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replacing damaged cable segment didn't solve connectivity issues. what's next?

dcondcon Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
in Connectivity Aug 31, 2020

Hi all, Several days ago I had posted about connectivity issues I was having...I had found a nicked section of my cable outside my house and @Julia_R was kind enough to set me up with a tech who came out in the pouring rain and replaced the damaged segment with a length of new cable. The replacement segment runs about 8 feet, from where the cable emerges from under my lawn to the box where the connection is made to my house. The tech also came inside and replaced a bunch of old terminations in an effort to reduce noise. I have one splitter between the modem/router (TC8717T) and the line coming in. I presume the tech checked the splitter while he was working on the lines and terminations. Anyway, it seems not to have solved my issues...I seem to go about a day and a half just fine and then with no warning the phone and wifi disappear for a few minutes as the modem resets. I have already replaced the modem, and have had a tech (via phone) check/update firmware remotely. OK so here is what my signals currently look like minutes after a reset. They look very similar to what they looked like minutes before the reset (I know because I had been checking), although the downstream channel powers are in the 8's now but earlier had been mid to high 7's. Oh, and at some point several hours ago I had an MDD timeout...but that was the only item in the log for the day.

So what is a logical next step for me? I appreciate any advice. Thanks!

Best Answer

Replies

  • dcondcon Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Aug 31, 2020

    ps, an hour or so since the last drop/reset:


  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 794 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 31 Aug 31, 2020

    @dcon

    Are you seeing a lot of T4 errors in the log? Could be a sign of intermittent physical issues outside or upstream that is interrupting the maintenance and ranging requests. Such things would likely call for a maintenance truck roll if they cannot find anything off on your premises.


    Looks like your upstream is slowly creeping up... you were a good 1 to 1.5 lower or better across the board the other day. I would keep an eye on those values to see how close they get to the 51/52 range... this will cause a reboot as well. Basically that indicates a line quality issue on the return path and the modem keeps boosting power trying to compensate... eventually it reaches it's limit and reboots.

    Could be tied to bad splitters/amps, aggressive padding trying to balance signal levels, open ports/cables on splitters/wall plates, loose/corroded connections, or compromised/stressed cables (one often overlooked issue on these last two is moisture... bad news for radio waves). Yeah... it is a long list, and sometimes they just miss something on the first visit. Sometimes the problem isn't even on your property... but they have to rule things out before it can be escalated.


    If you start spotting either of the upstream channels crossing 49/50 or any downstream channel suddenly takes a big dip or SNR dropping to 37 or lower, try to capture it so the techs can see those values. Grab a snapshot of the log as well, as it may have notices about the T3/T4 activity and such to further demonstrate the problem.

    Something may help expedite the process, but may be a bit tedious. If it is practical to move the modem closer to where the line enters your home... or at least to bypass any other devices between that and your modem (splitters, barrel couplers/filters, drop amps, etc.) to get a comparison snapshot it may help to rule out issues with your in-house wiring (or possibly confirm a bad device/cable along the path).

  • dcondcon Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Aug 31, 2020

    thanks @RAIST5150 . No t3 or t4 errors since they fixed the cable, had a few before that. Just had the one MDD timeout earlier that did not result in knocking things offline. However, the upstream power level on one of the channels had got up around 50-51 just before tonight's reset. If/when I see that again I will grab it.

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 794 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 31 Aug 31, 2020

    @dcon

    Good eye. Seen my Netgear make it to right at 51.5 before it would bounce. It was trying it's best though!

    Last time it happened to me it was a guy trying to leech cable for March Madness... put a bad splitter outside on MY line. Run into some of the [email protected] things in some neighborhoods. That got a little ugly, to say the least....

  • dcondcon Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Aug 31, 2020

    @RAIST5150 wow! hoping that is not an issue in my neighborhood; it is odd to me that this is happening now--been here for 20 years and have had wifi for like 15 of them without much problem. I noticed this morning that my DOWNstream channel powers are creeping up. At what point do these become an issue?


  • dcondcon Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Sep 01, 2020

    @RAIST5150

    So, a little obsessively, I have been peeking at my power levels multiple times a day (working from home these days so I have motive and opportunity!!). Today after a day and a half of solid performance (no timeouts or error notes in log) the modem did reset. I had noted my upstream values especially on one channel were creeping into the 48-49 range. After the reset I see downstream levels still reasonable (6-7) but upstream again starting around 46-ish and one channel creeping into 48's. So here is the question--assuming my problem is indeed a leaky system somewhere, does the observation that it is the upstream value that is close to my upper spec limit suggest any particular place in my system to look? Like is it more likely to be outside my house than inside if the issue is "upstream" power? Just lazy (and only know enough of this IT comm stuff to be dangerous), trying to narrow down the places I should look as I troubleshoot. I do only have one splitter upstream of my modem to split the line between modem and TV's. Thanks!

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 794 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2 Sep 01, 2020

    @dcon

    That is a bit disconcerting to see that still happening. It may not even be something on your premises... but that CPE level in your home is going to have to get flushed out, unless they have already spotted signs of trouble out at the street or something.

    Upstream noise sources can get tricky. Sometimes they ultimately need to look for weird things specific to components at various points of the path from headend to your tap.

    Shielding/connectors are the "easier" targets, as they don't really call for specific tools. Other than the obvious signs of stress or otherwise compromised shielding, loose/corroded/bad connectors can play a big role. It is a large reason why they are so quick to replace ends.

    Thinking back on your story though... I am a bit worried that things MAY have gotten a bit compromised when that new run was installed outside. Namely, how it was done in "the pouring rain".

    Moisture and heat can easily get overlooked (among other bad things, moisture can also generate little "micro" hot spots in certain conditions!) Doesn't have to be running through standing water to pose a problem. ANY moisture inside the connectors/cables can cause issues. Not just for the center conductor in there either. It may wick into the braiding... even from the outside if the ends are not sealed up properly. You rarely if ever see outdoor connections actually sealed with rubber tape these days... even o-rings may still fail.

    And then their is heat.... prolonged direct exposure to the sun, running close to devices that generate heat... heat can cause weird variances in resistance, which is not good for how the signal runs through the coax.

    And let us not overlook things that can generate radio, electrical, or magnetic interferences (electrical motors, flourescents, unshielded electronics, etc. can induce noise and such if the cable runs too close and shielding/grounding is compromised). A poor ground plane without a noise source nearby can even cause a weird sort of hum. A failing/overheating power supply or other forms of troubled power regulation for a device anywhere along the line can do the same thing for that matter. May have experienced this with audio equipment when a plug isn't seated quite right or an amplifier has a bad ground loop--may be very subtle and only really heard and annoying at low or no volume, but such a thing can wreak havoc on a data line.

    If you can work out a way to isolate segmemts of your run you might be able to identify a potential culprit in the house... if nothing found, then it has to be kicked back to Spectrum to sweep things from their end.

    When we also had TV, I would start out in the utility room where their cable comes in. If the problem persisted there, no point testing the rest of the run inside my house... as it pretty much demonstrated the issue was on their side. If it cleared out there though, then I worked my way back pulling in a cable segment, splitter, etc. One at a time to see where it went off the rails.

    Eventually, I wound up just running a dedicated line from the utility room to my room for the modem. That really simplified things... one continuous line of RG6, the splitter/ground block, and their feed... rest of the cables to the tv's remained as they were, I just didn't have the extra split in my room for the modem anymore.

    Now that I am just internet, it is their feed to a ground block, then my single cable run to the modem. Now I have reversed the flow of signal to the TV's. I put a big antenna in the attic with an amp, and feed that to the TV's from the top down on the existing lines. :)

    If it is practical, you might want to consider a similar approach for your modem if it wasn't already done... a dedicated line from where signal comes in that goes straight to the modem. Breaking it out right there so close to source can make a big difference sometimes. Could put a barrel coupler where your current splitter is now making your existing in-house run a dedicated line to the other device(s), and then move the splitter out to where you start a new dedicated run for the modem.... hopefully a bit shorter/cleaner line in general.

  • dcondcon Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Sep 02, 2020

    @RAIST5150 thanks--I appreciate the time and effort you have put in trying to help me. I will noodle on this and see what I come up with. Part of me wants to simply reset the modem each morning at like 0200 to increase my odds of a reset-free day. The engineer in me wants to isolate and mitigate root cause. But either way I owe you thanks for your thoughtful analysis.

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 794 ✭✭✭✭
    Sep 02, 2020

    @dcon

    Hehe... I feel ya..

    Used to use the router's scheduler to reboot nightly. An old TV's USB didn't have the power for a streaming stick so had to use the adaptor. Mom was always leaving something streaming at night.

    Don't like using those motorized power timers on sensitive electronics, but maybe one of those electronic ones could work for the modem?

  • dcondcon Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Sep 03, 2020

    @RAIST5150 been solid for 48 straight hours. Now I notice upstream power has suddenly increased 48-49+ after staying right where it was 46-47+ for over most of the period. I am predicting a crash/reset is imminent though it hasn't yet happened. I note that across the board downstream levels are all at least 1-1.5 lower than they have been all this time, too. Does this offer any hints? Also, we had one t3 timeout over the period, about 24 hours ago, but nothing got knocked offline.


  • dcondcon Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Sep 03, 2020

    like 10 min later...


  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 794 ✭✭✭✭
    Sep 03, 2020

    Hopefully levels start swinging back after 4:00 or so. If so, the shifts are most likely in response to the weather.

    We've been working our way back towards 100 again without the heat indexes (those hit 108/109 the last two days), and I've had almost a 2 point shift as well here in South Carolina.... but I have more wiggle room in my levels (roughly 75 feet to my pedestal on a dedicated line... kinda gives me an unfair advantage over many).

    Hopefully it doesn't get bad enough to knacker up throughput and/or trigger a reboot.

    Maintenance probably needs to get in on this if on-site techs are not finding anything around your stuff. Really do not like seeing you hit 50 upstream mid day like that... still a few more hours to a summer day's peak temperature that might swing it a little higher.

    May be a tough call to make until another tech takes a shot at your location though. IDK if the community team can step in to nudge an escalation or not... could try reaching out to Julie again though.

  • dcondcon Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Sep 03, 2020

    @RAIST5150 well, I'm up here in the frozen tundra of upstate NY where I don't think we saw 80 degrees the last few days. Wifi dropped a couple times after I predicted a reset, but modem didn't reset. I reset it anyway because I had skype meeting to do and didn't want to mess around. But I see it has come back up with all upstream channels at 49-50 now. Maybe I didn't wait long enough with the power off or something. But anyway I guess I will reach out to spectrum again and see what they want to try. Thanks again for your advice.

  • dcondcon Posts: 13 ✭✭✭
    Sep 05, 2020

    @Julia_R @Renee_T You were very helpful getting me an appointment with the tech who repaired the damaged segment and re-worked my inside cabling with new terminations/connections in an effort to reduce noise. But still my problems remain. Please see above. My modem resets, or wifi and phone drop out sometimes without a full reset, every day or two, and my upstream power levels after reset are still around 47-49. In all cases it is not just wifi but the phone goes out as well. Is there something you can do to help get someone out to check the signals coming into my house? I'm running out of ideas here. Thanks for any help you can provide!!

  • Julia_RJulia_R Posts: 4,287 Lead Mod
    edited September 5 Sep 05, 2020


    Good morning @dcon Im sorry that did not take care of it. Since it did not we will want to get

    a follow up appointment booked for further investigation, get this resolved for you.


    If you will please DM me again with your availability and a good call ahead number we can get that done.


    Thank you!

    Julia_R

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