Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!

Discussion in 'Wireless Internet' started by ceg, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. ceg

    ceg Guest

    Thank you Jeff Liebermann for being a technical wiz-kid genius!

    I just want to shout out to Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco
    cable modem (Motorola/Arris SB6141) for about $85 out the door, and again
    thanks go to Jeff for suggesting I ask for a discount on the Comcast $50
    "installation fee".

    I hooked it up with a $1 CATV cable from Goodwill and then called Comcast
    who first wanted to charge me $50 for installation, and then $15 when I
    argued for free and then the guy used a "promo code" to get me down to $6
    for their "installation" fee.

    I couldn't get him any lower than $6, so I took that.

    In ten minutes it was working fine. They did everything over the wires.

    They charge about $45 monthly (I don't know what the taxes will be
    though) for 45Mbps down and 5Mbps up.

    They try to talk you into 100Mbps down and 10 Mbps up for $50 but we
    tested it at 90Mbps out the modem RJ45 to a laptop and about 60Mbps using
    the 2.5GHz WiFi out of the router attached to the modem using as our test web site (and Firefox 39.0.3).

    The only router Costco had was too expensive though (at $130 + about $13
    tax for the Netgear Nighthawk AC1750). So, at Frys, I bought a $75 TP-
    Link Archer C5 (do you think that was a good tradeoff?) for roughly about
    half the price.

    With Jeff's suggested Arris/Motorola cable modem from Costco, the $85 out
    the door will pay for itself in a few months:

    1. Saved $45 minus $6 = $39 on installation fees (but I had to supply a
    CATV coax cable so let's call that a $30 savings to make the math easy).
    2. Saved $10 each month on modem rental fees
    3. I get a GREAT modem (fast!).

    So, in the first month, I saved about half the modem cost alone, at about
    $40; and in the next four or five months, the modem is paid for. Then,
    each month, the modem, in effect, saves me another $10 every month.

    You can't beat that equation!
    Thanks Jeff for being so smart!
    Santa Cruz is lucky to have you!

    I bought the following, but will return the Costco router I think:

    TP-Link Archer C5 router ($75 at Fryes)
    Netgear Nighthawk AC1750 router ($130 at Costco)
    Motorola/Arris SB6141 cable modem ($75 at Costco)

    Only question left is whether the Costco router is worth it for just two
    kids sharing an Internet connection away at school.
    ceg, Aug 16, 2015
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  2. ceg

    Phil Hobbs Guest

    One good option for a router is to get a used Netgear WNDR3700 from eBay
    for $20 and install OpenWRT on it. You get a decently secure router
    with a lot of stooch for very cheap. I have a couple like that, and I'm
    very happy with them.


    Phil Hobbs

    Dr Philip C D Hobbs
    Principal Consultant
    ElectroOptical Innovations LLC
    Optics, Electro-optics, Photonics, Analog Electronics

    160 North State Road #203
    Briarcliff Manor NY 10510

    hobbs at electrooptical dot net
    Phil Hobbs, Aug 16, 2015
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  3. Y'er welcome. However, I'm no longer a kid and certainly have never
    been a genius. Please keep your superlatives reasonable and knock off
    the nymshifting.
    I certainly suggested buying the SB6141 at Costco, but I don't believe
    it was me that suggested negotiating the installation fee. At the
    time, Comcast considered the fee as mandatory. However, subsequent
    threats of litigation based upon charging for services that were not
    rendered has magically made the fee negotiable. The problem was that
    anyone that physically picked up their equipment at the local Comcast
    store would not be charged an installation fee since it was a "self
    install". However, Comcast didn't have a check box for those that
    purchased their own equipment, and therefore billed everyone possible
    for non-service. I ran into this problem with one new customer, so I
    suggested a rather ridiculous alternative. They ordered service along
    with the rental of a gateway device, which they picked up at the store
    as a self install. They then purchased an SB6141 at Costco and
    activated it. Once working, they returned the unopened gateway device
    for credit. The customer is rather old, so I walked him through the
    entire ridiculous ceremony, which included informing everyone within
    range of what was happening and why.
    Impressive. Much depends on who you get on the phone. I've heard of
    hour long ordeals and have experienced 20 minute activation acrimony.
    I've always found it odd that Comcast is unable to provide an accurate
    estimate. Perhaps they're afraid of sticker shock?
    I've seen 179/12 Mbits/sec in Felton. One customer that had the old
    12/1 Mbits/sec service now has more than double at 88/6:
    What happened is that on Tues Aug 11, Comcast magically doubled the
    speed of residential internet service.
    I'll spare you my conspiracy theories, but will add an anecdote. The
    speed did NOT increase for business class Comcast customers. So, I
    walked over to the Comcast store and asked if they could find out the
    status and plans, if any. I was blessed with several useless phone
    numbers, that connected me to people that didn't know, didn't care,
    and didn't bother to obtain the information. Welcome to the legendary
    Comcast customer service.
    TP-Link routers are amazingly good products hidden inside amazingly
    weird packages. I have a few in service that have had no problems
    (after I updated the firmware). With the cable speeds that you're
    getting, you should be running 802.11ac something to get something
    near full speed. However, the reason the TP-Links is probably cheaper
    is that it only does AC1200 (2x2) while the Netgear does AC1750 (3x3).
    Whether you actually get the rated speeds depends heavily on your
    client radios and RF environment. If it's with a tablet or
    smartphone, forget it.
    Wireless performance is allegedly about 7 to 10 times your Comcast
    performance, so you'll probably do ok.
    Probably not. The extra wirless speed is if your kids are copying or
    moving massive files via wireless. Hopefully, that's not happening.
    Another is reduced latency if they are doing gaming. If you monitor
    the wireless mode (with a sniffer), you'll find that in the presence
    of even the slightest amount of interference, the router will switch
    down to 802.11g speeds or about 25 Mbits/sec throughput maximum. The
    higher speeds do have their use (such as using less air time) but
    usually require an ideal RF environment in order to be used full time.

    It might be fun to lock the wireless mode and speeds to 802.11ac.
    Let's see if it can be done:
    Yep. On 2.4GHz, you can select 802.11n mode only. On 5GHz, you can
    select 802.11ac only. Try AC only, copy something across the network
    via wireless, and see what manner of range you can get.
    Jeff Liebermann, Aug 16, 2015
  4. ceg

    ceg Guest

    Nymshifting is part and parcel with privacy. Sorry. I hate it just
    as much as I hate locking my bicycle up and removing the seat, lights,
    and mirrors every time I park it. But, in today's world, we're forced to
    do it.

    Sorry about that. You're amazingly "open" with who you are, but I can't
    be that open. Too much at stake.

    You know who I am anyway - since I have emailed you in the past.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice on the Archer C5 hardware version.
    The router is up at the college but I have the box.

    The serial-number sticker on the box says it's version 2.0 so I
    got must have gotten lucky on the hardware version at Frys.
    ceg, Aug 16, 2015
  5. ceg

    ceg Guest

    The SB6141 modem is great, as it's fast, and it will pay for itself in
    less than a year, what with Comcast dropping the installation fee to six
    bucks and also dropping the ten-dollar monthly rental fee.

    However, as I recall, the speeds went from 90Mbps down to about 60Mbps
    down simply by switching from a modem-to-laptop wired connection to a
    modem-to-router-to-lapop-wireless connection.

    That's a huge drop in speed (measured at

    Is that normal to lose 30 Mbps just by switching from wired directly to

    NOTE: I just realized while writing this that we never checked the wired
    speed directly out of the router, which I'll ask the kids to do for me.
    ceg, Aug 16, 2015
  6. ceg

    ceg Guest

    These are good kids.
    They're not like I am. :)

    The worst they do is *ask* me to get them a movie or two!

    ceg, Aug 16, 2015
  7. ceg

    Ed Pawlowski Guest

    Sure, your kids are special and won't do anything while away at school.
    Ed Pawlowski, Aug 16, 2015
  8. Yep. The math is simple enough. If you're going to remain a Comcast
    customer for more than 9 months, you might as well buy your own modem.

    The only gotcha is if you decide to subscribe to the Comcast phone
    service. In the past, it was possible to buy an Arris TM722G
    telephony modem, which was on the Comcast approved list. No more.
    Now, you're stuck with buying a TM862G/CT which is the very device I
    was trying to avoid:
    There are a few on eBay, but be careful. Many were previous on rental
    and cannot be activated.
    Probably. I say probably because I don't have any idea what the kids
    have for equipment other than the router. I also don't know if
    they're connecting on 2.4 or 5Ghz.

    60 Mbits/sec throughput suggests that they're doing 64-QAM if they're
    on a 20 MHz channel.
    The problem is that the router should be capable of shoveling data at
    a much greater rate. For example, the performance graphs show much
    higher than 60 Mbits/sec wireless speed on 5Ghz:
    but much slower on 2.4GHz:
    My guess is that 60 Mbits/sec is on the low side of reasonable for
    2.4GHz in the presence of interference from other routers in the dorm.
    I also had a short list of tests using Iperf and Jperf for them to

    Incidentally, my fabulous DSL downloads at 1.2 Mbits/sec and you're
    complaining about losing 30 Mbits/sec. I'm jealous and you'll get no
    sympathy from me.
    Jeff Liebermann, Aug 16, 2015
  9. ceg

    ceg Guest

    It was a cheap Costco $500 Win8 laptop that apparently only seems to
    have 2.4GHz (I didn't see the 5GHz AP show up).

    All we did was go to
    ceg, Aug 16, 2015
  10. ceg

    ceg Guest

    I must admit, I had never seen so many access points in one place.
    The screen was *filled* with access points!
    ceg, Aug 16, 2015
  11. ceg

    ceg Guest

    Likewise, the kids, at school, on cable, are doing much better than I am,
    on WISP, at home, pointing at an antenna miles away in the mountains.
    ceg, Aug 16, 2015
  12. ceg

    ceg Guest

    I think they watch "Desperate Housewives" on the net. At least I saw that
    as one of the web sites they visited.
    ceg, Aug 16, 2015
  13. ceg

    Ed Pawlowski Guest

    One of the nice features that browsers have now is a privacy viewing
    setting that does not save any tracks.

    But none of that matters since your kids are so well behaved. Not
    like the kids and grandkids I have.
    Ed Pawlowski, Aug 16, 2015
  14. ceg

    devnull Guest

    In my situation, yes.
    And it was easier for me to install some network jacks than to deal with wifi's idiosyncrasies.
    devnull, Aug 16, 2015
  15. ceg

    sms Guest


    Comcast always seems to charge the $50 then waits for the customer to
    call to argue about it. Probably many don't call.

    I also got the Motorola modem at Costco and did a self-install and
    initially was charged the installation fee.

    The problem I had was with getting them to install a drop, with RG6,
    from the pole. I told them I needed a drop because the old drop, which I
    had never used, was RG59. The first three trucks they sent were
    unprepared to do a new drop. Finally I used a tree trimmer to cut down
    the RG59 so there was no old drop there to confuse them, and then they
    were able to put in a new drop.
    sms, Aug 18, 2015
  16. ceg

    ceg Guest

    That brings up a good question which I didn't know the answer to.

    Being a cheapskate, I bought my coax cable from the Goodwill for a buck.

    I know there are different impedances for coax cable, but I didn't know
    what letting to look for on the Goodwill coax cables.

    So, the one I bought said "CATV" but I don't know if that's the right

    Is it?
    ceg, Aug 18, 2015
  17. ceg

    ceg Guest

    We should probably list the various servers.
    I'll make a start, but this is just from memory.

    4. ?
    ceg, Aug 18, 2015
  18. ceg

    ceg Guest

    I wonder if Jeff knows whether it's best to use the speed test supplied
    by the ISP, since that's most likely to follow the same pipes?

    That is, if I'm using AT&T, wouldn't the most accurate speed test be
    one that AT&T supplies, which uses AT&T pipes?

    Likewise, for comcast?
    ceg, Aug 18, 2015
  19. You want something in 75 ohms, not 50 ohms. That means one of the
    many mutations of RG-6/u.
    CATV means CAble TV. That term hasn't been used in many years, so
    it's probably old cable with potentially ancient connectors. It may
    also be RG-59/u, which you should not be using (because most of it is

    Incidentally, a quick test of the connector is to just pull on the
    connector. If it seperates from the coax cable, it's a lousy crimp,
    bad connector, or both. If you want to make your own cables, buy
    compression connectors and the right tools.
    Jeff Liebermann, Aug 18, 2015
  20. That used to be the case, when the number of hops and total latency
    limited the maximum speed that it would test. However, with jumbo
    packets and large windows, that's no longer the case. The speed test
    program will usually select the closest or fastest test server anyway.
    I'm on Comcast Biz class service. I sometimes run Comcast speed test
    from California to Washington DC. The latency figures are high (88
    msec instead of the usual 13 msec) but the speed figures are roughly
    the same as local. I do tend to favor using the ISP's test server,
    but that's from habit, not necessity.
    Accurate usually means highest speed indication and minimum congestion
    effects. At slow connection speeds, almost any test server will work.
    When you get up to 100 Mbit/sec speeds as Comcast is doing, you'll
    need to check a few test sites. Things get messy if your route is
    through a router that blocks, throttles, or delays speed tests.
    Probably the highest number is the least congestied, and therefore the
    most accurate. Those that limit the number of simultaneous or
    consecutive tests are probably the best. Comcast does that as when
    they boosted the local speeds, it sometimes took me 10 mins to start a
    tests because everyone in the area was running speed tests.
    Generally true, but not always. Peering between ISP nodes is commonly
    shared. Run a traceroute to a test server and see what's on the
    Jeff Liebermann, Aug 19, 2015
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