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Cable internet connection problem

  • Routers
  • Connection
  • Cable
  • Internet Connection
  • Networking
Last response: in Networking
February 10, 2010 7:48:14 PM


i am having a problem with my cable internet stability. every once in a while, the connection cuts out for just a few seconds. it's very difficult to even know exactly how often because it happens randomly and is really hard to notice. i only notice it if i need uninterrupted connection, like when i am plying an online game. but it can happen something between once an hour to once every few hours.
it's not my PC, because i have two PC's at home and when both of them are connected, they lose connection at the same time.
it's not the router, because if i have one PC connected directly to he cable modem, it still happens.
it's not the cable modem either, because at this point it has been replaced 3 times already.
here are some other symptoms:
often when the connection is lost, i have a pop-up window saying that "network cable is unplugged", then it would start "acquiring new address", and then another pop-up saying that "cable is plugged in" - and all of this literally within a few seconds without me doing anything at all. however after i replaced the cable modem last time, these messages dont pop-up anymore when i lose connection.
if i run ping in the background, when i lose connection, in addition to "unreachable" and "time out" messages i get a few messages about "hardware error". and again, it goes back to normal after several seconds without my interference at all.
if i notice the loss of connection quick enough and look at the cable modem, the "online" LED is off for a few seconds.
the cable provider techs have been very inefficient and helpless. all they did was check voltages, check SNR on their web page and replace the cable modem again and again which proved inefficient the 1st time they did it (they've come out 4 times already).
any ideas or insights what's going on? what can be causing this behavior?

More about : cable internet connection problem

February 18, 2010 10:19:03 AM

Has anybody thought it might be a cable (wires). A bad crimp or solder joint could cause intermittent problems.
February 18, 2010 1:54:28 PM

Along the same lines as Gandalf, sometimes the outside wiring just gets old and unreliable. Cabling doesn't last forever, esp. in harsher environments. Where I live they replace the cable (at the street level) about every 10 years! But individual homes may be using the same cable for 30 or more years. That *can* be a problem. Weather takes its toll, the cable expands and contracts over years, cracks develop in the insulation, etc. I'm surprised the cable guy hasn’t suggested it (unless he knows the cable is relatively new, maybe you live in a new development). My own provider has replaced the cable between the home and street a couple times over many years, so they can and do perform this service (when necessary). Not as easy as swapping cable modems, but certainly within their capabilities. Obviously they will resist this effort until they are no other options. But sometimes it’s the only option left. And all their fancy equipment won’t necessarily detect intermittent problems due to bad cables. Sometimes you just HAVE to replace it and hope it solves the problem.

I’m sure you’ve had the same experience as the rest of us. These guys will always blame the customer because they assume we’re all idiots when it comes to this stuff. And to some degree they have a case for the average joe blow. So the only thing that may get them to consider bad cables is if you construct some sort of test where you perhaps repeatedly PING their own DNS server, gateway, whatever, something THEY OWN (and thus can’t claim it was down or unreliable) and just let it run for hours or even days. No router, just a direct WIRED connection and a simple, reliable machine. Output the results to a file so you can show them. If the connection is truly reliable, that little test should prove it. But if those PINGs are timing out periodically and for more than just a hiccup of a second or two, then something is wrong. It’s either that or else you threaten to switch providers (hopefully you have that option).