19 May 2008

I Want Intarwebs! :(

I just got my first apartment. Called Comcast to get the webernets installed. Wednesday, they sent me a self-install kit with no modem. I don't get the point of it. It's a coaxial (aka TV) cable and a CD that only works on Windows and OSX that does nothing more than show you the diagrams from the booklet. You know, the diagrams telling you to put the squarish ethernet cable into the squarish ethernet jack and the round power cable into the round jack. Honestly, preschoolers figure out "round peg, round hole" and "square peg, square hole." Thursday, a technician came over to drop off the modem they forget and turn on the service. My roommate was waiting for him. She doesn't know networking, but she told him that I insist on setting up the network myself. He was fine with that, left for a few minutes, and came back claiming to have hooked up the cable in the basement. I came home from work, and guess what? No tubes! The modem is getting no signal from the cable. Goody. I even tried hooking it up right where it enters the building. No good. They won't come over on weekends or in the evenings. We both work. I have a 2 hour commute. They wanted to come over between 11AM and 2PM. I would have to leave work before I even arrived to get back by 11AM. It's like they're holding my internets hostage!

I'm using the very weak signal from my school's wireless right now. It reaches my apartment about 1/4 of the time. This sucks.


9 comments:

Bill said...

cable companies just suck, don't they?

Freaktech said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of ISP techs. I had a new office to set up in Nashville. I could not get cable so I got DSL from AT&T. I gave instructions that the DSL modem was to be in bridge mode so my firewall could handle everything else. Well, the technician that showed up didn't even know what I was talking about. He then informed me that they had only sent him to 1 week of training, and that at no time had they showed him how to log into the router. I ended up calling AT&T and getting the login info myself for the modem and configuring it remotely from Knoxville. The tech on site was astonished that this could be done.

Rusty said...

The comcast self install kit presumes that you are either going to provide your own cable modem, or that you need a visit from a cable installer to provide you with a modem. You can often stop at the local comcast office and get a modem from them to lease on your cable bill. Whether that's worth your while or not I don't know.

Big advantage to owning your own modem is that when you re-locate, you can take it with you, and you will be up and running significantly faster.

Big Disadvantage at the moment is that with DOCSIS 3 coming out, you may be replacing it if you want to pay for the higher bandwidth.

The 'guide' is designed to give you a warm fuzzy that the process is simple and easy. The software is designed to set up your computer to use their pages as your home page, etc. (a bit of added software in there as well, that you don't need, and which won't run under Linux, except possibly under wine or pear.)

In any case someone is going to be calling the Cable Company with a cable modem in hand to give them the docsis MAC so that you can get an IP address. I recommend getting a broadband router as well. But that should be common sense.

Mackenzie said...

They have a modem-less self-install kit and a self-install kit with a modem. I ordered the one with a modem. They sent the one without a modem. That's a problem.

And if you have a modem, why do you need the self-install kit at all? I mean, all you do is connect the wires. That's it. Modems don't even need setup. Only the router (which, thanks for the reminder, I need to download OpenWRT) needs setup, and contrary to Linksys's CD, that can be done through Firefox.

Rusty said...

Bet that someone 'returned' their self install kit 'w/ modem' actually 'w/o modem' and no one at the office checked it.

The 'install' kit want's you to install the software on your pc, even if you don't need to.

Also the install kit assumes you will not be using some sort of firewall appliance, which means that if comcast wanted to do anything that needed special setup, they could do so through that software.

My experience is that all the setup the interface to their network needs is to do a dhcp request for an address. It may be 'dynamic' but unless you are off line for more than 48 hours, you tend to keep the same address. I'm not saying that where you are will give you the same results, but..

The Pink Guy said...

Have you tried twittering comcastcares?

ZaReason said...

What a pain. Being without Internet access is like being without water. You can do it for a while but it's no fun and it gives you a headache.

Good luck.

Kevix said...

http://reviews.cnet.com/cable-modem/comcast-high-speed-internet/4505-6538_7-30914839.html
this has a review and points to a compatible modem list.
I have DSL. The major thing is to find the lights that tell you when the cable service is having problems because 99% of the time, the other side (your OS) will not have any issues. rebooting the modem would be the easiest thing to try if an issue happens. I have a wifi/hub added and that locks up and needs the occassional reboot when I note a slow down. And when asked 'what version of windows...' I always say "I didn't call because of a windows problem, I don't need windows support but I need you to check your end' I also needed to borrow a windows pc to setup my account to run their cd. All the windows cd did was setup the modem and tell them my account details. Have fun with your new digs and all!

Mackenzie said...

@rusty:
The odd thing is, they actually have one for with a modem and one for without. They gave me one that, on the box, says it has no modem. The lady on the phone didn't understand when I said that was pointless. She claims "it installs the internet into your computer"...because that's possible. Sorry, honey, I don't have a 50 Exabyte drive.

@kevix:
I would have to disagree with that review claiming the people on the phone are knowledgeable. The lady that setup my account said it was a 6 megabyte connection. I had to explain that 6 megabytes * 8 bits per byte = 48 megabit = fiber optics speed != not cable speed.