New Modem Activation: A Tale of Amusing Frustration

...or is that Frustrating Amusement?


Yesterday I chatted with a Spectrum rep because I detected shenanigans (increases) in my bill since the switch from TWC to Spectrum.  Long story short, I ended up with a new package that was cheaper than I had before for more service.  I was assured that this was NOT a promotional rate.  


I was also told that the SurfBoard 6121 modem I bought last year to avoid Time Warner's extortion (excuse me: "rental") fees was "incompatible with new features".  It's a good thing I was on a chat session, otherwise I would have laughed at the poor guy.  I was ready to push the issue (it's still on their list of supported modems), but then he told me he was sending me a NEW modem and that there would be NO RENTAL FEE.  I asked specifically about that 3 times.


The new modem arrived today: a SurfBoard 6141.  *LOL*  Riiiight.  My old one was "incompatible".  OK.  Sure.  Whatever.  I hooked it up and attempted activation.


1) I followed the instructions in the instruction card that came with the kit. Once I had the new modem in place and powered on, I turned off the WiFi on my phone and went to the web site they specified: It doesn't exist!

2) So I called the number listed. The automated system wanted my phone number, which they apparently don't have on file.

3) No worries! I can use my account number! Great! I provide my 9-digit account number. Apparently their system thinks it's 16 digits. FAIL.

4) I fired up the Spectrum app on my phone. Its activation feature detected my new modem just fine, but would not activate it (error). It offered to contact me.

5) I ask to be contacted. 2 minute wait for a call back. It took 15.

Once I was talking to a real live person, she had things running in about a minute.

Only geeks: The My Spectrum app detected my new modem, but referred to the MAC ID as a Serial Number. Ugh.

None of this is confidence-inspiring. In fact, it's ridiculous! The new modem wrangled downloads speeds of 35Mb/s--the fastest I've ever encountered. Not anywhere near the 60 I was told I'd be getting as part of my new bundle, but I'll keep checking.


Re: New Modem Activation: A Tale of Amusing Frustration

Sorry but 6121'a are incompatable with all TWC/Spectrum systems, they were designed for only 4 downstream channels with a maximum bandspread of 6 channels.

Yes, they are sending out old obsolete 8 channel modems but at least have a 96 mHz, 16 ch bandspread.  You were lucky to get a 6141.


 The acceptance bandwidth is now a critical number as TWC increased many systems to 16-32 channels dedicated to data.



Re: New Modem Activation: A Tale of Amusing Frustration

While having worked in I.T. for many years, I will admit to being ignorant as to the under-the-hood workings of cable modems.  That said, I understand your feedback and sincerely appreciate being educated.


However, I continue to be amused at the notion that Spectrum optimistically thinks I'll ever see 100Mb service from them.  Even if I paid for it, I'm pretty sure their infrastructure isn't up to the task, at least in my location (northern NY (not to be confused with "upstate")).


I'll be happy to be proven wrong!

Lead Moderator

Re: New Modem Activation: A Tale of Amusing Frustration

If you are having speed issues we can certainly help diagnose that from here.


I encourage you to check out DATA-TO-POST-TO-GET-HELP-FROM-THE-COMMUNITY


Julia R.
Spectrum-Social Media Customer Care
Lead Moderator-Community Forums


Re: New Modem Activation: A Tale of Amusing Frustration



Thanks for that.  My home network is rather complicated and I plan at some point to disconnect it from my modem and perform tests with just a single computer connected.  That will give me a "best case" benchmark.


While I appreciate the concern for the technical aspects of my post, I hope someone at SPectrum takes notice of the PROCEDURAL difficulties I encountered.  Why does the activation system expect a 16-digit account number when mine is only 9 digits?  Why does not exist?


After hanging up with the very helpful support rep, I received an automated survey call.  I gave high marks (5) for the rep, but when I was asked about the difficulty of the PROCESS, I entered "1" for "most difficult."  The system actually thought I had made a mistake and asked me to confirm my selection.  When I did so, it paused and then informed me that the system was "experiencing difficulties" and disconnected me!  Not at all suspicious...  :-)


Re: New Modem Activation: A Tale of Amusing Frustration

It only now occurs to me that might be a web server/DNS address built in to the modem and will only work from a computer directly connected to a new modem.  If that's true, it should be made crystal clear in the instructions!


Re: New Modem Activation: A Tale of Amusing Frustration

It's not built in, it's a redirect when the CMTS detects a non registered CM . It has no idea where on the node it is (exact customer)

If it recognizes the first 6  mac digits, it does a firmware update to compatable firmware then sends it off to the activate my modem site.


It looks like this:

Welcome to Time Warner Cable Internet!
STEP 1 : Determine which number to call and set up your Time Warner Cable Internet account FAST!

If you have a Self-Install Kit call the number found in the kit.

Otherwise, call 1-877-309-5869.

STEP 2 : Provide the MAC (Media Access Control) address to the agent. Your MAC address appears on the left. You need to provide account setup information such as your name, address, and phone number. The agent will then connect your modem to our network.

STEP 3 : Reboot your computer and cable modem to get online.