Connection Regularly Fluctuates Between Above My Speed Tier and < 1 Mbps

I've had reasonably reliable internet service at my home (a duplex shared with one other family; Warren, OH 44484) for ~ 4 years through TWC/Spectrum. Begnning about two months ago, a new trend emerged where my internet speeds would suddenly flatline; it seemed to happen in the evening between 8 and 11 pm (this is when I'm home from work and usually winding down playing PS4 online or streaming something via Netflix, so it could very well have been happening at other times and I just didn't notice since I wasn't using it for anything intensive). Typically a modem power cycle would clear it right up. 

However, beginning 1 week ago, things got exponentially worse. A modem powercycle no longer would resolve the issue. I'd be playing an online game and everything will be fine for a few minutes, and then I will have massive packet loss for an extended period--to the point where video streaming or playing a game was compeltely impossible. I started running speed tests constantly (both when I was and was not seeing the issue) and the result is that my speeds are wildly inconsistent. In almost any given 5-minute period I can run two speed tests and see ~ 67 Mbps in one and ~ .06 Mbps in another. This inconsistency makes playing online games, streaming video, and working from home (which I do somewhat regularly) an absolute nightmare. 

The first CSR I spoke with began by convincing me to switch over to a Spectrum package as it was cheaper and would allow me to access the higher speed tier (60 Mbps as opposed to my current 50 Mbps).  He also had me go to the local office and swap out my modem and cable box (a Ubee DOCSIS 2.0 and one of those ancient Scientific Atlanta beasts, respectively) for newer devices (a Ubee DVW32CB and a Cisco something-or-another); he suggested that the modem switch would be necessary to get the higher speed tier. 

After activating the new modem, I did notice that I was getting close to 70 Mbps wheras with the previous modem I was never able to exceed ~ 45 (on the best of days). But the wild inconsistency persisted, and horrible packet loss and speed fluctuations continued to render my internet largely unusable. 

After speaking with a second CSR, he agreed to send a tech out. When the tech knocked on my door for the appointment he said "I think I've already located and corrected the problem--you had a very old splitter that I replaced. Your signals look good now. Can you run a speed test?" I ran the speed test, and was indeed getting close to 70 Mbps. I told him that running a couple speed tests over a ten-minute period at 10 am on a weekday when I am never typically home to know if the problem has ever even occurred during that time of day was not really inspiring a lot of confidence that the problem was fixed, given its very inconsistent nature. But I said I'd trust his judgement, given the imrpoved signals he was reporting. 

That same evening, around 9 pm, the issues came right back--my speeds were down at < 1 Mbps again and online gaming was a no-go. The problem has come and gone constantly over the last several days, and with being intermittent, it has quite literally turned into an object of obsession. Below I'll post all the imformation I've gathered while intensively monitoring this.

 

Location: Warren, OH 44484

Services: Cable, DVR, Internet

Modem: Ubee DVW32CB / DVW32C1

Router (mine): Netgear Nighthawk X6 R8000

Modem softwarehttp://imgur.com/ihUSqaw

TWC Website Modem status: sometimes reports online, sometimes reports offline, often displays this message

Purchased Speeds: 60 Mbps down / 5 Mbps up

Speedtest Results: fluctuate wildly and constantly. here is collection of speedtest over the course of one hour that demonstrates the fluctuations decently well - http://imgur.com/b3LpsfW

Wired or wireless: I have verified that it happens either way

Modem Connection Status (captured while issue was occurring last night): http://imgur.com/u3ldCUU

Modem Connection Status (notice the 747 band SNR fluctuations): http://imgur.com/SXOEJX0

Modem Connection Status (at the time of this post while everything is working well -- it is worth noting that this is the first time in 5 days of having this modem that I've ever seen any correctables/uncorrectables appear on any channel aside from the 747): http://imgur.com/b3GWmHj and http://imgur.com/OcUIUm6

Description of cable wiring: frankly I am unfamiliar with the nuances of the cable wiring. what I know for sure is that I've always used the same coax for internet and absolutely nothing has changed with the wiring inside my home. I cannot attest to what may have changed outside.

Ethernet network: Ubee modem has operation mode set to Bridge Mode and it's wireless radios are disabled. A single CAT 5e cable is connected from Ubee modem's Etheret 1 port to my Netgear Nighthawk's Internet port. I have already performed in depth channel congestion disagnostics and and confirmed that my 2.4GH and both 5GH wifi networks are broadcasting on the least-noisy and non-overlapping channels. 

Recent changes: new modem and cable box as described above; problem was occurring prior to those changes though. I see Spectrum trucks around my area almost daily.

 traceroute

Spoiler

traceroute -I rr.com

traceroute: Warning: rr.com has multiple addresses; using 71.74.186.228

traceroute to rr.com (71.74.186.228), 64 hops max, 72 byte packets

 1  192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1)  2.570 ms  2.015 ms  1.954 ms

 2  142.254.157.125 (142.254.157.125)  10.035 ms  12.743 ms  10.416 ms

 3  po62.wrrnoh5502h.midwest.rr.com (24.164.116.213)  59.772 ms  32.541 ms  22.065 ms

 4  agg48.pltsohae01r.midwest.rr.com (24.33.101.190)  22.088 ms  13.634 ms  16.100 ms

 5  be25.clmkohpe01r.midwest.rr.com (65.29.1.28)  17.754 ms  23.271 ms  23.939 ms

 6  bu-ether15.chctilwc00w-bcr00.tbone.rr.com (66.109.6.68)  34.339 ms  31.098 ms  32.359 ms

 7  be5.ar3.pkv01.tbone.rr.com (66.109.10.99)  50.862 ms  51.096 ms  51.536 ms

 8  be3.ar0.pkv01.tbone.rr.com (66.109.10.93)  51.613 ms  50.644 ms  51.290 ms

 9  24.161.254.40 (24.161.254.40)  50.660 ms  51.008 ms  51.393 ms

10  71.74.186.228 (71.74.186.228)  51.933 ms  50.828 ms  50.724 ms

11  71.74.186.228 (71.74.186.228)  51.722 ms  51.035 ms  51.334 ms

A few things I find noteworthy :

  1. Until today, the modem had never had any correctables/uncorrectables on any channels except for the 747 frequency. Does this indicate that, until today, none of the other bonded channels were actually being used? Also, the correctables/uncorrectables on the 747 frequency channel continue to rapidly climb while the modem is powered on, with the uncorrectibles outpacing the correctables by a large margin.
  2. Based on my limited understanding of DOCSIS 3.0, all bonded upstream and downstream channels appear to be within specification with the exception of the 747 frequency channel, which, as noted above, has an SNR that routinely drops way below spec and, more recently, has not even provided an SNR reading (shows 0.0 dB and unknown modulation type) but still remains Locked and bonded.
  3. When it is acting up, it seems like these items always appear in the modem Event Log over and over (and they don't show up when it's working well): 
    Spoiler
     MDD message timeout;CM-MAC=a8:6b:ad:e0:71:a1;CMTS-MAC=00:01:... 
    Started Unicast Maintenance Ranging - No Response received -...
  4. I find it odd that even though I have the wireless radios completely disabled that the Event logs still inidcate that the modem is regularly adjusting the Wifi channels (I know that it isn't broadcasting; I've checked): 
    Spoiler
    WiFi Interface [wl0] set to Channel 6 (Side-Band Channel:N/A..
    WiFi Interface [wl1] set to Channel 149 (Side-Band Channel:N..

Any help you may be able to offer is greatly appreciated.

 

13 REPLIES 13
Expert

Re: Connection Regularly Fluctuates Between Above My Speed Tier and < 1 Mbps

You have a loose or corroded connection causing severe ingress from Verizon 4 G phones., possiblyt open splitter ports or cables from one to nowhere.

 

Re: Connection Regularly Fluctuates Between Above My Speed Tier and < 1 Mbps

Thank you for your reply. Is it more likely to be a problem inside my home or outside (or potentially both)? Do you have any recommendation on how I might identify the offending connection? Or am I just going to have to try to get a tech out here again?

 

Also, is there anything I can do in the meantime? Is it possible to tell the modem to stop bonding that channel or something? I kinda thought that part of point of having 16 downstream channels was that if one was malfunctioning then the others could pick up the slack? I can't imagine why it would even attempt to use that channel given it's constantly poor state. Or, is the channel variety really just exclusively used for load balancing? Or am I just misunderstanding this entirely? 

 

Also, just out of curiousity, are we talking about Verizon 4G signals broadcasted from cell towers, or the signals emitted by a Verizon handset (or both)? I don't have Verizon and the cable that connects to my modem is fed into my home through the basement--there is only about 1 foot of cable that is outside of the basement, and it is fed up through the floor right to the modem. The connection is snug and there's no visible damage to this section of the cable. Would that be reasonable cause to believe the problem is outside? 

 

Thank you so much for your time.

Expert

Re: Connection Regularly Fluctuates Between Above My Speed Tier and < 1 Mbps

are there pole top mini cell sites like these in your area?

 AFixYnv

Expert

Re: Connection Regularly Fluctuates Between Above My Speed Tier and < 1 Mbps

At the bottom there's an electric power disconnect and a weatherproof eqt cabinet either pole or ground mounted dFFsiiZ

Re: Connection Regularly Fluctuates Between Above My Speed Tier and < 1 Mbps

@MsRaye your image is not appearing for me for some reason (maybe needs mod approval or something). But I highly doubt it: I'm in an extremely high-traffic commercial area. There are actually 3 cell phone towers within 1/4 mile of my house, and several more within 5 miles. 

 

To provide an update: The problem is still occurring, and it's really, really bad. It makes playing games, steaming Netflix, or maintaining a VPN connection to work completely impossible.

 

I've now had three different technician visits: they've replaced splitters, replaced my grounding box, and inspected the cables within my home all to no avail. Last week they even sent a maintenence crew out, and I saw them working on the lines at various points near my home. One of the techs told me they were replacing an amplifier and that it would "definitely" resolve my issue (it didn't). Another one of the techs said they've been having similiar problems with other customers on my road. 

 

I am REGULARLY at > 20% packet loss. I'll attach an example in a separate post (character limit for this post).

  

It certainly doesn't help matters that this issue is likely directly related to whether or not my modem is using the 747 MHz channel at any given point in time. The techs come to my house, run speed tests/packet loss tests, and say "you're internet is fine." Yeah, it's fine at this moment, but it doesn't stay that way for long. I tried to show them my downstream channels and explain the issue to them, and their reaction is always: "well, that says Channel 16. we don't use channel 16; we only use 1, 6 and 11." I tried and tried to explain that he was thinking of wifi channel numbers but we're not talking about wifi channels, we're talking about the 747MHz frequency that comes through the wire. Then he had the audacity to tell me "cell phone signals can't affect your signals that are coming over the wire." 

 

We're going on 3 weeks of my internet being completely useless to me. Do you have any idea how I might be able to escalate this? What recourse do I have? I am losing my mind and feeling completely hopeless.

 

Re: Connection Regularly Fluctuates Between Above My Speed Tier and < 1 Mbps

Typical packet loss test results (> 20% dropped REGULARLY): 

Spoiler

PING rr.com (71.74.180.193): 56 data bytes
# ... I removed 0 - 49 due to character limits on posts here #

 

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=50 ttl=54 time=84.801 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=51 ttl=54 time=58.532 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=52 ttl=54 time=60.783 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=53 ttl=54 time=183.980 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=54 ttl=54 time=58.961 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=55 ttl=54 time=58.454 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=56 ttl=54 time=58.546 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=57 ttl=54 time=58.743 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=58 ttl=54 time=58.315 ms

Request timeout for icmp_seq 59

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=60 ttl=54 time=58.190 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=61 ttl=54 time=58.148 ms

Request timeout for icmp_seq 62

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=63 ttl=54 time=59.045 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=64 ttl=54 time=58.447 ms

Request timeout for icmp_seq 65

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=66 ttl=54 time=161.539 ms

Request timeout for icmp_seq 67

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=68 ttl=54 time=59.467 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=69 ttl=54 time=58.721 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=70 ttl=54 time=167.402 ms

Request timeout for icmp_seq 71

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=72 ttl=54 time=58.903 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=73 ttl=54 time=58.905 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=74 ttl=54 time=58.502 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=75 ttl=54 time=62.338 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=76 ttl=54 time=59.141 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=77 ttl=54 time=59.181 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=78 ttl=54 time=61.439 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=79 ttl=54 time=118.827 ms

Request timeout for icmp_seq 80

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=81 ttl=54 time=57.859 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=82 ttl=54 time=59.056 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=83 ttl=54 time=58.469 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=84 ttl=54 time=59.624 ms

Request timeout for icmp_seq 85

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=86 ttl=54 time=53.363 ms

Request timeout for icmp_seq 87

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=88 ttl=54 time=140.777 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=89 ttl=54 time=60.391 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=90 ttl=54 time=53.647 ms

Request timeout for icmp_seq 91

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=92 ttl=54 time=58.131 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=93 ttl=54 time=60.363 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=94 ttl=54 time=155.589 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=95 ttl=54 time=59.199 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=96 ttl=54 time=56.641 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=97 ttl=54 time=58.568 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=98 ttl=54 time=162.287 ms

64 bytes from 71.74.180.193: icmp_seq=99 ttl=54 time=58.331 ms

--- rr.com ping statistics ---

100 packets transmitted, 79 packets received, 21% packet loss

 

 

Expert

Re: Connection Regularly Fluctuates Between Above My Speed Tier and < 1 Mbps

Post a tracert to google.com

 Sorry but you are having serious ingress issues from probably a 747 mHz slot Verizon mini cell site located near the line somewhere.

Re: Connection Regularly Fluctuates Between Above My Speed Tier and < 1 Mbps

YMACOS1IHOLDEN:~ iholden$ traceroute -I google.com
traceroute to google.com (172.217.4.110), 64 hops max, 72 byte packets
1 192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1) 2.658 ms 2.698 ms 2.427 ms
2 * 142.254.157.125 (142.254.157.125) 13.702 ms 11.492 ms
3 po62.wrrnoh5502h.midwest.rr.com (24.164.116.213) 28.819 ms 23.291 ms 21.155 ms
4 agg48.pltsohae01r.midwest.rr.com (24.33.101.190) 23.452 ms 15.447 ms 16.444 ms
5 be25.clmkohpe01r.midwest.rr.com (65.29.1.28) 21.098 ms 23.771 ms 23.684 ms
6 bu-ether15.chctilwc00w-bcr00.tbone.rr.com (66.109.6.68) 34.812 ms 30.941 ms 32.237 ms
7 bu-ether11.chcgildt87w-bcr00.tbone.rr.com (66.109.6.20) 30.836 ms 31.716 ms 31.339 ms
8 0.ae1.pr1.chi10.tbone.rr.com (107.14.17.194) 51.911 ms 28.740 ms 39.929 ms
9 ix-ae-27-0.tcore2.ct8-chicago.as6453.net (64.86.79.97) 28.841 ms 28.410 ms 28.626 ms
10 72.14.219.82 (72.14.219.82) 41.120 ms 30.037 ms 28.163 ms
11 * * *
12 108.170.233.111 (108.170.233.111) 29.774 ms * 29.850 ms
13 ord36s04-in-f14.1e100.net (172.217.4.110) 29.469 ms 28.704 ms 29.860 ms
Expert

Re: Connection Regularly Fluctuates Between Above My Speed Tier and < 1 Mbps

Tracert's telling me uyou're in the warren/ Niles area and it looks ok other than the *** link 2 timeout the first time.

None of the TWC/Spectrum techs have ANY RF background, Karl and I have a combined over 100 years and multiple FCC licesnses and all sorts of system experience.

 Spectrum/ TWC won't hire or train anyone.

 

What little they're trained on is ingress egress and only the guys in the bucket trucks seem to have the Egress detector "green guns" to find and repair egress leaks that once repaired, clear up the ingress problems from local TV as well as 4 G cellular and other over the air licensed services which cable tv is not...licensed!

You'll also have potential ingress problems from TV channels 47-49-50 on the modems 669,681, 687 channels

 I'm pretty sure the 747 is from Verizons 4G transmit sites that are either the poletop thimble mini sites or colocated with other carriers on multi user towers  There are also some 700 mHz LMR trunked channels in use by the turnpike/highway patrol and other MARCS users.

What's the nearest major intersection to you?

 

 All you can do is call this in again,