Of course, my Dad, not knowing too much about this stuff, rents the new router. And of course, it doesn't solve the fact that there was an outage in the first place. I tested the new connection and while I could see _rare_ instances of faster peak speeds, for the most part it was not much faster than the old setup when sampled over time.
I really hope there comes a day when companies can be held accountable for straight up lying and taking advantage of customers who simply don't have the technical means to know any better. It really, really bothers me when my parents get taken advantage of like this and I know I'm mostly helpless to prevent it without micro-managing my dad's tech purchasing decisions.
(While they are at it, do you think they could boost my 90 Mbps connection to 2.25 Gbps? I have $10/month burning a hole in my pocket!)
By extension, if the customer increased their speed and didn’t notice a difference, than either the speed is the same OR the extra speed was never needed to begin with.
Mind you, none of this excuses Comcast! Also, the placebo effect is powerful. I recall a time my father upgraded his internet plan, and then marveled at how much “faster” Google Chrome’s new tab page opened...
The situation is genuinely pretty grim but there is the occasional bright spot. If you google "australia nbn false speed claims" you can read about how half a dozen Australian ISPs had to pay penalties, change their advertising and refund NBN (national broadband network) customers who paid for speeds that were not possible on their home Internet connections.
There is the occasional win for individuals but its mostly when large numbers of people are affected all at once.
Your dad has been around for 70 years. How has he not figured out not to trust a salesperson and do independent research or consult an expert (literally YOU, his son, one phone call away).
See also "why older people tend to get scammed more often than younger people"... certainly for the family members I've helped, all three of the above were factors to some degree.
He made his bed and lay in it. Im saving my tears.
They should be content with their inferior choices then.
> I've also met more than one 70+ year old person who was convinced that they understood how things worked, and to admit otherwise was to display weakness/lose credibility
These people deserve it.
Note, I certainly do think that there should be more regulation on lying salesmen, but these are kind of bad examples imo.
Why should I have empathy for people who have chosen to invest their time in some other way? I do not have empathy for them just like I do not have empathy for people who have chosen to not do their homework and end up getting a low grade.
If I do end up being like that however, then I will fully deserve it. I can only hope that the people around me will try to put me in a straight path then.
Note, this is not something that I necessarily agree with, especially because I know quite a few of old people (my ex-professors) who seem quite good with critical thinking.
I recently canceled service and switched to AT&T Fiber. It was actually an unexpectedly easy process. But when I dropped off my cable box at a Comcast store, they asked me for my modem. The one that I bought myself. The person taking receipt of my equipment was fine when I said I owned my modem, and just "put a note" on my file.
... then I get a collections letter, explicitly related to the "unreturned" modem. Despite having no history of receiving a rental modem, and no monthly surcharge for modem rental on any of my years-long billing history, they refused to budge. I happened to still have the original box with the serial number on it and that combined with a printout of my Amazon order from back then was enough to at least to successfully dispute the debt on my credit reports. But it wasn't enough for Comcast, and I'm sure I'll still have to pay that bill and put down a giant deposit if (when) I move somewhere that forces me back to Comcast.
A few months later, I'm getting threatening calls that I need to return the modem. I call them and the rep says "Oh, thanks, we will note that you returned it." So, they just send a collection notice and don't actually keep a record you have returned it inside their own systems.
Then they still tried to ding me for an unreturned equipment and when I called they said 'it takes 2 - 3 months for it to come off your account'. It eventually did fall off, but was insane for hand delivering it to Comcast/Xfinity.
I wonder what's more profitable.
It had happened before and then magically fixed itself a few days later.
One time I had a week of outage with AT&T basically said the problem was on my side. They could ping the modem, and then punted. I had several truck rolls. The techs were really nice guys, but were basically cabling guys, better for finding a bad cable than debugging a packet loss. The problem for me was that my ipv4 static ip addresses would not receive traffic.
I was at wit's end after a week and I debugged the thing myself. By looking at EVERY bit of data on the router, I found mention of the blocked packets in the firewall log. I would clear all the logs, and found even with the firewall DISABLED, the firewall log would see and block incoming packets I was sending using my neighbor's comcast connection.
I called AT&T, but this time mentioning "firewall is completely off, but packets are blocked by the router and showing up in the log" was concrete enough for them to look up a (known) solution.
The fix was to disable the firewall, but to enable stealth mode. wtf?
To be clear, this was a firmware bug, and caused dozens of calls to AT&T, lots of heartache and finger pointing always in my direction.
I should also mention at the start of this fiasco, I checked the system log and noticed they pushed a firmware update to the modem at the time the problem started. Strangely after one call to the agent, that specific line disappeared out of the log file, but other log entries remained. hmmm.
You used to not be able to own your phone - it was leased from AT&T. That was the only option until Ma Bell was broken up in the early 80s.
Officially you can't opt out of using the RG. This differs from, say, Verizon's FiOS, which allows customers to just plug their own router straight into the ONT if they don't want the phone company's router.
You can put the RG into a "passthrough" mode that gives a downstream client the public IP address, so a router thinks it's bridged, but under the hood the RG is still maintaining all the connections in its own NAT table.
You can't simply plug a router into the ONT and have it work off the bat, as the RG has necessary 802.1x certs burned into the firmware. What you can do is use the eap_proxy tool mentioned in this same thread. I ran it on an EdgeRouter, and it essentially MITM'd the 802.1x handshaking and delegated that to the AT&T-provided RG, then once the 802.1x was dealt with, the EdgeRouter could get an address via DHCP.
There's apparently nothing customer-specific about the 802.1x certs; there's a thread on DSLReports about people buying old AT&T RG's off eBay and rooting them to extract the certs to use on their own router.
At the end of the day AT&T still owns and manages the hardware at the customer's end of the fiber (at the ONT level), they just also enforce usage of the router plugged into it too.
Anyone have similar experiences with Frontier to report? I'd be interested in collaborating on potential actions.
I think it's disgusting and if anyone does hear of something that can be done, I'm in.
That said, I haven’t had any trouble with it as a router.
Comcast already made it very nearly impossible to buy your own ATA for phone. I figured out how to do it. You had to go IN PERSON to a Best Buy with an Xfinity center (there was one about an hour away in my state). There you would pay and place your order. You would have to return in person to pick it up, then setup a provisioning appointment. As far as I could tell, aside from having an insider this was the only way they would allow you to provision your own device.
Oh yeah, and if it breaks you're out the cost.
If you want 1Gbps and phone service, they support one device: Netgear CM1150V
If you're ~400Mbps, they support four more devices:
1 - It's unclear which is the best modem/router by doing research. Gives you the maximum speed, etc.
2 - You start reading reviews on Amazon around reliability and you see a lot of comments that basically give you doubt. It falls in two ways:
A - the model/router stopped working after a 12-18 months so they had a buy another one. Put it at same price as renting.
B - the firmware upgrade path was unclear and it could only be initiated through comcast (in some instances). Making you worry about upgrade support using a third-party product.
C - Overall issues with support. Tech support is already a pain, again as above is going to be worse with third-party products.
With modem/router price ranging from $100-200. Renting from Comcast at $120/year it means that you always have a de facto warranty. Something goes wrong with the modem/router call comcast they'll send you one or just drive to the local store and get a new one.
There is probably some savings if it all goes well. But then again is it worth my time?
Comcast actually has a page for that: https://mydeviceinfo.xfinity.com/
> With modem/router price ranging from $100-200. Renting from Comcast at $120/year it means that you always have a de facto warranty. Something goes wrong with the modem/router call comcast they'll send you one or just drive to the local store and get a new one. There is probably some savings if it all goes well. But then again is it worth my time?
How often do you actually think modems fail? No seriously, I'd really like to know the numbers. I bet failure rates are well under 1% annually.
So what this amounts to is enabling Comcast to sell fraud. It's not a warranty, you're getting a replacement to fix an issue the modem didn't cause. You can't tell me it's much of a time saver when local stores sell modems or you could order same/next day from Amazon.
That page doesn't give any info other than "sign in", "type in your address" (lol), and "consider paying us rent for hardware, learn more".
Put a zip code in, no login. It will work.
Tech support is going to always suck so it's probably a better bet to just invest the upfront time to understand how _your_ modem & router works over one weekend/day and reap the time savings not dealing with support over the rest of your life.
Getting a seperate router+modem will push the cost to $150+ for the combo but you'll be able to upgrade the router independently in the future which greatly increases the number of routers you have to choose from.
B - Firmware upgrades are only controlled by ISPs when you're renting the hardware from them. Your ISP has absolutely zero bearing on whether or not you can upgrade firmware on your own router
C - Your only reasonable point, and in my personal experience I've had more difficulty with ISP tech support fixing their included router than configuring my own
With Cable/DOCSIS networks. Any device you plug in to the coax line is managed by your ISP. Even if you buy your own modem, the ISP are the ones who dish out firmware updates for it
The modem is "yours" in the physical sense, but they do control its internal software. The device that you run an ethernet cable into from that modem is yours however
Yet we run background apps on our phones quite easily.
I think I disagree that the router is the best way to do this. Keep components of the system simple and modular - a Pi type computer plus 'dumb' router seems like a better choice to me.
Open source router firmware having the ability to run persistent containers would be a powerful feature (such as an IPFS node).
Admittedly, it was a few years since I last tested this. These days I try to run any apps on a Raspberry Pi connected to my OpenWrt router
Considering that ISPs insist on being monopolies (in the US), it shouldn't be too hard for any competent law firm to make it into a class action lawsuit.
I use centurylink DSL, mainly because the local cable monopolist is mediacom, and I tried mediacom for two weeks of downright insulting lack of service, it was the only alternative.
This is the information centurylink provides about what modems are compatible with their service. Do I know whether I have ADSL, ADSL2, VDSL, GPON, or whatever the hell any of those other acronyms mean? No. Does it say so on the bill? Who knows, I haven't seen a paper bill for years, no idea when they stopped sending them. I suppose I could dig up some three-year-old piece of paper from a kitchen drawer somewhere that might say which, or that might say the unused landline number they hooked the DSL to so I can maybe try to figure out how to get into some online account (lord knows I've tried to find a username that they'll recognize to get a password reset). Or I could call them, and talk to a minimum wage, probably offshore, customer service person in a call center who might maybe give me accurate information as to which acronym I have.
Or I could not look a gift horse in the mouth. Right now, I'm sending someone a not huge amount of money per month, and I actually have residential internet service that kinda works (and when I actually need reasonable speeds I can bring my laptop to the office). Relative to the standard condition of life in our third-world situation in the United States with crooked monopolists charging people for service they don't actually provide, I feel lucky being charged for service I actually do receive. And don't feel particularly inclined to rock the boat on that.
I rather suspect a similar calculus is going through the heads of millions of American households. What we need is regulation for the monopolists, not more articles scolding captive consumers about buying their own goddamn modems.
 This letter sums it all up. http://paul-gowder.com/pgmediacom.pdf Needless to say, after receiving a "this is a lawyer who is clearly insane and extremely angry" letter they sent me my money back.
Not being able to realistically do better than what equipment you already have, you could probably just buy a new one of the device you already have, but then again, it's hard to predict how long that will be useful. If you move or by some miraculous force, CenturyLink offers an upgraded service, your device may be useless.
Sign in, it takes a look at what speed/connection you have and then will recommend a list.
Or don't sign in and just specify your address. It'll tell you the speeds available at your location. Select the speed and it'll list out the modems they officially support, including ones with phone support.
The ones that everyone I know has is the ARRIS SB8200 or the Motorola MB8600. Both support Docsis 3.0 up to something like 1.4Gbps. They're $150 or so, so you'll break even in a little over a year.
Here in Australia, while we have our own problems, you could just switch ISP if they're playing shenanigans like that.
In America, don't like your ISP? Guess you're living without internet then!
I think it's something like 70% of US households have only one 'choice' for ISP.
Then there was the discussion here the other week about blitzscaling, and how it's basically "borrow money to do a land grab for monopoly, then use your money to stifle competitors".
Even the lack of preferential voting contributes to a lack of choice - either vote for a major party, or your preference is irrelevant.
I lived in Ipswich for 1.5 years, prior to moving in I signed up for ADSL2 (no NBN available in the area yet) with Telstra as they are the only ISP servicing the area.
I was told that the local exchange has no available ports, and that I would need to go on a waiting list to be given a connection.
I was periodically getting their "Sorry we can't provide you usable internet yet, how about ADSL1 or some 4G data at rip-off prices?" for that entire time, until I moved out and cancelled the still-pending service.
NBN was supposed to fix this, not sure if it still will though with the neutering of it.
We have multiple ISPs in Germany too, but unfortunately they are all crooks. Sure, it beats a monopoly, but the problem is far from solved.
Before that Telstra owned an ageing, choppy and slow copper network and that was your monopoly unless another ISP decided your area was populated enough to set up something.
I admittedly have it much easier living in a metro area, but I have about 80 ISPs to choose from. But my relatives are all over Australia and the majority of them have at least a FTTN network to use now.
I still suspect it will be sold back to Telstra and/or privatised and it'll go to hell again, it's already been majorly neutered.
Of course, I’ve lived in parts of those metro areas that were densely populated. I.e., where a competitor could reasonably expect to recoup the cost of overbuilding. In less dense areas, the economics would be far worse.
Verizon offers 5/1 "broadband" DSL for twice the price, and the other two regional providers (Optimum, RCN) don't service my neighborhood (which is by no means sparsely populated).
This rental was required as even the approved modems couldn't be provisioned for statics, later on at other locations we just bought Motorola (now arris) SB6121's since dynamics were all that were needed for those locations and really never had an issue.
From a hobbyist perspective, the router has been a dream to work with, and you can do some really weird stuff when the router is a Linux box you're in complete control of (DNS tricks, packet scheduling experiments, et cetera.) I always get a kick out of updating it periodically and seeing the latest mainline kernel loaded up (it's on 4.20.10 at the moment).
I've never studied up on home-brewing the modem/DOCSIS 3 aspect, but realistically I don't know how feasible that is in comparison to the relatively more simple DHCP/DNS/firewall parts of a typical home router.
I looked into making my own router (actually stumbled across your writeup a few times), but didn't want to mess with ARM boards - they have limitations with the speed of connected network interfaces (ethernet/wifi), and just seem complicated to deal with. I researched making a x86 system, but the price would have been ridiculous.
I haven't purchased it just yet, but decided on the Linksys WRT1900ACS router. It runs OpenWRT, which is a full blown configurable Linux system (even has a package manager). But installation and updating is simple and straightforward. OpenWRT obviously isn't officially supported, but Linksys and OpenWRT seem to have some collaboration going on. At the very least, they don't program any 'protection' from custom firmwares into the router, and the SoC runs well off of free software (as opposed to many routers which only work with DD-WRT due to needing proprietary Broadcom drivers).
The OpenWRT configuration web interface seems 'good enough' to let you set up 99% of use cases easily, but it's just a normal tweakable Linux system underneath. At $160 the router is a bit on the expensive side given the hardware, but the great compatibility with free software is worth it IMO.
However, I discovered that the WRT32x (gaming-skinned but hardware equivalent to the much faster WRT3200 [1900/3200 are combined 2.4GHz and 5GHz bandwidth]) is available from multiple sellers on Amazon for the suspiciously cheap price of <$130, so am going to buy one next week when I'll have time to set it up.
Side note: The cheaper TP-Link Archer C7 is another popular router for custom firmwares, but installing on the latest hardware revisions is not as straightforward, and the hardware is much weaker than the Linksys ones: https://openwrt.org/toh/linksys/wrt_ac_series. Aside from that I haven't found any good-performance FOSS-compatible routers, except for a D-Link one which compares unfavourably to the WRT1900.
Globalscale definitely did something wrong with the PCIe setup on that board.
I wonder whether it's fixed in the new revisions?
Given the cheap barrier to entry for the boards, it's probably worth another try with a later revision, particularly given that the espressobin can follow mainline fixes rapidly. If I do make any progress on that front, I'll certainly update the forum topic/any blog posts.
My advice is to rather get a low end x86 device.
The larger problem of developer/security team time and effort is still there, though. Arch Linux ARM and Armbian are active and well-maintained, but I do find myself running into problems that indicate that the community of active users for this type of hardware is vastly smaller than a traditional architectures.
1) I wanted better control of routing (have a bunch of wireguard tunnels). I want all the IOT-crap on a separate network, etc.
2) Whenever there is a transient link connectivity issue on the cable side it seems that the comcast modem tries to "fix" this by rebooting itself which takes a good 5 minutes.
I got a Netgear CM700 which is basically just a DOCSIS / Ethernet -bridge (you just get the public IP using DHCP on the ethernet side).
The cable modem connects to a homegrown Linux ARM based router and then I use Unifi PRO Access Point from Ubiquity Networks
for Wifi. Never looked back since. The Unifi AP have multiple SSID's configured which is separated on different vlans on the way back to the router. The Netgear modem have so far never had a single hick-up from what I can tell (about six months in now).
OpenWRT certainly is an option, but unfortunately getting high performance wifi out of it is a bit of a dice roll in my experience. I've tried a few hardware variants but eventually gave up and bought the Unifi PRO instead. Also I'd just rather have separate things that do each thing well.
Comcast's router at least stays up for more than a day at a time, but of course I'm only getting 400 to 500 Mbits down on my gigabit service. I'd leave Comcast in a second but the only other option in my area is CenturyLink, with their whopping 20 Mbit speed.
We'll see if there's another shoe to drop.
Otherwise what you mean is "it is mandatory to lease their router even if you have your own, and you are forced to enter a 1-year minimum contract.".
Yes. you also have the option to just pay for the ISP router outright.
I'd just moved into my first apartment and had bought my own modem. Tech comes, sets up the internet, the internet doesn't work. Tech blames my modem. My response is something to the effect of "give me a break", but ultimately do order a new modem from Amazon, if only so I can show the tech that two different modems both don't work.
Turns out, the first modem was defective. The second one worked fine and my internet has been great. I felt kind of crappy for arguing with the tech, when it absolutely was my hardware at fault.
Recently they updated my area to DOCSIS 3 (or 3.1, not sure). My DOCSIS 3.1 Motorola modem (found this out later) has a firmware bug that causes random modem lockups. Comcast went as far as replacing the cable from the telephone pole to my house in the middle of winter (it was ridiculously cold that day), running signal analyzers, and various other things before looking into the modem.
Also, Motorola Modem customer service was shockingly good as well. They sent me a free replacement modem while they worked on the firmware updates. Provisioning that temp modem was as simple as using the online provisioning.
Now, it would be nice if I didn't have to set annual calendar reminders to call them for when they increase my monthly price by 40%...
Buying your own hardware cost more up front but over the course of a 2 year contract you're paying over $240 ($10 a month) for something that barely works from Verizon.
It's not really the cost, probably for 90% of users, it's more your average soccer mom doesn't want to deal with owning, updating, and maintening networking gear. So the service has some value to people.