Cable internet problem, any ideas?

Since Friday, our cable internet (Road Runner) has been extremely squirrelly. It will be up for five minutes, go down for a minute, up for ten, down for five, up for an hour, down for three minutes, etc. We don’t have to reset the modem to get the connection back.

I’ve called Road Runner and they won’t claim any knowledge of any problem in the vicinity, but they will never claim any knowledge of a problem in the vicinity. My sister lives in the same area and she commented that she encountered “slow downs” over the weekend, but she’s only an intermittent internet user and might not notice this sort of outage. (Worst for us is that our phone is Vonage, so it’s unusable right now.)

When it’s down, the modem shows the power light lit and the receive light blinking.

Does this sound like a problem on the Road Runner server end or a problem with my modem (or something else)? I just got off hold for 30 minutes where they wanted me to dismantle our home networking, so any insight would be great.

It sounds like you have problems in the connection between the pole and your house. This can happen if the cables and/or connectors get old, or were defective or substandard when installed. This is often made worse when there is a lot of wind, or when the temperature changes a lot during the day. Do you notice the problem primarily in the morning and evening?

My brother’s having similar problems, but he’s on the Cleveland network - I think you’re probably on a different branch? Oddly enough, I am on the Cleveland network too and everything is fine for me.

I have problems with TWC when the weather gets wonky (hard rain, wind, cold) and I agree 100% with unclelem that it’s probably an outdoor connection problem.

I had my brother call TWC and tell them that he wants them to come out and check his connections and they said “no” because it was not “persistent” :frowning: They came out to my place last year and fixed it all up. I think maybe it’s easiest to get them to come out if you are on the phone with them while it’s out, so they can “see” that there’s a problem.

BTW if you do not have your own modem, then the possible modem trouble is their problem too, not yours. If you’re not sure if you have your own modem or not, check your bill to see if you get a $3 modem discount. If not, you lease from them.

I’m not home during the day, so I’m afraid mornings and evenings are when I would notice a problem (not that it would be the only time there was one). My husband has been Wii-addicted the past few days, so he hasn’t noticed as much.

I did check the connectors in the basement and they’re tight. And I checked the connector to the tv/internet splitter and one side was a little loose. I did that again right before posting, so I don’t know if that has helped anything yet.

I’m assuming I’d be on a completely different part. We’re considered “Columbus area” rather than Cleveland.

This is making Christmas shopping a real chore, since the connection dies right as I’m trying to buy, every time! :smiley:

Oh, that’s not a problem with TWC then - that is “The War on Christmas” :smiley:

I feel for you. I had this exact problem with Time Warner Cable a few months ago. Seems they need some buildup of complaints within an area in order to get someone to look at the outside cables in that area. At least part of the reason for that is that they can’t just check every wire everywhere when one person complains (if the problem isn’t persistently reproducible). They need some sense of the pattern of outages so they can narrow down where the problem might be. If you have neighbors who use their service, encourage them to immediately report any problem they have, each time they have it…it’s a hassle to call in, but it only hurts the cause not to.

I had a very similar problem recently. I could reset the modem and it would work fine for a few minutes, then go down again, and so on.

Got the modem replaced; no dice.

Had a cable guy come out who unplugged everything, plugged it back in, and declared everything fine. It wasn’t.

Finally, a smarter cable guy came out and was able to check the levels of my inbound and outbound signals. I’m no techie, but from what I understood, he discovered that I was receiving the signal just fine, but somehow I was transmitting at much too strong an output, which triggered some sort of safety cutoff. The guy rummaged around my attic for a while and found a faulty connector and replaced it.

Been working perfectly ever since.

I recently had similar problems with Road Runner. In my case it was the road runner DNS servers were acting flaky. I fixed the problem by not using the road runner DNS server. I have a list of public DNS servers at home and will post the link later tonight. You can easily determine if your problem is a DNS problem or general connectivity problem by trying to get to google in two ways.

If the following works

doesn’t it is probably a DNS issue.

Thanks, everyone. You’ve given me some things to try and (I hope) the fortitude to call Time Warner back if nothing else works. sob

Type this into your address bar of your browser and hit enter: This will connect you to the modem to get some info.

When it asks for a login, try these logins:
username password
root root
user user
admin admin
(if these don’t work, reply with the type of modem, maybe we can find it)

After you’re logged in, try to find the upstream power level, downstream power level, and downstream signal to noise ratio (or downstream SNR)

Downstream SNR needs to be 30 or higher
Downstream Power between -8 and 8
Upstream power should be less than 55dB

If any of those values are out of whack, call the cable company and tell them. It will confirm there’s a problem and help the tech know what to look for when they get there. For some reason, they can’t write a repair order when it’s actually working.

This may be the DNS list gazpacho is talking about, and there’s a program there to automatically use the best servers but it’s for windows so I can;t vouch for it.

It didn’t ask for a login. Here’s a cut and paste from the signal tab:

Downstream Value
Frequency 651000000 Hz Locked
Signal to Noise Ratio 33 dB
Power Level -13 dBmV
The Downstream Power Level reading is a snapshot taken at the time this page was requested. Please Reload/Refresh this Page for a new reading

Upstream Value
Channel ID 1
Frequency 32096000 Hz Ranged
Power Level 47 dBmV

jsgoddess, check your private messages.

OK, I looked at your modem: your signal levels are good, although the SNR (signal to noise ratio) is a touch low, as is your downstream. Not so low that I’d suspect them of being the issue, however. The modem only has 8 flaps, so it isn’t losing connection to the network at all. The ranging hit/misses ratio is good. Only 2 power adjustments, so there’s no power supply issue.

So the modem looks good at the moment from what I can see. That doesn’t preclude a problem outside the house with a signal attenuator or some other physical plant issue.

You said that when it goes out you have the power light and a flashing receive light, correct? That usually indicates some kind of a signal issue, but if so it must be intermittent because I’m not seeing anything now.

I’d want you to bypass your Linksys for a while and take one computer directly to the modem to see if by some chance the Linksys is causing the issue. When you do this, use a different ethernet cable to connect the modem and computer (IE: not the same one as is between the modem and router now); a short in an ethernet cable can cause really squirrely stuff to happen as well. Assuming that the issue persists without the Linksys in the loop, I’d call and see if they can send you a technician to check out the signal coming into the house.

Thanks, Astroboy. Will do.

What’s strange is I got home at 6:30 and it hasn’t acted up since. I think I scared the little bastard by posting on the Dope! :smiley:

Maybe it knows that I’m watching it! :eek: I’ve been re-running it every couple minutes to see if I can see the signals suddenly go loopy or something, but so far nothing.

Try it again when it starts acting up, and refresh a couple of times to see if any of the values change.

My modem screwed up recently. The downstream SNR would be 33 when the weather was warm and the connection would work fine, but when it got cold I would refresh it to see 22-31-28-24-30-23 etc and I could barely stay on long enough for a page to load. I figured the weather was affecting a connection outside, but a new modem fixed the problem. The tech and I theorized the weather was affecting it slightly, and the old modem just couldn’t filter out the noise anymore while the new one could.

I had a very similar problem this summer and it took 3 service calls to get it fixed. First, he replaced the connector directly into my house. It was pretty old, and the signal increased a bit after replacing it. But - it didn’t solve the problem and he was back in 2 weeks. This time he replaced some connector on my outside wall that grounded the signal. This also helped the signal, but it wasn’t enough and he was back a 3rd time. He climbed up on the roof and replaced another old connector. This time it was juuuuust right and it’s worked ever since.

I understand that in theory, if you don’t try a bit of moderation you could wind up rewiring everything from the pole to the TV/modem on every problem house… but wouldn’t it have made sense for the guy to have just checked all the connectors the first time? How much could a cable connector cost? $0.50? How much do three 30 minute service calls cost? He was a friendly guy but my god he was frustrating.

This is the list of DNS servers I found on the internet. I just chose a couple of addresses at random from the list to use.

This feels like when you take your car to the mechanic because it’s doing that thing but then it doesn’t do that thing while the mechanic is driving it.

The problem hasn’t come back since I first posted (at least that I’ve noticed). If it does, I’ll follow the various advice in the thread to track it down.

I’m just superstitious enough that I think if I declare the problem solved it’ll start back up again!