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Killa200
Premium
join:2005-12-02
Southeast TN
reply to SwedishRider

Re: CATV issue- box freezing and reboots.

To me it sounds less likely to be a box issue because your saying it happens over multiple brands and models of boxes, which means that would cover a wide range of different firmwares, both make and revision.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
said by Killa200:

To me it sounds less likely to be a box issue because your saying it happens over multiple brands and models of boxes, which means that would cover a wide range of different firmwares, both make and revision.

Good point. I never thought of that. All three boxes are different- one is a SA HD DVR, one is SA non-HD set-top, and one is CISCO HD DVR. All of them exhibit the same behavior.. so it's more likely to be a problem with the node or headend than in the boxes themselves...

Unless Charter never configured the heartbeat in any of their boxes?!?! That seems pretty unlikely though...


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Cisco = Scientific Atlanta.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
said by nunya:

Cisco = Scientific Atlanta.

I did know that... but isn't killa right about different firmware for each box?


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
It's probably not that different, and they all talk to the same node and headend.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


beachintech
There's sand in my tool bag
Premium
join:2008-01-06
kudos:5
reply to SwedishRider
Yes, but they have the same API's to interface with the headend equipment. Nothing in your house talks to a node, it's a device doing light conversion.

Yes, Cisco bought SA some time ago, new equipment will carry the Cisco logo. They generally use the same firmware, with some exceptions.

You most definitely have either a trunk issues with the amps in the field or they have a headend problem. If it was a heartbeat issue related to firmware no one would be working, which would be a huge problem that would have been noticed prior to your calls.
--
Ex-Comcast Tech at the Beach. I speak for myself, not my former employer.


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms

Nothing in your house talks to a node, it's a device doing light conversion.

Actually in newer SDV systems, node groups use a different RPD than the "@ node" resource manager. E.G. the headend doesn't give a rats ass or need to be bothered if another subscriber is added to the stream locally.
It's not simply a repeating device as you allude. It's a separate ARPD, and therefore vulnerable to failure (hardware or software).

Jim - have you talked to any of your neighbors?
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
said by nunya:

Jim - have you talked to any of your neighbors?

Interesting that you asked...

I previously called my neighbor (who has charter for CATV) when I started investigating this, and asked him if he has the same symptoms as me. He said no.

Today, however, the tech came back to hook my amp back up, as my signals levels were scraping the bottom and causing some macroblocking when they eliminated the amp in favor of a simple 8-outlet splitter (and did nothing to fix the freezing issue). As the tech was heading down my driveway, my neighbor caught me... his complaint to the tech? He said his TV froze, and a simple channel change fixed the channel. When asked, my neighbor said he is a serial "channel jumper", so he always bounced around and never saw this problem before. A relative is staying with them and is a consistent channel watcher... and they are now getting frozen channels!

At this point, tech said it's confirmed to be a node/headend issue of some kind. At least 2 homes in my service group are reporting the same symptoms (my neighbor and me)... it's not my wiring, it's a service group/node/headend issue of some kind.

And to complicate things, I thought that the problem was a 60ish-minute consistent timeout window, but my wife tuned to Sprout today... it froze within 8-10 minutes, and was fixed by a simple channel change and return. I'm still hoping it's a simple settings issue at the headend... but I'm starting to fear it's going to be a needle in a haystack situation.

Tech said that to his knowledge, Charter's local SDV system does not rely on a heartbeat... it relies on a 360 minute (6-hour) window for the channel to expire it's session. Obviously, that's not happening if I'm getting timeouts of 60 minutes or less. Hopefully, the headend can take a look at their settings and get this squared away expeditiously.

I have to take my hat off to the Charter techs (home and line) in my area who have done an outstanding job trying to help track this down. It's ending up to be out of their hands... but they have been consistent and thorough in their work. They seemed to appreciate all the diagnostic help that I was able to do as well. I have nothing but praise for them thus far. This has been a very weird, unique issue that doesn't appear to be too typical.

And a thank you to all those here on DSLR who have thrown out ideas and theories to help guide the way. It is appreciated!

I am hoping the headend stays on this one to correction just as the techs have seen this issue to a diagnosis beyond them. I'll keep you posted.


beachintech
There's sand in my tool bag
Premium
join:2008-01-06
kudos:5
reply to nunya
said by nunya:


Nothing in your house talks to a node, it's a device doing light conversion.

Actually in newer SDV systems, node groups use a different RPD than the "@ node" resource manager. E.G. the headend doesn't give a rats ass or need to be bothered if another subscriber is added to the stream locally.
It's not simply a repeating device as you allude. It's a separate ARPD, and therefore vulnerable to failure (hardware or software).

Jim - have you talked to any of your neighbors?

You still are not talking to the node, you are talking to a card in the Head End
--
Ex-Comcast Tech at the Beach. I speak for myself, not my former employer.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
reply to nunya
Headend looked into their end... they don't know what's going on- everything checked out okay.

They want me to replicate, let the box stay frozen overnight, and then they will log into it in the morning and see what's going on. My box just froze at 4:33 PM... and the headend leaves at 4:30.

Bummer... it'll still be there in the morning I suppose..


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
You should talk to more of your neighbors...more 'squeaky wheels' will get more action, in addition to giving the techs more data to work with.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

1 recommendation

said by John Galt:

You should talk to more of your neighbors...more 'squeaky wheels' will get more action, in addition to giving the techs more data to work with.

I've got one of my neighbors on the lookout for a freeze-up, and to leave the box alone and to call me when it happens so I can call it in.

I'm hoping to freeze all three boxes before the morning. That would give three potential pieces of info right there.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
I was thinking more along the lines of having too many people affected for them to ignore.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
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join:2006-01-11
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reply to SwedishRider
Well, line tech sat outside the house today for a couple of hours, hoping to catch a freeze up. he was tuned into the same channel as me. His TV was in his truck connected to the same tap as me.

Would you believe that in that time, I never froze. Very frustrating!

Something interesting happened though... I was getting some macroblocking on that channel, and he was getting macroblocking in the truck, but his meter was not showing any errors. That seemed very odd. But otherwise... no freezing.

For now, I'm keeping a log of which box froze up at what time and emailing it to a tech in the headend. He said that is very useful as hopefully a pattern could emerge and we could narrow possibilities.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
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join:2006-01-11
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kudos:1
reply to SwedishRider
Click for full size
Okay gang, one of my boxes froze, and at that moment, I immediately went to the diagnostic screen and snapped a pic. Sorry for the quality, but I had to move fast. A second or two after that pic, the power level returned to +7dBmV. The tuner that held the channel that froze instantaneously went to -20dBmV at the moment it froze!

What would make that happen?


Pacrat
Old and Cranky
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-10
Cortland, OH
kudos:2
Gremlins!

Sorry, but that's my pat answer to questions about things I know nuthin!


beachintech
There's sand in my tool bag
Premium
join:2008-01-06
kudos:5
reply to SwedishRider
Your return is really low (29 dbmv). Whatever Tuner 1 is tuned two is not functional at -20, but I can't see the freq with the lense flare. Not showing any errors on that capture, but I would suspect they have an amp out of balance between you and the node.

FDC is hitting your box at 2dbmv, but something towards the upper end is hitting at 7dbmv, this is backwards from what you would expect.

Granted, this is all from what a box is reporting and should be taken as not accurate.
--
Ex-Comcast Tech at the Beach. I speak for myself, not my former employer.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
said by beachintech:

Not showing any errors on that capture, but I would suspect they have an amp out of balance between you and the node

Two techs came back today, one a high level supervisor and the other a tech who was really sharp. They went over the cable setup in my house with a fine tooth comb. They replaced a coax length from the ground block to the inside, the ground block itself, and swept the house for leakage. They inspected my coax for acceptability and damage. A few outlets did have some leakage, though minor. But they were very thorough and everything looked to be in excellent working order when they were done...

... and within a couple of hours after they were done, a couple of freezes.

They then consulted with an engineer, and at this point, my house has a clean bill of health, and the poles were checked, and given a clean bill of health. Suspect is now something in the headend. I'm keeping a log with specific info they requested to be logged for each freeze and passing it along, hoping to establish a pattern or a specific failure point that can be troubleshooted.


cypherstream
Premium,MVM
join:2004-12-02
Reading, PA
kudos:3
You could also try posting the information here:
»www.line-man.com/forums/index.ph···-forums/

There's a bunch of cable techs there that may have some input.


BillRoland
Premium
join:2001-01-21
Ocala, FL
kudos:3
reply to SwedishRider
I can't add anything, but SwedishRider See Profile, I commend you, you have the patience of Job.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
reply to beachintech
Click for full size
Signal tanking was not a fluke... here's a better pic from a freeze this morning. Still don't know what is causing it.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1

2 recommendations

reply to John Galt
said by John Galt:

You should talk to more of your neighbors...more 'squeaky wheels' will get more action, in addition to giving the techs more data to work with.

Walked up and down the street today, looking to see who is serviced off the same amp as me. Of those that use CATV, one neighbor has seen the issue a bit, and two others have been plagued with freezing issues exactly like mine... and then it got too dark to continue...

Seems that nobody realized that anybody else was having that problem.... and it wasn't so bad that anybody has been regularly calling. Now it's pretty clear... it's not just me, it's at least this neighborhood.


beachintech
There's sand in my tool bag
Premium
join:2008-01-06
kudos:5
reply to SwedishRider
You sure you know which way the signal is flowing

You def have a problem outside the house, a big one from the looks of that.
--
Ex-Comcast Tech at the Beach. I speak for myself, not my former employer.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
said by beachintech:

You sure you know which way the signal is flowing

You def have a problem outside the house, a big one from the looks of that.

Yeah, looking at those negative numbers, you'd think it was an outflow of me broadcasting to everybody else in the node.

No question about it now. I walked around and polled everybody around me that uses Charter for CATV, and all but one are having this freezing issue (and it may just be that he's not using affected channels). The earliest I can trace it back is to 2008, when the first resident in the area subscribed to Charter. It's been going on since at least then! I alerted the higher-ups at the local Charter office over the weekend, and gave the contact info to all of those residents affected. Geographically, I traced it back beyond my amp... it's at least one amp back toward the node and may go all the way back for all we know at this point...

In all fairness, everyone, including me, has just let it go up until now, so this has been a lingering problem, but nobody was calling and complaining. Shame on us for that I suppose. Now that it's out in the open, and there is clear evidence of a real problem, I'm hopeful it can be diagnosed and corrected.

Up to this point, Charter local has really done their best and invested time and effort to try to fix this problem. I have no complaints with their tech team to date. With all the info I have provided, and the number of my affected neighbors who called in, I am optimistic of a resolution. We shall see I suppose.


beachintech
There's sand in my tool bag
Premium
join:2008-01-06
kudos:5
reply to SwedishRider
I wouldn't hold out a lot of hope, customers have been affected on that large of a scale for that long and they never did anything about it.
--
Ex-Comcast Tech at the Beach. I speak for myself, not my former employer.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
Click for full size
said by beachintech:

I wouldn't hold out a lot of hope, customers have been affected on that large of a scale for that long and they never did anything about it.

Yeah, I'm starting to wonder myself... not due to lack of effort, as they seem to be really trying to figure this one out, but nothing is popping as the culprit.

I did some research, and of the satellite options on the table, I think a Dish Dual-Hopper/Multi-Joey setup may be the way to go given how many TVs I would want to run. All the RG6 run to my outlets is swept to 3Ghz, so I should be good to go. Put the node in the utility room, mount the dish and run it back to the node, and hook up the Hoppers and Joeys. Dish says that down the road, the Hoppers would be able to communicate with one another, so I could view any program from any Hopper or Joey. It's kinda sweet actually.


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
MoCA is the shiznit.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
said by nunya:

MoCA is the shiznit.

So I take it you approve of my choice?


billaustin
they call me Mr. Bill
Premium,MVM
join:2001-10-13
North Las Vegas, NV
kudos:5
reply to SwedishRider
I prefer DirecTV. They provide a similar setup, and have been offering whole-home DVR service for quite a while. I started with three 2-tuner DVR's when it first became available. With the HD setup I have, all DVR's have internet access and can download PPV and on-demand content. The HD receivers can access any of the DVR's and watch any recorded content. With their SWM system, there is only one cable from the Dish, and it can be split like cable. Also, DirecTV now offers a 5-tuner DVR.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
said by billaustin:

I prefer DirecTV. They provide a similar setup, and have been offering whole-home DVR service for quite a while. I started with three 2-tuner DVR's when it first became available. With the HD setup I have, all DVR's have internet access and can download PPV and on-demand content. The HD receivers can access any of the DVR's and watch any recorded content. With their SWM system, there is only one cable from the Dish, and it can be split like cable. Also, DirecTV now offers a 5-tuner DVR.

Bill, so if I were to go the DIRECTV route, I could have one coax from outdoors to indoors, then have it enter a splitter (or use an 8-port amp like I have), and then only one coax run is needed for each DVR?

The problem for me is that I didn't run 2 coax drops to each outlet location... so a DVR that requires 2 coax hookups would need either a splitter immediately before the DVR, or only one hookup, which defeats the purpose of having a DVR (Only one program could be recorded or watched at a time).

The beauty of the Hopper setup is that I could get full functionality from each Hopper and Joey without the need for 2 coax runs to any of the receivers or DVRs.