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upstream / packet loss issues at night

infinitekillianinfinitekillian Posts: 8
in Connectivity Jun 27, 2018

I've been having an ongoing problem for over two weeks now with what seems to be an upload-only issue.  Approximately around 9:30 PM EST (time won't be exact but close usually), in any game I play or if I attempt to live-stream my gameplay on a website called Twitch, I will experience dropped frames / dropped outgoing packets in different applications intermittently. It will happen generally every few minutes or less, and last for about 5-10 seconds, but again the length and severity will vary. I never experience any issues on the download side or while running a speedtest, and to my knowledge, the different levels that show on my modem seem fine.

During the day, I will have LITERALLY zero dropped packets or frames on any of these applications, and again the issue will always begin at roughly 9:30 PM. We have recently installed DirecTV and had a few new people move in who have an additional receiver or two, and DTV set up a splitter (that seems to be working fine?) to manage everything. No one is specifically coming home and using their TV or the wi-fi at these times, and I cannot figure out what is triggering this to happen consistently, but it has been a VERY annoying impact on my usage at night.

 

I've called into tech support multiple times, and have had 3 technicians come out, with one replacing the co-axial cable and another replacing the combo modem with an Arris TM1602 modem and sagemcom router setup instead. There has been zero changes or improvement in the issue I've been experiencing throughout all these interactions so far with Spectrum, and I now feel it pointless to keep calling them to come out when they seem unable to fix the issue at hand (albeit, it seems a unique one so it's understandable). Unfortunately, no technician can come out during the times that this is happening, so any technician that takes a look will see little to no problem besides some noise issues that the first technician stated they fixed.

 

We also recently switched from an older Time Warner package of 30 mbps to 100 mbps / 10 mbps upload around the same time that this happened, though I suspect the issue has more to do with the DTV setup in some way combined with the mixture of a few new roommates and few more TV's that may potentially be causing noise issues or problems, though I'm not sure why this issue would occur only at night and not at all times if it was a TV issue of sorts.

 

Modem Levels - https://gyazo.com/5c8c67a0926b6075bf133fdc1dcb8267

 

Pingpath - https://gyazo.com/3701c85b07b7648ca840382aa9f46e87

 

Tracert - https://gyazo.com/dbde2ce0d0d33e2773872ef25f209ce8

 

Any help or recommendations at all would be appreciated as I'm really not sure what my next step should be. All levels seem within a normal range besides the upstream being a little low potentially? I'm not sure if an amp of some sort would help balance things out if a somewhat weaker upstream level is causing the potential noise to have an effect, but again I can't figure out why this only happens at specific time frames at night and lasts until the very early morning. Thanks for reading and whoever can help, let me know if you need any additional information. Appreciated.

Comments

  • reds91185reds91185 Posts: 2,452
    Jun 27, 2018

    Your downstream modem levels are all over the place indicating a coax problem.  This is not a modem problem.

     

    From the point where the main line comes from the pole/ground to your house, please describe your setup...splitters, coax condition, where is modem in relation, etc.  What coax did the first tech replace? Did they only replace from your demarc to your modem or did they replace the main line from the pole?

  • infinitekillianinfinitekillian Posts: 8
    Jun 27, 2018
    The line from outside runs into the basement and into a 4 way splitter, where those cables each run into a few tvs and the modem, with 1 excess port that is capped off. The modem line runs up into a room on the ground floor and directly connects to the modem. To my knowledge and to the techs' knowledge, everything seems to be in good conditions. The second tech stated there was some noise and ingress from the coaxial running from the splitter to the modem and replaced it. The splitter was installed by DTV when they came out.
  • reds91185reds91185 Posts: 2,452
    Jun 27, 2018

    This won't solve the noise issue, but for general good practices I would replace that 4 way with a 3 way putting the modem on the -3.5 port.

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 650 ✭✭✭✭
    Jun 27, 2018
    Curios if there is an amp in play somewhere... those upstream power levels looks like there may be an active return amp in play. Normally see those figures between 40-46 across the board on a straight drop with no extra amp in play.

    If there is an amp in play and you are able to cleanup the distribution like @reds91185 detailed, it may be a game changer. Reclaiming the signal strength could mean the amp can be removed, which will also reduce a bit more noise from the line.
  • infinitekillianinfinitekillian Posts: 8
    Jun 28, 2018

    Thanks for the quick replys. Is there a way to know which part of the splitter is -3.5? The splitter I have doesn't seem to have any noticeable markings for each of the ports.

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 650 ✭✭✭✭
    Jun 28, 2018

    There are two types of 3-way splitters... one type may not be marked, the other should be marked or at least have a diagram demonstrating how the signal is split internally (basically, is two 2-ways piggy backed... input is split once, and the second port of that split is split again).

    Here are two examples from amazon:

    Unbalanced (one port is cleaner with only a 3.5db loss)
    https://www.amazon.com/Extreme-Unbalanced-Digital-Performance-Splitter/dp/B009FN72PO/ref=mp_s_a_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1530151025&sr=8-6π=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=3+way+cable+splitter&dpPl=1&dpID=51XEVe6noYL&ref=plSrch

    51XEVe6noYL._AC_SY400_
    And "Balanced"... I put that in quotes for a reason
    https://www.amazon.com/Extreme-Balanced-Performance-5-1002MHz-Splitter/dp/B01KSC5HO8/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1530151025&sr=8-3π=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=3+way+cable+splitter&dpPl=1&dpID=41s3MGUwY6L&ref=plSrch
    41s3MGUwY6L._AC_SY400_
    Notice the pic indicates 5.5db loss at each port. It is not always the case with these splitters, which is why I put it as "Balanced". It is an example of how not all splitters are created equal. A "balanced" 3-way can actually be just a double 2-way split, with one port just not connected.... essentially a 4-way splitter with one output terminated internally. Basically you risk still looking at having around 6-7db loss on each port.

    Basically, for your application, you want an unbalanced 3-way splitter. This should come with some clear indicator which port is the one coming off the first split and having the stronger output. That will be the one to run directly to the modem.

     

    ***sorry for so many edits... trying to do this on phone, and the rich text editor is NOT working well with such a small screen

  • infinitekillianinfinitekillian Posts: 8
    Jun 28, 2018

    Thanks for such the detailed and helpful response. The splitter situation is always what I've leaned towards in terms of what's been causing this. And I guess I just assumed or overlooked it, but the current 4-way splitter does have an uncapped end that is not being used. It would make sense that I'm getting around -7 with it being a balanced 4 way splitter and not being labeled, and that would contribute to the (slightly lower than normal?) signals I'm receiving.

     

    My only question for this would be is it worth it to contact Spectrum and have a tech come out to double check connections once again and have them use their own unbalanced splitter, or am I better off just purchasing one myself somewhere else?

  • reds91185reds91185 Posts: 2,452
    Jun 28, 2018

    Splitters are cheap and easy to replace yourself. You can find good ones at Home Depot, Lowes, and Best Buy.  Having said that....replacing the current splitter with an unbalanced 3-way will definitely improve your signal levels and just may fix the problem enough to mask the bigger underlying cause.  I still think you need a tech to come out and test all the lines out to the street and maybe even further back. Either way this probably isn't a quick fix.

  • infinitekillianinfinitekillian Posts: 8
    Jun 28, 2018

    well it may be a few days or so before i can get an appropriate splitter but this morning my downstream power levels looked like this:

     

    https://gyazo.com/7034de6ecf44f6f37f4bff224b2e7841

     

    To my knowledge, those power levels are outside the "acceptable" range once it dips below -8. I don't have the time to test out my connection currently but I've not seen it that low before. I guess for reference, the modem is somewhat close to a vent that the AC comes out from, making the modem somewhat cool. I know electronics obviously prefer colder temperature than hot, but is it recommended to move the modem away from colder temperatures to avoid a lower signal (not sure if that's a thing but I've read it in a few places online) or is that irrelevant here?

     

    But again appreciate the help. I'll do what I can to get the splitter replaced and have an update at that point, hopefully by or during the weekend.

  • reds91185reds91185 Posts: 2,452
    Jun 28, 2018

    Having the modem next to an AC vent should have no impact. Those wildly fluctuating power levels are the reason this is a bigger problem... ranging from -9.3 to +1.5 is not normal. Ideally, power levels only fluctuate small amounts from channel to channel...like +- 1 or 2 dBmV total.

     

    Did you just reboot the modem? There is a surprising lack of corrected/uncorrecteds.

     

  • infinitekillianinfinitekillian Posts: 8
    Jun 28, 2018
    No I refreshed the counter yesterday to keep track of what correctables and uncorrectables I have nightly going forward. Would it be a good idea, even with it being a 4th tech at this point, to have a tech come out and say hey these power levels are not as they should be?
  • reds91185reds91185 Posts: 2,452
    Jun 28, 2018

    Yes, it should be obvious to any tech once they look at that. Now the real question is how well trained or motivated that tech is to be able to diagnose the cause or will he just want to replace the modem and move on to the next house.

     

    Don't give up calling for service appointments. Tell them you are having outages. If you have so many tech visits within a certain timeframe that does not fix the issue it will get the attention of next level support.

  • infinitekillianinfinitekillian Posts: 8
    Jun 30, 2018

    Well, I apologize but apparently I assumed too much without asking other roommates here or taking enough time to look over it myself, but this splitter situation seems to have nothing to do with it potentially. The splitter used is only from the DTV service, where it branches off into 3 other receivers, with the 4th one being left open currently, but it has seemingly nothing to do with the internet service. The line from Spectrum initially had a 3 way splitter when we had 2 receivers and 1 modem with TWC and it seems when DTV came out, they removed the two receiver connections from the TWC splitter and just left the TWC 3-way splitter with just the modem connection (this explains why the first tech that came out said there was an unnecessary splitter and removed it and just coupled the TWC line to the modem).

     

    So at this point, I almost consider it a bad thing as now the splitter seems to have no play in what's going on, as the issue was occurring both before and after the unneeded splitter for the Spectrum connection.

     

    As a side note, the power levels on the downstream side seem more normal if I'm reading this right. For the last two nights, I've still been having the issue, but not nearly to the extent of what it's been at, but I still consider it a problem as I had zero issue before.

     

    Either way I apologize for the misinformation originally.

     

    https://gyazo.com/3b4217d842984b62c2b55c09bd637361

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 650 ✭✭✭✭
    Jul 02, 2018
    "The splitter used is only from the DTV service, where it branches off into 3 other receivers, with the 4th one being left open currently, but it has seemingly nothing to do with the internet service."

    This is an issue that NEEDS to be addressed. An open port/cable is basically a micro antenna... potentially injecting unwanted noise on the line.

    A bit curious about the topology here... is this two splits--one that goes off to the modem and then another that goes off to another splitter that is feeding the receivers? It sounds like you may have more splits than necessary, and one of those is an open line that NEEDS to either be terminated or eliminated completely.

    Ideally, should be rewired to have as few splits as possible and preserving the strongest line for the modem. Otherwise, any line/port that is not connected to a device needs to be terminated to prevent extra noise generation.
  • infinitekillianinfinitekillian Posts: 8
    Jul 12, 2018

    I apologize for the long delay between last posts from myself. There ended up coincidentally being a water leak issue that caused my download speeds and power levels to go down to the -15 db range for a day. Had someone come out and they fixed everything up, but I am still off and on having this same upload inconsistency issue. The last two or three nights, the issue has been hardly noticeable (last night being perfect), and tonight I am back to a large amount of dropped frames and inconsistencies in the uploading side of things.

     

    https://gyazo.com/95042897e1fb6a714082d3f8a3e1e0be

     

    To me, the power levels and snr seem fine on both downstream and upstream if my own research is correct. I'm not sure if the difference in temperature between the day time and night time and our AC being on at night at the already lowered temperatures is causing some sort of temperature differential issue at night only. To me, the temperature seems to be the only thing varying during the days and nights, and maybe that is somehow causing the inconsistencies in my packet uploads at night. I'm really not sure what to do at this point as the 4th tech only fixed and focused on the download / low power level issue I was having, as again they are unable to diagnose any issues that are only happening at night.

This discussion has been closed.