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[CA] Packet Loss and dropped connections, Escondido, help? I had been really extremely happy with my Cox connection for the last 4 years, here in Escondido CA -- I've been a customer since 2006 with only a few major issues at the beginning, which got sorted out with a lot of help from the reps here on the forums (SDKiwi in particular)! I'm hoping this isn't the beginning of a huge headache, but:
Something in the last week (maybe 2 weeks) has just wrecked my connection, and I'm at a loss as to what's going on. Huge packet loss, with no loss of sync on the modem but lots of times when I can't maintain online connections to games, chat servers, or even load webpages (sometimes timeouts, other times 'unexpectedly closed connection' errors). Pings are inconsistent, it's not like there's any one place things are failing that I can see, mostly just packet loss. Also extremely slow upload, almost unbearable at times!
It's worst at night around midnight, and sometimes in the mornings when I wake up it's still bad. But it does seem to mostly settle down and work well through the middle of the day.
Signal strength and SNR on the modem look okay ... SNR 35.8, downstream power -9.1, upstream power 45.7 ... pretty much the same as I have had in the past, though that downstream power is a bit more negative than I recall it being before.
I'd been running a monitor for a long time, and I have a few tests to show the issues I'm seeing, but I'm happy to run more if needed. Here's my current testing history: »/testhistory/398599/94023
Any ideas where to start investigating? I can't tell whether this is possibly a modem issue on my end, a signal strength problem, a routing/networking issue on Cox, or what. Very grateful for any pointers!
Downstream signal is low, especially if you are on a DOCSIS3 modem. I'd start there, get that resolved, and then see where you stand.
It should be -5 to +5 on D3, the closer to 0 the better.
Do you have splitters in your lines anywhere?
reply to lynkali
are you going through any splitters if so try bypassing. and are you using a router if so i would also try bypassing that as well just to rule it out.
as mentioned your downstream is on the low side and while cox requirements are +10 to - 10 you want to be close to 0 as possible. have you call tech suport just to see if they see anything?
reply to lynkali
Thank you both for your suggestions, but it definitely was not the router (had already tried bypassing and had the same packet loss and drops), and the only splitter is the necessary one at the wall between internet and digital cable tv.
As it turns out, it MAY be simply a dying modem -- to early to say for sure yet, but after calling support and switching out my old Surfboard 5101, I'm currently connected via the Arris telephony modem that I also use for Cox phone service. It's only been 12 hours, but so far no packet loss and very consistent pings. However, I'd gone 12 hours before without problems, so I'm waiting a bit more to say that it's definitely solved.
Is the downstream signal (-9 DB still on the telephony modem as well) really a problem? Because if this does solve the problem, I plan to buy a new DOCSIS 3.0 modem and then you say that -9 might not be advisable ... yet Cox support on the phone said my signal levels looked "fantastic" and that I shouldn't be having any issues. Is DOCSIS 3.0 more or less tolerant of the downstream signal range than my current 2.0 modem?
Thanks again and I really hope that it was just the dying Surfboard. We'll see!
reply to lynkali Well, I spoke too soon. The problems have started in again, despite the switch to the new modem, so I can definitely rule that out. The weird thing, to me, is that my signal levels seem absolutely normal -- they're not great by any means (despite the claim of the Cox phone rep that my signal levels were "fantastic"), but they're within spec and they do not fluctuate, so it's not like they're suddenly spiking and causing these problems.
So here's some graphs showing my current experience of packet loss and inability to connect to webpages, servers, traceroutes, or anything else when it starts in.
Things I have ruled out:
It is not the modem. Although these problems started when I was using my old Surfboard 5101, I am now switched and connected through a relatively new Arris Touchstone telephony modem (still Docsis 2, but brand new as of last year). I have ordered a new Cisco 3010 and it should arrive this weekend, but now I'm not at all confident that even the move to Docsis 3 will fix the problem.
It is not the router. Problems persist exactly the same when I'm connected directly to the modem. It's also not any computer issue, since the same problems occur on three different Macs and PCs, connected via router OR wired directly to modem.
It doesn't APPEAR to be signal levels or power or even noise, although I can't completely rule that out. On both modems and consistently, with no major change other than a few decimal places, my Downstream Signal is -9 dBmV, SNR 36; upstream is 38 dBmV. They never change even at the worst of the packet loss events. As I said those are not great levels, but they really shouldn't be causing the complete loss of connectivity and dropped packets I'm seeing, should they?
What else is left? And how in the world do I get someone on the phone to actually listen to me. So far my two phone calls to Cox have been met with "packet loss is ALWAYS a modem issue, you need a new modem" (replaced modem same issue) and "your signal levels look fantastic, there's nothing we can do!" How do I get a tech out and even worse, since the problem is intermittent, how do I get them to look into this?
reply to lynkali Just an update on this: thanks SO much to CoxTech1, who got a line tech to come out to the house this morning. (My phone calls to support were not able to convince anyone to do anything, so I'm very grateful for the reps here!)
After quite a few tests, he did find something wrong with one of the cables inside the attic/wall in the house, something about feedback or decay otherwise interfering with the signal strength. (Other two cable lines seemed ok, even though they were installed all at the same time.) So he ran a complete new line in the wall and attic, replacing the old cable. He also added an amplifier since my levels were on the low side. After all that work, signal levels now look MUCH better, plus we hooked up the new Cisco 3010 modem. So I'll keep an eye on things now, but I am pretty confident that he found the source of the problems ... I hope!
He did, however, say that even at the street level before the house drop there was "tilt" (something about one channel having much more power than the others) and that wasn't a good thing, but he couldn't fix that, only compensate for it on my end. So hopefully that "tilt" gets reported on up the line to Cox, but at this point, things are looking better on my end, at least!
Again my thanks to the reps here, who are so much more knowledgeable and helpful than the phone support at Cox. Hope I don't need to post here anytime soon again!
reply to lynkali Noooooooooo! This is not fixed, even after the completely new cable line. I'm becoming more and more convinced that the problem is further down the line at the headend, but I don't know how to prove that.
Today after the tech was out, things seemed fine for a few hours. Then just half an hour ago, I was talking on the phone (I use Cox phone service via a telephony modem), the PHONE suddenly cut out and I couldn't even get a dial tone. Then I checked computer, and it was doing the same thing as in the past -- near 100% packet loss but occasionally a few packets get through, and the modem does NOT reboot or lose sync. Just the packets drop completely.
It was about 3 minutes before I could get a dial tone on the phone again. And for 20 minutes after that, when I would pick up the receiver, there would be an incredibly long delay (3-5 seconds) before the dial tone would register, as if it were trying to get a connection but having trouble. All during this time, traceroutes and ping tests would show horrible packet loss and I could only intermittently load any webpages, most would time out.
Strangely, TV looked okay and even OnDemand seemed to be working -- but I rarely even turn on my TV, so I'm not sure whether this 2+ week problem has been affecting TV or not.
Modem signal levels look fantastic, same as they did when tech left today. The whole line from the outside of house to the modem is brand new today, and signal is perfect. This is NOT something in my domain -- it's got to be at the street or further out.
Traceroutes really seem, to my inexperienced eye, to show a problem at the first hop, 10.155.20.1 -- that's the headend, is it not? More often than not, the packet loss on traceroutes start at that point, and cascade on up the route. Of course I forgot to screenshot a traceroute during this latest event, but next time it happens I will definitely try to get one.
Upstream at 50.5 is hardly an ideal level....if anything that's your problem now!
It's sitting at 48 at the moment. Before the new cable line today it was at 38 -- and the same exact problems were occuring. Since the new cable install and this new docsis 3 modem, it's been between 48-50.5, but that doesn't seem way out of line to me. (I've always heard 35-52 as the guidelines for upstream.) Seems hard to blame the upstream when it's been 38 to 50 at various times and the same exact problems keep happening.
reply to lynkali This morning's SmokePing, just for the record.
And just updating here to say, it is STILL happening, despite tech calls and repeated outages reported in the Cox system. I am in contact with CoxTech1 who is helpful, and I can't fault him, but I'm not feeling any confidence that this is actually getting worked on. I just keep reporting, they keep seeing the problem FIX ITSELF and then reoccur the next day, and nothing seems to improve.
At this point it's consistent that when these outages happen, they take both internet AND PHONE down. Isn't there an FCC requirement about providing reliable phone service? Because at this point I cannot depend on being able to use my phone, to say nothing of the internet, and I'm starting to wonder whether I need to start the squeaking wheel and file some sort of complaint?
It can go 24 hours without a problem, but so far it has never gone more than 36 hours without taking the whole system down for 2-3 hours at a stretch. Inside wiring has been checked and replaced, modems are new, signal levels are perfect ... this is all happening somewhere on the street or at the headend, but so far Cox doesn't, I hate to say it, seem to be doing anything at all.
Hate it when these things happen! Cox has been GREAT for 5+ years. Why is it so hard to get them to fix problems when they do happen?
reply to lynkali Three and half weeks (possibly 4+ weeks) later, and the situation is STILL ONGOING. Tonight was especially frustrating, as the above smokeping shows, almost no connectivity for five hours, and the response from Cox has made me nearly lose my not-inexhaustible calm temper.
The most frustrating thing about this is that Cox has now CLOSED the trouble ticket for the neighborhood, and yet an hour after they closed the ticket, the exact same outage happened again, for the (literally) 20th time in 3 weeks. Support told me I cannot be having an issue since their system didn't record it.
Backing up, I need to clarify that this has become a street-level issue affecting between 15-20 houses in my immediate neighborhood, according to line techs and support reps who are willing to read what's on my account to me. It is no longer a question of anything from the pedestal to my house, since all of the neighbors who use Cox internet (many don't, they've switched to U-Verse and other providers) are having the exact same outages at the same time.
But Cox has apparently stopped trying to fix it, or at least their system shows that the trouble is now solved when it most definitely is not.
Last week, after some further house visits by line techs, while the tech was here we knocked on neighbor doors, and finally discovered that, lo and behold, it was not just me, but the entire street having exactly the same issue. That got the situation escalated to the street team, but very slowly -- took three days of my constant calling just to get an acknowledgement that the problem even exists, not that there's any solution.
This morning after a further outage, they suddenly did have maintenance, which I took to be a good sign (no TV or anything else, black screens, for an hour). A bit later, two large Cox street trucks (the big kind, not contractor pickup trucks) rolled into my cul-de-sac and started working. When I went out to talk to them, they assured me in exact words: "We found the issue, we're sure now .. after we leave here you won't have any more problems."
Famous last words. An hour after they left, the issue started in again, the same as always with no phone and no outgoing internet. When I called Support to tell them the issue had recurred, the (I'm sorry but there's no other word) IDIOTIC rep told me flat out that I could not be having an issue because they had just fixed it and their system said it was closed. He also, despite seeing my ticket that shows this affects at least 15 houses, suggested that maybe I just had too many phones in the house and I should unplug one. (I have one wired and one cordless phone and that's it, not that there's any correlation here at all, just an illustration of the rep's inability to grasp "neighborhood" level problems.) He then said in order to open the trouble ticket again, he'd need to send a regular line tech out to the house. I nearly screamed.
The outage continued all evening for 3+ hours.
At this point I have absolutely no idea if Cox even knows that they have not fixed the problem, since nobody I've spoken to seems to be able to communicate with the street level team. My greatest fear is that the trouble ticket is now closed, and no one is monitoring the situation.
WHAT DO I DO?