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  #21  
02-22-2013, 08:09 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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It may be the router. Every few years, for no apparent reasons, routers die here too. I never understand it. Just one day, it goes unreliable. The last one overheated, I think. Just got too hot one day, and poof, a slow router, barely 1mpbs connections. I've slowly swapped to purely using D-Link equipment, and I've not had problems. The modems are Motorola. It's the Linksys, Cisco (especially Cisco!), Trendnet, and others that were wonky. I dumped them, and have been fine since.

This one here is a new D-Link DIR-615 from late last year. Bought it in December to replace a Frys router (brand X).
It's $40 from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...W&linkCode=as2

I have two of those. The other one is an older revision (same model), in another room. I really, really like these.

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  #22  
02-22-2013, 08:40 AM
Bob R Bob R is offline
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I thought I had it nailed to my Cisco extender. I unplugged it and got 23Mbps. Left it unplugged for quite awhile and still got 23. I plugged it back in and it has been for awhile. Still 23 Mbps. I'm starting to think router, but the fact that the speed at the desktop that is directly wired....albeit through a jack at the back of the router....it takes a dive as well. Stay tuned and thanks for your input
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  #23  
02-22-2013, 08:52 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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If it's just that one computer, it could also be the NIC.
Is it a card, or integrated to the motherboard? I've seen both go out. Some of those Intel integrated cards are screwy.
The TP-Link is what I use, and works well: http://www.newegg.com/Network-Interf...at/ID-12120-27
Never had one go bad yet, and it replaced a lot of bad cards.

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  #24  
02-22-2013, 09:07 AM
Bob R Bob R is offline
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It's all computers. Laptop and iPad on wireless and desktop direct wired through a jack in the back of the router.

I found it interesting that when I installed my new cable modem, I had unplugged the power cord of my router. I suddenly realized my install that I was doing on the hard wired desktop wasn't going anywhere. I plugged the router power back in and I suddenly had my web home page pop up on the screen. Even though the internet cable goes from the back of the cable modem to the input on the back of the router and you can plug items you want hard wired into the jacks in the back of the router... the router needs to be powered for those output jacks on the back of the router to work. I thought they were just paralleled off the input jack. I guess not.

-- merged --

After doing a lot of testing today, I've found out that it is my Cisco WRTE54G range extender that is causing my speed loss. It is cutting the speed in half and according to another site on the WEB, that is what the single radio transmitter cheaper units do. The only way around it is:

1. Don't use it
2. Get a more expensive one with 2 radio transmitters. One that locks onto the router and the other that transmits the signal.
3. Get a high powered acess point to replace the extender.
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  #25  
05-20-2013, 06:16 PM
ShaunAce ShaunAce is offline
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You are the man, kpmedia. Thank you. I don't think you have any idea how many people you helped out. I have been an off-and-on Charter user for a good 14 years and up until recently I was satisfied. These days I use Charter because it's pretty cost effective and I rent the spare rooms in my house out to college kids and lately they all complained to me about problems addressed in this post. I called Charter twice and their tech support is pretty much useless. Fortunately one of my roommates found this thread and I changed the DNS settings and upgraded my router's firmware and I'll be damned... Everything is working perfectly. I cannot thank you enough, sir.
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  #26  
07-25-2014, 07:28 AM
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It's been (almost) exactly 4 years to the day, and this post is still helping others.

ISP DNS are notoriously bad, and they seem to get worse by the years. OpenDNS is one of the best choices I ever made. Google and others have tried to compete with them, but they come in a far second, both is speed and features.

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  #27  
08-02-2014, 05:55 PM
premiumcapture premiumcapture is offline
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I had the same issue and it was my modem, not my router. Called Charter and gave them the modem number and they knew it was old, sent me a replacement and worked out great.
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09-11-2015, 01:55 PM
irvixen irvixen is offline
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I signed up just to tell you I used this today, after days of frustration. I was blaming my computer when the answer was on your site this whole time. I am working on my ancestral line via ancestry.com and it was so frustrating the crashed pages and the length of time to load things. You rock
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  #29  
10-24-2017, 07:09 AM
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I've updated the post with more current info.

It's no longer just the DNS that causes problems, but the DOCSIS 3.0 modem in use. Sometimes the router or network cards can also be to blame, though less often.

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  #30  
02-08-2019, 08:58 PM
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I don't do message boards anymore these days but had to sign up to respond.

Thank you for this thread I am using Charter and for some time but since last September after my trouble free 60 gig speed was upgraded to 100 my speed was spotty at best to downright criminally slow.

Already had two tech guys out and numerous calls to no avail.

So I find this thread and started using Opendns and was much better right off but still a bit off then I unchecked the "IPV6" option in my settings and since that my speed just like when I had the 60 gig as in flawless full speed all the time.

So thank you very much for the very informative and very helpful article/post, I still don't understand it all but I did enough to get results

Be well.


Barry G/Brainfart
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  #31  
05-05-2019, 05:31 AM
peco99 peco99 is offline
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Quote:
2019 Update:

This post is still helping countless people get fast internet speeds from Charter. It originally chronicled my headaches of slow or dropped connections, with Charter giving me the run-around. The solution was to simply use OpenDNS (now owned by Cisco). Problem solved! Charter's own DNS servers were simply overbooked or unresponsive at times.

And that still works:
  • Either visit OpenDNS.com, get a free personal account, and follow their step-by-step setup instructions.
  • Or simply enter 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220 in your router or computer DNS settings, if you're familiar with DNS.
But that may not be enough anymore

In recent times, modems have changed significantly. Throughout 2016-2017, and surely into coming years (because change like this is never quick), ISPs including Charter will be redoing their internal networks, location by location. Everybody in the ISP industry is moving to, or has already moved to, what is known as DOCSIS 3.0. If you try to keep that old modem, problems will eventually happen.

You need a new modem.
And you want/need this Motorola for under $75: http://amzn.to/2yKD2pl

I know, you don't want to buy anything. Neither did I. But sometimes upgrades are just a necessity. Also realize that not all modems are the same quality. You may save $20 or so with another brand, but you'll be sorry, and will pay for it in another way. You'll just be adding problems by using a cheap Arris**/Netgear/TPLink/etc modem. I'm trying to help you solve your problem, not add more!

Charter will again either be/act ignorant, mislead you, or just flat lie to you. They'll often not inform you of how modems have changed, and/or insist you should buy or rent their overpriced inferior modem without saying why. Just ignore them. Pay them for the service, but realize what their "techs" tell you is mostly just BS.

The OpenDNS fix + the new Motorola modem = a good internet experience.

In some instances, as with the modem, cheap routers can be to blame. Of all the routers out there, you won't go wrong with a D-Link router. But you probably already tested the internet directly into the computer, right?
** ARRIS note: Beware of misinformation. Yes, Arris bought the consumer division of Motorola's networking products in 2012, mostly gaining the SURFboard tech, but the name Motorola was not part of the deal with Cox, beyond the selling of old Motorola-manufactured stock under the Motorola name. Arris has always been a mixed-review bottom-feeder brand, and still is. The current Motorola has nothing to do with Arris whatsoever, and never did. I still hear lots of ISP employees, Best Buy geeks, etc, giving out wrong info that Arris=Motorola. The Arris license to temporarily use the Motorola name expired in 2015. Zoom, who you may remember from the dial-up days, as competitor to U.S. Robotics, and who has been making excellent modems for 40 years, now manufactures Motorola modems. **


Original Post

For about three weeks now, I've had nothing but trouble connecting to websites. One minute, everything connected nice and fast. The next minute, it was slow. A couple of minutes later, I had no access whatsoever. The signal was dropping, and/or there were lots of dropped packets.

My Speed Tests

I ran speed tests, and came up with identical results:
  1. Sometimes connections were in the 8 to 15 Mbps range
  2. Sometimes connections were in the 0.5 to 2 Mbps range
  3. Sometimes the tests failed, due to lost connection
What was strange, however, was that my upload speed was always a sustained 1 Mbps -- it was never affected!

I generally prefer the speed tests from Google or speedtest.net, though some still like speakeasy.net/speedtest, although I find it can report lower speeds. (Manually monitoring my FTP speeds from USA to Europe, I see speeds that easily surpass what Speakeasy will report from one USA city to another. So I don't know what's going on there. Speedtest.net looks far more accurate compared against my manual calculations.)

Testing the Hardware / Calling Charter

Because Charter phone techs treat all callers as if they are idiot children, I went ahead and pre-tested everything:
  • I walked outside, and double-checked the exterior cable box. All wiring is fine -- dry, sealed and well connected.
  • I removed the D-Link gigabit switches from the main network. There was no change in connection quality or connection speed.
  • Next, I removed the router. At this point in time, I was directly connection from a laptop Trendnet gigabit card to the modem. Still no change.
  • Then I tried the 100Mbps integrated network card. Again, no change to signal strength or speeds.
  • Finally, I tried an entirely different computer. You guessed it -- no change.
  • Because of the 1 Mbps upload being reliable, the modem is also unlikely to be at any fault. A bad modem would fail at both upload and download.
  • All of the wires are CAT5e or CAT6 cables, fit to length, well shielded quality stuff. So that's not the issue either.
So I called Charter, and ran the lady on the phone through what I had done. Of course, the first thing she asked was, "Do you have a wireless router?" (What an idiot! Do these people even listen to us? They always want to blame something else!)

Only after repeating myself with "the computer is wired directly into the modem" did she start to investigate. She said that there were "no problems" in my area, and that there were "no reports" of problems. (I don't actually believe that last one.) She agreed that the modem was fine, having apparently run a test from her end. The phone tech insisted "everything looks good here" and tried to end the call.

I repeated myself that the signal was unreliable, it was not "fine" in any way, and somebody needs to come out and check the lines. Maybe check the Charter switches in my area. So a tech was scheduled to come out tomorrow.

The Fix

Still unsatisfied, and not willing to be offline for a full day, I kept looking for solutions. I was still bothered by 1 Mbps upload being sustained, while the download was unreliable -- it didn't make sense (yet).

When my connection went away again, I did some quick ping tests in the command prompt (DOS box). Connection loss only lasted maybe 20-30 seconds, so I had to act quick! I was unable to ping sites by name, but I was able to ping servers by IP. Ah-ha! It's a DNS error! I changed my laptop to use the OpenDNS system, instead of automatically pulling from whatever IP Charter was issuing with their connection. Immediately, I could connect to all sites. My connection was ranging from 5 Mbps to 18 Mbps download, and still with a reliable 1 Mbps upload.

I've since set my computer to automatically pull DNS from the router. I changed the router to use OpenDNS, and no longer pull the Charter DNS info automatically. All systems on the network will now use OpenDNS servers.

I canceled the tech call, too. I'm afraid he'll just mess up something else by fiddling with the wires.

.... and that 1 Mbps upload mystery? I think it's because upload tests are transmitted by IP, while the downloads come across domain names (thereby using DNS servers). I'm not 100% certain on this, but it's a good theory, based off the information available.

OpenDNS Note

OpenDNS used to have the setup information available in the open, but now you have to sign up to read the instructions. Just pick the Basic free option. Go ahead and sign up.

You'll be changing your network connection (on the computer) or the DNS setup (in the router) to the following IP addresses:
  • 208.67.222.222
  • 208.67.220.220
That's all it takes to make Charter work full-speed again.


Very helpful post. Most of the ISP owned DNS servers respond slow. Most recommended DNS servers are Google DNS and Open DNS. They are fast and reliable.
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