Odd cable modem issue

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I'm wondering if anyone might be able to explain what happened here. I
have cable internet service which was working fine.  At some point, my
connection speed dropped dramaticially (2.5-3m, as advertised) to about
400k. A consistent 400k with horrible ping times.  I ran through the
motions, recycled the modem,  changed ethernet cables, changed ethernet
adapters, tried the USB.. nothing.. i swapped out the modem (i own it),
still nothing, I installed a clean copy of windows xp pro, still
nothing.  At some point after reinstalling windows and changing the
modem (to a surfboard 4220) I connected to the internal page and did a
"reset all defaults" and powercycled it, afterwhich and ever since, has
been working just fine.  Any thoughts as to what might have caused


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