Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!

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Thank you Jeff Liebermann for being a technical wiz-kid genius!
http://i.imgur.com/obYQsU9.jpg

I just want to shout out to Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco  
cable modem (Motorola/Arris SB6141) for about $85 out the door, and again  
thanks go to Jeff for suggesting I ask for a discount on the Comcast $50  
"installation fee".

I hooked it up with a $1 CATV cable from Goodwill and then called Comcast  
who first wanted to charge me $50 for installation, and then $15 when I  
argued for free and then the guy used a "promo code" to get me down to $6  
for their "installation" fee.

I couldn't get him any lower than $6, so I took that.

In ten minutes it was working fine. They did everything over the wires.

They charge about $45 monthly (I don't know what the taxes will be  
though) for 45Mbps down and 5Mbps up.

They try to talk you into 100Mbps down and 10 Mbps up for $50 but we  
tested it at 90Mbps out the modem RJ45 to a laptop and about 60Mbps using  
the 2.5GHz WiFi out of the router attached to the modem using  
speedtest.comcast.net as our test web site (and Firefox 39.0.3).

The only router Costco had was too expensive though (at $130 + about $13  
tax for the Netgear Nighthawk AC1750). So, at Frys, I bought a $75 TP-
Link Archer C5 (do you think that was a good tradeoff?) for roughly about  
half the price.          http://i.imgur.com/obYQsU9.jpg

With Jeff's suggested Arris/Motorola cable modem from Costco, the $85 out  
the door will pay for itself in a few months:

1. Saved $45 minus $6 = $39 on installation fees (but I had to supply a  
CATV coax cable so let's call that a $30 savings to make the math easy).
2. Saved $10 each month on modem rental fees
3. I get a GREAT modem (fast!).

So, in the first month, I saved about half the modem cost alone, at about  
$40; and in the next four or five months, the modem is paid for. Then,  
each month, the modem, in effect, saves me another $10 every month.

You can't beat that equation!  
Thanks Jeff for being so smart!
Santa Cruz is lucky to have you!

I bought the following, but will return the Costco router I think:
http://i.imgur.com/obYQsU9.jpg

TP-Link Archer C5 router ($75 at Fryes)
Netgear Nighthawk AC1750 router ($130 at Costco)
Motorola/Arris SB6141 cable modem ($75 at Costco)

Only question left is whether the Costco router is worth it for just two  
kids sharing an Internet connection away at school.

Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On 8/15/2015 7:11 PM, ceg wrote:
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One good option for a router is to get a used Netgear WNDR3700 from eBay  
for $20 and install OpenWRT on it.  You get a decently secure router  
with a lot of stooch for very cheap.  I have a couple like that, and I'm  
very happy with them.

Cheers

Phil Hobbs

--  
Dr Philip C D Hobbs
Principal Consultant
ElectroOptical Innovations LLC
Optics, Electro-optics, Photonics, Analog Electronics

160 North State Road #203
Briarcliff Manor NY 10510

hobbs at electrooptical dot net
http://electrooptical.net

Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 23:11:31 +0000 (UTC), ceg

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Y'er welcome.  However, I'm no longer a kid and certainly have never
been a genius.  Please keep your superlatives reasonable and knock off
the nymshifting.

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I certainly suggested buying the SB6141 at Costco, but I don't believe
it was me that suggested negotiating the installation fee.  At the
time, Comcast considered the fee as mandatory.  However, subsequent
threats of litigation based upon charging for services that were not
rendered has magically made the fee negotiable.  The problem was that
anyone that physically picked up their equipment at the local Comcast
store would not be charged an installation fee since it was a "self
install".  However, Comcast didn't have a check box for those that
purchased their own equipment, and therefore billed everyone possible
for non-service.  I ran into this problem with one new customer, so I
suggested a rather ridiculous alternative.  They ordered service along
with the rental of a gateway device, which they picked up at the store
as a self install.  They then purchased an SB6141 at Costco and
activated it.  Once working, they returned the unopened gateway device
for credit.  The customer is rather old, so I walked him through the
entire ridiculous ceremony, which included informing everyone within
range of what was happening and why.  

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Impressive.  Much depends on who you get on the phone.  I've heard of
hour long ordeals and have experienced 20 minute activation acrimony.

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I've always found it odd that Comcast is unable to provide an accurate
estimate.  Perhaps they're afraid of sticker shock?

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I've seen 179/12 Mbits/sec in Felton.  One customer that had the old
12/1 Mbits/sec service now has more than double at 88/6:
<http://results.speedtest.comcast.net/result/999633544.png
What happened is that on Tues Aug 11, Comcast magically doubled the
speed of residential internet service.
<http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/business/20150810/comcast-unveils-faster-internet-for-santa-cruz
I'll spare you my conspiracy theories, but will add an anecdote.  The
speed did NOT increase for business class Comcast customers.  So, I
walked over to the Comcast store and asked if they could find out the
status and plans, if any.  I was blessed with several useless phone
numbers, that connected me to people that didn't know, didn't care,
and didn't bother to obtain the information.  Welcome to the legendary
Comcast customer service.

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TP-Link routers are amazingly good products hidden inside amazingly
weird packages.  I have a few in service that have had no problems
(after I updated the firmware).  With the cable speeds that you're
getting, you should be running 802.11ac something to get something
near full speed.  However, the reason the TP-Links is probably cheaper
is that it only does AC1200 (2x2) while the Netgear does AC1750 (3x3).
Whether you actually get the rated speeds depends heavily on your
client radios and RF environment.  If it's with a tablet or
smartphone, forget it.
<http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/32651-ac1200-router-roundup-part-1
Wireless performance is allegedly about 7 to 10 times your Comcast
performance, so you'll probably do ok.
<http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/images/stories/wireless/ac1200_roundup/ac1200_router_roundup_benchmark_summary.jpg
Make sure you got hardware version v2.0, not v1.20.  

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Probably not.  The extra wirless speed is if your kids are copying or
moving massive files via wireless.  Hopefully, that's not happening.
Another is reduced latency if they are doing gaming.  If you monitor
the wireless mode (with a sniffer), you'll find that in the presence
of even the slightest amount of interference, the router will switch
down to 802.11g speeds or about 25 Mbits/sec throughput maximum.  The
higher speeds do have their use (such as using less air time) but
usually require an ideal RF environment in order to be used full time.

It might be fun to lock the wireless mode and speeds to 802.11ac.
Let's see if it can be done:
<http://www.tp-link.com/resources/simulator/C5_v2_simulator/Index.htm
Yep.  On 2.4GHz, you can select 802.11n mode only.  On 5GHz, you can
select 802.11ac only.  Try AC only, copy something across the network
via wireless, and see what manner of range you can get.  

--  
Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann     AE6KS    831-336-2558

Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 19:57:19 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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Nymshifting is part and parcel with privacy. Sorry. I hate it just
as much as I hate locking my bicycle up and removing the seat, lights,  
and mirrors every time I park it. But, in today's world, we're forced to  
do it.

Sorry about that. You're amazingly "open" with who you are, but I can't
be that open. Too much at stake.

You know who I am anyway - since I have emailed you in the past.

Anyway, thanks for the advice on the Archer C5 hardware version.
The router is up at the college but I have the box.  

The serial-number sticker on the box says it's version 2.0 so I  
got must have gotten lucky on the hardware version at Frys.


Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 19:57:19 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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The SB6141 modem is great, as it's fast, and it will pay for itself in  
less than a year, what with Comcast dropping the installation fee to six  
bucks and also dropping the ten-dollar monthly rental fee.

However, as I recall, the speeds went from 90Mbps down to about 60Mbps  
down simply by switching from a modem-to-laptop wired connection to a  
modem-to-router-to-lapop-wireless connection.

That's a huge drop in speed (measured at speedtest.comcast.net).

Is that normal to lose 30 Mbps just by switching from wired directly to  
wireless?  

NOTE: I just realized while writing this that we never checked the wired  
speed directly out of the router, which I'll ask the kids to do for me.


Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 05:33:58 +0000 (UTC), ceg

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Yep.  The math is simple enough.  If you're going to remain a Comcast
customer for more than 9 months, you might as well buy your own modem.

The only gotcha is if you decide to subscribe to the Comcast phone
service.  In the past, it was possible to buy an Arris TM722G
telephony modem, which was on the Comcast approved list.  No more.
Now, you're stuck with buying a TM862G/CT which is the very device I
was trying to avoid:
<http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/device.php?devid=421
There are a few on eBay, but be careful.  Many were previous on rental
and cannot be activated.

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Probably.  I say probably because I don't have any idea what the kids
have for equipment other than the router.  I also don't know if
they're connecting on 2.4 or 5Ghz.  

60 Mbits/sec throughput suggests that they're doing 64-QAM if they're
on a 20 MHz channel.  
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11ac#Theoretical
The problem is that the router should be capable of shoveling data at
a much greater rate.  For example, the performance graphs show much
higher than 60 Mbits/sec wireless speed on 5Ghz:
<http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/images/stories/wireless/ac1200_roundup/ac1200_router_roundup_5_throughput_vs_attenuation.jpg
but much slower on 2.4GHz:
<http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/images/stories/wireless/ac1200_roundup/ac1200_router_roundup_24_throughput_vs_attenuation.jpg
My guess is that 60 Mbits/sec is on the low side of reasonable for
2.4GHz in the presence of interference from other routers in the dorm.

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I also had a short list of tests using Iperf and Jperf for them to
try.  

Incidentally, my fabulous DSL downloads at 1.2 Mbits/sec and you're
complaining about losing 30 Mbits/sec.  I'm jealous and you'll get no
sympathy from me.


--  
Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann     AE6KS    831-336-2558

Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 23:10:38 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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It was a cheap Costco $500 Win8 laptop that apparently only seems to  
have 2.4GHz (I didn't see the 5GHz AP show up).

All we did was go to speedtest.comcast.net


Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Tue, 18 Aug 2015 13:28:22 -0600, Tony Hwang wrote:

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We should probably list the various servers.
I'll make a start, but this is just from memory.

1. speedtest.net
2. speedtest.comcast.net
3. speakeasy.net/speedtest
4. ?


Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Tue, 18 Aug 2015 13:28:22 -0600, Tony Hwang wrote:

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I wonder if Jeff knows whether it's best to use the speed test supplied
by the ISP, since that's most likely to follow the same pipes?

That is, if I'm using AT&T, wouldn't the most accurate speed test be
one that AT&T supplies, which uses AT&T pipes?

Likewise, for comcast?


Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Tue, 18 Aug 2015 19:38:23 +0000 (UTC), ceg

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That used to be the case, when the number of hops and total latency
limited the maximum speed that it would test.  However, with jumbo
packets and large windows, that's no longer the case.  The speed test
program will usually select the closest or fastest test server anyway.
I'm on Comcast Biz class service.  I sometimes run Comcast speed test
from California to Washington DC.  The latency figures are high (88
msec instead of the usual 13 msec) but the speed figures are roughly
the same as local.  I do tend to favor using the ISP's test server,
but that's from habit, not necessity.
<http://speedtest.comcast.net
<http://www.speedtest.net
<http://speedof.me
<http://testmy.net
<http://www.att.com/speedtest/
<http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/
<http://myspeed.visualware.com
and bunch of private iperf, iperf3, Jperf test servers.

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Accurate usually means highest speed indication and minimum congestion
effects.  At slow connection speeds, almost any test server will work.
When you get up to 100 Mbit/sec speeds as Comcast is doing, you'll
need to check a few test sites.  Things get messy if your route is
through a router that blocks, throttles, or delays speed tests.
Probably the highest number is the least congestied, and therefore the
most accurate.  Those that limit the number of simultaneous or
consecutive tests are probably the best.  Comcast does that as when
they boosted the local speeds, it sometimes took me 10 mins to start a
tests because everyone in the area was running speed tests.

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Generally true, but not always.  Peering between ISP nodes is commonly
shared.  Run a traceroute to a test server and see what's on the
route.  



--  
Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann     AE6KS    831-336-2558

Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Tue, 18 Aug 2015 16:21:52 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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This is good to know as I knew you'd have experience with the answer.

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These are great test URLs to have handy, and I put them in my  
database. Others will find them useful also. Thanks.

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I find, strangely enough, that if I run two or three sequential tests,  
that the second and/or third test are far faster than the first. I dunno
why, but, it's almost as if the first test "cleans the pipes" or  
something obscure like that.

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This makes sense, although I had never thought about that before.
So, basically, run a few tests, and the highest result is the best.

Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Wed, 19 Aug 2015 03:48:49 +0000 (UTC), ceg

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Not strange at all.  What you're seeing is a problem with the speed
testing algorithm caused by various devices along the path buffering
or cacheing the data.  Instead of getting an end to end test without
any intermediate buffering, you're measuring the speed from some
intermediate devices cache.  This happens if the speed test uses
identical data files for each test, instead of randomizing the data
for each test.  I have not checked if this is the case for any of the
previously listed speed tests.  The usual fix of downloading a large
amount of data to flush the cache before performing the actual speed
test doesn't really work because it slows everyone else down and ISP's
hate that.  This is another reason why you want to use the closest
server, with fewer buffers and caches in the path.  Of course, the ISP
has a vested interest in producing the highest numbers and could
easily "optimize" their system to produce amazing results that can't
be duplicated by real applications.  

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Or, the highest number is what your ISP is throttling your
performance.  In my office, the best I can do is bursts of 25
Mbits/sec and sustained traffic of about 12 Mbits/sec.  However, when
it was first installed, I was getting 160 Mbits/sec because on a new
building installation, the cable installers wanted to know if the
system could handle the traffic from three business class customers.
So they temporarily turned off the throttling in order to make the
test and forgot about it.  160 Mbits/sec is about the maximum that the
Netgear(?) router could do with DOCSIS 3.0.

Another performance problem is your local wireless speed.  If your
laptop tests faster with an ethernet connection, than with a wireless
connection, obviously the wireless is what's slowing you down.  For
example, if you're using 802.11g only, your maximum download speed via
wireless will be about 25 Mbit/sec.  If your cable modem can do 60
Mbits/sec, the "problem" is in the wireless link.  

I've previously ranted on how to setup a local iperf3 server for
testing local network speeds, without the need for an online test
server or even an internet connection.  It's interesting to see how
bad some network devices are when the speed is NOT limited by the
internet connection.  Find your wireless router on this list for a
clue.  
Wired download:
<http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/charts/router/view
2.4 GHz wireless download:
<http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/charts/router/bar/111-2_4-ghz-dn-c
Note that only a few of top wireless routers can do over 100 Mbits/sec
on 2.4GHz.


--  
Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann     AE6KS    831-336-2558

Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 23:10:38 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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I must admit, I had never seen so many access points in one place.
The screen was *filled* with access points!


Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 23:10:38 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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Likewise, the kids, at school, on cable, are doing much better than I am,  
on WISP, at home, pointing at an antenna miles away in the mountains.


Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On 08/16/2015 06:33 AM, ceg wrote:
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In my situation, yes.
And it was easier for me to install some network jacks than to deal with wifi's idiosyncrasies.

Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 19:57:19 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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These are good kids.
They're not like I am. :)

The worst they do is *ask* me to get them a movie or two!

(jk)


Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On 8/16/2015 1:35 AM, ceg wrote:
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Sure, your kids are special and won't do anything while away at school.


Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 01:57:36 -0400, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

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I think they watch "Desperate Housewives" on the net. At least I saw that
as one of the web sites they visited.


Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 06:18:00 +0000 (UTC), ceg

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One of the nice features that browsers have now is a privacy viewing
setting that does not save any tracks.  

But none of that matters since your kids are so well behaved.  Not
like the kids and grandkids I have.  

Re: Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!
On 8/15/2015 7:57 PM, Jeff Liebermann wrote:
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<snip>

Comcast always seems to charge the $50 then waits for the customer to  
call to argue about it. Probably many don't call.

I also got the Motorola modem at Costco and did a self-install and  
initially was charged the installation fee.

The problem I had was with getting them to install a drop, with RG6,  
from the pole. I told them I needed a drop because the old drop, which I  
had never used, was RG59. The first three trucks they sent were  
unprepared to do a new drop. Finally I used a tree trimmer to cut down  
the RG59 so there was no old drop there to confuse them, and then they  
were able to put in a new drop.



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