Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!

Discussion in 'Wireless Internet' started by ceg, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. ceg

    Guest

    I bought an SB6121, a month or two before it would have made sense to by a
    6141, but in any event, the Motorola/Arris anything is better than the
    Arris/Arris that Comcast provides.
    I knew I hadn't paid an install fee, and forgot how that happened. I took
    the "$8/month" modem/router, because once upon a time, I had so much
    trouble with cable that they replaced the modem several times before they
    replaced the drop, and I didn't want to have that argument with customer
    owned equipment. But, after a month or two of horrible WiFi, I went with
    the 6121 and an Asus router.
    Mine took a couple of minutes on the phone.

    In a reply to another post, speedtest.comcast.net shows IPv4 and
    IPv6 numbers, speedtest.net only shows IPv4.
     
    , Aug 19, 2015
    #21
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  2. ceg

    ceg Guest

    This is good to know as I knew you'd have experience with the answer.
    These are great test URLs to have handy, and I put them in my
    database. Others will find them useful also. Thanks.
    I find, strangely enough, that if I run two or three sequential tests,
    that the second and/or third test are far faster than the first. I dunno
    why, but, it's almost as if the first test "cleans the pipes" or
    something obscure like that.
    This makes sense, although I had never thought about that before.
    So, basically, run a few tests, and the highest result is the best.
     
    ceg, Aug 19, 2015
    #22
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  3. ceg

    ceg Guest

    I don't remember it saying what the ohms were, but I'll visit this
    weekend, and look at the cable. It had nice long copper wires sticking
    out, so, I think it was home made, but sturdy nonetheless.
    I'll look, this weekend, for RG figures, but I don't remember seeing
    them on the cable when I first bought it. They're getting 90Mbps down
    (and 10 Mbps up) out of both the Costco cable modem and out the back
    of the TP-Link router Ethernet cable, so, it's not too debilitating
    if it's the wrong cable.

    The only bad thing is that they're getting only 60Mbps down over
    the air, but they're stuck on 2.5GHz in a crowded spectrum, so, I'll
    bring an Android phone with InSSIDer installed to check the noise.

    I might even bring a spare ubiquiti nanobridge (Jeff knows what they
    can do) to check the noise spectrum, and if I do, I'll try to capture
    it to show you folks. That won't happen until the weekend though.
     
    ceg, Aug 19, 2015
    #23
  4. ceg

    ceg Guest

    I never heard of "Arris" before. Why do they bother with two names
    anyway? Why not just an "arris" or just a "motorola" modem?
    Comcast told me it's $10 a month for a modem, and $6 for the self install,
    so, prices are different here in California.
    It was pretty quick for me too. The guy just made all the lights blink a
    few times and that was it. About 10 minutes. Maybe 15 but not much more
    (I wasn't timing it though - but it was pretty quick).
    I never understood IPv6, so, I wouldn't know the difference.
     
    ceg, Aug 19, 2015
    #24
  5. Not strange at all. What you're seeing is a problem with the speed
    testing algorithm caused by various devices along the path buffering
    or cacheing the data. Instead of getting an end to end test without
    any intermediate buffering, you're measuring the speed from some
    intermediate devices cache. This happens if the speed test uses
    identical data files for each test, instead of randomizing the data
    for each test. I have not checked if this is the case for any of the
    previously listed speed tests. The usual fix of downloading a large
    amount of data to flush the cache before performing the actual speed
    test doesn't really work because it slows everyone else down and ISP's
    hate that. This is another reason why you want to use the closest
    server, with fewer buffers and caches in the path. Of course, the ISP
    has a vested interest in producing the highest numbers and could
    easily "optimize" their system to produce amazing results that can't
    be duplicated by real applications.
    Or, the highest number is what your ISP is throttling your
    performance. In my office, the best I can do is bursts of 25
    Mbits/sec and sustained traffic of about 12 Mbits/sec. However, when
    it was first installed, I was getting 160 Mbits/sec because on a new
    building installation, the cable installers wanted to know if the
    system could handle the traffic from three business class customers.
    So they temporarily turned off the throttling in order to make the
    test and forgot about it. 160 Mbits/sec is about the maximum that the
    Netgear(?) router could do with DOCSIS 3.0.

    Another performance problem is your local wireless speed. If your
    laptop tests faster with an ethernet connection, than with a wireless
    connection, obviously the wireless is what's slowing you down. For
    example, if you're using 802.11g only, your maximum download speed via
    wireless will be about 25 Mbit/sec. If your cable modem can do 60
    Mbits/sec, the "problem" is in the wireless link.

    I've previously ranted on how to setup a local iperf3 server for
    testing local network speeds, without the need for an online test
    server or even an internet connection. It's interesting to see how
    bad some network devices are when the speed is NOT limited by the
    internet connection. Find your wireless router on this list for a
    clue.
    Wired download:
    <http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/charts/router/view>
    2.4 GHz wireless download:
    <http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/charts/router/bar/111-2_4-ghz-dn-c>
    Note that only a few of top wireless routers can do over 100 Mbits/sec
    on 2.4GHz.
     
    Jeff Liebermann, Aug 19, 2015
    #25
  6. Every time some company produces a decent modem, Motorola buys them.
    The good stuff was made by Netopia and Cayman, both now Motorola
    companies. However, there was quite a bit of absolute junk being
    shipped during the transitions. Now that Motorola own Arris, I expect
    more of the same until things settle down. Incidentally, some of the
    Comcast "gateways" that I detest are made by Pace, which now owns
    2-wire.
    <http://customer.xfinity.com/help-and-support/internet/wireless-gateway-compare/>
    I think TG and TC are Arris, SMC is SMC, DPC are Pace. The Gateway 3
    drives seem decent (i.e. they do dual band). If you simply take
    whatever Comcast is leasing, you're likely to get a Gateway 1 or 2
    until the supply runs out. If you try to buy your own, the only one
    of these on the approved modem list is a Gateway 1 (TG862G).
    Yep. I'm doing much of the same thing for my customers. The only
    problem is if they order phone service from Comcast, I'm stuck with a
    very small list of acceptable "telephony gateway" devices. The latest
    irritation is trying to get an Arris TM722/TM822 activated. They're
    both on the approved modem list:
    <http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net>
    but not listed as "retail". Customers are buying perfectly legal and
    brand new devices from various vendors, only to find that Comcast
    claims that they can't be activated. There's a screwup somewhere. Of
    course, the ONLY retail telephony gateway available is the Gateway 1
    TG862G, which has the wireless problems you describe. I suppose that
    the TM722 and TM822 will magically go back onto the approved retail
    devices as soon as the stock of TG862G junk gateways is depleted.
    I did one yesterday that took about 20 minutes online total. However,
    this was a new modem transplant for an existing customer. I plugged
    in an SB6141, waited about 10 mins for things to settle down. I had a
    computah plugged directly into the modem. I went to some random web
    site and Comcast redirected me to the activation page. I gave it the
    account number and associated phone number. It thrashed around for
    about 10 minutes updating the modem firmware, rebooted twice, and
    worked as expected. However, the old modem was still working so I
    called Comcast support to make sure that the old (customer owned)
    modem will disappear from the bill. I was blessed with a very
    concientious support person, who answered every question except the
    ones that I asked. I guess we'll have to wait for the bill to arrive.
    True. Since Windoze 10 seems to use IPv6 before trying IPv4, that's
    important. I've had a few odd problems which I've avoided by just
    turning off IPv6 in the router until things settle down and I have
    some time to assign the blame.
     
    Jeff Liebermann, Aug 19, 2015
    #26
  7. ceg

    ceg Guest

    :)
     
    ceg, Aug 19, 2015
    #27
  8. ceg

    Robert Green Guest

    It started out being Community Antenna (or Access) TV . . .

    <<The abbreviation CATV is often used for cable television. It originally
    stood for Community Access Television or Community Antenna Television, from
    cable television's origins in 1948: in areas where over-the-air reception
    was limited by distance from transmitters or mountainous terrain, large
    "community antennas" were constructed, and cable was run from them to
    individual homes. The origins of cable broadcasting are even older as radio
    programming was distributed by cable in some European cities as far back as
    1924.>>

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_television
     
    Robert Green, Aug 20, 2015
    #28
  9. Ok. Thanks for the history. However, I'm correct that "CAble TV" is
    the current acronym of choice.

    Some anecdotal history. I got my start in cable with STV
    (Subscription TV) in Smog Angeles in about 1966(?). Back then, the
    acronym had already morphed into "CAble TV". Oddly, the wireless TV
    [1] companies were also calling their stuff "Subscription TV". The
    cable companies needed something to differentiate themselves from the
    wireless companies, so they borrowed the CATV acronym. Notice how
    nobody wanted to invent a new acronym as it was easier to just steal
    one from the competition.

    [1] Don't ask about this:
    <http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/antennas/Misc/slides/subscription-TV-antenna.html>
     
    Jeff Liebermann, Aug 21, 2015
    #29
  10. ceg

    Robert Green Guest

    Indubitably. I just remember recently seeing the two acronyms and their
    original meaning and thought I would share. (-"
    To that I say "Digital Versatile Disk!"
    <http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/antennas/Misc/slides/subscription-TV-antenna.ht
    ml>

    Ever see an early Saturday Night Live where (I believe) Dan Ackroyd and
    Steven Martin are dressed as farmers looking off into the distance and
    saying: "What the heck IS that dang thing?"

    My question exactly. It looks like a roto-tiller for Lilliputians.
     
    Robert Green, Aug 21, 2015
    #30
  11. That's what happens when acronyms are chosen by marketing or
    management. The theory is that the acronym has to be clever, while
    what it represents can be totally contorted and insane, because
    everyone is only going to use the acronym. The company with the most
    acronyms (and patents) wins.
    Sigh. I told you not to ask, which proves that nobody listens to me.
    It's an early version of a bootleg wireless subscription TV antenna
    and receiver front end. It was favored by the Z-channel[1] wireless
    TV pirates of the early 1970's in Smog Angeles because it had more
    gain than the official antenna and therefore worked at longer
    distances. Officially, it's a "disk yagi" antenna, which is roughly a
    yagi TV antenna, using disks instead of rods. It's actually a very
    good antenna that quite easy to design and build:
    <http://www.idealantenas.com.br/ingles/produto/yagi disc19/yagidisc19_ing.htm>
    Notice the lack of side and back lobes.

    The uglier and stranger looking the antenna, the better it works.

    Now, go away please. I just returned from Costco with a new
    Chromebook and some computah goodies for me and I want to play.


    [1] Extra credit to Jeff Angus for reminding me of the company name.
    <http://www.amazon.com/Z-Channel-A-Magnificent-Obsession/dp/B000AQKV0I>
     
    Jeff Liebermann, Aug 22, 2015
    #31
  12. ceg

    Robert Green Guest

    Somehow the rule of "expand the acronym" for the first use in an article has
    pretty much fallen by the wayside. I come across at least a few every day
    that I have to look up because they're not as self-explanatory as the author
    may have thought. To be fair, it might have been an editor that elided the
    acronym expansion, but as far as I can tell, very few websites, newspapers
    and RATV stations use editors anymore. )-:
    FWIW, the Global Language Monitor also named the Most Confusing Tech Acronym
    of 2012:


    The winner is SOA (solutions oriented architecture).

    I think it actually means "Shi+ Out of Acronyms."
    I listened, I just didn't obey. (-: I don't obey anyone. You wouldn't
    want to infringe on my personal freedom by expecting me to make an exception
    for you, would you?
    Ah, yagi, another word origin to look up. I didn't expect there would be
    homework.

    Alas, it's not Yaw Aligned Geosynchronous Inductor or any such thing:

    A highly directional and selective shortwave antenna consisting of a
    horizontal conductor of one or two dipoles connected with the receiver or
    transmitter and of a set of nearly equal insulated dipoles parallel to and
    on a level with the horizontal conductor.

    That's what it is alright. Origin. 1940s: named after Hidetsugu Yagi
    (1886-1976).

    When I bought my first radial arm saw I went to Sears to buy a dado blade
    kit and of course, there was an attractive young salesclerk working the
    power tools register that day who clearly didn't know what a dado blade was
    but probably thought it was something that sounded similar.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dado is full of dadoes.

    FTR, its origin is from 1655-65 and might be from Italian: die, cube,
    pedestal, or perhaps an Arabic dad game, Now what, you might ask, is an
    Arab dad game? Dunno. Google is not being helpful:

    Angry Arab dad over card game - YouTube
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCzmTXQ7UXg

    Ah, Google. It's just not very good at such searches, still.
    Upon first read I thought we were talking about physical lobes on the
    antenna and then I realized you're talking about the polar graph of the
    radiated power. I poked around Google but couldn't find out why this style
    of antenna is side/rear lobe-lacking. I'll keep looking. I assume it's the
    size and linear design that does it. Obviously I am not a radio geek but
    rather a cross-post asylum seeker from AHR, which seems to have a terminal
    nitwit troll infection.
    Apparently. While the specs don't match the parabolic antenna I use for
    Wi-Fi, the size of this yagi antenna and its reduced wind load certainly
    have advantages.
    Don't get me started on Chromebooks, Android, Stagefright and Google. My
    favorite experience with the Chromebook was trying to get connectivity help.
    No help available unless you're on line, no ability to get on line unless
    you can get help with the various settings. A bit of a paradox.

    Another fine experience for these aging eyes was to discovering how tiny the
    icons are even on a large screen. Still haven't found a good way around
    that. Also, no tool-tips but plenty of oddball things happen with
    mouseovers sending me to pages I am pretty sure I didn't select.

    Still, at $150 it beats the hell out of a lot of other options, has HDMI
    output and sort of even works with my old PS-2 keyboard and Intellimouse
    trackball using a USB to PS/2 adapter. Unfortunately, the trackball seems
    to require three times as many revolutions to travel the same distance as it
    does hooked into a PC. Can't find any settings that alter that behavior.
    Solve that problem and I will publicly proclaim you as "hero patriae" (for a
    day).
    Netflixers out there can rent it (as I just did - sounds good) at:

    http://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/Z-Channel-A-Magnificent-Obsession/70022311

    Now go play with your Chromebook which I've renamed my Crohnbook because it
    gives me such a bellyache. Leaving in a positive note, the Crohnbook does
    have a far more sensitive wi-fi card than many of my other wi-fi devices and
    works in places the others won't.

    I also understand the newest Chromebooks can run lots of older legacy
    applications but don't know the details. I guess the industry has finally
    realized that end users are getting quite reluctant to abandon something
    that works for the next "greatest" thing in computing.
     
    Robert Green, Aug 22, 2015
    #32
  13. ceg

    Ralph Mowery Guest

    Yes, the lobes are the often unwanted directions and ammount of signal
    pickup/radiated of the antenna.

    The Yagi type antennas can be designed for maximum gain or minimum side
    lobes with decent gain. It all has to do with the spacing of the elements,
    the number, and the lengths of them. The physical size (length of the
    boom) does not have too much to do with the side lobes, but the longer it
    is, the larger and narrower the main beam usually is.

    If designed for maximum gain, it will usually have larger and more side
    lobes. Sometimes the bandwidth (frequency range) will have a factor in the
    lobes. OUtside of the design frequency range the lobes become very
    pronounced and the main beam may be distorted and lots smaller.
     
    Ralph Mowery, Aug 22, 2015
    #33
  14. ceg

    Robert Green Guest

    I assume that spacing corresponds in some way to the frequency you wish to
    transmit or receive. Conceptually I still don't get why a rod with all
    those disks "skewered" like a shish-kabob can focus the radio energy like a
    parabolic dish.
    Thanks for the info. I would like to be able to send and receive wifi from
    a nearby free hot spot but the signal's not quite strong enough. A yagi
    antenna looks like it could do the trick except that my tablet and netbook
    don't have external antenna ports for wifi. I asked someone once and they
    said an antenna connection would cause serious signal loss at wifi
    frequencies but I don't know if that's true. I know that some people have
    opened up various wireless devices and added antenna jacks, but I doubt I
    will be doing that.
     
    Robert Green, Aug 23, 2015
    #34
  15. ceg

    Ralph Mowery Guest

    It would take a good diagram to explaine that. I doubt I can explain it in
    words.

    Try to picture a radio wave comming toward the antenna like a flat line. If
    only a single antenna element the line would mostly pass the antenna and
    only a small portion would be received. Now picture the antenna with many
    elements and the line comming toward the antenna. As it hits the first
    element, it bends like a rubber band, the more elements it passes the more
    it bends. By the time it gets to the driven element (the one that actually
    picks up the signal) the signal is bent into a long cigar type shape and
    more of it will hit the driven element.

    The length and the spacing of the elements are related to the frequency you
    want to receive or transmitt.

    There are several software programs that let you do computer modleing of the
    antennas. Here is a link to one that has a free demo program that allows
    for simple antenas.
    http://www.eznec.com/

    Most all of them are based on the same basic software program.
     
    Ralph Mowery, Aug 23, 2015
    #35
  16. ceg

    Guest

    I think that's far better than Motorola being purchased by Arris.
    Shudder... 2-wire was so much fun when AT&T rolled DSL into Lake County.
    They brought guys over from Santa Rosa to do some of the installs, and I
    think they cleared out the Santa Rosa dumpsters of all the old 2-wire boxes.
    (but we've chatted about that already.)
    I had phone service from Mediacom for a while. Now that portability works
    so well, you can change VoIP telco providers as easily as gas stations.
    I thought the CableCo voice was a "good thing" because it used a separate
    channel, just like the XfinityWiFi. No impact on your modem speed, no
    collisions, better voice.
    If they reuse returned modems, that might take a long time.
    Mediacom didn't even rebox the modems. They'd give you one in a plastic
    bag.
    IPv6 was a real headache for my son's new XBoxOne. You couldn't disable
    IPv6 in the TG862G, but it didn't work well, or XBox didn't, or something.
    On Ubuntu, I see that connections to some of the major sites are IPv6.
     
    , Sep 1, 2015
    #36
  17. True, but Motorola is far from perfect. Every time they buy a modem
    company, the first thing that happens is the pipeline is crammed full
    of rejects, returns, refurbished, and junk modems for about 3 months.
    I think the company they bought counted their backlog of repair jobs
    as shippable inventory when the company was appraised, and Motorola
    just shipped everything.
    Yep. I saw the dumpster crammed full of failed and rejected 2-wire
    power supplies delivered from the local AT&T yard. Why AT&T kept so
    many dead power supplies around their yard will remain a mystery.

    Well, I lied a little. While the Arris TM722G and TM822G telephony
    modems are not listed as "retail" on the Comcast web site, Comcast
    will activate them if you scream or complain loudly. They can be had
    for $30 to $70 on eBay.
    Comcast really wants to be a phone provider (without all the telco
    common carrier restrictions) and is doing their best to become the
    carrier of choice. Of course, that doesn't include remembering to
    supply backup batteries for the modems and gateways, but I'll forgive
    them for trying to gouge and extra $35 from those that complain. If
    they keep up such practices, they may achieve their goal of emulating
    all the bad parts of AT&T.

    The cable telephony modem, which uses a separate channel is the better
    way to do phone for the reasons you indicate. Another advantage is
    that the jitter on the telephone RF channel is quite good, while the
    jitter on the Comcast data channel is variable, apparently depending
    mostly on channel loading. I'm on Comcast but using Future-Nine for
    VoIP on the data channel. There are plenty of dropouts and garble but
    at $6.25/month, I won't complain (much).
    I don't know what Comcast does with their returns.
    Chuckle. I should have predicted what is happening. Comcast cranked
    up the speed for home users about 2 weeks ago. I'm seeing 90
    Mbits/sec down and either 6 or 12 Mbits/sec up for both IPv4 and IPv6.
    Both are obviously rate limited. However, that was 2 weeks ago. Now,
    I'm seeing the same 90 Mbits/sec for IPv4, while IPv6 has dropped to
    about 40 Mbit/sec. What seems to be happening is that the new Windoze
    10 machines favor IPv6 if it's available. Comcast seems to have some
    kind of IPv6 to IPv4 gateway for those web sites and servers that only
    terminate with IPv4. The Windoze 10 machine favors IPv6 for
    everything, so the gateway is probably getting swamped by the Windoze
    10 traffic. I've again had to turn off IPv6 in some customers routers
    to maintain performance as the congestions seems to produce some
    dropped packets.

    Tomorrow, I do a service call for a dialup customer. I wonder if I
    even remember how to setup and use dialup internet?
     
    Jeff Liebermann, Sep 1, 2015
    #37
  18. ceg

    Guest

    I usually retest URLs that I post, just to make sure they are still live
    (Jeff had a discussion with someone else who needed to take a little time
    out on that issue, recently.)

    I discovered that my home IPv6 wasn't IPv6-ing.
    I used my set of URLs:
    http://ipv6-test.com/ (look at the "api" tab)
    http://test-ipv6.comcast.net/
    http://speedtest.comcast.net/

    hmmm...
    Oh, right! Someone suggested that IPv6 has no stateful filters, and it
    would be impossible to block inbound attacks.
    Is that true?
    I left "Enable Router Advertisement" turned off, which killed my external
    IPv6 while I investigated, and I guess I never finished investigating.
     
    , Sep 1, 2015
    #38
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