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baess

join:2011-01-28

SB5100 Is it still viable?

Long post please bare with me: Bought the SB5100 so long ago I can't even remember exactly when, probably 6+ yag. It worked good with my WOW internet which at the time was probably 2 Mbps. A year or two later started having problems with slow speed/no connections mostly during peak times. WOW decided it was my modem since they no longer provided firmware updates (it was a long time ago but I think this is what they told me). Switched to their Webstar 2100 rental and things worked well with a few hiccups (one Webstar went bad) here and there.

Recently I was having some speed issues (now on a 8/1 plan) and although WOW thought they knew what was causing it they replaced my rental with an older Webstar model. This issue and the fact that WOW doubled the rental fee got me thinking about my SB5100 that's been sitting on a shelf for years.

Found out WOW now "supports" all Motorolas (save one) so I hooked up the SB5100, had WOW activate it and it works...to a point. Speeds will be spot on some times but other times will vary. It probably happens more during peak times. So the SB5100 can get the 8 I pay for but at other times it really craps out. WOW says they don't provide firmware updates to modems they don't supply so I have what I have:

Software Version: SB5100-2.3.1.3-SCM00-NOSH
Hardware Version: 3
MIB Version: II
GUI Version: 1.0
VxWorks Version: 5.4

So my questions are many. Does the varying speeds I am seeing indicate the modem is bad? Could something else like the ISP having issues (which they seem to do quite often) be causing it? Is there any definitive way to determine if the modem is good or bad? Will doing a "reset all defaults" through 198.168.100 do anything?

This is really confusing me. My analytical brain says if the modem was bad it would be bad all the time but I don't know enough about it to be sure. I probably will buy a SB6120 at some point but if I can be confident with this one I can save the rental fee to help save for the SB6120, which since I'm unemployed is a big plus.

Answers to these questions and any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated.



BryanInPHX
Premium
join:2001-03-06
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Cox HSI

2 edits

You should post your question in the WOW forum >> »W.O.W.

My answer is yes an SB5100 is still a viable option, in most cases a cable modem either works or it doesn't. If it is working it should be fine.
SB5100 Spec Sheet >> »broadband.motorola.com/catalog/p···heet.pdf

If WOW is upgraded to DOCSIS 3 in your area it might be a consideration to purchase a Moto SB6120, but if you're only on a 8/1 plan, it might be overkill. If you do decide to purchase a new modem then you should get a DOCSIS 3 modem anyway.
»WOW supporting Motorola SB6120 as of November 1st

I read some of the WOW forum, and I have a hard time believing they can't/won't upgrade the firmware of a modem they do not provide. Every other cable provider does, I'm fairly certain. It is in the interest of the cable co to update firmwares to insure compatibility with their head-end equipment (CMTS). It is not really possible for the customer to update firmware on a cable modem.

WOW certainly is going to upload a config file to the modem to limit your speed based on your paid tier. So updating firmware should be just as easy.

--
Cox Premier HSI, SB6120, DIR-628, XPSP3 Pro, Win7 Toshiba Satellite A505-S6973
SA8240HDC DVR, Passport Vers: 3.1.085, OS Vers: PowerTV 6.20.75.103sp
DIY-Ext. eSATA DVR Expander No Enclosure Bare HDD - WD Caviar Black WD1002FAEX


baess

join:2011-01-28

2 edits

I have been posting in the WOW forum but thought maybe there were some Motorola experts here. I am pretty convinced WOW will not update the firmware for any modem they do not supply. WOW tells me the SB5100 is the most common non rental but I don't think people are having the problem I am.

said by BryanInPHX:

My answer is yes an SB5100 is still a viable option, in most cases a cable modem either works or it doesn't. If it is working it should be fine.

I have been doing speed tests using WOW's site literally all day. With the SB5100 the speed varies. It might be good for quite a while though usually after a few tests I will start to see slower speeds. It will go back to good and then to slow. Even had a couple disconnects. As I'm responding to this it is dropping out. I put in the rental and the speed is perfect, not a blip.

So I'm back to my initial questions. Based on what you say if it's working it should always work. So why is the speed varying? Is it due to the firmware being out of date? Something else? This has me confused. I'm pretty sure I can't use it as is.

Looking at the spec sheet reminded me. I'm now using Windows 7. Could that be the cause? Did some quick checking at I am using Ethernet so it should not be a driver issue.


BryanInPHX
Premium
join:2001-03-06
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to baess

Windows 7 should not be an issue.

If the firmware on your modem is not current and not 100% compatible with WOW's CMTS, then yes it could be an issue. I find it so hard to believe WOW would let an older firmware coexist with their network, unless there is no newer firmware for that particular modem. I'll try to research it.

In the meantime post the following, just copy and paste in this thread.
Signal Levels >> »192.168.100.1/cmSignal.htm
Logs >> »192.168.100.1/cmLogs.htm
Firmware Build Date >> »192.168.100.1/cmHelp.htm
--
Cox Premier HSI, SB6120, DIR-628, XPSP3 Pro, Win7 Toshiba Satellite A505-S6973
SA8240HDC DVR, Passport Vers: 3.1.085, OS Vers: PowerTV 6.20.75.103sp
DIY-Ext. eSATA DVR Expander No Enclosure Bare HDD - WD Caviar Black WD1002FAEX



BryanInPHX
Premium
join:2001-03-06
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Cox HSI

1 edit
reply to baess

This DSLR Member is a Cox Employee, but I see where he has updated someone elses SB5100
»SB5100 what is latest firmware version?
Looks like 2.3.6.0 was the latest as of Aug 2007, But sometimes ISPs have custom firmware builds specifically for their network.

The DSLR Member is odog See Profile
--
Cox Premier HSI, SB6120, DIR-628, XPSP3 Pro, Win7 Toshiba Satellite A505-S6973
SA8240HDC DVR, Passport Vers: 3.1.085, OS Vers: PowerTV 6.20.75.103sp
DIY-Ext. eSATA DVR Expander No Enclosure Bare HDD - WD Caviar Black WD1002FAEX


baess

join:2011-01-28
reply to BryanInPHX

I imagine the software version I listed in my original post was the last one pushed by WOW before they stopped supporting the 5100. It was probably 2007. Seems like it's a Catch-22. I may need a firmware upgrade for the modem to perform correct but my ISP won't provide it. And would I really want a firmware upgrade provided by someone else?

When I click on your links I get File Not Found. I can get to 192.168.100.1 but I don't see the Firmware Build Date. The log is really long and probably has some entries related to me connecting and disconnecting to change to the rental, but here's the most recent. I can copy/paste it all if you want. Here is what I got for signal. It was really acting up this evening. Thanks for helping.

Signal Levels:
Downstream Value
Frequency 621000000 Hz Locked
Signal to Noise Ratio 37 dB
Power Level -4 dB The Downstream Power Level reading is a snapshot taken at the time this page was requested. Please Reload/Refresh this Page for a new reading

Upstream Value
Channel ID 1
Frequency 31500000 Hz Ranged
Power Level 50 dBmV

1970-01-01 00:00:16 3-Critical 0x040D9A2C DHCP WARNING - Non-critical field invalid in response.
1970-01-01 00:00:03 3-Critical 0x05110008 UCD invalid or channel unusable
1970-01-01 00:00:18 3-Critical 0x040D9A2C DHCP WARNING - Non-critical field invalid in response.
1970-01-01 00:00:03 3-Critical 0x05110008 UCD invalid or channel unusable
1970-01-01 00:00:39 3-Critical 0x040D9A2C DHCP WARNING - Non-critical field invalid in response.
1970-01-01 00:00:27 3-Critical 0x05110008 UCD invalid or channel unusable
1970-01-01 00:00:25 3-Critical 0x0501BD64 SYNC Timing Synchronization failure - Failed to acquire QAM/QPSK symbol timing
1970-01-01 00:00:24 3-Critical 0x0501BDC8 SYNC Timing Synchronization failure - Failed to acquire FEC framing



BryanInPHX
Premium
join:2001-03-06
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Cox HSI

2 edits

Yes, You would probably want a firmware directly from your ISP but it wouldn't hurt to get a DOCSIS Network Engineer's opinion, you never know maybe he has a contact.

Your Upstream Power Level of 50dBmV is in the High Range and could be partly responsible for any T3 timeouts, it shouldn't be much higher than 40dBmV

On your Signal page take a look at the number of "Total Uncorrectable Codewords" if this value is high compared to Unerrored and Correctable, then you have a problem communicating with the CMTS.

In your logs I was looking specifically for T3 or T4 timeouts like the following.
------------------------------------------------------------
2011-01-28 11:32:17 6-Notice M573.0 Modem Is Shutting Down and Rebooting...
2011-01-28 11:32:17 3-Critical R004.0 Received Response to Broadcast Maintenance Request, But no Unicast Maintenance o
2011-01-28 11:31:44 3-Critical R005.0 Started Unicast Maintenance Ranging - No Response received - T3 time-out
2011-01-28 11:24:48 6-Notice I401.0 TLV-11 - unrecognized OID
1970-01-01 00:00:28 4-Error D004.3 ToD request sent- No Response received
1970-01-01 00:00:25 3-Critical D003.0 DHCP WARNING - Non-critical field invalid in response.
1970-01-01 00:00:07 3-Critical R002.0 No Ranging Response received - T3 time-out (US 1)
1970-01-01 00:00:03 6-Notice M571.1 Ethernet link up - ready to pass packets
-------------------------------------------------------------

Quoted from a Tech

quote:
A T3 error is logged by the modem when it does not receive a response from the CMTS when it makes a ranging request as to what upstream channel it should tune to. A T3 here and there is considered 'normal' but if we see that counter continuously incrementing especially when the uncorrected errors counter is also high, then this is indicative of a return path impairment. Most usually it is a bad cable or fitting in the home that creates impedance mismatches that cause impairments or noise to be injected in the RF signal. As the modem tries to resend errored packets that are uncorrectable, the performance of the link is degraded and this is quite often seen as packet loss and/or slow speeds.

T4 errors are downstream related. The modem is essentially not receiving a response for its downstream carrier request. Generally T4s are more concerning because once a certain number of T4s are logged, the modem will reboot so it can range through and attempt find a good downstream

--
Cox Premier HSI, SB6120, DIR-628, XPSP3 Pro, Win7 Toshiba Satellite A505-S6973
SA8240HDC DVR, Passport Vers: 3.1.085, OS Vers: PowerTV 6.20.75.103sp
DIY-Ext. eSATA DVR Expander No Enclosure Bare HDD - WD Caviar Black WD1002FAEX

baess

join:2011-01-28

The errors I posted are pretty representative of what is happening now. There really are not a lot more than what I showed and certainly nothing that says T3 or T4. The log goes back to when I was using this modem in '07 and at that time there were some T3 time-outs but nothing since I hooked it back up.

The 50dBmV is consistent, never changes. When I hook the rental back up I will see what it reports, but I think it was lower. So does the modem influence that number? Seems like it is.

I was up early this AM and the speed check with the SB5100 was stable, ridiculously stable. Reported the correct speed every time. The needle on the speed test (I do use WOW's site) went straight to the value and didn't waver. Of course there was no traffic at that time and for the next few hours it was similarly stable. But now it is starting to waver. Even when it shows the proper speed the needle jumps around, not like it was doing this morning.

So no T3 timeouts being reported even when I had problems. Speed is stable during low usage periods, such as early morning. Speed starts to waver and will be slow (but not always) and there may even be some disconnects during higher usage periods.

Does everything that is ocurring point to a bad modem or is it the ISP? I think the latter but then the rental sort of proves me wrong...until last night when it was showing some low speeds as well. The ISP insists they have corrected their issues and speed should be spot on but of course that is not what I am seeing.

I need to decide soon if I will keep the SB5100. Or I could go out and buy the SB6120 (I can get a good price on a SB5101 but that doesn't seem like the way to go). But what if I see the same speed variance with the new modem? Then I've purchased two modems that I can't use. If I keep renting then any problems (and I think there eventually will be some) will have to be dealt with by the ISP. And then my SB5100, which probably is functioning just fine, goes back to the shelf :-( . Thoughts? Advice?



Dustyn
Premium
join:2003-02-26
Ontario, CAN
kudos:11
reply to baess

This is just some statistical info for my SURFboard SB5100.
I bought this modem many years ago and this thing is built like a workhorse! I treat it well by keeping it plugged into a UPS along with my router and PC.

Software Version: SB5100-2.3.7.1-GA-00-NOSH
Hardware Version: 3
MIB Version: II
GUI Version: 1.0
VxWorks Version: 5.4


Downstream Value
Frequency 615000000 Hz Locked
Signal to Noise Ratio 37 dB
Power Level 5 dBmV
Upstream Value
Channel ID 1
Frequency 31296000 Hz Ranged
Power Level 45 dBmV


baess

join:2011-01-28

Do you know how your firmware got updated? Does your ISP do it? Mine stopped updating this modem years ago.

I really think my issues are related to the ISP but they won't admit it.



Dustyn
Premium
join:2003-02-26
Ontario, CAN
kudos:11

Yes. When I bought the modem it had the original stock firmware that ships with the modem. I don't recall as to what version number it was, but it was a a much lower version than the one loaded today. I looked into how I could go about updating the firmware myself but, I don't think there is an easy way of doing this? I may be wrong though. My ISP has been updating the SB5100 over the years I've owned it.


Mele20
Premium
join:2001-06-05
Hilo, HI
kudos:5
reply to baess

I have the SB 5100 and before it the SB 4100. I won't use any other brand of modem. That may be a problem in the future because all Road Runner divisions EXCEPT MINE allow you to buy your own modem. When I got RR in 2001, I was given a Toshiba that was crap and friends told me to return it to Oceanic TW and get a Moto which I did and then I could see the modem stats and was able to make Oceanic fix the problem (I couldn't see the stats on the crappy Toshiba so had no ammunition to get Oceanic to fix the problem with the SNR which was horrible). I kept the 4100 until Jan 2005 when I exchanged it for the 5100 which I still use. Oceanic has not distributed any Surfboards newer than the 5100 (they currently use a crappy Webstar that I do NOT ever want).

Road Runner on Time Warner is known for NEVER updating the firmware on any modems unless there is a major problem that requires it. I know this for a fact because I was instrumental in getting RR to update the firmware for the Surfboards on the network years ago when I learned that the firmware version they were using all over the nation rendered the pause button worthless as a security measure. (Off hand, I can't recall if this was on the 5100...I think it was before that on the 4000x series). I forced RR to update the firmware in all divisions. In my research to fight them on this issue, I learned that almost all other Cable Broadband providers (and I think WOW was included) routinely updated the firmware on whatever modems are issued for use on their network and NONE of them (including European broadband providers) EXCEPT ROAD RUNNER ON TIME WARNER CABLE were using a firmware version on the Surfboard that rendered the pause button worthless security wise. So, I had great satisfaction in forcing TW to upgrade the firmware so that the pause button finally worked as it was intended to work. However, TW went right back to its old ways (after promising regular firmware upgrades) and never upgraded the firmware again.

I have the SB5100-2.3.2.5-SCM01-NOSH firmware.

You can't flash the firmware yourself...well, you can if you can find it but it could brick your modem so not a good idea even if you could find it. TW justified the rare upgrading of the firmware as being the wise thing because upgrading it could cause instability in the network and could brick the modems. Oceanic told me they had only updated firmware ONE time in all the years of their existence (until my issue) and it was a disaster even after in housing testing first. But TW managed to upgrade the firmware for the Surfboard in all divisions after I cornered them on it and they had no problems. Motorola has issued firmware updates for the 5100 but TW has done NONE of them.

There is no firmware build date on the SB webpage. I also cannot get to the link that BryanInPHX See Profile posted.

Your signal levels are acceptable. Surfboards are fine at an upstream power level of 50 dBmV. Surfboards can handle up to 55 dBmV upstream level without problems. Mid to high 40's generally what you see for upstream at least on TWC. I have had mine get as high as 54dBmV with no detrimental effect but I like to have it stay at or below 50 dBmV.

Is your timing synchronization failure still occurring? That could be significant. Both errors have to do with the modem having problems locking onto the downstream because of possible excessive downstream noise. If you see those a lot (a few are probably meaningless) then you might call the techs (for RR it is tier 3 techs) and suggest they open the flap list to see if other modems near you are having this problem also. (If so, that could indicate a problem that WOW needs to fix for all on your node probably and maybe a wider area even and not a problem unique to your connection only). The Surfboard is very chatty in the logs although the 5100 is much less so than the earlier models and much of the chatter is of little relevance to the health of your connection. Do you still see time of day failures? If so, report that to your ISP. I saw that once and after two weeks of the modem never receiving the TOD (it shows 1972 in the logs instead of the correct time which is UT not your local time), I reported it. Oceanic was thankful I did as they had no idea they had a problem with their TOD server.

You can read about the error messages for the modem here:

»www.cisco.com/univercd/cc/td/doc···errs.htm
--
When governments fear people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. Thomas Jefferson



Johkal
Cool Cat
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-13
Happy Valley
kudos:10

Ironic that you endorse Motorola & pointed to a Cisco link.
--
In God we trust; all others bring data!


baess

join:2011-01-28
reply to Mele20

I know the issues I am seeing with the 5100 are related to the ISP. But since it's not their modem there's not a lot they will do. So I'm between a rock... I can go with my 5100 and save $4.99/month but my service will be spotty and WOW will do nothing as far as support/troubleshoot. Or I can rent their modem and know that I can get them to deal with issues (although they still have bandwith problems that they can't seem to fix). I chose to go with the rental.

I'd consider buying the 6120 but I'm afraid I'd have issues with it also and then I'd have two modems collecting dust. Although WOW claims they support other modems, including the 5100 and 6120, they really mean use it at your own risk and we won't help you.


daveinpoway
Premium
join:2006-07-03
Poway, CA
kudos:2
reply to Mele20

As a point of interest, there won't be any issues regarding the Pause button on newer Motorola modems (such as the SB6120), since this button is no longer included.


Mele20
Premium
join:2001-06-05
Hilo, HI
kudos:5
reply to Johkal

said by Johkal:

Ironic that you endorse Motorola & pointed to a Cisco link.

That's because I have never seen such a link for Motorola. I have used the Cisco link (and its predecessor) since 2001.
--
When governments fear people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. Thomas Jefferson

Mele20
Premium
join:2001-06-05
Hilo, HI
kudos:5
reply to daveinpoway

said by daveinpoway:

As a point of interest, there won't be any issues regarding the Pause button on newer Motorola modems (such as the SB6120), since this button is no longer included.

Ugh. Well, maybe I won't be too unhappy then with some other modem when this one eventually dies. The pause button is one of the main reasons I like Surfboards so much. I guess the ISPs finally put enough pressure on Motorola to convince them to remove it because of all the dummies that couldn't be bothered to learn what it is for and how to properly use it. I know Oceanic hated it because they got dozens of calls every day from ignorant users who had accidentally paused the modem saying their internet didn't work anymore and could Oceanic please fix it. They didn't even know the button was there and had no idea what the lights on the LED meant...dumb users wanting a toaster computer. I guess they have finally won, not just in this regard, but generally as far as the internet computer hardware and software goes...it is dumbed down and boring now and that is the doing of the masses who want a toaster computer that requires zero thinking or knowledge to use (another TV in other words).

I'm going to love having to completely disconnect from the internet when doing installations of software instead of just using the pause button. I use that button a lot and not just for security.
--
When governments fear people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. Thomas Jefferson


BryanInPHX
Premium
join:2001-03-06
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to baess

said by baess:

I know the issues I am seeing with the 5100 are related to the ISP. But since it's not their modem there's not a lot they will do. So I'm between a rock... I can go with my 5100 and save $4.99/month but my service will be spotty and WOW will do nothing as far as support/troubleshoot. Or I can rent their modem and know that I can get them to deal with issues (although they still have bandwith problems that they can't seem to fix). I chose to go with the rental.

I'd consider buying the 6120 but I'm afraid I'd have issues with it also and then I'd have two modems collecting dust. Although WOW claims they support other modems, including the 5100 and 6120, they really mean use it at your own risk and we won't help you.

RE: Your SB5100...

My suggestion is for you to find a friend, coworker, relative, ask someone here...That is on either Cox or Comcast and have them hook your modem up to their ISP for a few days, so the firmware will get updated. Then get it back and give it a try with the updated firmware. USPS Priority Shipping will probably be $9.00 each way. Assuming the person already had a Moto SBxxxx, you would not need to ship the power supply.

Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box, $5.20, 8-5/8" x 5-3/8" x 1-5/8"
Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box, $10.95, 11" x 8-1/2" x 5-1/2"
--
Cox Premier HSI, SB6120, DIR-628, XPSP3 Pro, Win7 Toshiba Satellite A505-S6973
SA8240HDC DVR, Passport Vers: 3.1.085, OS Vers: PowerTV 6.20.75.103sp
DIY-Ext. eSATA DVR Expander No Enclosure Bare HDD - WD Caviar Black WD1002FAEX


Nick
Purveyor of common sense
Premium,VIP,MVM
join:2000-10-29
Smithtown, NY
reply to baess

The latest SB5100 release is 2.3.9.0-GA-00 released to the field on 10/20/2009
As others pointed out the modem either works or it does not. Rarely will it have random issues. Sometimes components go bad and cause issues when the device overheats etc...Similarly, it can be a problem outside the modem in the WOW plant...Sometimes something stupid like rain can get into a fitting and cause problems.


baess

join:2011-01-28

I guess unless I have the most up to date firmware I'll never really know but based on my observing the 5100 as it is now I am pretty sure it is the ISP that is causing the problems. But like I've said there's not a lot I can do.


slard

join:2011-03-04

bru2, where are you located? I'm in Michigan. I turned in my Webstar last week since they upped the rental fee and plugged in an old 5100. My info:

Software Version: SB5100-2.3.2.5-SCM01-NOSH
Hardware Version: 3
MIB Version: II
GUI Version: 1.0
VxWorks Version: 5.4

My friend had been using it on WOW for a few years before me. Not sure if they updated it then and have since stopped the updates, but there is a newer firmware version on WOW.


baess

join:2011-01-28

I'm in IL. What do you mean "a newer firmware version on WOW"?

WOW told me they do not provide firmware updates for the 5100 and AFAIK they haven't for quite a while. But yours does have more recent firmware.

Should I again ask them if they can push an upgrade?

I assume it is working good for you? Same speeds you were getting with the Webstar?