Comcast speed

I'm in Massachusetts with a Comcast high speed internet account. I use a Toshiba pcx 2200, which is a docsis 1.1 compliant modem.

For years, it was providing me with up to 4 mbit downloads and 384 k uploads.

A few months ago, Comcast sent its customers a letter saying they have raised their download and upload speeds. I don't know if the download speed increased, but the upload speed increased substantially, and was well over

700kbits per sec for more than 2 months.

(just to fill out the picture, the modem goes to a router, the router has two computers and a slingbox connected...and I watch the output of the slingbox from an out of state account -- slingbox reports the bit rate, and the picture quality is notably different when more than 600kbits per sec is pouring down the lines)

A week or two ago I noticed the slingbox picture deteriorate, and noticed that the bit rate being sent out by my comcast account is about 350 kbits.

So this weekend I went home, did a speed test, rebooted the modem, did another speed test, and when I saw a 2.4 meg download speed max on various speed tests and 350K upload speed, I called Comcast. They told me my config file is just fine and I'd have to have a cable guy make a house call. He did, verified that the hookup is OK and that the signal strengths are OK.

Now I have a few questions.

Does it strain belief that the Toshiba modem is working "fine" but at half speed? I find it hard to believe, but not impossible.

Next question. On my out of state account, I have a Motorola 5120, and it's also registered with comcast. When I bring it home and plug it in, what will happen?

I figure there are 4 possibilities.

1)It could be that the motorola won't work at all until I call comcast and talk with them.

2)It could be that it'll give me 6 meg down and one meg up, which would tell me that my toshiba really is kind of sick.

3)It could do 4 down and 350 up, which would mean that it's being provisioned the same way by comcast that it's provisioned out of state and I'd have learned nothing.

4)It could do 2 down and 350 up, which means comcast's config file is screwy.

Any thoughts on what will happen and on whether my thoughts are sensible?


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Does your modem have a web page interface so you can get the actual up/down throttle speeds it's configured with ? Try connecting your browser to and see what you get.

It's worth a try, but you may have to get them to provision it at least temporarily to get it to work.

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Go to the Comcast Office, locally, and get one of their new Docsis 2.0 modems. Do the rental agreement thing. Take it home and go thru the process to get it up and running, then do your speed tests. You should have a 2 week return policy if you don't like the way it works. There HAVE been some complaints that the 2.0 modems are doing exactly the same thing your 1.1 version is doing. BUT since it is essentially free to try, try it.

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Something similar happened to me when my area went from Comcast to Time Warner and the transition went on for months. My download speed on my Motorola 5120 dropped 25%. I called several times to several levels of Tech Support, but they always insisted that my config file was OK and everything was fine. So I tried a rental modem. The speed went back up and stayed up. After a few months of the rental, when the transition to Time Warner's RoadRunner seemed complete, I reverted to the Motorola 5120, and the speed stayed up.

My guess is that during the transition (that was so very screwed up), Comcast/TimeWarner dropped the speeds of their customers' modems which were not rentals (to which they could pass blame) to ease the load on their servers and routers, and when the transition was complete, RoadRunner bumped the speeds back up. Is that legal? Hey, YOU try defining "best effort".

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Timothy Daniels

Some modems do not work well at higher speeds, and may not support PowerBoost, which is being rolled out everywhere. I used to have an RCA DCM315 (or something like that) and it maxed out around 5M down.

It may vary in areas, but the most common speed rating is 6000/384, not counting Powerboost. 8000/768 is also available in some areas, for about $10 more. With Powerboost, you can get about 12000 down for a few megs, and 1500 up for a meg or two. It then throttles back to your rated speed.

Try the Motorola modem. You may have to go through the registration/partitioning routine. Call and give them the HFC MAC address. If you connect an unpartitioned modem, you will be restricted to a site where you can download software to do the registration. I haven't found it reliable.

If your Motorola modem is actually in use elsewhere, it may or may not be restricted. Registering it at your new location will probably disable it at the old location.

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Andrew Rossmann

Gents, thank you for your responses. There are several excellent ideas in there, and I'll try all of them, depending on what happens with my Motorola modem.

I won't get home 'til this weekend to try it, and to try the other excellent ideas.

It did work at the proper higher speed for a couple of months. I went over to a neighbor's place on Sunday and did a quick speed test on theirs -- a comcast based system with a rented modem. Evidently they are paying for the premium tier; showed a 13 meg download speed on a large file and 2.2 meg upload. There went the theory that everybody in the neighborhood was hosed and nobody had noticed.

I'll report on the results.

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My modem is set at 6144K/512K with TWC/Roadrunner.

Borrowing a neighbor's modem should be an easy thing to try.

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Well, the surfboard modem fired up pretty well in my home. It provided a download speed of about 2.5 meg and upload of 350K or so. Download is slightly better than the Toshiba, which is about 2.2 or so meg.

Anyway, I called Comcast, gave the gal the WHOLE story -- she couldn't even see that the surfboard was online; and it was (she verified the surfboard's MAC address I'd given her by checking it against their records of my account). So she'd have a hard time playing with its provisioning.

I am now satisfied that my cable modem is not at fault, and there is something screwy with the provisioning they are doing....but they just can't see it.

Tomorrow (I hope) I'll hook modem directly to computer and have a look at the config information. Sunday the cable guy will come; perhaps he'll bring a modem to play with.

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That doesn't make a lot of sense. If they can't see the modem, they can't provision it and even if they could see it, the modem could still be the culprit.

You should be able to do that without direct connection.

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Bill, it makes no sense at all. One modem, the toshiba that normally lives here, is supposedly provisioned such that it'll provide more than 4 meg download, and according to comcast's letter of a few months ago AND the performance for 2 months, it'll provide more than 700K upload.....

The other modem, the surfboard registered by Comcast, was provisioned upon powerup, performed just a little better than the toshiba on download (still not nearly 4 meg), and the same on upload, 350K. The comcast tech people simply saw no evidence that the surfboard was online at all.

I hope I have the time to take down the network and rehook each of the two modems to the computer only and gaze into the modem to see the configuration information.

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Like I said in the last reply - you should be able to access the web page without a direct connection.

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