Saturday, March 18, 2006

Road Runner Cable Stalling

Ok. If you don't see another post for a little while, our Road Runner cable Internet connection is almost dead.

In my March 8th post, I mentioned that I was noticing some page-load stalls. I could still get RocketBoom, but it kept freezing up on the downloads. Downloads of, well....downloads....also would get partially done, then stall out--regardless of website or type of download. Then after a couple of minutes, they would pick up again.

I called the Time Warner help desk and after convincing them I was a real-life sysadmin and did know what I was talking about, got them to run a set of tests on their end to the cable modem. The rep. reported the highly technical report analysis findings as being "all lights are green," but a little low, however not enough to be concerned about.

By the way, how can network quality lights be low but still green? Do they mean dim? I don't really approve of using a color gradient to describe network issues. I prefer technical details like packet-loss rates and Time to Live and Time data. But if colors are what Time Warner prefers, maybe they could switch to a Crayola Crayon Method: (Brick Red=bad, Mountain Meadow=good, Neon Carrot=we better monitor this.)

Anyway...I was asked to call back when I saw the problem "really bad". OK, fair enough--I'll get my daughter's box of crayons out and call back when my Internet network quality hits "Razzmatazz."

Today it is REALLY bad. Above, you can see the speed test I was running on their own site. I had a 11Kbps rate. I don't think that number is even listed on their little cool color chart. It is like, sub dial-up quality.

I did all the usual tests before calling. I checked Alvis's Linux system, Lavie's Laptop, and our XP system. All poor. Then I tried shutting down the ZoneAlarm firewall and even our anti-virus app (since I was still sitting safely behind our physical router/firewall). Same problem. Then I shut down the router and piped the signal directly from the cable modem to the XP pc. Same thing--really bad quality. Finally, I grabbed one of my Linux Live CD's and booted my XP box directly into Linux, bypassing the XP OS entirely. Same thing.

Soooo, by this point my l33t sysadmin skillz were telling me that I don't think it was my hardware or my software that had the issue. Back on the phone to TimeWarner. Got a tech pretty quickly and again went over my troubleshooting steps. Asked him to run a test down to their cable modem box. Guess what he saw....?

Yep. Packet loss. LOTS of packet loss. Way so much packet loss that they transferred me to a local office and I (hopefully) have a technician coming out tomorrow to 1) test their lines out here, 2) test their modem out here, or 3) replace the lines and/or the modem. We will see....and I will keep you posted!

Here are some "third-party" cable/dsl/network speed test links off their website:

I'm not griping. Really. The technicians got on the line both times very quickly with me and didn't waste my or their time when I explained all that I had done in troubleshooting before. They scheduled me for a next-day technician's visit (on a Sunday) and we have been very happy with our experience with Time Warner's Road Runner network service. I just hope it turns out well tomorrow. To put it in lingo I used to use in a prior life..."Time Warner now has an opportunity for customer service excellence achievement."

In other news.....Full Metal style,

I know that the TV cable signal has nothing to do with the digital Internet signal. I just am in a nervous state that the TV cable will go out tonight. It's the final episode (51) of Full Metal Alchemist on Cartoon Network tonight. It looks to be a real doozie.

So, if you missed it because your cable went is a link to an episode summary of the show....spoilers are ahead if you click...just don't blame me.

See you soon,


Jim Thompson said...

"I know that the TV cable signal has nothing to do with the digital Internet signal."

Well, except that they arrive by the same wire. I came home Friday afternoon to discover that both our cable TV and cable Internet were out. Snow. No signal. Both were out for about an hour.

Claus said...

Yep. There is that "all your eggs in one basket" thing. That's why Lavie hasn't convinced me to switch to VOIP yet as well on the cable. I know our cell phones could cover the slack, but still....

What has been so frustrating with this issue is that I never know for sure when the problem will strike. Right now my first re-test ran this morning (on average?) at 3896 Kbps. I ran it a couple mins. later and got it at 38 Kbps. It is really hit and miss.

Don't think it is water/etc in their box/line, since when it works-it REALLY works. And a great download can immediately follow one I had to discard. Doesn't seem to be related to any particular time of day either (where I might be hitting peak-traffic hours). I'm kinda curious to find out what's going on. If I was paranoid (which I am not), I might think the modem was getting jammed with some form of IP attack/flood, but I'm not and I'm certain that TW would have seen that from their end in the tests--nice idea but doesn't fully fit the trail-mix I'm looking at.

The one thing I do miss about dial-up is getting a new IP assignment each time. I think the cable IP could also be dynamic, but I haven't had a chance to leave my cable modem off-line long enough to test this theory. I'll ask the technician if he knows...

I don't mind waiting around the house all me a good excuse to hit the big list of "honey-do's".

(Down to 14 Kbps.....sighs...)

Anonymous said...

Just found your post. For over a year, I kept calling them, I was not able to get road runner. They said yes I was connected. Okay, I buy that, I was connected to the internet, but still couldn't use Road Runner. Everything, my TV, my phones, and my computer were always messed up, sometimes all three, at a time. Finally in Dec., 2008, a repairman came out and said they would monitor my Time Warner products. If anything wrong a Tech would be out the next day. Guess what I was right, it was something outside, messing everything up. One thing I have to say, the tech's down there (now not all of them), do not take the time to really listen to what a person is telling them, in other words you are just a dumb person who doesn't know what she's talking about. Well I got at least a refund of $150.00, for my troubles. And yes I cried sometimes, I got so upset, because they just won't listen. Sometimes my TV still messes up, but I know how to tell if it's the station or time warner. All my encore stations freeze up and look like a puzzle. Glad your problem was solved. By the way my computer is messed up now, I have found out any of my programs associated with Microsoft are really messed up. So I went to Firefox and made sure is had no connection to Microsoft. So my email is I can't read any other emails I have out there. Karen