ISP technical support - believe them or not?

My download speed is a small fraction of what I should be receiving. I suspect it’s been that way for a long time but most of the time I’m just too busy to bother troubleshooting it.

Anyway, I’ve gone through multiple layers of support and a couple of home visits and haven’t received any definite answer of what the trouble is. They’ve replaced my cable modem twice without any improvement.

My guess is that the trouble is entirely on their end, they’ve either oversold their capacity or they’ve got some rotten network routing or perhaps some combination of the above.

I’m writing because a third tech visit is scheduled for next week. I figure that spotting a bad line should be easy. My cable TV works just fine. I’m suspecting that they are just humoring me and hoping that eventually.

Is there any more sophisticated test I can do (other than that would create some evidence/proof that sending a technician out to my place is a waste of time and that the plan has to be closer to their end of things? Mediacom is my ISP if that matters.

Have you tried plugging the cable modem directly into your PC and running the speed test? It would at least eliminate your router as a potential source of the slowdown.

Yeah, make sure whatever modem device you have (most likely a router/modem combo) is plugged in direct.

Trace route? maybe it would show if there is a connection down the line that is hurting you or you’re experiencing severe packet loss.

Just because the problem is potentially their fault does not mean it is not local to you as well. In the past with cable i’ve had to get devices to increase the signal from the cable in the house. Also might be a wiring issue going to the house. Could be anything really though.

I have the coaxial cable going directly from the wall to the cable modem to the PC.

Of course, this morning - speed is just fine.

They want to send a technician out here (3rd time) – and I asked what would be a potential example of a problem that could cause intermittent severe internet speed slowdown and be caused by something at my house.

He couldn’t think of any.

So, I asked him – then why would send someone out here fix the problem?

He was at honest. “It’s the pathway that we’re supposed to follow.”

Maybe I’m too much of a skeptic but it’s tough for me not to think they aren’t just jerking me around and trying to demonstrate good faith when really the problem is on their end.

Years ago, I had a similar problem with Time Warner cable. After multiple promises that they would do something to fix it that they never followed up on, I finally called the Better Business Bureau. The head tech guy from the local Time Warner office actually called me back the next day. He asked me what I was using the internet for, as if that could be the problem. After several more visits to my house by technicians, one of them finally admitted that Time Warner headquarters wouldn’t pay for enough bandwidth for our area. He then defended them by saying that Time Warner was the most customer friendly company he had ever worked for, which I found truly scary. Some months later, the speeds went up and have stayed there.

The point is, with almost all of the US covered by companies benefiting from government-enforced monopolies, internet service provides can be really terrible and there’s not much you can do. Time Warner, at least, seemed a little afraid of the BBB. You can personally advocate for free competition and against crony capitalism, but I have found that completely hopeless.

I’ve used pingplotter link before when I was seeing horrific (25-75%) packetloss. It was at the box on my house luckily and not in the house (which can be due to crappy/extensive/damaged wiring) and the tech quickly confirmed he saw the same thing. Once you set it up you can see which hop where any packtloss and/or latency in the form of higher ping times is. Most dispatch techs should understand this as they have their own tools for checking packetloss.

Hiredgoons - I feel your pain. Two suggestions above are where you should start. Tracer route and ping plotter. If those don’t give you any good ammunition I’ll tell you what affected that same issue for me with Comcast in the past.

#1 - They did not have the correct current (voltage?) running through their wires on our circuit (neighborhood). It was a bit too high, thus modems kept overheating, slowing down, becoming unstable. Took an annoying long time for them to troubleshoot themselves to figure this out. Once it was fixed all was well. This has happened twice over the past 5 years. One time they fried my cable modem and my next door neighbors on same day.

#2 - Underground cable was being frayed by a tree root at the beginning of our street. Took 2 weeks for them to track down. Meanwhile speeds were all over the place. Lots of packet loss. Until this happened I had assumed those in-ground wires were protected, like code stipulates for houses. If we have a long run, or buried wires in/around our house they must be in those metal tubes. Ironically, for the much more important runs in street, they’re not protected at all. They are totally exposed to roots, water, etc. whatever can get down to that level ~5 feet deep.

#3 - Just for fun they turned down my speed to see if I’d notice. Ok not just for fun, but they were low on bandwidth so they did it to everyone in my area, and tried to get away with it and not upgrade the circuit.

#4 - Moronic neighbors had hit my cable box outside and it had damaged the connector from physical line to box connection. Replacing the connector by cutting off the old one and putting on new one fixed it.