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Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

4 edits

[TWC] Standard Internet in NYC keeps Deteriorating

I have a single WinXP Pentium 4 computer directly connected to your RCA DCM425 modem, so no router or wifi for you to blame.

When I started my 10:1 only service 6 Months ago (no cable TV service), I was enjoying above average speeds with few interruptions.

Now I'm seeing well below service rated speeds, and have to power cycle my modem every other day as the indicator lights look fine, but my logical internet connection within your system seem to drop off.

This drop can occur at any time day or night and has no baring on what i was doing... i could be in the middle of streaming from youtube, or my PC could be totally idle, when suddenly I can't even ping another public IP. I know it's not my own public IP under attack as your DHCP has reassigned me a new IP dozens of times by now.

I'm a pretty network saavy guy, and I know it's not my hardware, software or connections - it's definitely the service you give me that is regularly deteriorating from your end.

Is there some way I can arrange for TWC to monitor the service to my modem for 24 hours (I can keep my PC on), and see if there is trouble on the line or with your equipment.

Here you can see a histogram of test showing my speed degrade from 14 to 11 now to 8 - how much worse should I let it get before complaining?

And why do I keep needing to intermittently reset my modem on nearly a daily basis?




swintec
Premium,VIP
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VoicePulse
·Sprint Mobile Br..
·RapidVPS

can you post your signal levels from »192.168.100.1/ and if your modem shows logs, that too?
--
Usenet Block Accounts | Unlimited Accounts



Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

thanks for showing an interest - keep in mind i may have power cycled my modem when i notice loss of logical internet
connectivity before it had a chance to log the error properly so the rest of the log is the same as the last 2 entries.




swintec
Premium,VIP
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VoicePulse
·Sprint Mobile Br..
·RapidVPS

the signal levels look okay from what i can see. The DHCP errors in the log look like they could cause an issue, but those times could be off or other entries cleared out like you said. I would think if DHCP fails you wouldnt be able to get online.
--
Usenet Block Accounts | Unlimited Accounts



Suit Up

join:2003-07-21
Los Angeles, CA

I get those same DHCP errors and don't have any issues, so it's probably not that.



Jawsinc
Jaws Incorporated

join:2011-01-12
Woodside, NY
reply to Packeteers

8mb? god i woulda killed for that when i had standard. standard started out great for me and then turned into dial-up. i was getting .8mb! no seriously. i waited months for TWC to pretend like they were fixing something but i got so frustrated i gave up. i actually got a verizon dsl account while they were doing nothing about it and it was a lot faster than TWC standard. i told them I'm not paying a penny for this TWC dial-up until its fixed. i was getting like 3mb with the dsl, haha.

i got 30mb wideband a while ago and now its pretty awesome.



Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

1 edit

I may get wideband when my first year teaser rate it up.

all my friends with high FPS in all the mmos and shooters
i play have wideband in common, which make perfect sense
since i recently discovered many games support up to 4
concurrent client:server connections; wideband being like 2.

in the meantime, I posted this on the private service forum,
»Time Warner Cable Direct
I got a response on the 5th day, and after reading this thread
the tech is offering to replace my modem as he claims my area
node is not over congested.

I had Verizon aDSL 7mb service for a few Months, but they
eventually fuked that up so bad that I gave up on them.
I even wrote to their CEO, and they don't give a fuk either.
That was 6 Months before the wider press picked up on the
fact that Verizon was basically throwing it's DSL to the dogs.



kilrathi
Premium
join:2005-04-22
Rockaway Park, NY
reply to Packeteers

tell me about it, i have wideband/ultimate internet and for 2nd month already ever since upstream channel bonding kicked in playing fps games that require low packet loss and reasonable ping is basically impossible as far as being able to actually do what you want in the game. Why? Because every day upstream snr drops below 20-18dB between 8pm and 8 am. It supposed to be at least 24 and for 2 channels that try to use 64QAM it should be even higher.

At night I have to deal with 5-10% packet loss all on the upstream. Even playing rts games is tough, I used to shoutcast and video stream games now I cannot do that at all.

I have been TW customer and using their highest internet packages since 2004 or so, and never before have I seen service get so horrible as far as quality of the connection as past few months, I spent countless hours on phone etc and nothing been really done so far.



Jawsinc
Jaws Incorporated

join:2011-01-12
Woodside, NY
reply to Packeteers

get wideband 30mb. its only 10 bucks more a month. well, if you have that worthless turbo gimmicky crap. when you take the turbo off, the difference was only about 10 bucks.

wideband rocks! well, the 30 had dropped to about 18 lately...



Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to Packeteers

after bugging support by email - it looks like a premise visit must be scheduled - i just hope they send someone more qualified than the 10 install a day robot they sent for the initial crappy install job, and that maybe there is a better modem option than that standard RCA.

TWC RR Support: I have checked connection to the modem from our Tools, I see that modem is receiving inconsistent signals from our end. We apologize for the inconvenience. However, this issue needs to have a physical attention to check with the device and with the Internet line for your modem. In this regards, you need to have a Technician's visit to fix this issue for you

Sat Jul 21 15:57:27 2012 Notice (6) DHCP Renew - lease parameters Time Protocol Servers modified
Sat Jul 21 15:57:27 2012 Error (4) DHCP RENEW sent - Invalid DHCP option
Sat Jul 21 13:57:27 2012 Notice (6) DHCP Renew - lease parameters Time Protocol Servers modified
Sat Jul 21 13:57:27 2012 Error (4) DHCP RENEW sent - Invalid DHCP option
Time Not Established Critical (3) DHCP FAILED - Requested Info not supported.
Time Not Established Critical (3) No Ranging Response received - T3 time-out

Sat Jul 21 2012 @ 1:05:29 pm US
UP 1.5 MB 443 Kbps 55 kB/s
Sat Jul 21 2012 @ 1:04:59 pm US
DN 40 MB 8.1 Mbps 1.01 MB/s



rasmasyean

@rr.com
reply to Packeteers

Same here. I've had TWC for like 3 months and stuck with it to get my "switch-to-bonus". :P Wasn't worth it! lol I had a tech come in like twice and they changed some couplings and then said it was some server problems that would be resolved. And now it's getting worse. I sometimes get like 1.5 Mbps during the night.

I upgraded to turbo and they said it would increase it even at the "peak times" or whatever, but IMHO, they pretty much lied.

I'm switching to RCN tomorrow to see if that works.



kilrathi
Premium
join:2005-04-22
Rockaway Park, NY
reply to Packeteers

I actually dont mind if I lost some speed but I cannot stand darn packet loss constantly on the upstream.... is just making impossible to enjoy/play any games online not to mention trying to talk on voice comm or stream games...



Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

4 edits
reply to rasmasyean

ras - it's well known that Turbo is a +$10/mo scam, but before you give up on WTC/RR try a Month of Extreme ($50mo 30/5), since that's a re-enginneered wideband docsis3 requiring a different modem. that's my upgrade path should my first year on Standard ($30mo 10/1) continue to be a bust. Verizon is contracted with my City to provide FiOS (heavy fines if they don't), so TWC only has another year of dicking around before it will start bleeding customers unless they update their network here.

update: got a premise visit with a TWC/RR Tech tomorrow. a later phone support tech did not see the signal problems again (great to know their email and phone support people don't log what they find against your account, so there is no way for them to compare line trouble history - in case you were wondering, I'm being sarcastic), but it's clear the speed is still degraded, so at least they have that to work with. they offered me a speed upgrade for free (standard to turbo) but I didn't fall for that scam, and instead insisted they send someone to make sure the service was consistent. i just worry they'll pay me lip service if they don't spot such an intermittent problem so wish me luck as i waited for months of degraded service till it got this bad...

to make sure this intermittent nature does not let them off the hook for any sort of repair, i'm using ping graph to document packet loss, which is about once every 10 minutes while pinging root-A every 5 seconds.



rasmasyean

@rcn.com

Too late. I already scheduled the RCN install when I posted. :P I didn't want to "give them a chance" yet again anyway.

But I did get the DOCSIS 3 you are talking about. RCN had a tripple play deal in my area and with 50/6 and "equivalent channels" it was arround $20 extra. And it actually IS near 50/6 for all the times I've checked in the past couple of days. We'll see what happens on the weekend.

It was funny, because I thought my TWC tripple play was cheap. But on my sheet, it says that Wideband 30 = $69.95 on top of already having RR Broadband (10).



Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

4 edits
reply to Packeteers

premise visit guy came, checked wires taps connectors and replace the modem. his propaganda java speed test sight showed my speeds were great, but my actual speeds had not changed at all, and to root-a i drop packets every 1:50 pings. the premise visit guy did all he could so i asked him to urge his supervisor to escalate my ticket to their network IT department, since the last mile may not be at issue, rather how their central office is routing me and perhaps my neighbors segment incorrectly. it makes no sense that i can ping Root-D(anycast) without dropping packets yet Root-A(static) drops like crazy (both withing 100 miles of my location), this only exemplifies how i enjoy stable routing to some site, but not to others.

here is the info off the ubee plastic toy modem they gave me;

Cable Modem : DOCSIS 1.0/1.1/2.0 Compliant
Boot Code Version : 1.1.2b
Software Version : 2.105.3004
Hardware Version : 1.3
CA Key : Installed
Acquire a Downstream Channel 309000000 Hz Locked
Connectivity State OK Operational
Boot State OK Operational
Security Enabled BPI+
Downstream Lock : Locked
Downstream Channel Id : 115
Downstream Frequency : 309000000 Hz
Downstream Modulation : QAM256
Downstream Symbol Rate : 5360.537 Ksym/sec
Downstream Interleave Depth : taps32Increment4
Downstream Receive Power Level : 3.4 dBmV
Downstream SNR : 39.4 dB
Upstream Lock : Locked
Upstream Channel ID : 2
Upstream Frequency : 23800000 Hz
Upstream Modulation : QAM16
Upstream Symbol Rate : 5120 Ksym/sec
Upstream transmit Power Level : 38.2 dBmV
Upstream Mini-Slot Size : 4
Network Access : Allowed
Maximum Downstream Data Rate : 10240000
Maximum Upstream Data Rate : 1024000
Maximum Upstream Channel Burst : 3044
Maximum Number of CPEs : 1
Modem Capability : Concatenation Enabled, Fragametation Enabled, PHS Enabled

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OK, I think I better understand what my problem is, and it may not be unique to me. i've run various speedtests using hosts in OTHER cities and found my routing quality can vary widely. for example my routing nyc-chicago is great, while it sucks from nyc-wash.dc I will try to document this issue further to present to TWC/RR networking later this week.

»www.megapath.com/speedtestplus/

It will take a week or more to see if I need to reset my modem.

as for speeds - it seems that Texas based speed testing sight I have my history on is actually one of the now poorly routed sights, so the tests i get from them does not fairly represent my actual connection speed... I'll clarify once I have more reproduce-able data to show.



rasmasyean

@rcn.com

Can you please explain the Root-X part? What is that? And application you are using to test internet performance?



Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

4 edits

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_name_server

at the moment I'm working under the assumption that TWC/RR would want it's customers to see each of the east coast n.american root servers from NYC especially if they are anycast. I'm also using a well known (non biased) ISP service reseller major market speedtest sight as it's really hard to nail down a test that fairly represents speed relative to your geographic location that TWC/RR can reproduce and respect. I've worked with MegaPath and know they are a customer advocate, meaning they will resell any CLEC as long as they can maintain a high quality of service - if not, they will drop them and yes I've seen them do it.

»www.megapath.com/speedtestplus/

TWC/RR also has many of it's own regional speedtest sights, but I'm having a hard time getting a large and broad enough sample to work reliably without a lot of marketing and survey taking nonsense, also ISPs are notorious at cheating on their own tests by taking advantage of own initial query ISP caching.

I'm also using a European VPN to show how I can ping the same IP (NYC to GR back to NYC) without dropping packets (albeit at slower speeds) yet when I ping that same address locally without the VPN active, I drop packets like crazy - that should not be the case, but it is. That test helps me confirm that it's not the IP hosting that is the problem, rather it is my own ISP's routing to that IP that is failing me.

One thing I noticed about TWC/RR routing methods versus Verizon/DSL is that all routing is very localized. what I mean is on Verizon/DSL my packets would travel the same first 5 hop path of routers right before it got onto the non Verizion internet backbone no matter what destination address I sought. with TWC/RR my packets only travel 2 hops on the same routers before they are guided though a maze of 4 TWC/RR routers hops before they get on to the internet backbone. this system of localizing your routing may increase redundancies for TWC/RR but it also makes it harder for them to identify and diagnose a faulty router which may be dropping packets since sometimes you will be routed by it, and other times you won't.

what is most depressing about this revelation is now I understand why going from narrow to wideband will NOT alleviate this routing issue of being sent through TWC/RR equipment that is clearly dropping packets. wideband may give me access to a second channel which increases redundancies, but if both bonded channels are threading packets through the same set of faulty TWC/RR routers, then I'll still drop packets, just at a higher rate of speed. the local tech they sent to replace my modem who barely seemed to follow most of this discussion only confirmed as much. he basically admitted you will experience the same quality of service, only at a higher rate. the problem is faster speed despite dropped packets may be more forgiving with streaming and downloading, but speed alone is pointless with a low bandwidth interactive services like VoIP or client:server online game play.

truth is, this whole effort may be pointless. I wrote TWC/RR offering my data showing which regional cities from me (such as NYC to Wash.DC) should not be dropping packets, and used the argument that it would benefit my node, and save them money on frivolous and costly premise visits from speed complaint service calls, but their IT department does not seem particularly interested in pursuing anything that may identify their own faults and actually improve their overall service.

at this point I guess I should simply be happy I may no longer have to power cycle my modem as often now that they sent a guy to replace it... lucky me



Rook008
Miles To Go
Premium
join:2002-02-05
Far Rockaway, NY
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
·Time Warner Cable
reply to Packeteers

said by Packeteers:

...
Is there some way I can arrange for TWC to monitor the service to my modem for 24 hours (I can keep my PC on), and see if there is trouble on the line or with your equipment.
...

Have you found an answer for this question?

I ask because my RR service (20/2) in Far Rockaway has gone to hell. The signal levels look ok, but I'm getting a page full of errors every couple of hours, the connection seems very slow, and the modem reboots itself at least once every hour.
It's really getting annoying.

Levels


Wednesday


Thursday

--
"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H. L. Mencken


Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

3 edits
reply to Packeteers

rook - the problem with TWC is TWC let me explain.

back when i had Verizion aDSL the last mile of copper was from me to the CO where i was plugged into one of dozens of routers. if my last mile was fine, I'd bug verizon to "reprovision" me to a different CO router which often would clean up my routing and packet dropping issues.

TWC can't do this - you are stuck on a network segment and can't get off of it. if the segment gets congested, they'll add another segment, but ONLY if the segment gets congested and everyone is bitching about it. so if your segment is routed through the maze of poorly maintained higher level routers till your packets get off TWC and onto the internet, then you are basically screwed.

So all TWC can and will do is send a drone to your house, swap out your modem, check your cable and connections for unusual noise or DB loss, then run a 10 second bogus cache speedtest. they do NOT test for dropped packets at all, period - they just don't give a crap about that because they know various segments of their network drop packets like a drunken sailor.

so no, TWC will not monitor your line since they know it will only reveal what a piss poor old build they have here in NYC. if you get a tech who tests the line for a few minutes and see problems, he has no way to distinguish where in his network they are, so all he can do is premise visit. if that problem is intermittent, or between you and another state or country - ffugetaboutit. so you are stuck with this crap until Verizon FiOS comes to the compete in your area - or when pigs fly out your butt.

why am i so pissed? because i left 7mbs Verizon aDSL for this TWC packet dropping sink whole, and going back to Verizon's perfectly clean network (in my area) is no longer an option, because they force you to buy a POTs line that I also don't need and pay for a fukton of fantasy taxes every month. it's amazing... the FCC crawls up ISPs ass for not providing service to rural hicktowns, yet their mandate to encourage competition withing suburban/urban markets goes completely overlooked.

TWC strong-armed my building management (kickbacks anyone?) to keep RCN out of my Coop (nice competition system you got going there FCC), so now all I can do it suffer with TWC and wait for FiOS which by contract has two more years to light up my part of Queens. of course their lawyers will probably wiggle them out of it, and NYC taxpayers get screwed yet again by giving an area vendor exclusive access, then not compelling them to deliver on their committements. OK, rant over...




BTW it's been nearly a week since the drone came to swap out my modem and i have not needed to power cycle it, so thank god for small favors... latency and packet dropping seems to occur to select cities/countries, while local speed test continue to register well above the standard rate - so basically, i just have to live with this. the best thing to come out of this adventure is confirmation that upgrading to wideband dossis3 would ONLY increase my speeds, not improve latency and packet loss issues, so now I won't waste energy lusting after an upgrade I would rather not have to pay. I mean really... who the hell needs 50/5 speeds unless you have a house full of web heads or are hosting something of your own.


Rook008
Miles To Go
Premium
join:2002-02-05
Far Rockaway, NY
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
·Time Warner Cable

Obviously I was hoping for a different answer.

I'll probably call TWC tomorrow and see what they can do. Then I'll give them a couple of weeks to get my service back to where it used to be, back when it was fast and reliable. If things don't improve, I'll call Verizon back and set up a Fios install. They've actually been bugging me to switch, with three home visits and a flyer every month since they wired my neighborhood.
They actually have some pretty good deals for new subscribers.

Anyway, thanks for the info.
--
"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H. L. Mencken



Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

by all means give TWC a chance to make good, but they may be even more reluctant to do so since they know you can jump to FiOS at your address, so you may want to take a top down approach and instead of starting with tier 1 support, start with a sales service retention specialist who lights a fire under support to make you happy, that way you have an advocate at TWC who makes a commission if your situation improves. it's a shame TWC baits and switches you by starting you off well, then letting your service deteriorate into the crapper. how these companies are allowed to get away with this kind of crap still in 2012 boggles the mind. the FCC is such a total failure when you consider that most of the top 10 hated companies in America are in Telecommunications.



Rook008
Miles To Go
Premium
join:2002-02-05
Far Rockaway, NY
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
·Time Warner Cable

That makes sense. I've been a TWC customer at this address for something like 15+ years now and have never had such problems.
I actually had a tech visit a couple of months ago (set up through the RR Direct forum) and everything tested fine. He swapped out the modem and the connection was relatively stable for a while. Now it's pretty crappy again.
I'll call them tomorrow and see what they can do.

Luckily for me I have a choice of high-speed internet providers. If I didn't have that choice, I'd be pretty pissed right now.
--
"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H. L. Mencken



rasmasyean

@rcn.com

OK so...it has been a week since I posted and I'll have to say that my switch to RCN seems to "solve the problem". Although I don't think it's because I got 50/6 bandwidth currently vs. 15/2 with TWC previously.

In another thread I posted my experiences with Youtube. With TWC, Youtube 1080p/720p seems buffer SLOWER than playback for a good part of the day...even when speedtest.net reads like 20. However, with RCN, Youtube 1080p always buffers FASTER than playback. I mean, there hasn't been an instance when I tried it and it was slower.

Unless it so happens that RCN gets Youtube vids from NJ, and TWC gets Youtube vids from CA...like all the time...I'm inclined to say the bandwidth issue is a TWC problem.

Whether it's errors or TWC internal ping latency or whatever you guys are talking about, apparently RCN's networks can fetch and move zillions of Youtube packets on a consistent basis, but not TWC's networks.

And to top that off, I seem to have always gotten a speedtest.net result arround those 50/6 figures everytime I tried. The most it ever dropped was like 2-3 Mbps...and for all I know, someone in the house could be streaming something at that moment. Never like 90% drop like TWC!



Rook008
Miles To Go
Premium
join:2002-02-05
Far Rockaway, NY
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
·Time Warner Cable

I looked up RCN and the pricing is pretty good compared to TWC. $50 a month for 50/6 (for the first year) is about what I pay TWC for 10/1. Not available in my area though.

Anyway, good to hear that you're getting what you pay for.
--
"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H. L. Mencken



rasmasyean

@rcn.com

Yeah, well I figured different regions have different options as well as promotions. But I'm sure there's another provider arround the area besides TWC if you wanna try them. It seems no one requires a contract anymore too. So you get to like "trial" it.



rasmasyean

@rcn.com
reply to Rook008

Yeah, well I figured different regions have different options as well as promotions. But I'm sure there's another provider arround the area besides TWC if you wanna try them. It seems no one requires a contract anymore too. So you get to like "trial" it.



Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

4 edits
reply to Packeteers

overnight at 12:20am EST my logical connection to the Internet was gone for 3 minutes ( I was watching the NASA stream). It eventually came back without having to power cycle my modem, so thankfully this new ubee modem does a better job of reestablishing logical connectivity to TWC/RR's faulty network than the old RCA did.

my actual transfer capacity feels better today (>1200kbps) as I'm able to play an MMO at 30ms latency (NY:WA) while streaming thedailyshow at 480p simultaneously. hey, if you gonna make a thread ranking on TWC/RR, you gotta give them props for the few hours it's working as advertised.

i was offered by the closed TWC/RR tech forum here on DSLR to submit packet loss evidence, and they would see that it gets to a tier 3 network engineer, so i now i have to figure out a fair way to quantify and report this intermittent and regional problem. so far i though to record packet loss to various state.gov hosted sights as an honest test by region.

here is my initial test sample, east to west, north to south;

ny.gov 170.123.237.62
virginia.gov 206.113.150.65
fl.gov 199.250.30.229

il.gov 163.191.183.131
ne.gov 206.16.212.82
texas.gov 63.241.205.187

wa.gov 198.239.145.201
ca.gov 134.186.61.39
az.gov 159.87.99.126



DrDrew
So that others may surf.
Premium
join:2009-01-28
SoCal
kudos:12
reply to Packeteers

said by Packeteers:

to make sure this intermittent nature does not let them off the hook for any sort of repair, i'm using ping graph to document packet loss, which is about once every 10 minutes while pinging root-A every 5 seconds.

Can you post some examples of the Ping graphs?
--
If it's important, back it up... twice. Even 99.999% availability isn't enough sometimes.


Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1

I ran similar tests while scrutinizing verizon dsl;
»anyone speedtest >5Mbps
i'll post what i find on twc only after i can fairly
assess what IP and time periods are relevant.



Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

1 edit
reply to Packeteers

for some unknown reason, I'm finally seeing proper speeds averaging 2MB/s or 16.0mbps down 0.8mbps up between NYC and Wash.DC and dropped packets are rare. my guess is TWC just added more capacity in my area and/or resolved some illogical routing issues, since the change was over a weekend (Aug18-19) and not tied to anything I did on my PC or Modem connections. routing could still use improvement to certain cities and countries, and prime-time performance is often cut in half, but my service is a lot better than it was when i started this QQ thread - let's just hope it stays this way a while.