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Signal problems for YEARS. Plz Help!

XtraSaltyXtraSalty Posts: 5
in Connectivity Aug 01, 2019

Hi guys,


I've been a loyal TWC/Spectrum customer since the late 90's. Have had signal issues for over a decade and I'm extremely frustrated.


tldr; Cable Modem will drop connection and/or have lag spikes. Certain TV channels that are more signal level sensitive will be blank (Unavailable, try again later msg) or will pause/look scrambled.


Technicians come out once or twice a year to "fix" this. Each and every time (over a decade mind you) they say the problem is outside the house and its the signal level.


During the TWC days a very good technician told me what the problem was. He said it was the Thermal Gain Control in a box that handles several residences on my side of the street. He said they never have this problem on the other side of the street. He scheduled maintenance to come adjust the signal level and all issues were fixed until the weather changed drastically. In the winter the signal is too high, summer signal too low.


Under TWC they would come adjust it no problem. Now with Spectrum things have changed. They too say there's a signal problem outside the house but WILL NOT ADMIT its the thermal controls on their box!


Instead of calling maintenance to adjust their box they put an amplifier in when the signal is too low. It's ok for a time but not as stable as when TWC adjusted their box. When it gets cold the technicians say "Whats this amplifier doing here? It's causing the signal to be too high!" They don't care when I tell them about the thermal gain and remove the amplifier.


So when the weather changes guess what? A technician says I need an amplifier to "balance out the signal". They have added and removed the amplifier a bunch of times now. One technician even told me the thermal gain isnt in a box and I didn't know what I was talking about!


I only had one good Spectrum technician who took some extra time to investigate. He inspected the cable lines outside the house and told me they needed to be replaced. He set up an install team (contractors, not Spectrum employees)  to come. When they got here they said "What are we here for?".


I was shocked they didn't know and explained from the top. Guess what? They said Spectrum would need to break into the walls to replace the lines and they are not in that kind of business. They looked at my lines and disagreed with the Spectrum technician saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with the cable lines. So it was back to putting in and taking out the amplifier!


Currently the amplifier is in. My cable modem is dropping connection or lagging in the morning and seems more stable when it gets hot outside. I'm tired of calling Spectrum since it does no good.


Please please, someone offer advice on how to get Spectrum to finally fix this mess. And I'd love to know the full truth about those thermal controls. Either TWC or Spectrum has lied to me or they simply don't want to do an expensive fix to whatever box is causing this mess.


Here's info from my modem right after a lag spike. It happend around 9:50 am and was in the 70's outside.


Downstream Bonded Channelsimage image
   ChannelLock StatusModulationChannel IDFreq. (MHz)Pwr (dBmV)SNR (dB)CorrectedUncorrected
Total      185794370605

   Upstream Bonded Channelsimage image
   ChannelLock StatusChannel TypeChannel IDSymb. Rate (Ksym/sec)Freq. (MHz)Pwr (dBmV)


  • reds91185reds91185 Posts: 2,452
    Aug 01, 2019

    Those downstream signal levels are borderline high. Also, it may benefit you to upgrade the modem. You only have 8 downstream channels. Most areas now are utilizing 24 or 32 downstream channels.


    Are you still on a legacy TWC internet plan or a new Spectrum plan?

  • XtraSaltyXtraSalty Posts: 5
    Aug 01, 2019

    The modem is about a year old. He told me it was a great modem and could handle all the speeds Spectrum offers.


    Had to replace the old one, it was dropping connection very often. A technician told me the high signal could have damaged it. Not sure if that's true after getting so many different stories.


    Not sure about the legacy internet. I know I was on legacy TWC pricing but it has been switched over to Spectrum pricing.


    FYI, yesterday when it was hot in the 90's the highest was 8.3 dBmV. I will post another readout when the temperature peaks.

  • XtraSaltyXtraSalty Posts: 5
    Aug 01, 2019

    My connection was mostly fine today. It didn't get that hot and started raining, signal never went below 12 dBmV.  


    Here's the current reading, it's in the 70's again outside.


    Downstream Bonded Channelsimage image
       ChannelLock StatusModulationChannel IDFreq. (MHz)Pwr (dBmV)SNR (dB)CorrectedUncorrected
    Total      18391639

       Upstream Bonded Channelsimage image
       ChannelLock StatusChannel TypeChannel IDSymb. Rate (Ksym/sec)Freq. (MHz)Pwr (dBmV)
  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Aug 02, 2019
    may be overdriving both ways, moreso on the upstream. Not uncommon to see native downstreams around 12db or so with 41/42 SNR... but modems typically run a good 6db or more higher on the upstream lines. Note the downstream numbers you see are after amplification, and upstream is before... the headend will direct the modem to adjust power level of upstream based on the signal it receives from your modem, and that more often winds up in the 43-48 range on a "good" line.

    Would be nice to see numbers without the amp in play in the same weather conditions. I suspect levels may be in spec, but there is some weird noise factor on the line... and that amplifier is just making matters worse (it amplifies the offending signal as well as the good). In such a case, the noise ingress needs to be isolated and dealt with... amplifying is not the proper solution, as it may be sort of doubling down on the issue.

    May also be a legacy choke/filter in play as well (how they blocked specific broadcast channels before going digital).. Can't really make a call on that without seeing the other channels across the spectrum in play... but it should show signs of it if they analyze the spectrum. In our market, they would knacker up the bottom 8 downstream channels and in some neighborhoods render around 4 channels above that marginal depending on the weather. Was not good to be losing 8-12 frequencies when you are depending on 16 of 24 (later 32) channels for downstream traffic.
  • XtraSaltyXtraSalty Posts: 5
    Aug 02, 2019

    Interesting, the Spectrum tech who told me my lines are bad said they were introducing noise into the system. He was outside when he inspected the lines and showed me the inside where a white part was cracked.


    He said if I dont get the lines replaced the noise is sure to come back and cause the same issues. But when they sent the contractor out they said they are not in the business of tearing down my walls to replace the lines.


    Both the contractor and another Spectrum tech inspected the lines and said absolutely nothing is wrong with the lines. Even after speaking with a supervisor nothing was done.


    I'd have to call Spectrum to get the amp removed. It's the kind they hook up outside and must be powered inside. But that solves nothing as well. They have removed and re-added the amplifier many times over the years. Each time they have no record of previous troubleshoots.

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Aug 02, 2019
    Uggh... the finger pointing game.

    Stay on them.


    Yes, if you have compromised shielding in your house wiring it is a point of ingress where interference can enter the lines... but it is not necessarily the actual SOURCE of that interference. You could replace or bypass that segment... and that interference could still be entering the system elsewhere.

    I have run into this a few times. I live in a townhouse community... they routinely blame in-house wiring, even though I have run dedicated lines (not a typo... have re-run fresh cable to prove it wasn't MY cable at fault).

    I inspect my setup first and correct things I find before calling them.
    Have had to swap in known good hardware from another location on occasion as part of that process.
    Sometimes it has been something from my end... overheating router that had to be replaced, bad power supply, replaced cable ends (have the tools to make my own cables and such).

    But EVERY time I have gone through that checklist and ruled out my CPE and then contacted them... it has been something upstream of my utility room out back. A knackered connection in their tombstone, a "buried" cable that got exposed and cut by the landscapers, noisy unterminated line in a vacant unit, something wrong up on the pole or further up the street. As such, it sometimes takes multiple calls because of how their support is tiered.

    They found noise on the line.

    They need to locate the source, and then work on remedying that.

    If there is an issue with your in-house wiring, and they wish to keep you as a paying customer they need to at the very least give you good advice on how to address it if they aren't going to assist you directly.

    It is in their own best interest to do so if they continue to let you access their network. It is actually negligent to knowingly allow a known point of ingress to persist, as it affects more than JUST your line.

    Sorry... got on the soapbox for a few minutes there. Quality of service calls has become a bit of a hot topic since the merger.
  • XtraSaltyXtraSalty Posts: 5
    Aug 02, 2019

    So basically I need "Smoking Gun Proof" that their line or equiment is introducing signal noise.


    Forgive my ignorance about the readout but is there something incontrovertible there to show them?


    Also, when the problem occurs several channels come in blank with an Unavailable message. I know how to press the Select button & Up Arrow to bring up the technician's screen. Is there anything there I can take a picture of to prove the problem?


    What often happens is when I make an appointment the weather isn't severe enough to affect the signal. For example, today its cool again and everything is working fine. They would not do anything to help me.

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Aug 02, 2019
    Your posts and the signal level snapshots are kinda hinting at part of the problem already (too much variance in those upstream numbers, for starters) so it should be a good starting point for further investigation.

    @Julia_R or @James_M may be able to forward info to someone who can look deeper into it. They may need to communicate more directly with you though for additional info... if so, they may direct you on how to go forward on that front. They aren't here 24/7, so it might take a bit for them to see this thread, but they are pretty good at stepping in to help when they can.
  • James_MJames_M Posts: 2,076 admin
    Aug 05, 2019

    There are definitely some signal level issues.  First step would be a service call.  For assistance getting one scheduled, you can contact us by private message at @Forums_Help.

This discussion has been closed.