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Tomato and Wireless N

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by zapoqx, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. zapoqx

    zapoqx Networkin' Nut Member

    Ok, so I've been trying to get a nail down about Wireless N and configurations to know what is going on. It is possible that the WiFi in the area could cause this and I'm just still new to it.
    So there are several devices connected to the Linksys E3000 (including Hard Wired and Wireless) which uses Victek's current 9013 R1.0.
    I also have a Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 uses Victek's 9001 MIPSR1 K26 build that is practically supposed to handle the Wireless G connections and act as a switch for some of the devices here.
    Not sure that it matters, but I have a gigabit switch that is directly connected with the Linksys E3000 and the Wireless G is connected to the Switch.

    Now here is the thing.
    After installing Victek's newest firmware on the Linksys E3000, I noticed on the speed tests that I get consistant speeds again on Wireless N connections (2.4 GHZ). However, some devices have weird issues. Let me list the devices and hopefully we can track down if its a setting that I need to do on the router or something else.

    • Smart TV 1: It uses Wireless N (2.4 GHZ only). It works flawless with no issues.
    • Smart TV 2: It uses Wireless N (2.4 GHZ only). I've only seen it used a few times, but it too like TV1 works flawless.
    • iPad 1: It Uses Wireless N 5 GHZ connection and runs smoothly. When run on the 2.4 GHZ, it sometimes has hiccups, but otherwise runs fine.
    • iPad 2: Same deal as iPad 1.
    • Laptop 1: Runs Wireless N (2.4 GHZ only) fine. It is furthest away and runs fine.
    • Laptop 2: This has been a constant issue, but recently has been wired connected to run fine. Wireless N that its supposed to handle, if the router is on Wireless N only, the laptop won't find it. If it is on All, the laptop will find it and connect at N speeds according to the info, but it seems its max speed is shorter.
    • Laptop 3: My laptop has a mini wireless N adapter (2.4 GHZ only). It Connects to the Wireless N quickly, but its Download speed is hurtful. I've tested a number of times and I'd get around 4MB/s according to the tests, but when watching its download rate, it can be anywhere from 2.1MB/s to 5.5MB/s throughout instead of being consistent. If I connect to the Wireless G router, I get 3.5MB/s, but it is consistent speeds. This laptop is closer than Laptop 1 is when its being run.
    • Laptop 4: Not used as much anymore except on few occasions (that and its internal wireless is old that it only does Wireless G max), but when it did connect with the Linksys router, it ran well.
    • Android phone 1: This phone is under Republic Wireless so my need for it to be on Wireless signals is absolutely required. When connected to Wireless N, I get the same weirdness as Laptop 3. However, when on voice calls, I'd expect to get some weird results for upload and download of VOIP talking, but it seems its smooth. If I was to download updates or whatever, it would do roughly like the Laptop 3 does with the download where its inconsistent. Same with web viewing. But connected under the Wireless G, I'm perfectly fine for downloads and just as good with VOIP as the Wireless N connection.
    • Android phone 2: This connects to Wireless N just fine.
    • Android Phone 3: If its connected to the Wireless N, its fine.
    • Android Tablet: This one runs almost like Laptop 3 with a strange twist. The download speeds are rather consistent. However, the download speed is SLOWER on Wireless N than on Wireless G and when on Wireless N, sometimes if its a long download, it needs a bit to reach the speed that was recorded, but then it lasts for roughly 20 seconds before slowing down temporarily, then going back to consistant speeds for the rest of the time. On Average, I'd get 3MB/s under Wireless N, but almost 4 MB/s on Wireless G (Which is the highest I've ever seen for a wireless G connection in a while).
    I have many wireless signals in the area for a place that is not really in a city for the apartments here. If it helps, I set the Linksys E3000 to Channel 7 on the 2.4 GHZ using Upper 40 MHZ bandwidth reporting acceptable interference levels. The 5GHZ, its set to auto and cannot find anyone else using the 5GHz on scans.
    The Buffalo Router is on Channel 8 and I'd assume is 20MHZ bandwidth.
    The area's wireless, some I think are using Auto channels or may have just setup the passkey and let the rest take care on its own. Currently in the scans through the Wireless G there are:
    • 3 APs on Channel 1
    • 2 APs on Channel 2
    • 1 AP each on Channels 3-5
    • 8 APs on Channel 6
    • 1 AP on Channel 7 besides my own
    • 1 AP on Channel 8 besides my own
    • 2 APs on Channel 9
    • 0 on Channel 10
    • 8 APs on Channel 11
    Trust me, for a moment I was momentarily stunned when I went to access my router for the first time with my tablet and saw so many APs pop up unexpectedly (including a couple of amusing names), yet surprisingly all secure. If I compared with the E3000, there are less APs listed while set on Upper being 7 on channel 11 and 5 on Channel 6 which I assume is because of all of them on Upper Bandwidth or it was the only thing it could see since its much more interior than my Buffalo is. I'd almost say the amount has doubled over the last year.
    So is there anything I could possibly try to narrow down on the Linksys router so I can use the N a tad more or perhaps better setup the wireless to run smoother?
     
  2. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    For 2.4Ghz 20Mhz channels you should only - only - use channels 1, 6, or 11.

    For 40Mhz channels you can only use channels 1 and 6 or 6 and 11. However, in reality, if you have 1 or more neighbors using 2.4Ghz you cannot realistically use 40Mhz channels unless you're damn lucky and you have 1 neighbor with a single 2.4Ghz router and he's set it to use channel 1 or 11. Legally you're not supposed to use 40Mhz if you know it will cause interference for any devices within range, which means the same thing... if you have neighbors using 2.4Ghz, you cannot use 40Mhz channels.

    Try setting everything to use 20Mhz channels and adjust your routers to only use channels 1, 6, or 11 and see if the situation improves. You may have to flip channels around based on interference but hopefully you should be able to figure out a combination that works.

    More than likely what is happening is that your devices are getting massive interference on one or more of the 40Mhz channels and having trouble due to their physical proximity to one or more 2.4Ghz routers owned by other people.

    While performance will be worse with 20Mhz channels, with 5Ghz not traveling as far you should be able to set it to use 40Mhz channels without as much concern since the signals won't penetrate as far.

    Ideally you should have a laptop with a wireless sniffer to determine which channels are weakest and strongest and where and use that to determine your channel strategy. inSSIDer is workable for most situations though it's far from ideal (it can't, for instance, show you cordless phones, baby monitors, etc. that also operate in the 2.4Ghz spectrum).
     
    koitsu and mvsgeek like this.
  3. mvsgeek

    mvsgeek Addicted to LI Member

    I agree with Monk. Looking at your survey stats, I'd use channel 1, because 6 & 11 are much busier. WiSpy from Metageek is a relatively inexpensive tool for troubleshooting WiFi. There's a bit of a learning curve involved. I'm still learning.
     
  4. zapoqx

    zapoqx Networkin' Nut Member

    And I learn something new everytime.
    Ok, so basically if I knew any neighbors that has 2.4 GHZ via anything that it would output, then I'm not supposed to use 40 MHZ bandwidth. So what is the point considering many wireless things run in 2.4GHZ for the option to be there including the upper and lower on 40 MHZ? If you live by yourself in some desolate area?

    Well, I went ahead and changed the E3000 to Channel 1 20 MHZ since it seems to have the less signals detected on scans. I put the wireless G to use channel 6 since it seems it detects the same amount of APs on 1 and 6 (EDIT: Scratch that, I realized 1 was less because it was detecting the E3000 multiple times due to the multiSSID). I already saw on both Android Phone 1 and the Android Tablet that the speeds are consistent and much faster.

    If I'm understanding correctly, I'm perfectly fine to use the 5GHZ on 40 MHZ. Is there any concern as to upper or lower bandwidth?
     
  5. koitsu

    koitsu Network Guru Member

    That, or a physical environment where your wireless is purely segregated (for lack of better term). You know, using things like wifi-filtering paint or wifi-filtering wallpaper. Obviously this doesn't provide 100% filtering capability, but you get what I'm saying. Marketing also plays a huge role; companies often do not care about designing things the Right Way(tm) but rather just want to offer a bunch of crap to people with boisterous claims so they can get money. Sad but true.

    Folks like Toastman, Monk E. Boy, and myself tend to all agree that wireless is almost impossible to manage from a stability standpoint, and the situation gets even worse with the introduction of 802.11n. (I'm trying to find a wonderful, fantastic technical overview of the problems it introduced, which was in a post by Toastman, but I can't find it right now :( ).

    You might have a working, fast, reliable network one day, then suddenly all sorts of madness begins (and you notice it a week after it truly began); turns out your neighbour tweaked his router with incorrect assumptions/attitudes (lots o them on the web!), bought some other device that sits in the 2.4GHz (or even 5.8GHz) range, etc... You'd have no way of knowing this without a decent low-level sniffer. From then on your life is hell, you post on forums hoping for some answers, but can't really get any because proper analysis requires someone to be there physically and truly know what they're doing (not just making guesses) combined with the right tools.

    This is one of the main/primary reasons I do not use wireless anywhere where I care about either speed or stability. I use Ethernet. Period. I hate -- no, loathe -- wireless. If I can't drill holes in walls, I'd consider using the high-end (for speed) PowerLine adapters rather than wireless (PL adapters have quite stable latency, and the speeds are better). For mobiles and handhelds you're sh** outta luck and you just have to deal with the reality of the situation. For example, on my network wifi is enabled, but I use it for one thing: my Nintendo DS. And I use the DS's wireless capability maybe once every 3 months. ;)

    I should show you a wireless AP scan of where I live. The numbers you see are bliss compared to what I have. I think the last time I did a scan I saw something like 100-200 APs. I'm not kidding.

    This is why it shocks me how much of the world is moving "towards" wireless for everything -- it's not a good technology given how "wireless stuff" (keeping it intentionally ambiguous!) works in general. The whole model is "spit out a bunch of crap and hope it makes it there". It reminds me of the UDP protocol, haha. :)

    For 5GHz and 40MHz stuff, you might be interested in this (just found it): http://eduncan911.com/blog/the-truth-about-802-11n.aspx

    This is probably worth reading too (from Toastman): http://www.linksysinfo.org/index.php?threads/wireless-driver-issues-settings-for-n-speeds.36109/page-4#post-178038
     
  6. zapoqx

    zapoqx Networkin' Nut Member

    ah thank you for that explanation. I'll definitely read over them.
    I remember Toastman posting something along the lines of "If you had one look at the wireless congestion in my area" that you'd find it a nightmare to get it stable.
    Yes, I prefer Wired myself, the people I live with on the other hand prefer less cords not understanding the reasoning why I dislike Wireless. My old place, the Wireless G was enough because I was the only one living there and wireless was real minimal. I had it on channel 11 and the other four in the area that both the router and the laptop could find were 1 and 6. I had no problems and no one that I had over that was using wireless had any problem given that the only things connected wired were the 360 and the computer with my wireless at the time being my laptop (laptop 4 above). I wanted more speed so I switched to hard wire with a long enough cord that could reach and wasn't in the way by placing it in a way that it wouldn't be in stepping path ever. Worked fine between all the guests that came over with wireless and I still had a spot if we needed 1 more connection hard lined. It worked pretty well and the only other thing that I learned from tomato is the firewall and the newer ones that other people were developing.

    Now seeing this, its part of the reason I dislike wanting to work in networking cause I know that even if I fix to the best of my ability (even with research and forum help), I will still end up being blamed if I'm in charge because something doesn't work :rolleyes:
     
  7. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    Well, I live on an acre of property so the homes are kind of well spread out (the houses on either side butt up directly next to our the property line and the space is wider front/back than on left/right so they're fairly close)... anyway, homes on both sides have 2.4Ghz routers, and I can see them (usually they're fairly weak, but being a good neighbor I try to work around their channels). Wireless signals run a long, long way, but stuff enough solid objects between the two points (particularly a few different thicknesses of corrugated metals), and the signals get cut down. 5 gets cut down more easily than 2.4, but it's still possible to cut down 2.4.

    As for "upper" vs. "lower" all that refers to is which adjacent channel you're using. Do you use the channel above the listed channel, or do you use the channel below it. If one person chooses upper and sets it to 151, and the other person chooses lower and sets it to... um either 146 or 156 I forget... then you're both using the same two channels and will interfere with each other. Your "control" channel would be on different channels which may make the situation less or more tenable, depending on the routers and devices in use, but as a general rule you should choose two channels that aren't being used by anything within range.

    inSSIDer is really good (and free, did I mention free?) for visualizing what I'm talking about here, since it shows you the "range" of signals being used. One very, very, very good thing about 5 is that when you choose a 20Mhz channel you're only going to use that channel. When you set 5 to use 40Mhz channels, you're using just those two channels. On 2.4 you bleed into adjacent channels, which is why in the US you should only use 1, 6, or 11. 1 uses channels -1 through 2, 6 uses channels 3 through 8, and 11 uses 9 through 13. This is why it's so horrible to see someone set their router up on 2-5 or 7-10... they're basically screwing both themselves and two other routers, because all three will suffer from interference.
     
  8. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Ref. that link -

    http://www.linksysinfo.org/index.php?threads/wireless-driver-issues-settings-for-n-speeds.36109/page-4#post-178038

    this article epitomizes the misconceptions that people have about wireless G. Even this guy, while trying to warn of the dangers, gets it wrong....

    The author implies that there are 11 channels available for use in the 2.4GHz band. Whereas there are actually only 3 WIFI channels available.

    Consider this, we could split the band into 500 small segments and claim there are 500 channels if we wish ... that don't make it so. The fact that the band has numbered channels 1-11 is irrelevant. There is actually room for only 3 wifi signals in the band used by most counties in the world.

    Who numbered them 1-14 and why? Google is your friend ...

    Why should we use only channels 1,6,11?

    If you put your AP on a channel which has another wifi signal, it will detect that signal as data and politely hold off transmitting until it has finished, and vice versa. At least then the channel can be shared amicably. If there are many wifi signals, it will still work, each client will have reduced throughput because they are sharing the same bandwidth.

    Now imagine that you put your router on channel 1 and there is another local router on channel 3. Now your router can't decode it as a wifi signal at all, as it only hears "noise" from the other router splattering across onto channel 1, so it will transmit over the top of it, thus jamming it nicely. And of course, the other router will do the same to you. I reality, the only non-overlapping channels are 1,6,11 in most countries in the world.

    http://www.linksysinfo.org/index.php?threads/wrt54gl-abnormal-lag-spikes.32920/#post-162223

    In zapoqx's case, he most probably has horrendous interference from local routers on channels 2, 3-5, 7,8,9,10 which will completely screw each other and everyone else on the band too. Remember, we can only see the AP's in that survey tools used in our routers, there may also be several or even several hundred CLIENTS on those channels too - buy we can't see them using normal tools. Not to mention all the other things that use the band.

    For example, people local to my apartment block will see maybe a couple of our AP's but they won't see any of our 180 resident's machines! They may think there's just a couple of interfering transmitters on the channel, little do they know there are actually 180+

    Imagine in Koitsu's area, if he can see 100-200 AP's, it's quite possible there may also be several thousand clients transmitting on the band. If only 5% of them are within range of your router, it's dead Jim ....

    By keeping AP's in a large apartment block on channels 1,6,11 split across the building in a suitable way, we can actually get pretty reasonable throughput in 300 rooms even with around 20 access points and 180+ clients. Yes, there are many many machines in the building, but they all politely WAIT for each other to finished before sending. Assuming that all the manufacturers stick to the gentlemand agreement. Buy there are moves afoot to make some more agressive than others... and a war will ensue.

    It's amazing that wifi works as well as it does, really. But it always annoys me when I see people expecting 300Mbps, almost instant downloads and High Definition Blue Ray streaming etc. I always wonder if they actually believe the crap written on the box...

    DISCLAIMER

    Yes, I'm in full agreement with Koitsu - in a situation where it is possible to use cable, I wouldn't touch wireless with a ten-foot pole, to be honest. :D

    For further reading, there are many links to good articles here:

    http://linksysinfo.org/index.php?threads/common-tomato-topics-help-information.31234/
     
    mvsgeek likes this.
  9. mvsgeek

    mvsgeek Addicted to LI Member

    Ha! Ain't that the truth:)

    Toastman wrote :

    "Yes, I'm in full agreement with Koitsu - in a situation where it is possible to use cable, I wouldn't touch wireless with a ten-foot pole, to be honest. :D"

    Alas for me, I'm in a rural area where wired connections are not an option. Even DSL is unavailable. The nearest local ISP quoted me US $9600 to run cable to my house. So I'm stuck with wireless, as are all my neighbours, to whom I try to provide the best service under the circumstances.
     
  10. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    Its one thing to be actively cooperating with one another within an area, so you control when channels overlap and how they overlap, etc. In those situations wireless does work quite well.

    The problem comes when people don't coordinate with each other, and some (most?) don't understand the technology, and the end result is everyone's miserable and blames their hardware instead of realizing it can only be fixed by coordinating with others.

    It sounds like, with you guys working together, you should be able to get a decent handle on things.
     
  11. eahm

    eahm LI Guru Member

    0 on Channel 10 <- that's your answer. Use the 10.

    I stream HD videos and I switch between 9 and 10, the others are full of interferences (other people, microwaves etc.) and the movies can buffer sometimes. Of course there are devices that can interfere with the 9 and the 10 but you have to test.

    I have to use 2.4Ghz for the Boxee Box, they made a device for the purpose of streaming and HD streaming and they didn't integrate a 5Ghz chip, lame.

    In addition, the most stable on my hand for wifi and streaming is Shibby mod. I understand it shouldn't be because of the drivers being the same of others but test are almost always different than what you read on paper.
     
  12. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

  13. eahm

    eahm LI Guru Member

    Monk, IT DOESN'T MATTER. Do the test, I don't care what a picture says.
     
  14. zapoqx

    zapoqx Networkin' Nut Member

    So lucky for me, I found inSSIDer is available on android. Unfortunately, I don't have a single device available with 5GHZ support for me to scan so I'll trust that the survey reporter from the Linksys E3000 is true in that there is NO ONE in the area using 5GHZ besides myself for routers.
    That said, here is one pic that reports some info here as you all stated prior.
    [​IMG]
    Don't have much info yet, but assumingly better % is better signal wise I'd assume from congestion, but going with what you all stated about the signal main channels, I have practically little in choice.
    I'd post more from the wireless survey on the 2.4GHZ, but in summary, my 2 routers are the strongest in db under the channel 1-3 using channel 1. A 3rd router under the Channel 1-3 section is the 3rd strongest getting halfway towards the strength of the E3000 though from where I stand.

    Thank you all for the advise. I'll also look over when I can some of the other links you guys provided.

    So far, speed has increased it seems on all wireless devices apparently to more expected speeds for Downstream and Upstream.
     
  15. Mangix

    Mangix Networkin' Nut Member

    this picture is only accurate for 802.11b networks that use DSS. 802.11g and above use OFDM and as a result, there are four channels. see: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipe...x-NonOverlappingChannels2.4GHzWLAN-en.svg.png

    note that the 40MHz portion is misleading. 40MHz is implemented by having a main channel for backwards compatibility and an extension channel. so really only two channels.
     
  16. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    4 channels are only available for individuals living in a country where channel 13 is available for use. In the US you're still limited to 1, 6, and 11.

    As a result, if you live in a country like the US, whether you're running 802.11b, g, or n, you're still limited to the same 3 20Mhz channels and one 40Mhz channel.

    My point was that just because nobody's using channel 10 doesn't mean that you're free and clear to use 10, and everything's going to be peachy by setting up a nice interference pattern for everyone on adjoining networks. 10 leaks over onto 9 and 11.
     
  17. Mangix

    Mangix Networkin' Nut Member

    Sort of. Let's say a bunch of users are on channel 6 instead of 5. Because 802.11g and up use OFDM and use 16MHz instead of the 22MHz used by 802.11b, channel 10 will not interfere with channel 6. And if channel 5 is saturated, same thing with channel 9.

    If channels 12 and 13 were available, four non-interfering channels would be possible but it is not the case that using channel 10 or 9 will absolutely interfere. Neighboring APs using channel 11 are another story.
     
  18. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    I know where you're coming from, but look at zapoqx's original post. He's got APs on 1-9 and 11. Using 10 isn't going to help.

    And eahm, I'm saying these things because I've been down this road before. I used to live in a townhouse complex with literally dozens of APs within range, all overlapping with horrid performance on every &*(@#$ channel. My solution at the time was boosting the amp coupled with hotter antennas, which is the worst kind of neighbor you can be but if they don't know what they're doing it's not like me being a good neighbor is going to help. I had to punch through 2 floors to bedrooms on the top floor, because &*(@#$ Comcast kept dialing down their signal strength so I couldn't put the cable modem on the top floor. It only takes so many times calling and complaining and taking time off work for service calls before you just give in. Taking all that time off is probably one of the reasons I was eventually laid off from my job at the time. Another reason to hate Comcast...

    And yes, I was on 802.11g at the time, which does fat good when you have 802.11b devices connecting to routers, in which case the exact same 802.11b frequency chart comes into play. This is why I set my Tomato routers to be 802.11n only whenever possible. If there was a g/n setting I'd be a happy camper.

    More recently, in one of my workplace's sites the wireless interference is so bad from other tenants we moved the entire place over to 5Ghz. There were even 802.11b routers in use by other tenants, which just goes to prove that in 2013 you can't count on g/n. Remember, with wireless, unless you control the entire site you don't control what channels will be in use. Hell, with personal hotspots, not even if you control the site...
     
    koitsu likes this.
  19. koitsu

    koitsu Network Guru Member

    By the way, just to clarify a statement I made:

    I decided to do a Survey Scan today (last time I did one was about a year ago). I let it run for about 10 full minutes with a refresh interval of 2 seconds. The end result was 93 APs. A subsequent channel scan showed that most APs were using channel 1, with 6 being the runner-up. If my memory serves me correctly, a good number of the APs I previously saw were companies (for example I live across the street from Mozilla (yes, as in the Mozilla)). Quite a few companies have relocated this past year due to the economy and other whatnots (the city I live is in almost as expensive as NYC).

    On the bright side, not a single AP was using channel 11. Not one. Yeah well, now there is. ;-)
     
  20. koitsu

    koitsu Network Guru Member

    Comcast you say? You'll enjoy this story of mine (long but highly educational; I've kept a Word document as a diary from start to finish. I should publish the thing on my blog sometime, with names/numbers removed). Total time to get that issue fixed, from the day I noticed it to the most recent improvements (cables replaced up on the poles): almost 5 months. *chuckles*
     
  21. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    The fun thing about that townhouse complex I lived in was it was all new construction. All new wires, all new distribution pedestals, everything new new new and, supposedly, tested out perfect after installation. One problem though... they forgot to install a distribution plate on the pedestal right outside our townhouse. So - instead of sending a guy out to install a new distribution plate - they ran a 100ft cable down from the next pedestal. As a result they had to turn up the gain so we can get a solid connection.

    After our install is complete customers with short runs on that pedestal end up getting a blindingly hot signals, too hot to use, and the technician that came out to solve their problem just turned down the gain... which then breaks our connection. After a couple times I started subtly, then not so subtly, suggesting that they should install sinks on the other people's lines to bring them down so the gain can be left at a point where we're functional. Or, crazy idea I know, send someone out with the damn distribution plate so they can install us and our neighbors off the pedestal right next to us.

    This went on for 2 years.

    And I bet they wondered why half the neighborhood switched to AT&T U-Verse the instant it became available.
     
    koitsu likes this.
  22. koitsu

    koitsu Network Guru Member

    *laugh* Your story is amusing indeed! *sigh* Some of the guys they have working there are just inept, and don't listen to actual clueful customers. It sometimes takes getting the actual regional supervisor involved to get someone to listen to reason.

    Just remember, two choices of ISPs is still a choice, even when both choices are crap...... right? *chuckles* Always amuses me when people use that argument. "You could always cancel your service with Crappy ISP #1 and go with Crappy ISP #2!" Then someone always brings up a reseller ISP (who has no real control over the physical lines/cable) as a "choice", and it all goes downhill from there. That's when I start punching people. ;-)
     
  23. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    I wouldn't discount the reseller ISPs. If they have their own technicians who come out on site that can make all the difference. Even if they're interfacing with the same incompetent blundering back office, having a competent person in the field who can tell them exactly what to do to permanently solve the problem instead of just choosing the easy answer every time can make a big difference.

    The big problem with Comcast, and as far as I can tell its the same deal with all the large cable ISPs, is you're rarely actually working with Comcast. Instead you're working with a local third party that slides on Comcast uniforms and slaps Comcast logos on their trucks. These third parties have no incentive to permanently fix issues, they just try to net the maximum amount of money they can make for a service call by getting on their way as quickly as possible.

    Of course the huge hulking 900lb gorilla in the cable ISP room is they collude with one another to never actually, you know, compete. They decide which cities are going to be served by which ISP and agree to never go into each other's territory. And if one does? Holy crap do they get pissy.
     

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