Cable modem madness

Jan 28, 2005 14:37 · 370 words · 2 minute read

Ever since Comcast upgraded us to 3 Mbps, our cable modem has frozen up from time to time (usually during large transfers). I had always assumed that it was because our modem is ancient. We got the Comcast service as soon as they (or rather, Media One as it was at the time) offered two-way service. That was probably about 5 years ago.

The past few days, our service has gotten spotty. I had read about Comcast moving to 4 Mbps, so it might be related to that. Today, a cheerful Comcast service guy came out and replaced out modem with a sleek, new Motorola model. That’s the nice thing about paying the $5/month for the modem. It’s their responsibility!

Sadly, after the upgrade, our old Linksys BEFSR41 router refused to get an address via DHCP. My Mac could do it just fine, so I knew the cable modem was OK. I gave a firmware upgrade a go, but that didn’t do the trick either.

This was one of those points where I could have chosen to try one thing after another to make a really old, inexpensive router work properly. I value my time more than that, so I ran out to Best Buy and got a Linksys WRT54G, conveniently $50 after rebate. That’s the spiffy Linux-based model. So, we get an 802.11g upgrade in the process.

Setup for that was easy enough, but it’s pretty obnoxious that Linksys doesn’t include any instructions for setting the router up on a non-Windows machine. I went through the setup on our Windows box and then discovered that I probably could have just plugged the box in and pointed a browser at Oh well.

Anyhow, that’s done and working now. Sadly, my net connectiion still seems to be moving slowly. It looks like there’s some nasty packet loss somewhere within Comcast’s network, so I guess I’ll be back on the phone with them.

Other than this little episode, though, I have to give Comcast a big thumbs up. Over the years, our service has been very reliable and very fast. Assuming they get this problem fixed soon, I’d still be quite happy to recommend them (at least here in Ann Arbor).