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  Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX 
 
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john albrich Oct 31, 2007, 09:19am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Oct 31, 2007, 03:03pm EDT

Replies: 22 - Views: 4760
I have NEVER seen anything like this problem.

Is anyone else having major connectivity problems with COX's broadband cable service in the Phoenix area at this time?

For over a week, I've been having a major problem with connectivity. It seems to have started when they had someone doing some sort of repair work nearby (which COX confirmed was going on) but COX support denies that could cause my problem. This started BEFORE I made the Fox 2.0.0.8 and Java 6update3 upgrades, and I haven't changed IE before or after the problem started.
I had also turned off all my AV/AS/Amalware and the problem didn't change.


Symptoms:

Domain connection:
When trying to connect to ANY web-page, it may take up to a dozen separate manual attempts to get to a website page. Otherwise, I get the error:
"Server Not Found. Firefox can't find the server at http://www.arbitrary.com"
There is a similar error when I use Internet Explorer. I have also seen "connection timed out" errors when running internet speed tests.

File Downloads:
File downloads are also hit or miss, and if they start, they take MUCH longer than ever before. You'll see why below.

When I conduct speed tests using
internetfrog.com or speedtest.net or etc, one time it can be really fast (normal) at ~4000kbps download speed, and I can try it immediately again, and the result this time wil be ~100kpbs download speed. That's a 40 to one reduction in bandwidth within seconds.

Upload speeds are also impacted according to the internet speed tests.


Now for the truly bizarre part...

When I look at the real-time graph of my network activity (via TaskManager) there is a VERY obvious repeating pattern. I'll try describing it.

During a long download from ANY site I've tried....this includes viewing videos, downloading executables, etc...anything that should keep the connection constantly busy for awhile...

EVERY 30 seconds, the connection will drop to ZERO bytes per second, and stays that way for about 5.7 seconds. The data-rate then gradually starts increasing from 0 to the peak value over the next 16.6 seconds. It then gradually starts to decrease from the peak to 0 over the next 7.7 seconds.

These 30sec, 5.7sec, 16.6sec, and 7.7sec timings do NOT change...ever.and, This is a constantly repeating cycle during any and every download.


Before the problem started:
Before the problem started the network bytes/sec graph was pretty much as you would expect...the graph would start up, go to the peak value, and stay up until the download was finished. Perhaps very slight variations in the peak value during the download.

Since the problem started:
But, since the problem started I have never seen it change. Think of the internet bytes/second received graph as if it was a modified triangle waveform, with a flat portion in between the triangles. The flat portion represents when ZERO bytes are being downloaded or uploaded. The top of each triangle representing the peak data rate in a given cycle.

___^___^___^___^___^___


The underscores represent the 5.7 second Zero bytes/second segment, and the ^ represent s the 16.6+7.7 second periods where the data rate gradually increases and then decreases, dropping back to 0 bytes per second. Remember, these measured time intervals do not change at all. It doesn't make any sense.

I can post an image of the graph if that would help anyone.

It's acting like someone is coming on the internet line every 30 seconds and sucking up the Cox allocated bandwidth until my allocation drops to 0. It then starts freeing up bandwidth until my bandwidth connection is running again.

By the way, I have also noticed that the on-screen menu of my digital cable box now takes a lot longer to load the TV guide information as well. I don't know if they are related, but it seems like a possibility.


This is really frustrating because Cox help desk basically tells me as long as I can get to a web-page, it's not their problem...that it has to be my computer.

My take is that I'm paying for a broadband data rate, but I'm not getting it.

All benchmarks on my computer are running at nominal.

Anti-virus, spyware, malware detection shows NO problems.

I even replaced the system disk with a fresh copy of the OS and re-installed the bare minimum of programs to access the internet through COX, and the problem still continued. I also replaced all my cables, and even ran the computer straight to the wall outlet (even though I know that a fixed-period cyclic problem like this is not a cable or connector issue)

If it were some unpredictable performance issue with my computer, it should show up in the benchmarks, and I would also expect the internet connection problem to NOT be so regular.

If this were a simple attenuation or signal power problem, I don't believe we would see the constant 30-second-cycle during which the data-rate varies so predictably.

That 30 second never-changing cycle is really perplexing.




edit-clarify COX near-by repair activity was confirmed, add datum re: AV/AS/etc., and cleaned up typos.
edit-add comment that it's not likely an attenuation or signal power issue




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Beavis Khan Oct 31, 2007, 09:28am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
My guess: we'll read articles in the next week or two about Cox pulling a Comcast and trying to shape/filter/block Bittorrent traffic. I am not a network engineer, but I can't think of any legitimate reason for this to be happening that doesn't involve incompetence or malfeasance on the part of Cox. Do you have any friends/neighbors on Cox internet with whom you can compare notes?

____
"For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong."

- H.L. Mencken
john albrich Oct 31, 2007, 10:34am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
Big Beavis said:
...Do you have any friends/neighbors on Cox internet with whom you can compare notes?

None in the area. Most are on Qwest DSL.

Beavis Khan Oct 31, 2007, 11:02am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
http://www.broadbandreports.com/forum/coxhsi

Looks like you have company - I haven't read through the threads, but there seem to be a large number of problem reports tagged with "AZ".

____
"For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong."

- H.L. Mencken
Oct 31, 2007, 11:03am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
What kind of cable modem do you have? Most you can access through a web-interface to reset defaults and re-establish a connection with your ISP (which is usually most useful after they've done updates).

I notice a similar pattern of bandwidth with torrents on Comcast. They could be trying to implement anti-BitTorrent software and are fux0ring it up. I wouldn't be surprised if they denied that, Comcast denies it too, even though the evidence clearly says otherwise. :/

john albrich Oct 31, 2007, 11:58am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Oct 31, 2007, 12:43pm EDT

 
>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
Big Beavis said:
http://www.broadbandreports.com/forum/coxhsi
Looks like you have company - I haven't read through the threads, but there seem to be a large number of problem reports tagged with "AZ".


Wow. That looks like I do indeed have a lot of company, and a lot of the complaints seem very similar, some a lot worse and for a lot longer than my problem (some have had the low-speed and connect problems for MONTHS) and it's not just my neighborhood in the Phoenix area. (note: I did see this same problem a few months ago, but for me it lasted only a few days back then, and I chalked it up to local repair/upgrade activity)

I'll be participating in the discussion. It looks like at least one Cox employee is interested in helping.

Apparently most/all of the folks in the thread agree that the Cox helpdesk is worthless.

Thanks for pointing me to that thread. :D


Still...if any one has any idea about the possible causes of that 30 second cycle, I'd sure like to hear them.

One person in that thread mentioned that if someone put a "stinger" on the line (to steal service) that could cause reduced download speeds. Could a "stinger" produce a 30-second cyclic problem? Could that be a tell-tale indicator of a "stinger" in operation? Or...does it just produce a fixed attenuation of the signal level (which would not be cyclic) ?

john albrich Nov 08, 2007, 10:17am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
If you want to see a graph of what this "Repeating 30 Second Data Disruption Cycle" problem looks like, go to:

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r19405281-

It hasn't changed symptoms in almost 2 weeks, now.

Some techs have said they'll look at it, but there is no solution as yet.

CrAsHnBuRnXp Nov 08, 2007, 12:20pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
Big Beavis said:
My guess: we'll read articles in the next week or two about Cox pulling a Comcast and trying to shape/filter/block Bittorrent traffic. I am not a network engineer, but I can't think of any legitimate reason for this to be happening that doesn't involve incompetence or malfeasance on the part of Cox. Do you have any friends/neighbors on Cox internet with whom you can compare notes?

From what I have read abotu Comcast is that they are NOT blocking Bittorent traffic in its entirety. They stated that they can download whatever they want as much as they want. However, the upload is limited so that if you try to upload something, it will not reach 100%.

Nov 08, 2007, 12:53pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
They're not blocking all BT traffic, just seeding. Sandvine looks for the handshake between a seed and a peer, and (if you're the seed), sends bogus RST messages to you and to your peer after just a few seconds. Although if your peer is on Comcast too ... you can seed to them ... go figure.

john albrich Nov 11, 2007, 06:39pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Mar 23, 2008, 10:00pm EDT

 
>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
Appears to be fixed! (unless an unlikely coincidence)

Apparent Fix:
I purchased and installed a new DOCSIS 2.0 compliant modem.

My download disconnect, low-speed, and "30-second Data Disruption Cycle"/"Fixed-period cyclic problem" appear to be fixed. Been running OK for almost 48 hours.

A big thank you to the Cox techs that worked on this problem for me, were willing to listen to the customer (unlike the helpdesk) , and worked with the customer to solve the problem.

After Cox tech worked with me over the phone, the only things that looked like real suspects were the signal strength (possibly old/bad internal apartment or external cable-drop cables) and the fact I was still using an old DOCSIS 1.0 spec broadband modem. (it had worked great for years)

I think the signal strength really wasn't an issue as it was close to 40db with the old modem, and the new modem runs just a bit above 41db. (by the way dB measurements can vary substantially. For example, during testing I added a splitter to the arrangement, and the dB value increased by about 5dB. Normally, one would expect the signal strength to decrease when you add a splitter)

I also can't conceive of any modem hardware failure that would produce that precise 30-second cycle.

My hypothesis, given the 30-second cycle symptom, is that after COX's recent network changes (PowerBoost?) My DOCSIS 1.0 protocol modem simply wasn't working 100% right. Perhaps the new network isn't 100% downward compatible or changes priorities, or the DOCSIS1.0 implementation by the old Motorola "Surfboard" modem had some anomolies, etc. So, the protocol issues introduced repeated disconnects/re-tries, etc. The fatal recovery action might have been on a 30-second cycle.

For almost 48 hours with the DOCSIS 2.0 modem, I've not had a single user-observable failure, and the download performance is generally now back to previous values of 4-5mbps.

edit-updated problem-free time to ~48hrs.
edit-basically problem-free up through March 2008

Malinda Danner Feb 27, 2008, 11:38am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
I also have Cox cable internet in Phoenix and I have changed the splitter and keep getting booted off. I had them come out once because some of the tv channels are so bad that it picks up a country music station at the same time. Everything worked fine for about a week and now my tv has screwed up stations and the dropping the connection either on IE or Mozilla and at various times. Server not found, and you run a troubleshooter and it always stops at the gateway or DNS server. I have tried all I know and I am limited to knowledge of this sort. My neck hurts from looking under the desk to watch when all the lights are back on the cable modem.

john albrich Feb 27, 2008, 12:10pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Feb 27, 2008, 01:46pm EST

 
>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
Some suspects and thoughts, assuming the tech measured your signal levels, checked for interference, and that the cables/splitters inside your apt/home remained undisturbed within last week...

COX cable box
COX network amplifier/distribution fault (external to your apartment/house)
Broadband modem
Someone else doing something unauthorized on the cable

Some possible debugging actions:

Talk to your neighbors. See if anyone else is having the same problem. If it only occurs on certain channels, ask them to look at those channels from time to time and/or arrange to call them when you next see it on your TV, and determine if it occurs on their TV at the same time.

If your neighbors see the problem, then it's clearly a COX external problem.

If your neighbors don't see the problem...

When the problem appears on your TV again, immediately disconnect the cable leading from the cable splitter to your broadband modem at point "X" below. See if picture/sound improves.

COXcable
|
|
splitter-X------modem-----computer
|
|__TV

If it didn't change, then take the splitter out and connect the TV directly to the incoming cable*.

COXcable
|
|
[] (in-line coupler, use only if needed)
|
|__TV

If that didn't fix the TV problem, then this rules out your broadband modem, that splitter and cable segment.

That leaves the cable set-top box or external interference as the next most-likely problem.

If they already tried replacing your set-top box (which I assume they did) then that would rule that out.

Someone tapping into the cable signal without authorization can easily create unusual problems for subscribers. It can appear intermittently as the person(s) may disconnect their equipment when they aren't using it (in order to reduce chance of detection). In an apartment complex, it can be more difficult to detect just where someone is tapping into the network.

You might also check for time patterns. For example, does it tend only to occur at early-morning, dinner-time, etc? That may help the technician track things down.

It could still be a COX-caused problem (faulty amplifiers, etc) but until the other items are ruled out their techs might not be willing to look at their own sub-systems.



*Note: in some homes/apartments there can be multiple splitters in-between the main COX cable and the TV you're using. That seriously degrades the signal quality. Even if the tech says your signal level is OK, I'd eliminate the other splitters where possible. My apartment for example, had 3 splitters with my living room TV and broadband modem being on the LAST splitter. That was the first thing I changed when I moved into the apartment, replacing the splitters with in-line couplers, and disconnecting those secondary TV cable feeds.


john albrich Feb 27, 2008, 01:34pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
Another place you can seek help specifically with COX HSI problems is at dslreports.com

The COX-specific forum is at
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/coxhsi

dslreports.com's fora, software tools, and contact info can be very helpful in resolving COX ISP problems.

Some software tools are free to use, and some require either a subscription or using "points" that can be obtained several different ways.

People have recently reported on-going COX HSI outages and slow-downs...some of it appears geographically-based and where system upgrades are apparently currently in process.

Suspended User Mar 23, 2008, 05:43pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
John, have you got more than one computer in the house?

If so, is it the same on that as yours?

Shadow_Ops_Airman1 Mar 23, 2008, 07:48pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
They Increased my Rate by 3 dollars for a total of 96 and ive been paying in advance, i swear these Cable Companies need to Compete with eachother by City and State like Phone Services do.

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john albrich Mar 23, 2008, 10:07pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
Kieran Blenkarne said:
John, have you got more than one computer in the house?
If so, is it the same on that as yours?

Not sure what you're asking. I only had the one broadband modem, and each computer I tried to connect via that modem had similar issues.

My problem was fixed when I decided to upgrade from a DOCSIS1.0 to 2.0 standards-compliant broadband modem. See above post of
http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/topic/69319/#518539
(which thanks to your jog I also updated to show it's been problem-free for much longer than 48 hours I earlier reported)

Do you have a problem for which you need help?

john albrich Mar 23, 2008, 10:14pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Mar 23, 2008, 10:15pm EDT

 
>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
Shadow_Ops_Airman1 said:
They Increased my Rate by 3 dollars for a total of 96 and ive been paying in advance...


I think paying a month in advance is pretty standard, unless you're saying you've been being extra good and paying much farther in advance.

The extra $3 might be a new service you can opt out of. E.G. someone might have accidentally upgraded you to in-home service, which I think runs about $3-$5 per month. More likely it is yet another "non-tax fee" that the feds/state/city have imposed. You know, like some sort of "emergency 9-1-1" (even if you don't have broadband phone) or infra-structure assistance support "fee".

Of course, it could always be an extra 3 bucks just because they know they can.

Shadow_Ops_Airman1 Mar 23, 2008, 11:54pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
well if the rates continue to increase im switching over to DSL and Calling it quits with Cable cause they are monopolistic bastards anyway, i mean 93 bux for Cable TV and Internet is stupid

AMD Athlon XP-M 2500+ (133x14= 1867MHz) (209x11= 2299MHz)
DFI LP NF2 Ultra-B (Hellfire 3EG Rev2)
Antec SX800, Neo HE 500, 4 Antec 8CM Fans
Thermalright SI-97 1 Antec Tricool 12CM Fan
CL SB XFi Xtreme Music
2x Barracuda HDs (250/400)
2x Samsung Write
john albrich Mar 24, 2008, 12:23am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Mar 24, 2008, 12:47am EDT

 
>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
Shadow_Ops_Airman1 said:
...i mean 93 bux for Cable TV and Internet is stupid

I agree.

Around here, I thought COX was providing internet (upto 10mbps?) +digital cable TV (which supposedly includes HDTV) + telephone service for under $90. There is supposed to be a cheaper (maybe -$20) sub-5mbps tier available. Might be sub-2mbps...I'd have to research.


BTW, for internet+digital cable TV, I'm paying $65 using Cox (I supposedly get a discount on digital cable TV cause it's an apartment...basic cable would be free. But, for internet access, I am required to sign up for digital cable TV)


Some readings just obtained ~200803240435UCT
(although I think 4000kbps to 6000kbps download tends to be more typical on a weekday evening)

http://www.dslreports.com/speedtest?java=1
to LosAngeles:
15515kbps download
560kbps upload

http://www.speedtest.net/
to LosAngeles:
20221kbps download
556kbps upload

to Munich, Germany
5425kbps download
533kbps upload


However, substantially different from
http://www.bandwidthplace.com/
(no target selection possible)
3700kbps download
451kbps upload

http://www.internetfrog.com/mypc/speedtest/
(no target selection possible)
10097kbps download
598kbps upload

Malinda Danner Mar 24, 2008, 02:06am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
Just an update for you. I finally went down to the cox store and got one of their cable modems and my problems are now gone.

john albrich Mar 24, 2008, 05:28am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Problem With Broadband Cable ISP= COX
Malinda Danner said:
Just an update for you. I finally went down to the cox store and got one of their cable modems and my problems are now gone.

Perhaps your problem was also related to the DOCSIS standards issue...just a different symptom?


I could suspect that Cox intentionally created a cash cow just by changing the network barely enough to force many customers to go out and buy/rent a new modem from them...except that in all the time I spent with the lame helpdesk people, not once did they recommend getting a new modem! I got a D-Link DCM-202 from newegg.com for about $20 after sale, rebate, and free shipping!


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