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When Support Fails You

CrabbyCrabby Posts: 15
in Connectivity Jan 05, 2020

I have had the same intermittent issue for months now.


10 Call Support, they confirm they see a problem, and schedule a tech to visit the house

20 Tech visits the house when the problem is not occuring, checks everything, finds nothing, says the issue will be escalated, leaves

30 Nothing Happens

40 Goto 10


My frustration levels cannot be expressed in words.   The process to support customers is  fundamentally flawed.  How do I break this loop and get real help?


Screenshot - 1_4_2020 , 11_56_45 PM.png







  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 777 ✭✭✭✭
    Jan 05, 2020
    If this is due to the usual Level3/Century Link issues we se crop up in the Texas/Southern California/Atlanta area(s)... you may be waiting for Level3 to respond (if that escalation was to notify them of a suspected issue on their end).

    Otherwise, it may boil down to an issue with routing announcements.

    We have had routing adjustments made in our region in the past, but they eventually would get "reset" again when the databases update their routing metrics.

    May need to run some traces to testmy's Dallas site for submission. Perhaps run them also through a VPN to see if it helps identify something they can focus on.


    That is the address they show during their latency test tool. Would expect it is set for responding to pings/traces.
  • CrabbyCrabby Posts: 15
    Jan 05, 2020

    Thank You for the reply @RAIST5150 .   This morning I was having the issue again for 20 minutes or so (thus far), and tried to follow your advice.   FWIW I normally default to Dallas when  using testmy.net, but did specify dallas.testmy.net when using the site today.    You can see the results pictured below without the VPN, and then with  the VPN (Cloudflare).

    The stats on the modem have recently been reset, as the correctables and uncorrectables were showing much higher numbers since I started watching them when the issue began in October.


    The latency test results from today, with the VPN up;



    Jan 1 test



    If there are any other tests I can run, tools I can download, or other steps to take on my end, I am happy to do whatever I can to help get this figured out.


    Screenshot - 1_5_2020 , 9_46_35 AM.pngScreenshot - 1_5_2020 , 10_01_53 AM.png

  • krel_2018krel_2018 Posts: 256
    Jan 06, 2020

    don't feel bad iv'e been waiting for darn near 2 years to get the cable in my wall replaced and nothing has happened yet other then them giving me phone numbers that leads me to nowhere!!! the first year everything would just go offline everyday the modem would just go offline and reboot or just slow down to snail speeds!!! my t.v. would break up and pixelize and macro block or just go blank and crash down DVR would not record and it got slow at times. horrible service!!!

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 777 ✭✭✭✭
    Jan 07, 2020
    Problems may be two-fold. The signal stats look a bit suspect, and there may be some issues at the peering level as well.

    Should grab an actual trace (tracert or traceroute to the site's address, not running that latency test) so they can see where you are passing through, possily even get a hint about any potentially troubled node(s) as well.

    The downstream bonding and signal strength/SnR values should be considerably tighter than they are. Upstream values should be a bit higher then they actually are as well.

    Has the appearance of noise creeping in, or something otherwise attenuating signal too much on the downstream side. Could be bad connections/
    /splitters/couplers, compromised lines, unterminated lines throughout the home, etc.

    Isn't too common these days, but it is possible that a choke may still be on the line. During the days of analogue broadcast TV, they used to put inline filters on the line to block channel ranges so the TV tuners could not decode certain channels. They were coaxial cylinders and would have colored stripes on them, possibly even have the frequency ranges etched on the barrel casing. Some markets have repurposed some frequencies on the edges of those ranges for internet use, but the signal is unreliable with those chokes in place.

    Upstream side has the appearance of an amp being in play... power levels typically do not dip that low at the modem unless the signal is getting boosted. Could be some issues with that amp. Considering the state of your wiring and how you plan to use that line, the boost may not be needed at all anymore. For instance, if you no longer need to split the line as much, signal quality/strength will improve as the number of splits are reduced.
  • CrabbyCrabby Posts: 15
    Jan 08, 2020

    @krel_2018I have talked to neighbors who describe the same type of television issues as you.   After a certain number of calls, visits, and failed attempts to correct issues, they lose hope and just live with the problem.

  • CrabbyCrabby Posts: 15
    Jan 08, 2020

    @RAIST5150Got it, I have captured the tracerts under good conditions tonight with and without a vpn active.   When the issue comes back, I will capture them again to see if it shows us anything.    I am also posting a connection screen from the modem as a reference for when I am not seeing issues.


    As far as the physical network in the home;   the techs who visited have reduced the cable to the bare minimum.  The ground was redone.  There are no splitters.    A test meter showed a clean Gig speed test at the end of the cat 5 cable run to the back of the modem.   One of the guys even crimped new ends on the cables.   All the guys that were here spent a good 90 minutes or so checking everything from the pillar coming out of the ground outside, to the modem, so it seems that has be well-tested multiple times now.  But granted, when they were here, the problem was not occuring.     This is part of the process problem, there has been no way to get access to the appropriate level person immediately,  When they are  needed.

    Screenshot - 1_8_2020 , 1_05_30 AM.png

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 777 ✭✭✭✭
    Jan 08, 2020
    Yeah... things just look out of sorts... the trick lies in finding the root of it all.

    Channels are 6mhz width and you are only latching 16 channels--but your range is running from 495mhz to 675mhz (basically, 30 channels worth). You should be latching a contiguous block (1-16, 8-24, 16-32), not skipping a lot of channels... looks like you are getting 1-5, 7,8, 10,11, 13, 14... skipping up to 20-something...

    Your weakest to strongest signal runs 4.1 to 7.6--a 3.5db spread. SnR is doing the same... 39.1 to 42.7.

    3.5db is a special number... it is basically the doubling/halving of power depending which direction you are going.

    Just looks.... off-kilter...
  • CrabbyCrabby Posts: 15
    Jan 08, 2020

    Problem was occuring for a bit under an hour this morning.   The connection quality was too low for me to establish a connection with the VPN.   But Im posting the tracert I could do.  1st pictured is during normal operation, 2nd is when the issue is happening.


    trace good no vpn Screenshot - 1_8_2020 , 12_49_55 AM.pngtrace bad no vpn Screenshot - 1_8_2020 , 8_30_15 AM.pngScreenshot - 1_8_2020 , 9_27_55 AM.pngScreenshot - 1_8_2020 , 8_33_20 AM.png

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 777 ✭✭✭✭
    Jan 09, 2020

    Uggh... good capture there. Hopefully this can help get the ball rolling better. That is the kind of stuff that inspired me to start using my own stuff--full stop.

    About 20 years ago I was pulling my hair out over similar issues. Ran my own dedicated RG6 line out to the utility room where TWC's cable entered the house, bought a new ground block and strap, and got my own modem and router.

    Was like... OK TWC... blame my in-house stuff now!

    Always fun to see the reaction when they swap in "known good" items and the problems persist...

    Sometimes it is not in the CPE sphere, but out at the pedestal or further upstream.  Hard to prove it sometimes though. Hope you don't have to go to the lengths I have... I once ran a fresh line and called the tech back the SAME afternoon to prove it was on their side of the demarc and NOT my line.

    Just out of curiosity... do you know what kind of cable is running through your walls?

    Some older homes have the thinner RG-59 cabling that can get messed up really easy. Has high signal loss and just is not shielded well... have literally stripped ends of some RG59 cables with my finger nails... no tools, just peeled/pinched off the two layers of insulation with my nails.

    If you can eyeball the cables somehow, may be worth checking the writing on the jackets to verify if it is RG6 grade, ideally quad-shielded. Not the best pic to demonstrate it, but hopefully gives an idea of how the writing may look:IMG_7343-768x603


    Oh... on the topic of cabling, make sure you don't have any really short jumpers.  With RG6 coax, there shouldn't be any 3 foot or shorter cables.  It may sound weird, but it has to deal with how radio waves can reflect back from the connectors at the ends and can risk signal corruption.  It is an easy thing to miss.  The older thinner cabling they used to use didn't need much length to guard against it.

  • CrabbyCrabby Posts: 15
    Jan 09, 2020

    @RAIST5150I cannot Thank You enough for your time and effort helping me.   There is a 3 foot coax piece between the wall and modem.  I  should have a longer cable around I can try swapping in for the reflection issue you mentioned.   Otherwise there are only 2 other coax cables.  One of them was replaced by one of the techs recently (enterring the house), the final is the longest and oldest piece, running the length of the house.   If the shorty isnt the cause,  I am cetainly  willing to replace to long one to make sure thats not the issue either.


  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 777 ✭✭✭✭
    Jan 09, 2020
    So many little things that can contribute to instability... bad connector here, a pinched cable there, line running through a mud puddle or a squirrel munched a line on the pole... can be a death by a thousand paper cuts kind of thing. Sometimes hard to think of all the off the wall things that could be going wrong... once saw a report that a user's LTE phone was causing issues because of poorly shielded devices on the network.

    But, if you can rule everything out in the home it becomes easier to push for escalation. Just sucks that sometimes you may have to do a lot of that legwork... they don't want to be fishing around inside your house too much.

    Very frustrating.

    If it hasn't been done yet, may want to have them closely check the quality of signal across that main line, especially if it is really old.

    Coax is a strange medium. It is basically a long antenna carrying a radio signal inside it. For it to work properly the center conductor has to stay aligned at the proper distance from the outer shielding so the resistance stays between 73 and 77 ohms (not to mention the need for good shielding and ground to block stray signal bleed). Too sharp of a bend, something pinching/stressing it so that the inner insulation cracks/separates, indoor grade cable exposed to outdoor elements... lots of things can skew the integrity over time.
  • krel_2018krel_2018 Posts: 256
    Jan 09, 2020

    i am not surprized that i'm not the only one with these issues!!!! i must have had 40 techs out to my house and only 3 knew what was going on!!! the others i dunno what's wrong with em maybe they need to be retrained or maybe there lazy and didn't want to do there job who knows!!! i did call spectrum and demanded a refund for my video service i got the refund!!! i brought the boxes back in after i disconnected the t.v. i wound going back with directv there HD is almost as good as there 4K you can barely tell the difference. and once verizon lights up there 5G in my second home they can cut the internet to!!!

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