Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Very frustrating . . .

I am an IT Manager. The company I work for has locations throughout the southeast. My WAN is comprised of a mixture of permanent and temporary offices. My preference for an Internet connection is a cable modem at the temporary offices. I also choose to do cable modems at some permanent locations as well. Usually I praise cable modems and especially the quality I normally get from Comcast. Not today.

I have an office that was recently setup with a Comcast cable modem. Since it was installed a couple of weeks ago the connection has been up and down. I only install enterprise class products at our locations so I have a reasonable amount of confidence that it is not my equipment causing the problems. Comcast screwed up the provisioning of the modem initially which took us down for a weekend and they have been on-site twice to fix this current issue. I have lost track of the number of phone calls we have had with them about this problem.

Yesterday the Comcast tech calls when he gets on-site and says he knows what the problem is – he said the cable feeding the Comcast cable modem is the wrong kind of cable (the previous tech said the same thing but did nothing to fix it) and he can fix it for $32.50. That is cheap in my book to fix a problem so I told him to proceed.

After he left the office it dropped off our WAN three more times and is worse now than before he arrived. This morning I go to the office myself and I immediately see what is causing the problem. The cable feeding the Comcast cable modem is RG-59! At a minimum it should be RG-6 and best choice would be RG-6 Quad Shield. Hmmmm . . . I thought the $32.50 got me a new cable yesterday . . . what happened?

You are never going believe what the Comcast tech actually did . . . he unhooked the RG-59 from the Comcast cable modem, put it on a 3-way splitter, then put a 4’ jumper cable from the splitter to the Comcast cable modem. Uh . . . can someone please explain to me how inserting an additional 7-9 db of loss helps an already weak signal? What in the world is Comcast teaching their techs these days? Even a newbie tech with a rudimentary understanding of signal loss would have known to not do this. I'm not even going to dig into the logic of how putting a good cable AFTER a crappy cable makes things better on the end. That should be a no-brainer.

As you can imagine I was/am steamed.

After spending nearly an hour on the phone with Comcast tech support this morning (and getting my call disconnected once) and then getting escalated to TIER 2 support I finally convinced them to send another tech out and to have him replace the cable drop from the tap to the modem. The Comcast tap is only about 60 feet away and is indoors – it is just down the hallway. Oh . . .and when I say tap . . . I mean a real-honest-to-goodness-for-real-tap. The Comcast hardline terminates inside the building.

The cable run should be fairly easy so hopefully after today this will all be resolved. Developing . . .

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