Man, I wish I found this back when I had troubles with Comcast.
I couldn’t tell you the aggravation I’ve experienced with the fucking morons working at the customer tech support department for issues I needed which eventually got to a network tech. The senior or networking individuals however, are a completely breed of folks because the ones I dealt with were usually quite experienced and extremely friendly. The trouble is getting past the initial ignorant and usually rude schmucks (who think themselves as the gurus of all IT knowledge) reading from a script and manual and on to someone of a higher caliber. The most recent troubles involved some horrible packet loss on our connection. After a fair bit of detective work, we figured it was from a shotty connection from our cable modem to one of the next hops on our network (which did not have to do anything with our cable line itself). So, many months ago we called up Comcast support with our problem and we explicitly tell them the problem is *not* with the cable line, but in their network center. So, the thick-accented Indian fellow decides that the proper solution was to send out a cable tech to diagnose our line. Turns out our line was fine (what a surprise) and the tech says it’s not the line so he promptly leaves to go masturbate in his van before his next gig.
In all fairness to the cable tech though, there was a fairly attractive Mexican girl who lived downstairs and according to the chickie, she enjoyed hanging around without underwear on while wearing short skirts.
So we placed a call into Comcast again letting them know that we were correct and there was no problem with the cable line, yet we had a internet connection that was dropping between 25-45% of our packets. Which for a gamer, network admin and pr0n downloader was completely unacceptable… So, what does the next thick-accented Indian chap do to fix our problem? Why you guessed it, send out yet another cable line tech. So this goes on for about 2 or three more times over a period of a couple of months at which point my roommate and I had enough. I call up Comcast and just as the phone tech was about to say he was going to send out another cable tech, I stopped them and in the most berating fashion possible, I asked to speak with their supervisor. Supervisor comes on and I explain my situation to which she recommends:
Wait for it…
Yes, a cable tech to diagnose our line!
I think I must have burst a blood vessel in my brain when I heard this. So, at this point (after wishing I had the Darth Vader grip of doom) I ask to speak with a networking person in as calm a manner possible. So 15 minutes later, I get one of the networking folks working in one of the local data centers I think. I proceed to explain our situation to the guy and he puts me on hold for a few moments as he goes to do his thing and test my connection. As it turned out there was a faulty network device somewhere on our network segment which the networking guy told me would be replaced within a few hours. Since then, our packet loss went back down to 0, the latency stayed at an all time low and Jada Fire and I became good friends yet again.
Anyway, if any of you tech-minded folks out there ever need to have a new modem purchased from a store enabled or are having some issues with your connection, the following advice from a stwrtpj on Slashdot is a breath of fresh air.
The key to working with Comcast is to have some basic technical knowledge of cable internet. Once you show you know the lingo and you know the basic technical aspects, you’ll either get the support person to “talk up” to your level immediately or switch you to someone that knows. Most support people have at least heard some of the terminology, usually enough to know if they’re in over their head and need to route you to someone else.
For example, if you buy your own modem, NEVER say “I need my new modem INSTALLED.” Say “I need my new modem PROVISIONED”. 95% of the support people will know right away what you need and won’t bother asking you about Windows and you’ll be online 15 minutes later.
Know how to get to the status page of your modem (usually http://192.168.100.1/ [192.168.100.1] but may vary depending on model). Know that your downstream signal needs to be between -10 and +10 dBmV. Know that your downstream SNR should be above 33. Know that your upstream power should be between +30 and +50 dBmV. When my signal dropped because of a splice in the line gone bad, I didn’t tell Comcast “my internet don’t work”, I told them, “my downstream power is -16, which is out-of-spec, I need a tech to take a look at this”. I had a tech out the very next morning and was back online by the afternoon.
Also, whenever you have a problem, BEFORE you call do the mantra of restarting your cable modem, router, and computer. Even if you know this will not fix the issue, do it. Then take the router out of the loop and do it all over again. Then when you call, tell them you did all this already. This will save time.
In all the times that I have had to call Comcast for technical issues, not once did the subject of Windows ever come up.
I suppose it may just work for any of the cable companies out there. Though from my personal experiences, Comcast is just one of the most horribly run cable companies out there. Luckily, I’m going back to Cablevision at my new place whom I have always had great dealings with.