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cable modem is trash (but free)



I am hoping that someone here is very knowledgeable regarding cable modems because my local provider sure isn't.

Ever since I had the cable modem installed, 6 months ago, I have had nothing but problems. The occasional outage that lasts a few days is somewhat acceptable, and I can deal with the fact that the service is slower than 56k during peak hours. What I can't stomach is that whenever I am using the internet (browsing, downloading, gaming), the modem cycles itself every 10 minutes or so. I have to use getright to resume any large downloads, I can't play any games online because I disconnect so frequently, and the biggest problem is that my physics professor creates long homework assignments that require you to be connected to a server - so when the modem resets itself I get to start the assignment over.

The cable modem provider CAN'T help me. As the subject indicates, my cable modem is free. Every time I have a problem I call and the technician asks "have you power cycled your modem?" That hasn't worked for 6 months, and it isn't going to start. Their solution is to just give me another month's credit. I haven't paid a penny for this modem (even installation was free because they were a day late). I would much prefer actually paying the 45$/month for a functioning internet service, but there is no other high speed provider in my area.

This is a plea to someone who knows something about cable modems and can shed some light on my problem. Do they have too many users connected? Did they use poor wiring? (although the building itself is brand new) I don't know what is wrong, but I had a cable modem last year five blocks from my current location and had no problems. I have friends on the same street that have similar problems, but not to the extent I do. Could my modem be defective?

I would be so grateful to anyone who could help me understand whats going wrong. If this seems like a problem that is likely never going to be fixed, then I will probably try to find a decent dial up provider (any suggestions? nation wide or I'm in southern illinois). Would any of the cable modem hacks floating around actually help? (I kind of doubt it). I'm desperate here....


Make sure you aren't running a splitter. Those can cause the modem to do that. I set mine up with a splitter, and it happened to me every day. Had to take it off. No problems since. In case you don't know a splitter allows multiple connections to one wall outlet. Like cable internet, and cable tv on one wall outlet, like mine was setup as. What kind of modem are you using, and what kind of network card? What interface does it have? 10base t/tx, 10/100base t/tx? Is the cable modem usb?

It could be a bad modem, but I'd have them come out and check the signal for you. They're suppose to do that for free.


Yeah I am running the modem through a splitter. I may try the modem without it, but friends who live two floors above me don't use one but have similar problems. If you think it will work I will give it a shot, but then I don't have cable tv.

The cable modem is a surfboard, it isn't usb, it connects right into the network card. My network card is 3com PCI 10/100 base-t.

I have had technicians out and they supposedly check my connection but all they can determine is that "everything should be working perfectly."

Thanks for the help


And I would love DSL but apparently my half of my brand new apartment building isn't serviced...


It sounds like maybe the cable modem itself is screwed up. If they tested the line and the signal looks good, and your PC is working, it seems to point to that. Each time the cable company comes out to install roadrunner for me (I'v been moving alot) they change to a new modem. Older modems sometimes have some issues. I know I had some problems with my surfboard modem. They seem to be getting better and better each time. :)

You should open up the modem and break it. Maybe make a small scratch on the PCB or something. Then call up the cable company and tell them your modem stopped working. That will force them to replace it. Normally, I wouldn't reccomend such a dishonest solution, but it sounds to me like they are a bunch of idiots. Not to mention if it works then they will make their money back by finally being able to charge you for acceptable service.
Originally posted by Raven76
You should open up the modem and break it. Maybe make a small scratch on the PCB or something. Then call up the cable company and tell them your modem stopped working. That will force them to replace it. Normally, I wouldn't reccomend such a dishonest solution, but it sounds to me like they are a bunch of idiots.
No, no, no, BAD idea! Just ask them to replace it because you have these troubles (you may have to shout at them a little... :)). This is not an acceptable situation for you as the customer.


I appreciate the help. I've suspected the modem itself and if that seems to be the consensus I will make sure that they replace the modem (honestly, of course, unless they won't have it any other way).

Thanks everyone


Ok. Zedric is right. But, if they still won't replace it...then bust out the wire cutters. Then you can call them back and say, "see I told you it needs to be replaced. Now it doesn't work at all!"

Seriously though, I'm sure you can avoid the dishonest approach if you complain enough.
your problem could be that too many people are on your "grid". hence, the low bandwidth and disconnections. if this is the case, you're sol :(


My provider is Insightbb.com, formerly at&t @home (but I think the whole excite@home thing screwed that up). I am in the farmland of central/southern Illinois, so I think expecting reliable technology may be a little far-fetched. The modem is a surfboard.

I am in a campustown so likely there are far too many people on my network. I didn't know that resulted in disconnects every 10 minutes or so, I thought that just meant that my speeds would suck (which they do).


In a small town that is host to a higher education school, I would take a serious look at DSL rather then Cable. If you can get DSL you will be a lot happier with the fact that you will not have to share your pipe with a few thousand students looking for MP3s all the time.

It might be a little bit more expensive, but if the reliability is worth it to you I would go with DSL.


I had a similar problem with my cable modem.I found out that if you have 1 to many splitters on the line you will get a weak signal
and the modem will restart as with mine.
All I did was take the modem right to the main line and hook it up
and got a good signal,then went to the first splitter did the same thing,then the third splitter nothing no signal.
Just find a line closer to the main one, Or try to split from the main one and run your modem from that.
Hope this helps.


Try going to the following site: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/robin.d.h.walker/cmtips.html

this should help you figure out what's going on...

It sounds like your signal may be a little weak. If the apartment complex is having the same problem. I would have the techs check that out. Also, make sure you DO NOT have a Signal AMP connected on the cable line anywhere. Have the techs make sure that someone hasn't connected an AMP to the cable, this will cause a lot of problems.

Make sure that your NIC card is seated well. You might try a new NIC card, they run about $13.00 dollars. Sometimes, the provider doesn't release the old NIC address and that can cause some problems. When you checkout the site I posted, it'll explain how to release your IP and NIC address from the cable modem. And you'll be able to get a clean IP address.

Good Luck,



Thank you everyone for ideas/suggestions. Very much appreciated.

I would love to try dsl, but I'm supposedly 1/2 block past their serviceable area.

Tonight or tomorrow when I have some free time I'll try what you described Gib, thanks. I'd like to try it now but have class on and off until 9 and don't want to start and not have time to finish...


I have @Home here in phoenix now known as @Net,but I had the same issues in my apt complex a few years back. There were a couple of reason why the modem recycles

If it's a surfboard modem make sure the mac address on the modem matches what is setup on your acct. My tech came out and just grabed one of his truck after he setup the acct. it would work for 10 min then receycle.
Turns out with mine it was the incorrect mac addres, bad wiring in the building, his incorrectly taped line at the main box outside, and a bad modem as well.

So not to say that one of these is definatley your problems but some things to think about, before try to perform surgery on your modem, which IMHO, you should do if they keep yankin your chain the way they are. What good is free service if you can't use it.


try this

well most likely its your modem.. that went bad... u can look on ebay and pick up a surfboard for 50 bucks.. about the same as dsl.. so i would try that first.. if you need help hooking it up your cable company should be able to help you with that at least.


Thanks for the ideas. If it is the modem you can bet they'll be replacing it free, I already paid (or was supposed to pay for it) once. The technicians know my voice by now, and I almost feel bad for them each time I have to call.

I'll get around to some of the technical suggestions this weekend. I want to try them out but exams/papers this week are a little too much.

Again, thank you everyone. Very much appreciated.


When attbi took over for @home in california i had a problem with win2k and XP what i had to do was turn off DNS client under services and then disable it. For some reason it would disconnect me every 10 mins or so..same with my friend up the street and another friend across town. now that is the first thing i do every time i set up a computer on AT&T's network

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