
That’s better.

I will say again that every tech that came out to my house was pleasant and professional. The ACI guys, to a man, knew the problem wasn’t between my house and the pole, and griped to their dispatchers when told to replace the coax again. But they never were unpleasant with me or my wife. The whole thing took too long to fix – far too long – but eventually, it’s fixed. Comcast has given me a satisfactory service credit for our troubles. I’m satisfied.

But if Comcast is serious about improving their customer service, as they say on the ads running on television right now, they need to look into how a simple problem like this one caused all that wasted time and effort and frustration. If I wasn’t sure their internet product was superior, I’d have tried AT&T or even satellite. I knew plenty of friends who have. Of course, when you’re basically a monopoly, maybe there’s not much incentive to really improve.

Hi, Comcast. Please fix this.

UPDATE 2: 6:25 p.m.

Comcast called around 2:00 p.m. Not sure of the time, I was out riding on my bike. When I got back, there was a voicemail. I called and talked to Robert in the Central Division. Robert was very pleasant and professional. He had me disconnect the modem and reconnect the line directly, avoiding the splitter. When the modem rebooted, it immediately reset itself again. Robert could tell, however, that there was a definite signal issue. He set up an appointment for this Friday at noon. So I’ll just have to deal with it going up and down for the next five days. Fortunately, I can use my phone as a hotspot, which works for what I need the computer to do, but my wife and daughter, who watch video a lot, aren’t going to be very happy, I’m afraid.

To be consistent, here are the upstream readings and a successful speed test, done after reconnecting the splitter:

Screenshot 2016-06-19 18.21.47
Pretty much the same problem. Two channels at 54.00 dBmV. Not good.
Screenshot 2016-06-19 18.22.42
A lucky speedtest. 125 Mbps down, 23.7 up. Let’s see how long that lasts.

UPDATE: 1:35 p.m.

Thought I’d check on another potential problem area: the splitter. It was installed along with the new line a month ago, but who knows? Maybe it’s defective. So I eliminated it and connected the line coming directly into the living room into the back of the modem. Only a slight change from the upstream power levels:

Screenshot 2016-06-19 13.06.48

Then tried the speedtest. It started well, then basically gave up on the download part of the test at about 75%:

Screenshot 2016-06-19 13.36.56


ORIGINAL POST (12:45 p.m.)

I’m going to assume this is a problem. In fact, I know it is. I was on chat with a Comcast tech last night. I gave him the tech information which was similar to that shown below, but we went through the “unplug the modem/router” and “hard reset the modem/router” procedures, anyway. Restarting the modem (its the Arris TG1682G provided by Comcast for its Xfinity X1 service) generally helps for a few minutes. Then it often goes into a cycle of resets before settling down and then working reasonably correctly and then not working at all.

The issue is pretty obviously (to me, anyway) outside of the house. Something’s making it necessary for the modem to blast away at top power levels upstream (the 54.00 dBmV shown in the screenshot below), and I’m guessing that’s at the pole or beyond. A tech came out about a month ago and rewired the outside from the pole to the house and then into the house, so that’s all new. There’s one line coming from the pole, it goes into the living room directly, splits once to go to the modem and cable box. Shouldn’t need top power to send upstream, IMHO.

You can see by the Speedtest screenshot that the upstream really isn’t working at all. That was the third attempt to do a test; the first two failed on the upstream test completely. (As an aside, the download speed, while pretty cool compared to just a few years ago, isn’t what I’m supposed to be getting, either.)

Comcast was supposed to call this morning between 9:00 a.m. and noon. No call yet, it’s 12:45 p.m. Thought I’d post this here so everything’s in one place in case another Comcast tech eventually gets in touch with me.

Screenshot 2016-06-19 12.36.03
54.00 dBmV is full power on most cable modems, including this one. Shouldn’t be doing that unless something’s wrong on the line.
Screenshot 2016-06-19 12.07.03
0.28 Mbps is not good.