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Charlie's Soap

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Tuesday, October 30
I'm not set up for patience.

I spend a lot of time bitching about my Comcastic Internet connection, or, not connection as it may be, so, I tried to do something about it.

In essence, the connection just kind of randomly drops out pretty frequently as of late. There seems to be no pattern.

It's actually made Busy Girl look like she's in one of those Sprint (I think?) commercials where the people are discussing something of dire importance on cell phones, and, one person's connection drops just as they are making some sort of critical response.

She'll be IM-ing, and, joking around with someone who might have mockingly insulted her, and, the connection drops just as she is ready to type "HA, HA!", thus leaving the other person worried and, frantically typing, "I was just kidding! Don't be mad. Are you mad? Hello? Hello? Just answer me!"

I called Comcast to finally try to do something about it.

When the young lady answered, I explained that the connection drops frequently, and, I was wondering if she could see any problem on her side with my connection. As a matter of fact, it did it while I was on the phone with her.

Comcastic employee: "We don't have you set up for wireless, you'll need to try bypassing your router."

Me: "OK, but, this is kind of a new problem, do you show me getting all the data you're sending?"

Comcastic employee: "Yes, but, we can't support your 3rd party router."

Me: "OK, but, can you tell me if I am receiving all the data Comcast is sending?"

Comcastic employee: "Yeah, I guess so. You'll just have to bypass your router, and, then you should be able to use the Internet."

Me: "OK, so you want me to do that so you can troubleshoot it?"

Comcastic employee: "No, if you do it then you should be able to use the Internet."

Me: "So, you're saying if I want to use the Internet that I pay handsomely for each and every month that I must rewire my computer?"

Comcastic employee: "Yes".

Me: "OK, sometimes we get wild around here, and, we use BOTH the desktop AND the laptop. What do we do then?"

Comcastic employee: "You're not set up for wireless. We show you as only getting one IP address at a time."

Me: "Hmm. That's interesting, this is a new-ish problem. We have never had it before, and, I am most certainly 'set-up' for wireless, I did it myself."

Comcastic employee: "We can't support a 3rd party router."

Me: "So, you're telling me that in order for you to do anything at all for me I have to not only pay you to come install my wireless network, I must also rent a router from you at an additional monthly charge?"

Comcastic employee: "Yes."

Me: "You're serious, aren't you?"

Comcastic employee: "Yes."

Me: "I'm flabbergasted."

Comcastic employee: "What?'

Me; "Nevermind."

Comcastic employee:"Is there anything else I can help you with today?"

I think I'll try that business model.

I'm going to make it so you can't read any other blogs but mine.

When you ask me about it, I tell you that you are free to read any blog you want as long as you don't use a computer to do it.

ADDED: OK, one more time, y'all:

I do not expect them to service my router, I wanted them to check the signal, and, that wasn't going to happen on that call, obviously.

I do, however, admit to getting on a little tangent with her, but, I never asked her to do anything with the router.

Her solution of just bypass the router, and, have a nice day was not OK.

She was maintaining that checking the signal was not an option for me since I had a router, and, I know that not to be true because the fragility of our signal is well known to them, and, I know the little check routine that they do when you're on the phone.

Sarcastro: if you're around, I tried changing the Vista setting, but, it's still happening. Maybe not as frequently, though.

8:20 AM | Comments (37) |


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Comments

We had a similar problem with them this summer, and part of the problem is their CS folks don't know how to solve the problems either and seem to "make up" solutions. Their techs came to our house 3 or 4 times with all kinds of "solutions" that didn't work either. We finally had it rewired and now have connections except for one computer which doesn't/won't connect to wi-fi?

Try calling back and get another CS's idea as to what the problem is. Good Luck.

Posted by: nina | October 30, 2007 9:12 AM

I just remembered that I started having problems when my IP address magically changed for no particular reason recently. It was, for nearly two years the same and now I'm on a different line or something and have had trouble ever since.

I'm scared to call, though for fear that the Comcast police will come shut me and my wireless router down. I mean, who doesn't have a wireless router these days? Almost no one who has more than one computer in the house.

Posted by: Lesley | October 30, 2007 9:48 AM

Friends that have gone "comcastic" have subsequently gone ballistic. (just typo'd concastic...maybe that is their deal.) Email has not been available for whatever reason and the like. Here is my real question...did the Comcastic employee have an accent of a foreign land? I have made calls to a couple of companies lately and talked to new friends in Mumbai. How can they help you when they are 10,000 miles away?

Posted by: khix | October 30, 2007 10:05 AM

I switched from Comcast as fast I could when Verizon FIOS became available in our area. We had the same drop issues and it really was Comcast's fault, the wiring in our neighborhood is ancient.

Do they have a modem/router combo available? You are renting the modem right? They should be able to just drop off the combo one and you can set it up yourself. (That's what we currently have from Verizon, no extra charge.)

You don't need their router. You need a dedicated line. Call them again, tell them you can't seem to keep an internet connection, and you need a dedicated line. If they don't seem eager to do that, threaten to lose them and go to DSL. I have a network set up for three computers at my house, using my own router that I set up myself and I don't have any problems - and I've used three different ISPs, including Comcast. It's the line, it's not you.

We had the same issue with Comcast. Our Belkin router was just fine, but Comcast's box kept stopping. They tried to say it wasn't their problem since our cable TV was still working, ha! With no solutions offered on their end we finally switched to Verizon's deal and locked in a $15 a month rate for DSL for life. Free router to boot. Haven't dropped a signal since, knock wood.

Posted by: Keli | October 30, 2007 11:09 AM

They are oh-so-helpful, aren't they? I especially like my cable/internet bill which states (each month) "Thank you for choosing So-And-So" when clearly I have no choice because they have the monopoly on this business where I live and SHOULDN'T THAT BE ILLEGAL?

It gives me new ideas for routers and where to shove them.

That really sucks! Sorry.

Next time your sink drips or your toilet won't flush, call the water company and see if they will come out and fix it.

NES isn't going to come out and change your light bulbs for you and string your christmas lights.

Comcast isn't going to be responsible for the working order of your computer, dvd player, cb radio, phonograph, wireless router, Xbox or any other piece of consumer electronics you have hooked up. They provide a connection to the internet through a modem. That's it.

After that, it's on you. If you want them to be responsible for your home networking, sign up for Comcast Home Networking.

I had a similar problem with Time Warner, but they didn't care that I had a wireless router. I first replaced the router and it was better. I later replaced the modem (free switch out at TW) and it has been GREAT since then. (Knock on wood).

Sarcastro, I don't want them to be responsible for anything other than the connection.

I was just mystified that there was no effort to troubleshoot the problem when I'm reasonably sure it is their connection.

I did get on a little tangent about her solution to bypass my router if I want to use their service since I've had the router several years without incident.

I suggest...

1. rethink the provider

and / or

2. Call the router help desk.
-d

I left Comcast for just this reason. Though now that they have software in place to "fix" network traffic (read blocks Bittorrent and other programs), there is no chance of me going back.

But I do understand that you may wish (or may have to depending on location) stay with them. Don't be afraid to 1. Escalate. Everybody has a supervisor, and if they are not going to make an effort to check your issue, find somebody that will. 2. This one is a bit more questionable... LIE. You know that the wireless router is not the problem, so don't mention it. Tell them you are plugged into the router, and let them work from there, kepping the rep from choosing the "easy way out" of telling you they can't support you because of the wireless router. 3. There are a number of websites and test programs you can use to test your speed and connection yourself. Find one and give it a whirl.

So sorry that sinks!

Busy Mom, I never thought it would come to this. But I am quickly reaching a point where I am relieved to hear a recording from the communication experts (ie. Internet providers, telephone companies). The conversation is usually more intelligent than the stuff I get with a live voice.

They don't call it Comcrap for nothing. I highly suggest DSL.

I literally get a sick stomach thinking about calling any kind of computer support service. I would pay extra just to have someone who I could understand and oh I don't know actually be able to help me.

We moved to Nashville this summer and got Comcast DSL. My husband has spent countless hours on the phone with their customer service (I use the term lightly) people. He is a computer geek so when the person on the phone reads to him out of the manual, he knows that they have no idea what they are talking about. He finally go someone on the phone with a slight amount of computer knowledge but that person couldn't help him either. They've sent out 3 technicians - all of whom leave shaking their heads. We are switching back to DSL because we are sick of dropping our signal!

My wireless connection suddenly went kaput about two weeks ago (comcast). I unplugged the router and the wired connection is now fine. I haven't tried it with a new router, though.

Do they have some kind of IP blocking in place that says you can only have one IP address? We were running two computers almost all the time, one wired and one wireless connection but then it just stopped working. Like you said, a newish problem.

I haven't called them yet because I've been in that black hole already. Never going there again. And when my 6-month promo price is up, I'm going back to DSL.

Gotta love those "helpful" employees! When hubby and I had a problem with our router, we called support...after going through 3 people to find someone who spoke the same language we were told that perhaps we should go out and buy a new computer...a PC cause he didn't know how to help us on our Mac. We pitched the router and bought a new one of those instead...a different model..with helpful tech support. BUY A NEW COMPUTER???? How about you guys making a product that ACTUALLY does what you say it does???

We've all been there and I, personally, don't even want the tee shirt.

I just used your unfortunate tale as a reference for my Wednesday blog post: http://blog.feefifoto.com/2007/10/customer-servic.html

Course when comcast comes out, they will and then charge you a thirty dollar service fee, which they didn't tell you about. When you call to complain, they will remove it but try to sell you a $3 a month service plan for them to come and service their equipment and when you say, um hello, I am not going to pay you a service fee to come out and service the equipment that I am renting from you each month, they will hang up on you. Oh wait, that is my problem.....lol But, thinking about it..my IP address changed as well? If they are weeding out third party routers then we will be changing...pronto. Did you try setting the IP addresses manually for each computer, under the range set by your router. WE have sadly four wireless computers and each is set manually.

OK, this wasn't Comcast it was SBC. I was the head of the IT department for a home builder and we were having internet issues at one of the building sites. We used a Palm to sync the production schedule to the main office. Anyway, I called about it and they said they couldn't help me until I was at the site (which was about 40 minutes away), so I went to the site and called again. Then they said it was a problem in my area. So the next couple of days I wait, I call again because there is still a problem, again they tell me I need to be there. So I go, and call, and start discussing the problem and I tell them that the connection is not steady and it is causing the sync to fail. She says they do not support Palm syncing... I say I know I just want a steady connection. She says that it is outside the scope of their support, I say a steady connection is outside the scope of your support?? She says yes. :)

Gotta love the customer support!

Tis time to rethink the provider. No matter if they can or can't fix the problem, customer service is 90% of the issue. No one wants crappy customer service. Send 'em a message and leave (or tell them you are leaving and why).

Ohhhh, didn't you just want to shove the phone up her....

You know, I have mine plugged right into the frea-akin' cable box and it's been doing the SAME THING LATELY (I'm in Nashville).

Constantly dropping out... I'll click a link and it won't load for 23423 years, or I'll try to load a page and get the "you're not connected to the internet" message....

I want to burn down their offices, but I don't think it'd help at all.

*sigh*

You know, I was just reading all the other comments, and thinking... we just got a new computer here, and it's been doing it ever since then.

I have also noticed that I used to be able to block my IP on my sitemeter account, and around the same time as we started using the new comp, and the drop-outs starting, my IP address has been changing constantly (noticed b/c I was showing up in my traffic reports on sitemeter and investigated it).

Something screwy's going on, and I don't like it.

I hate Comcast.
That said, I had the same problem. I called them, they sent a technician who replaced a few cables and connecters for the price of a service call @ 29.95 and everything has been ducky ever since.
I had also bought and installed my own router. Nothing was ever mentioned about that.
For kicks and giggles though, to see if it has something to do with it, I would suggest bypassing the router for a day or two and see if it still happens. It probably will, and that will shut her up.
I also agree that the quality of help depends on who you get, so if at first yuou don't succeed, try, try again. And move up the food chain if the 1st tier CSRs don't help.

Posted by: rose | October 30, 2007 11:27 PM

I totally understand your pain. My parents have to use comcast because that's all they can get in their area. Personally I like my DSL, its quick and I don't pay extra for a wireless router.

But ugh!

I don't use Comcast because we have a family friendly service giving us DSL. We do have a router/wireless system to hook my computer, Tony's computer and the laptop into. Once in awhile we have drop out issues, mostly in the morning or evening - like yesterday morning.

Could it be that one of your neighbors is causing interference?

That is the only thing we can figure out with us.

You know what my husband does for a living and we do not have Comcast at our house. That's all I'm sayin'! ;)

This is EXACTLY what is going on at my house -- and has been going on for about 2 months.

I have 2 bars of signal strength and at any minute the internet signal will go kaput. (Am in Nashville in Belmont Neighborhood, FYI)

Wow, I think we should all collectively storm the Comcast offices and demand better service.
Because, this sucks.

Posted by: Elizabeth | October 31, 2007 12:10 PM

I think someone mentioned this above, but, it is entirely possible it's your router going out. I have never had one of those last more than 3 yrs. They have each gotten unreliable and then I get a new one, and poof, the Internet works again.

So, try hooking one computer directly to your cable modem one evening when you feel like experimenting. If you have no problems, maybe it is your dead router, and you must pay your $100 or whatever to the Internet gods for a new one, and you won't have to talk to the Comcastic people again.

I hate them too. I wish I could switch to DSL, but when I had a land line phone, it went out for 3 days every time it rained. I spent several months trying to convince Bellsouth this was, in fact, their problem, and that something needed to be re-wired or insulated or something, and I finally gave up.

I am sorry this happened to you, but not to completely take their side, the rep is kind of right.

As long as the signal is coming into the house and you can connect directly to the cable line and can get on the internet, they have done their job.

They're not responsible for your router getting a signal to your other computers unless it is their router. Try calling the router company to help you.

But I agree the comcast rep could have been a bit nicer.

My comcastic connection started dropping numerous times during the day -- drove me absolutely crazy as I work from home and the internet is my lifeline. Finally gave in and rented their router combo. They still had to come out and "fix?" it twice, but it's been good for the past two months or so (now I'm jinxing myself...)

Posted by: lisa | November 1, 2007 8:31 PM

Bypass the router and dial into your modem.

Type into the address bar:192.168.100.1

Look for your signal. It is measured in dbMv.

Anything above -10 is good on the downstream
Anything below 51 is good on the upstream.

Lisa, your problem sounds like a signal problem rather than a hardware issue. When they come out, make them change the drop coming from the street to your house.

I had the same problem on and off for weeks. Finally after a lot of screaming and hollering we finally got a tech out to our house that knew what he was doing and gave us some great info. Problem: Comcast has upgraded their system drastically over the years. Unfortunately, they never upgraded any lines that are going in our homes and do so on an as needed basis. Even then they try not to do it. The line I had going into my house is now obsolete and could barely support the system I have. We constantly were losing our connections (we have phone, tv and internet through comcast). Then when they FINALLY upgraded our lines they wanted to charge us. NOT HAPPENING! So after many fits and threats they upgraded (no cost) and we've never had a problem since. Don't give up. And I would suggest calling them tell them you have a connection problem and let them come out. Half the time the people over the phone are reading from a book and have NO IDEA what they're doing!
Good Luck!!!

Posted by: Margarita Momma | November 3, 2007 2:03 PM

I had the same problem on and off for weeks. Finally after a lot of screaming and hollering we finally got a tech out to our house that knew what he was doing and gave us some great info. Problem: Comcast has upgraded their system drastically over the years. Unfortunately, they never upgraded any lines that are going in our homes and do so on an as needed basis. Even then they try not to do it. The line I had going into my house is now obsolete and could barely support the system I have. We constantly were losing our connections (we have phone, tv and internet through comcast). Then when they FINALLY upgraded our lines they wanted to charge us. NOT HAPPENING! So after many fits and threats they upgraded (no cost) and we've never had a problem since. Don't give up. And I would suggest calling them tell them you have a connection problem and let them come out. Half the time the people over the phone are reading from a book and have NO IDEA what they're doing!
Good Luck!!!

Posted by: Margarita Momma | November 3, 2007 2:04 PM