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Considering Downgrading from Gig to Ultra due to Frequenty Instability

VexirVexir Posts: 7 ✭✭
in Connectivity Oct 05, 2020

I've had Gig for months and I've been having frequent problems with instability - whether it's packet loss while gaming or constant intermittent outage during Zoom calls, it's made my remote life hell.

I've gone through 5 routers (3 spectrum provided, 2 high end routers - an Archer A20 and a Asus RT-AX86U) and have had the same problems with all of them, leading me to conclude the following:

  1. It's the service, not the equipment/router.
  2. The gig plan exceeds the limits of what Spectrum's technology OR my building/area wiring can do.

My next step is to ask them to downgrade me to Ultra instead of Gig, in the hopes that will be more stable.

Any opinions or other things to try before I do this?

Replies

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 835 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 5 Oct 05, 2020

    Some markets are having issues pulling in the new OFDM channels.

    Don't know the specifics, just seen weird things crop up for people still on the 400mbps tiers that are using the 3.1 modems capable of latching those OFDM channels. Some are showing a lot of noise issues in that new spectrum.

    If you do opt to downgrade, you may want to consider stepping back to a 3.0 modem if you can (no OFDM support)... just make sure it has at LEAST 16 channels downstream.

  • VexirVexir Posts: 7 ✭✭
    Oct 05, 2020

    @RAIST5150 Can Spectrum supply me with a 3.0 modem with 16 channels downstream? Or would I need to buy this myself?

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 835 ✭✭✭✭
    Oct 05, 2020

    They should still have a decent stock of the 16 to 32 channel variety... just might have to ask specifically to get a qualified 3.0 modem.

  • VexirVexir Posts: 7 ✭✭
    edited October 5 Oct 05, 2020

    Is there a diagnostic tool I can use to see if my current box is properly handling those ODFM channels?


    @RAIST5150

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 835 ✭✭✭✭
    Oct 05, 2020

    If you can see the logs and signal levels/error rates. Some of their modems like the Hitron designs have the users locked out of them though.

  • VexirVexir Posts: 7 ✭✭
    Oct 05, 2020

    Thanks. @RAIST5150 Any opinion or trends that you've seen on the forum with Gig vs 400/200?

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 835 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 5 Oct 05, 2020

    Eh... more of a localised issue I guess. Some regions have their own unique issues (Southern Cali, Centreal/East Texas, parts of Ohio, etc.).

    More often it tends to be a signal quality issue, or just outright intermittent connectivity.

    Unfortunately the root causes can be so varied it can take multiple visits before they first weed out things around the house, and then it has to start it's way from the local pedestal to the pole and such. Have seen some troubled segments take weeks and even months to fully flesh out on occasion. Sometimes what is done is more like a band-aid approach that winds up having to get revisited periodically.

    If you are able to verify your local cabling is good, it can sometimes speed up the process. If you can test the modem closer to where the coax comes in, bypassing splitters and long cable runs and such, and it does not improve significantly it tends to point more at issues likely being upstream from that point of demarcation.

    But ultimately, their people will have to very things from the modem outward.

  • misterjmisterj Posts: 107 ✭✭✭✭
    Oct 05, 2020

    Vexir, what modem do you have? Please ask your ISP to send you a screenshot of your statistics if you cannot access them. I have a self owned Arris SB8200 (about $150) running 200 Mbps that replaces a Ubee U31U2V1 Docsis 3.1 modem (ISP supplied) also running 200 Mbps. Both were/are running OFDM and were/are rock solid. Before you make any changes, especially that cost you money, I would scream at your ISP and ask them to fix your problem(s). If you are running an ISP modem have you replaced it - perhaps several times? Avoiding 3.1 modems may be asking for future problems especially if you want to go back to Gbps - my modem will run 2 Gbps if it was available. Please give us as much information you can gather such as speed tests. Good luck and enjoy, John.

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 835 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 5 Oct 05, 2020

    Think the OP has put forth considerable effort trying to get this resolved... as in he/she has already tried THREE Spectrum modems, as well as TWO private modems (not to mention, two higher end routers)... and they have not been able to resolve the issues yet.

    If they want to keep them as gig customers, they will have to put forth a concerted effort. Sometimes "voting with the wallet" is about the only thing that makes things really happen.

    Besides, in many cases a consistant 400/20 is plenty for many households. It really all depends on how much bandwidth/latency impacts what you are using it for. Beyond about 100/10, the bigger issues tend to center around latency/loss factors unless there is high data consumption like a LOT of higher quality streaming and such.

  • VexirVexir Posts: 7 ✭✭
    edited October 5 Oct 05, 2020

    @misterj, the modem is an E31T2V1. I don't think Spectrum has opened access to the GUI; I wasn't able to access using any of the methods I found online (modifying hosts file for 192.168.100.1., etc.)

    @RAIST5150 Totally right. I'm sure 400/20 is just fine. I originally went up to Gig for the upload as I was messing around with livestreaming, but I'm not doing that anymore and I just want my stability back. Speed tests look fine, but the instability is a killer for every day use.


    If there's a diagnostic you all suggest that I can run while I'm having issues, I'd love to know so I can have a log to show you and the tech that's coming tomorrow.

  • misterjmisterj Posts: 107 ✭✭✭✭
    Oct 06, 2020

    Vexir, I know of nothing to suggest now that the ISP has you locked out. Your current modem is the same as my Ubee version - T being Technicolor. Sorry, John.

  • VexirVexir Posts: 7 ✭✭
    Oct 06, 2020

    @misterj Maybe you can share with me how you access the GUI?

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 835 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 6 Oct 06, 2020

    @Vexir

    Most testing to external sites can be a bit unpredictable when it comes to narrowing down potential roots for a problem. With few exceptions, what that type of testing is mostly used for is more in line with trying to identify route related issues.

    With that being said, some things like the DSL Reports tools section (Smoke Ping and such) can help verify particular aspects of stability across the web and such, and can be useful once the localized signaling and hardware issues have been addressed.


    What sounds like needs to be focused on in the short term is information regarding your cables, splitters, etc. that would tie in to the signal quality/reliability aspects.

    Unfortunately, you will be locked out from seeing important diagnostic data on your current modem from them. They lock users out of this info so only their people see this data. It has caused a bit of frustration in recent times when they started doing this with certain lines of their products. Kinda led to a lot of "generic" suggestions. Some appear to have become considerably less active on this front as a result of it all.

    You are using one of their "Hitron" design EMTA 3.1 modems. It is getting harder and harder for people to avoid these models. These are modems made/packaged under different brands, but follow the same Hitron design. The model number follows the same format but swaps characters according to the brand it is packaged under. Kinda like how Asus puts a U or R on routers (basically noting items meant for retail shelf packages). They are the same product underneath.

    Likewise, lot of the Technicolor modem's they use were actually built around or directly from Cisco designs (Cisco sold their interest to them about 5 years ago, similar situation to what went on with Arris/Motorola for a while). This is why you could sometimes see the same or extremely similar numbers on modems with different names.

    So.... if you are using Spectrum Voice, it could get a bit tricky depending on what is going on in your market. Think there are like 3 core 16+ channel designs still "active" out there for supporting voice... one is the Hitron 3.1 design, the others are 3.0 Arris/Motorola or Cisco/Technicolor designs. A lot of 8 channels out there... but at this point, that can be pushing it for even 200mbps with all the traffic on the lines these days.

    Hopefully, you are not restricted on options with voice... but it may explain a bit of your predicament. When using their modem at this level, you may always get locked out of data that may hint at issues with the newer tech they are integrating, preventing you from making a more informed decision.

    If you still have access to a private modem like a Netgear or Arris, you may be able to take a closer look at the signal data. May be able to spot signs of trouble to better gauge if things might improve for you if you indeed moved away from the OFDM spectrum for now.

    No quarantees it will... just that I have seen people at lower tiers having issues when it was in play, even though they technically did not need that extra spectrum for their subscribed tiers. Moving to a 3.0 modem seemed to resolve those issues.

    I only have at most 3 streamers ever going at once. Only two of us game online at all and not very competitively. If it were me and my gig was cutting out/bogging too much... I would be in the same boat as you and looking at a downgrade if it looked like it would be more consistent. In all honesty, we are still standard tier here... and we have not gotten bumped to 200 yet either (but, we also do not stream 4k, just 2k).

    If you want to take a crack at pulling up the logs and signal pages on a customer owned modem, the address and such can vary a but depending on model/market.

    192.168.100.1 and admin/password for log in is a pretty common combo.

    Different variations may be noted in the manual or even on a sticker on the unit itself.

    If you need other suggestions, we may be able to find an alternate address or credentials if you post the make/model.

  • misterjmisterj Posts: 107 ✭✭✭✭
    Oct 06, 2020

    Vexir, on my purchased modem (Arris SB8200), I simple open 192.168.100.1. No userid/password required. I never could login to my ISP supplied Ubee, just got timeouts - no response. I discovered yesterday that I could login to 192.168.0.1 also. Makes no sense to me - need to ask my network expert. Here is what an see:

    Enjoy, John.

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 835 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 6 Oct 06, 2020

    192.168.0.1 is often for accessing their router interface.

  • misterjmisterj Posts: 107 ✭✭✭✭
    Oct 06, 2020

    Vexir, I failed to mention the smartphone Spectrum application. I installed it but can see nothing on my self owned modem. There are many Spectrum apps so try the one called My Spectrum. I think you should be able to login into your Technicolor modem but may not be able to see much. I did not have the app when I had the ISP Ubee. Enjoy, John.

  • NicholasBrennanNicholasBrennan Posts: 10 ✭✭
    edited October 13 Oct 13, 2020

    I live in Worcester, MA. I upgraded to gigabit from 400. I have the Motorolla E31U2V1 modem. I have only once gotten 940mbps on a speed test. The speeds are so erratic. At one point my modem was capped at 100mbps. Then Spectrum resolved that issue. Now I am seeing speeds from 600 to 800. It just seems the speeds are very unreliable at a gig for my area. My end is totally fine. Signal levels are good and I have multiple new intel gig nics with plenty of good cat6 cabling. Directly plugging my desktop into the cable modem nets the same result. A spectrum tech stated a line tech might need to come out to fix this. A little bit of a story....last year I ordered gig service in Worcester, MA. Sales sold me the service but when the tech came out, he told me that Spectrum sales should not be selling gigabit here because the town doesn't have the upgrades to do it. He spoke to sales on speakerphone and they were literally arguing back and forth. The line tech called his supervisor and he confirmed that sales should not be selling gigabit in Western MA for like another 3 years.. So I am thinking this is the same stuff that is happening. The network here locally just can't handle the speeds and the head is just doing whatever it can despite them selling it. Sales writing checks that support can't cash. How many times have I saw that in my industry! The thing is I can hit 940 but it never stays at that speed. It'll go up to it, then come back down and settle at 600 to 700. Something is shaping that bandwidth to not stay at 940. I am at a loss. To me it just seems Charters network here can't support a gig. Anyone subscribing to their gigabit speeds should max out 940 nonstop on ooklas local Charter speedtest. If they can't, it's their network. I am sure they are going to say well we only guarantee up to 70% of the speed. Which is total bullshit.

    When the tech gets here on Thursday I am going to ask him for a new modem and if that fails, should I buy one at this point? I am afraid that if I pay for my own, the problem will still exist because the system here just can't deliver. I have no problem going back to 400 as long as I get a full refund for my expenses.

    Any network configured correctly should have no problems offering the full speed. I had Verizon FIOS for 8 years and maxed my connection every single time. 1gig down and 1gig up. Never a blink in the speed. Spectrum really needs to improve.


    Edit: I just called Spectrum and spoke to a tech. She basically said, look, the tech is going to get there and see that you are getting 70% of your speed, charge you for the visit and then leave. They won't do anything. Basically they advertise a giga and won't do jack if you are getting 70%. Ah well, back to 400 I go.

  • NicholasBrennanNicholasBrennan Posts: 10 ✭✭
    edited October 13 Oct 13, 2020

    My speeds tonight to the local charter server have been from 130mbps up to 900mpbs. Something is def wrong with my line or the network here with this plan.

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 835 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 13 Oct 13, 2020

    The marketing has always been "up to"... never actually guaranteeing a set speed. There is a sort of expected minimum speed for each tier, but not really a guaranteed minimum.

    The problem basically stems from the shared bandwidth structure in play. I share a pedestal with 4 neighbors, that goes to the pole and upstream to the headend. If we were all gig tier and hammering the lines at once, it would in theory start clamping us to 600-800mbps, depending on how the bursting worked out.

    Some neighborhoods are potentially more congested than mine. This is keeping our standard plans mostly at 100 (200 mbps in select areas depending on how things are laid out). Basically this is to reserve headroom for people wanting to grab higher tiers.

    Needles to say.... not a lot of people are grabbing for more than 400 tiers here.

    When you do something like fiber, you are getting a more dedicated line, so to speak. Down here, AT&T won't do any funky fiber to copper to get into the house--has to be fiber all the way into the house, straight to the LAN. That line is just for your use up to the centralized switching unit in your neighborhood.

  • James_MJames_M Posts: 2,340 ADMIN
    Oct 13, 2020

    @NicholasBrennan

    Members are always welcome to comment on another post. If you are looking for specific assistance with your issue, best practices ask that you start a new post.


    Thanks!

  • misterjmisterj Posts: 107 ✭✭✭✭
    Oct 13, 2020

    NicholasBrennan, I do not know why Spectrum says 940 Mbps, but expect to never exceed that. I would suggest going back to your FIOS. One detail people seem to miss is the speed of the HDD on their machine. 940 Mbps is about 117 MBps and many HDDs cannot handle it. This could explain the slowing speed but most likely it is the server. I would recommend using www.nperf.com and select a 10 Gbps server close by. Enjoy, John.

  • VexirVexir Posts: 7 ✭✭
    Oct 13, 2020

    Honestly my problem is not the speed. I’m comfortable with “up to 900", it's the intermittent "outage" I get. It's not even a full outage, the service just takes a complete dump about once a day, in the middle of a game session or Zoom call.

    I had a tech come out and look, and he said that for intermittent issues, the only way to diagnose it is to be on site when the issue is happening. This is very tough because these guys get booked out days in advance.

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