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CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Charter
·Suddenlink

[HSI] Cable Modem signal levels continue to drop

Click for full size
Charter Enclosure Box

Speedtest
 
 
Should I be worried about my cable modem signal levels? They continue to drop lower as the temperature changes outside; they seem to be out of spec although I am not having any problems with the modem losing signal back to the head-end or any speed issues yet. I'm especially worried about the SNR which keeps getting lower and lower.

Now, I don't know if this has anything to do with it or not but the drop coming in from the tap is around 300-350ft and its CommScope RG-11. I have no splitters on the line since I have HSI only. The incoming line runs to Charter's enclosure box where it goes through the ground block I have in a picture below, then into the basement (which is right on the other side of the box) then goes through a barrel connector (swept to 3GHz) and then runs about 25-30ft to the coax outlet on the other side of the room.

All of the coaxial cable inside is RG-6 (swept to 2.25GHz).

I have the 30/4 Mbps speed tier with my own SB6120 modem.


Signal Levels

sittin_tech

join:2004-04-13
Rochester, MN
kudos:1
It might not be a bad idea to call in and set up an appointment before your service stops working.


GvilleDSL

join:2009-11-12
Greenville, SC
reply to CoolMan
Kind of odd to have downstream power levels like that on a line with no splits. Id like to hear from someone who knows more about signal levels and how weather can affect them etc.

Oedipus

join:2005-05-09
kudos:1
reply to CoolMan
In my experience, downstream power goes up and upstream power goes down as the temp drops.

whoaru99

join:2003-12-17
reply to sittin_tech
Set up an appointment for what?

"Hello, Charter? My service is working fine but would you roll a truck to come check it out anyway?"


Orth

@charter.com
reply to GvilleDSL
I'm not a pro at this but from my understanding, when it gets cold out the lines will contract and when it's warm, the lines loosen up again so I guess when they contract it might cause your signal to lower as it's harder for it to get through understandably.

whoaru99

join:2003-12-17
In general, resistance goes down as wire get colder. So, if signal strength is decreasing it must be something other than wire resistance causing it.


CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Charter
·Suddenlink

1 edit
reply to CoolMan
Click for full size
Signal Levels
I have continued monitoring the signal levels last few days, weather temperature here has dropped more mainly due to the Hurricane Sandy on the east coast.

This past Thursday (25th) the cable modem went offline for around 5 mins or so, I was getting ready to leave so I didn't have time to check the signal levels, so I left the house and about 1 mile down the road there was a Charter Technician working on the aerial lines. So I assume he disconnected something for a few minutes? (hopefully fixed/cleaned up something...)

Anyway here is my current signal levels I am receiving now.

said by GvilleDSL:

Kind of odd to have downstream power levels like that on a line with no splits. Id like to hear from someone who knows more about signal levels and how weather can affect them etc.

Could it have something to do with the long drop from the tap (estimated to be a minimum of 250ft but it might be around 350ft)?? It is RG-11 coaxial all the way to the enclosure though...


CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Charter
·Suddenlink
Ping results to www.google.com
Ping statistics for 74.125.130.103:
Packets: Sent = 1337, Received = 1300, Lost = 37 (2% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 21ms, Maximum = 267ms, Average = 27ms








Signal levels dropped again, this time very bad and now I am having problems. Speed has dropped, packet loss is present now, ping spikes in games, overall slowness.

I used the Chat support and explained everything and they insisted I was receiving a good signal from there end. They also apparently don't understand what Signal to Noise Ratio is or Downstream power levels... Said they showed my modem had been online for 9 days. They had me reset the modem/router/switch which did not help, had me restart the PC in safe mode with networking to check speed again. They told me I would be charged a service call to have a technician come out since I don't subscribe to the inside wiring plan.

Finally after the 2nd chat, I was able to convince them to schedule a technician to come out. They will probably end up charging me as well for it.

Thank you Charter for such a great present at the holidays! :uhh:


88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
said by CoolMan:

Thank you Charter for such a great present at the holidays!

And you know this is Charter's fault how? Seeing as you don't know what the problem is to begin with.

sittin_tech

join:2004-04-13
Rochester, MN
kudos:1
reply to CoolMan
I think I recommend back in October to get this checked out before it became an issue.


GvilleDSL

join:2009-11-12
Greenville, SC
reply to CoolMan
Id check everything on the line up to Charter's box on your house and replace that barrel connector and perhaps even the coax outlet. There has to be a weak link somewhere...


CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Charter
·Suddenlink

1 edit
reply to 88615298
said by 88615298:

said by CoolMan:

Thank you Charter for such a great present at the holidays!

And you know this is Charter's fault how? Seeing as you don't know what the problem is to begin with.

Well I haven't done anything to the connection, and the signal levels change very sporadically (mainly the Downstream power level and downstream SNR). This time they have just dropped so low (and not within recommended specifications) that it can't keep a consistent signal with the HFC network. The return path upstream signal level appears to be fine, its only the downstream experiencing the problem currently.

I checked the coax connectors in the enclosure outside as well as inside coax and nothing has changed, no corrosion etc.

As I stated earlier in the thread the coax from the street runs directly into the enclosure outside then there is a ground block inside the enclosure then it runs inside to one barrel connector and then around 25 ft to the modem. No splitters, all the coax connectors are Charters and very good quality.


88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
said by CoolMan:

Well I haven't done anything to the connection,

Didn't say you did. Could be a problem on their end maybe not. If others near you are also having issues well that would be obvious then. Could be anything. just because you don't se corrosion doesn't mean there isn't any. Maybe some other damage somewhere. Could be some sort of interference. Who knows.


CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Charter
·Suddenlink
reply to CoolMan
Since day one though I have never seen the DS SNR at 37 or above, I recall maybe 36 on some channels back in the summer time but its always seemed low the signal coming in from them.

I was just thinking of all the problems I would probably have if I had the TV service with HD, I can only imagine once it would be split several times, since the signal is so low to begin with coming in.


CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
reply to CoolMan
I would estimate the drop from the street to be around 250 ft, but the cabling used is all CommScope RG-11. Which from what I have read is really good coax.


CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Charter
·Suddenlink
reply to GvilleDSL
said by GvilleDSL:

Id check everything on the line up to Charter's box on your house and replace that barrel connector and perhaps even the coax outlet. There has to be a weak link somewhere...

The barrel connector was installed by them about 6 months ago it is supposed to be good it has the blue inner ring (swept to 3GHz). I can't access the outside wiring except about 20 ft outside the enclosure before it goes underground for about 90 ft then aerial the rest of the way to the tap.

The outlet is not the type with the plate it is just coax run from the barrel where it enters into the house on the other side of the room fed through a open low voltage box. In other words after that barrel inside the coax goes straight to the cable modem.


CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
reply to CoolMan
Would it help any if I connect the cable modem straight into the RG-11 coax in the enclosure (bypassing the grounding block) then post the signal levels?


Killa200
Premium
join:2005-12-02
Southeast TN
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to CoolMan
Try going straight from the RG-11 like you are suggesting. With your downstream moving 10dB but your upstream staying stable, I'd rule out hardline issues. Might be a faulty AGC not compensating for gain / slope as temperature moves, or could be a bad forward amp wigging out as things cool down and contract.


CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Charter
·Suddenlink
said by Killa200:

Try going straight from the RG-11 like you are suggesting. With your downstream moving 10dB but your upstream staying stable, I'd rule out hardline issues. Might be a faulty AGC not compensating for gain / slope as temperature moves, or could be a bad forward amp wigging out as things cool down and contract.

Thank you for the suggestion. I will go and try that and post back!


CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Charter
·Suddenlink
reply to CoolMan
Click for full size
Ok here is the signal levels with it connected directly to the RG-11 in the enclosure, this bypasses ground block, barrel connector, and all inside coax wiring.




Killa200
Premium
join:2005-12-02
Southeast TN
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to CoolMan
4dB gain without the surge arrestor and barrel is a bit more than I was expecting, but it isn't the issue we are looking for. Looks like your still out of tolerance downstream signal and SNR. I'd get someone out there to check this at the tap at this point, as it isn't a possible house wiring issue anymore.


CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Charter
·Suddenlink
reply to CoolMan
said by Killa200:

4dB gain without the surge arrestor and barrel is a bit more than I was expecting, but it isn't the issue we are looking for. Looks like your still out of tolerance downstream signal and SNR. I'd get someone out there to check this at the tap at this point, as it isn't a possible house wiring issue anymore.

Good to know its not inside then, which I never really thought it was in the beginning. Have a technician scheduled for tomorrow, will post back to let everyone know what happens.

I also should definitely not be charged for the service call since its not inside even though they said they do charge. I think they said the are supposed to credit it back but I don't know if they do it automatically or if I have to call them after the service call.


GvilleDSL

join:2009-11-12
Greenville, SC
reply to CoolMan
I don't see how they can charge you for a truck roll. You have ruled out everything on your end.


CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Charter
·Suddenlink
reply to CoolMan
The packet loss is very bad, web pages are so slow sometimes you have to hit refresh 3 or 4 times to get it to load...

Ping results to www.google.com
Ping statistics for 74.125.130.106:
Packets: Sent = 140, Received = 123, Lost = 17 (12% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 21ms, Maximum = 46ms, Average = 27ms


CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Charter
·Suddenlink

2 edits
reply to CoolMan
Click for full size
Click for full size
Signal levels after new drop
Problem resolved
Brand new drop from the tap was run and is scheduled to be buried underground in a few weeks. Previously it was about 1/3 run underground then the rest of the way aerial, technician said it would be better to have it all the way underground to the pole then up the pole into the tap especially since there is trees that just get in the way of the lines.

I didn't know either that where it came up from underground was coupled together then it went aerial to the tap. The problem was water was in the aerial line; probably from having those 2 lines coupled together let it in most likely. The compression connector on the aerial line before it was cut looked very old and the barrel didn't have the weatherproof boots either.

I have also attached the new signal levels. Since day one I have never had the signal levels that good.

Overall very happy with the job, took around 3 hours total, I just hope I do not have any problems getting the construction crew out to finish burying the coax underground.




GvilleDSL

join:2009-11-12
Greenville, SC
reply to CoolMan
Good to see you got it squared away. And indeed it was on Charter's end even if it was the line leading to your house...it's still their problem. My power levels are roughly -8dBmV to -11dBmV so im riding the fine edge but no problems so far.


CoolMan

join:2008-01-07
Tennessee
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Charter
·Suddenlink
reply to CoolMan
Click for full size
They did place a charge of $45 on the account but it appears it was credited back later that day after well before it would have appeared on the upcoming bill. It was only listed under Recent Activity since its between billing cycles. Anyway, Charter does indeed place the charge on the account but does credit it back since they determined it was there end, good to know though nonetheless.

Strange Data

join:2012-08-25
said by CoolMan:

They did place a charge of $45 on the account but it appears it was credited back later that day after well before it would have appeared on the upcoming bill. It was only listed under Recent Activity since its between billing cycles. Anyway, Charter does indeed place the charge on the account but does credit it back since they determined it was there end, good to know though nonetheless.

Usually the service call is automatically added to your account even before the truck rolls out of the parking lot. However, once the tech completes the work order, it's deducted if the tech reports that it is an outside issue not related to your equipment.