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Comcast HSI at 60% Download Rate

by jmoorefp / February 7, 2006 7:22 AM PST

I have a Dell 1.8GHz P4 with 1GB RAM, IE 6.0, Windows XP SP2 using Comcast Cable's High Speed Internet and an RCA/Thomson DCM315R modem, which I own ? bought it at Radio Shack 2 years ago, when I ordered the HSI. My service started at 1.5MBps, went to 3.0MBps and then 4.0MBps without difficulty (Max real download speed was about 3.8MBps). Comcast recently upgraded their service again, offering speeds up to 6MBps down and 384KBps up, but my bandwidth meter reading dropped to 3.3MBps! Upload still a respectable 335-340KBps. Comcast can't explain it, other than to blame my modem, since I don't pay them the $3/month + tax to rent theirs (a Motorola SURFboard SB5120). They pinged me: sent 100 packets, received 100 packets. Anybody got any ideas?

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There is a new protocol. . .
by Coryphaeus / February 7, 2006 9:11 PM PST
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absolutely correct answer
by ChazzMatt / February 10, 2006 7:53 PM PST

I have Motorola Surfboard modem that I bought online a year ago when I first got Comcast. Comcast was at 3mbps, then 4mbps, and recently went to 6mbps. Almost all my friends with Comcast also got the increased speeds (here in GA, as well as in other states). But, one friend in MD did not. Comcast told him he had an older modem that couldn't handle the new speeds. He lived with it since he owned his modem. Then his modem died, he had to get a new modem, and presto he's at 6mbps like the rest of us.

I would recommend you get a Motorola SurfBoard. they seem to be the industry standard.

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absolutely correct answer
by jmoorefp / February 11, 2006 4:35 AM PST

I hear you, but I don't understand. The DCM315R is DOCSIS 2.0 certified, and its max is 30Mbps. I feel like your friend - reluctant to spend another $80 to replace something I already own. I just talked to RCA (Thompson), and they tell me the only thing that could be holding me back is that a field upgrade from Comcast isn't taking, which THEY can't do anything about. I have a feeling it's either live with 3.4Mbps, or buy an SB5120 - Hobson's Choice!

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Not all Comcast networks. . .
by Coryphaeus / February 12, 2006 11:10 PM PST

support the new standard.

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Not all Comcast networks. . .
by jmoorefp / February 13, 2006 2:31 AM PST

HUH??? According to what I've read in the fine print, as long as you have their CableTV, you should be able to get a max of 6.0Mbps. I have Digital; a buddy of mine, who lives out by O'Hare (10 miles away) and rents an old SB5100, blew a 7.2 on!!! We both pay $42.95 for our HSI. Yesterday, I ordered an SB5120 - got a deal for $58 - and I'm going to install it. If I get something close to 6.0, it's MY modem's fault. If not, it's COMCAST's! I can return the Motorola for full credit if I choose, so I'm trying to nail down the reasons.

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Sounds like. . .
by Coryphaeus / February 13, 2006 6:39 AM PST

a call to Comcast is in order.

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Sounds like. . .
by jmoorefp / February 13, 2006 7:26 AM PST
In reply to: Sounds like. . .

Not only have I spent HOURS talking to them, and e-mailing them, and ''tech-chatting'' with them, I've even had a field tech out, gratis, to check my system. Everything points to a failure to perform a remote field upgrade. The closest I've gotten to a solution, so far, was a sort-of-apology after I sent the following to them:

For the past month, I have been trying to achieve
download performance that at least approximates your advertised capability of 6MB/second - without success, but at least in a spirit of cooperation. That came to a halt yesterday, when I was in touch with three separate TS agents, all of whom brushed aside or avoided my concerns, and treated me with disdain verging on disrespect. The last straw was the following live chat with a tech named Ian:

Chat View Page 1 of 1

chat id : 8e14c6d8-d3ca-46d4-8e36-05bc6336569d
Problem : Connection/Speed

Ian > Thank you for contacting Comcast. My name is Ian, how may I be of assistance?
John > I was just on the line with Mike

John > chat id : 6f7861a7-2c0e-4406-874c-bfac3e0beb4d
Problem : Connection/Speed
Mike > Thank you for contacting Comcast. My name is Mike, how may I assist you today?
John > Hi! My name is John, and I'm a Comcast HSI subscriber
Mike > Hi there.
John > Isn't it true that HSI is now supposed to come as a 6Mbps
Mike > You mean as an automatic change in the service?
John > And for $10 you get 8Mbps?
John > Yes
Mike > That is correct.
John > I can't get over 3.5 Mbps, and I've tried everything. I own my own modem (RCA/Thomson) that's supposed to handle 10Mbps with no sweat
Mike > I have now not seen any responses from you in quite awhile. At this time, I will be disconnecting this chat. Please feel free to contact us again, and the next agent available will be glad to help you with your issue. Thank you for contacting Comcast.
Mike > Analyst has closed chat and left the room

Ian > ok
John > He hung up on me after I sent my question
Ian > it looks like he said you weren?t active for a bit so he had to assist others
John > That's BS
John > Why can't I get 6Mbps downloads?
John > It's been suggested I go out and buy a Motorola modem
Ian > Speeds can vary depending on your computer resources, overall network traffic, and sizes and loads of the servers you're trying to access.
Ian > The type of modem you use has very little to do with the speeds you get
John > I've run the speed test at Speakeasy at 3am, and only got 3.1
John > I have 1GB RAM
Ian > ok
John > CPU usage runs about 7-11%
Ian > That only takes care of one factor there are many
John > Ethernet connection
John > No traffic at 3am!
Ian > Our goal is to provide as much speed and bandwidths to all users at as low a price as possible. This includes ensuring that no single customer can consume more than their share of bandwidth at the expense of other customers. Average speed is 30 KB/Sec up to 3 megs a sec. If you fall within these guidelines, you are well within our acceptable levels for speed.
Ian > Was there anything else I can do for you today?
John > I don't understand
John > If you promise 6Mbps, why is less than 6Mbps OK?
Ian > The 6mb is only the highest speed you can get not the constant speed
Ian > We don?t guarantee that all the time
Ian > it?s impossible to do that
John > I understand that, and would be happy with 5.5
John > I pay $42/month, and I think I should get the max
Ian > You do fall within the Comcast guidelines so there really isn?t anything I can do
John > Why is it impossible?
John > I'm saving this for a message to management. Thank you and Goodbye
Ian > There are so many factors that affect speed like firewalls antivirus programs routers wireless connections all take away from the maximum
John > No router. Firewall disabled. Still less than 4
Ian > Your modem is getting its bandwidth allowance and everything after that takes a little chunk out antivirus will take a lot as it scans everything
John > Ping test 100 packets sent, 100 packets received
Ian > then the signal is fine
Ian > Was there anything else I can do for you today?
John > Bye 1/25/2006

I find this conversation unsettling. This jerk is telling me it's perfectly OK for me to shell out $43/mo + tax to get dowloads at a speed slower than DIAL-UP!!! I just had a friend of mine, also a Chicagoland Comcast subscriber (at $42.95/mo plus $3 for a rented modem), run the same speed test at He got a download rate of 7.156Mb/sec, which approximates the maximum rate one can get with the new HSI package with Game Invasion for an additional $10/month, and he's only paying for the same 6Mb/384Kb package I am!

As a loyal customer for 3? years, whose bill has TRIPLED during that time, I think I deserve better than this.


I fully intend to speak to Comcast again after the SurfBoard Experiment!

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Ian. . .
by Coryphaeus / February 14, 2006 12:32 PM PST
In reply to: Sounds like. . .

is an idiot.

File a complaint with upper management.

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There is a new protocol. . .
by jmoorefp / February 18, 2006 10:33 AM PST

Well, I don't know about new protocols, but I installed an SB5120 today, and my speed jumped to 6.74Mbps! In other words, it doubled. I find it hard to believe it was the RCA's fault, but I can't argue with sucess. I just ran it again on Speakeasy, and it was 6.97! I guess it was worth the $68...

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reliable speedtest
by shredderc / February 21, 2006 4:54 AM PST

your story sounds much like mine, except for the modem issue. I am renting their modem, but I am using a 4 year old netgear router. After I upgraded to 8 mbps, I started checking my speed often, because I thought this might just be a scam. Anyway, which speedtest is most reliable? cnet gives me between 1.5 and 3, bandwidthplace says it's 4-6, speedguide says 1.5-3, and speakeasy (which I tried for the first time just now) says greater than 6.

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Test reliability
by jmoorefp / February 21, 2006 10:59 AM PST
In reply to: reliable speedtest

Who knows? CNET asks for your area code, which implies some geographical specificity as to servers used in the test, and yet, after I installed the SB5120, my reading dropped 50% to 1.7Mbps, while more than doubling on Speakeasy to 7.1! I used the Chicago server just now (I live 2 miles west of the city limits), and got a 6.7. Bandwidthplace gave me a 5.9 and SpeedGuide gave me about a 3.6. Seems to be apples and oranges to me, but the Comcast field guy used Speakeasy and couldn't get 3.5 out of my old modem.

Now I've got an extra cable modem to go with the two 128MB RAM sticks I can't use any more. Maybe I'll post a little card at the grocery store and try to sell my surplus technology. My webcam isn't worth a sh*t, and I haven't figured out how to use my external HD for anything other than backing up an internal HD half its size. I've got to stop buying stuff! Happy

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by shredderc / February 22, 2006 4:11 AM PST
In reply to: Test reliability

interestingly, on speakeasy, i get over 6 mbps whether i use Chicago or SF as my location. So, maybe there is something about cnet's server. I really just want to make sure comcast is not ripping me off (if that's possible).

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