WOW Cable rant

Valnar

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A few weeks ago my perfect ARRIS DOCSIS 3.0 modem died after a couple years of good use. 'Just a cable-modem with no WiFi, which is what I wanted. I called WOW to have them come replace it and they installed a router+Wifi combo thing with the known bad Intel Puma chipset. I was not happy.

In order to combat that, I decided to buy my own Motorola MB8600 Broadcom chipset modem as its rumored to be the best. They balked at letting me install it, but eventually did. A week later I started having problems with disconnects and random reboots. It might be the modem itself - don't know. When I called in for support, they wouldn't help because it wasn't their modem.

So I asked them ship me one of theirs. Unfortunately their hired help doesn't know which modem I am getting, nor can I request a model. It might be a defective Intel one again. It might have Wifi+firewall that I need to disable, if it lets me. Who knows. I'm prepared to play cable-modem roulette as many times as required.
 

SamirD

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The puma problem is a myth imo. I bought a brand new sb6190 right when this scare was getting big and ran the dslreports test--it was perfect. I've used it in two different cities with comcast now for over 4 years and no issues even on latency sensitive stuff like rdp. I actually bought a second one that was open box new that someone was dumping because of the scare and put it in service at another site with wow where it regularly sees 100F temps. It actually connects to the comcast one via a nailed up ipsec vpn tunnel and I run rdp over it. If there's any latency issues, I will see it instantly, and every single time it's been some sort of issue with the isp's service, not the modem.

Just take their combo and put it in modem mode and be done with it. Connect only a single computer to it and run a linux live cd to make sure there's no background traffic and when you run the dslreports puma test you'll find it flawless. There's no issue because even if there was one it was solved a long time ago by isps.
 

GotNoRice

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Should not have gone with the Motorola. Motorola Surfboard modems used to be produced by Arris. Then the Motorola brand was sold to Zoom I believe, which makes the current Motorola branded modems.

The modem you want is the Arris SB8200 IMO.

To give you an idea of just how robust the SB8200 is, I run mine outdoors in a little wooden shack where it is exposed to extreme heat, extreme cold, and even humidity over the course of the year. Never skips a beat.
 

Valnar

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My issue is WOW (perhaps other ISP's are nicer) isn't in the "install your own modem" business any more.
 

jmilcher

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My issue is WOW (perhaps other ISP's are nicer) isn't in the "install your own modem" business any more.
My experience was the opposite. I ihave installed 3 different modems over the years all of my own. No problems at all. 2 minute phone call and they never gave me an issue. They of course wont support a modem that is not theirs, which makes sense.
 

Valnar

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Hmm. That's good to know. I'll see what they send me and if its another craptastic modem I'll go out and find a nice DOCSIS 3.0 modem. I only have 200Mb so I don't need 3.1, and I found some ramblings on the interwebs that might suggest the Motorola MB8600 3.1 support is borked.
 

GotNoRice

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I'll go out and find a nice DOCSIS 3.0 modem. I only have 200Mb so I don't need 3.1

There is no reason to get a 3.0 modem unless you just find a crazy deal on an old modem or buy one used. It's not just about speed. The larger number of channels can make things much more consistent especially during peak hours. Less latency spikes, etc. Also, given the hassles you're going through now, I'd think you would want whatever modem you get to have the longest life possible so you don't have to go through this all over again any time soon. Average cable internet speeds are increasing over time and I think we are only a few years away from Gigabit being baseline on most Cable ISPs, especially since Starlink is aiming for gigabit and will be available essentially anywhere.
 

Starrbuck

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I had really good luck with the Netgear CM600 when I was on Spectrum. I'm on Frontier FiOS now and I feel your pain somewhat as I use my own router and sometimes they give me troubles.
 

SamirD

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My issue is WOW (perhaps other ISP's are nicer) isn't in the "install your own modem" business any more.
Used to be the local wow was 'their modem only', but then they opened it up and I got the second sb6190 for that line. Spectrum used to be 'our modem only', but now they allow byom, but they don't charge for their modem, so no point in getting your own. Comcast is firmly in the byom camp with hefty rental charges for theirs (I think it's $15/mo now), and their bandwidth robbing public hotspots that you can't shut off.
 

SamirD

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Hmm. That's good to know. I'll see what they send me and if its another craptastic modem I'll go out and find a nice DOCSIS 3.0 modem. I only have 200Mb so I don't need 3.1, and I found some ramblings on the interwebs that might suggest the Motorola MB8600 3.1 support is borked.
If that's all you got, then a used sb6183 will be plenty if they support it.
 

SamirD

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There is no reason to get a 3.0 modem unless you just find a crazy deal on an old modem or buy one used. It's not just about speed. The larger number of channels can make things much more consistent especially during peak hours. Less latency spikes, etc. Also, given the hassles you're going through now, I'd think you would want whatever modem you get to have the longest life possible so you don't have to go through this all over again any time soon. Average cable internet speeds are increasing over time and I think we are only a few years away from Gigabit being baseline on most Cable ISPs, especially since Starlink is aiming for gigabit and will be available essentially anywhere.
People that 'future proofed' and bought the sb8200 wasted their money since the fastest speed that modem supported was gigabit and no isp (that I know of) ever used the 'bonding' feature of the two ethernet ports. And arris even just put the nail in the coffin on that with a new modem with a 2.5Gb ethernet port.

Buy what you need and upgrade when you need something more. Isps are always changing their supported modem list so even something capable today may be dropped just for planned obsolescence reasons.

As far as cable hitting gigabit speeds, out of the 4 accounts I have in various locations, only 1 of them even has gigabit and that's still with the asymmetrical upload, which makes no sense since att is in the same market with full gigabit symmetrical. In fact, every time I've ever seen cable gigabit advertised, att is there with symmetrical fibre showing how foolish cable providers are for competing with them with an inferior product. The day symmetrical gigabit comes on cable, we'll all need new modems as 'nothing will work' according to the isp (more planned obsolescence).
 

SamirD

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I had really good luck with the Netgear CM600 when I was on Spectrum. I'm on Frontier FiOS now and I feel your pain somewhat as I use my own router and sometimes they give me troubles.
Interesting as this is the model I've read more about in threads with someone having an issue with a cable modem where replacing the modem solved the issue.
 

pendragon1

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sounds about normal to me. our isps wont use 3rd party modems and you get what they give you. my new GB router has fans in it that are louder than my pc and louder that my plasma'a buzz. i hear it over everything in the front half of my house. they say tough shit.
 

SamirD

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sounds about normal to me. our isps wont use 3rd party modems and you get what they give you. my new GB router has fans in it that are louder than my pc and louder that my plasma'a buzz. i hear it over everything in the front half of my house. they say tough shit.
Curious as to what this router is. I've got a rackmount watchguard and it's not even as bad as what you're describing. :eek:
 

pendragon1

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Curious as to what this router is. I've got a rackmount watchguard and it's not even as bad as what you're describing. :eek:
its a CGM4141. all i know is that its loud af, is whatever DOCSIS means and only has two ports :meh:
oh and its not on the "worst modem" lists i saw...
 

SamirD

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its a CGM4141. all i know is that its loud af, is whatever DOCSIS means and only has two ports :meh:
oh and its not on the "worst modem" lists i saw...
Interesting. Seems to be a common problem with this version. Apparently the next version of it with wifi 6 made the power supply a separate brick and solved the issue.
 

GotNoRice

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People that 'future proofed' and bought the sb8200 wasted their money since the fastest speed that modem supported was gigabit and no isp (that I know of) ever used the 'bonding' feature of the two ethernet ports. And arris even just put the nail in the coffin on that with a new modem with a 2.5Gb ethernet port.

Buy what you need and upgrade when you need something more. Isps are always changing their supported modem list so even something capable today may be dropped just for planned obsolescence reasons.

There are advantages to DOCSIS 3.1 even if you aren't running gigabit. I certainly wasn't suggesting the SB8200 because of it's dual ethernet ports rolleyes.gif. I was suggesting it because it's one of the best, proven reliable DOCSIS 3.1 modems on the market right now.

If you have a DOCSIS 3.0 modem that is currently working and you are happy with it (even one with a custy old puma chipset), I'm not suggesting you trash it and go buy a SB8200. If you are in the market for a new modem however, it would be silly to buy an old DOCSIS 3.0 modem at this point just to save a few bucks, especially for something you're going to be using for years.
 

SamirD

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There are advantages to DOCSIS 3.1 even if you aren't running gigabit. I certainly wasn't suggesting the SB8200 because of it's dual ethernet ports View attachment 340362. I was suggesting it because it's one of the best, proven reliable DOCSIS 3.1 modems on the market right now.

If you have a DOCSIS 3.0 modem that is currently working and you are happy with it (even one with a custy old puma chipset), I'm not suggesting you trash it and go buy a SB8200. If you are in the market for a new modem however, it would be silly to buy an old DOCSIS 3.0 modem at this point just to save a few bucks, especially for something you're going to be using for years.
I couldn't even tell the difference between docsis 2.0 and 3.0 :rolleyes:--bandwidth is bandwidth. This is akin to the argument that a t1 was better than cable modems because of the multiple pri lines (or the isdn equivalent) versus however a cable modem was doing it back before docsis. (I actually had service with one of the original Motorola pre-docsis modems that got me a solid 1Mbs download and I think 256k upload and couldn't tell any difference between that and a t1.)

If there's any advantage, it's for the isps not for the consumers. The sb8200, sb6190, and sb6183 are all still available new at best buy. And the 8200 costs literally 2x as much as the 6183--which is spec'd to 686Mbps. The sb6190 can do gigabit just like the sb8200 and is still cheaper than the sb8200 which has no real advantage since bandwidth is bandwidth. I didn't even need the sb6190 (and still don't), but it was like $10 more than that sb6183 when I bought it new 4 years ago. I've bought 2x sb6190s and had them in service for years now cheaper than a single sb8200.
 

GotNoRice

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The sb6190 can do gigabit just like the sb8200 and is still cheaper than the sb8200 which has no real advantage since bandwidth is bandwidth.

Bandwidth is bandwidth... and when everyone is fighting for that bandwidth during peak hours, the person with the DOCSIS 3.1 modem that has access to double the available DOCSIS channels will end up with a larger share. Latency will often be lower.

I'm glad that you've had a good experience with your 6190, but there are a lot of people that haven't. If the problems with the puma chipset are a myth, then I guess they didn't get that memo.
 

jardows

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The puma problem is a myth imo. I bought a brand new sb6190 right when this scare was getting big and ran the dslreports test--it was perfect. I've used it in two different cities with comcast now for over 4 years and no issues even on latency sensitive stuff like rdp. I actually bought a second one that was open box new that someone was dumping because of the scare and put it in service at another site with wow where it regularly sees 100F temps. It actually connects to the comcast one via a nailed up ipsec vpn tunnel and I run rdp over it. If there's any latency issues, I will see it instantly, and every single time it's been some sort of issue with the isp's service, not the modem.

Just take their combo and put it in modem mode and be done with it. Connect only a single computer to it and run a linux live cd to make sure there's no background traffic and when you run the dslreports puma test you'll find it flawless. There's no issue because even if there was one it was solved a long time ago by isps.
No myth, I was on the front lines of support for ARRIS when this came out, in fact I had to deal with lots of problem calls for this that we couldn't figure out before the issue became known. BUT it mostly got fixed, so if you aren't having problems, it's nothing to worry about.
 

SamirD

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Bandwidth is bandwidth... and when everyone is fighting for that bandwidth during peak hours, the person with the DOCSIS 3.1 modem that has access to double the available DOCSIS channels will end up with a larger share. Latency will often be lower.

I'm glad that you've had a good experience with your 6190, but there are a lot of people that haven't. If the problems with the puma chipset are a myth, then I guess they didn't get that memo.
I'd like to see some real-world examples of that as the only times I've seen bandwidth issues, it comes in the form of packet loss, not a lack of docsis channels. And this is with any isp that I've dealt with, not just cable ones.

A lot of the testing and results that people have were not done correctly. Initially I ran the dslreports puma test and it showed all sorts of failures. Then I took my network traffic out of the equation by connecting just one system directly to the modem and ran the test--was perfect. It seems that 90% of the people on there complaining about an issue still had other network traffic causing their test results to be skewed.

If the problem is so real, retailers would have pulled the modem ages ago because of an uptick in returns. I know because that's what I would do when I was distributing auto parts and something was having a 5% return rate versus the normal 1% return rate. With as many people that game and whatnot and as big as this scare as become, surely a retailer like Best Buy would have pulled the product or stopped carrying it because of all the returns. But instead, they still carry it; and not only that, they carry it 4 years later after I bought mine--that shocked me as I though they would have only had the 8200 and whatever the newest one is.

Real product failures with a real reaction from the consumer purchasers changes everything--retailers stop carrying it, manufacturers stop making it because consumers won't buy it. But whatever issue that may have been there is long gone now and personally I've never seen it at all in my many years of ownership and proper testing of both my modems. To me, a used sb6190 presents the best value in cable modems today--mainly because of all this fear mongering that's depressed the prices.
 

Valnar

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WOW cable tech came out today and replaced my (bought) Motorola modem with one of theirs. Initially he brought the same Intel Puma modem I had before this, so I asked if he had anything else. He then brought in a Technicolor CGA4234VGW. It's a wifi-router-voip thing but you can turn all that off and put it into bridge mode, which I did. It seems to be performing well so far. My google-fu is failing me though because I can't find anything online about this modem. Like does it has the Broadcom 3390 chipset or the Intel? It is DOCIS 3.1.
 

pendragon1

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WOW cable tech came out today and replaced my (bought) Motorola modem with one of theirs. Initially he brought the same Intel Puma modem I had before this, so I asked if he had anything else. He then brought in a Technicolor CGA4234VGW. It's a wifi-router-voip thing but you can turn all that off and put it into bridge mode, which I did. It seems to be performing well so far. My google-fu is failing me though because I can't find anything online about this modem. Like does it has the Broadcom 3390 chipset or the Intel? It is DOCIS 3.1.
drop the VGW from your search, thats just the "carrier code", see if you can find anything like that.
 

SamirD

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WOW cable tech came out today and replaced my (bought) Motorola modem with one of theirs. Initially he brought the same Intel Puma modem I had before this, so I asked if he had anything else. He then brought in a Technicolor CGA4234VGW. It's a wifi-router-voip thing but you can turn all that off and put it into bridge mode, which I did. It seems to be performing well so far. My google-fu is failing me though because I can't find anything online about this modem. Like does it has the Broadcom 3390 chipset or the Intel? It is DOCIS 3.1.
You should have had him run the dslreports puma test on the one you think is bad and then compare it to the technicolor one. My bets are that both would have been the same, and if not, it would have been good to see some actual A/B comparisons from isp equipment that showed a real difference.
 
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