Thanks for Jeff Liebermann for suggesting the Costco cable modem!

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Thank you Jeff Liebermann for being a technical wiz-kid genius!
http://i.imgur.com/obYQsU9.jpg
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 speedtest.comcast.net 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.
http://i.imgur.com/obYQsU9.jpg
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:
http://i.imgur.com/obYQsU9.jpg
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.
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On 8/15/2015 7:11 PM, ceg wrote:

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.
Cheers
Phil Hobbs
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On Saturday, August 15, 2015 at 8:09:16 PM UTC-5, Phil Hobbs wrote:

Mine is Linksys WRT54G, $5 at Goodwill and reflashed. http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index .
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bob_villa wrote:

I dumped my WRT54G for an E1200 N300 , cost under 35 bucks on ebay . It combines wireless with a 4 port wired hub and takes over the routing duties from my ISP-supplied DSL modem/router . Now I can set up a static address for the comp that runs my surveillance system (so I can watch from any comp on my system) , plus I can forward a port for a P2P application . Also has a better signal to the wireless-equipped comp out in the shop , additional bonus is that I can get up to 130Kb/s over the wifi , which is faster than the 10/100 wired connections the other comps have .
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On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 23:11:31 +0000 (UTC), ceg

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: <
http://results.speedtest.comcast.net/result/999633544.png
What happened is that on Tues Aug 11, Comcast magically doubled the speed of residential internet service. <http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/business/20150810/comcast-unveils-faster-internet-for-santa-cruz 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. <http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/32651-ac1200-router-roundup-part-1 Wireless performance is allegedly about 7 to 10 times your Comcast performance, so you'll probably do ok. <
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/images/stories/wireless/ac1200_roundup/ac1200_router_roundup_benchmark_summary.jpg
Make sure you got hardware version v2.0, not v1.20.

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: <http://www.tp-link.com/resources/simulator/C5_v2_simulator/Index.htm 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 snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 19:57:19 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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.
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On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 19:57:19 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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 speedtest.comcast.net).
Is that normal to lose 30 Mbps just by switching from wired directly to wireless?
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.
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On Sun, 16 Aug 2015 05:33:58 +0000 (UTC), ceg

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: <http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/device.php?devidB1 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. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11ac#Theoretical 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: <
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/images/stories/wireless/ac1200_roundup/ac1200_router_roundup_5_throughput_vs_attenuation.jpg
but much slower on 2.4GHz: <
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/images/stories/wireless/ac1200_roundup/ac1200_router_roundup_24_throughput_vs_attenuation.jpg
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 try.
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 snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 23:10:38 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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 speedtest.comcast.net
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On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 23:56:58 -0700 (PDT), Uncle Monster

Funny, that site measures my speeds at
http://results.speedtest.comcast.net/result/1003730784.png
Four other speed test sites show it as 90 down, 12 up.
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On Tue, 18 Aug 2015 08:55:19 -0700 (PDT), Uncle Monster

Got 90 down, 12 up. That may have been one of the four sites I used before. The Xfinity site still reports 20 down, 12 up.
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On Tue, 18 Aug 2015 11:41:00 -0700 (PDT), Uncle Monster

Beats me. Not going to worry about it.
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Vic Smith wrote:

like 10 in the morning. I use Oookla speedtest.net. I you have a router and use QoS, it'll affect speed, bit less than what it should be.
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On Tue, 18 Aug 2015 13:28:22 -0600, Tony Hwang wrote:

We should probably list the various servers. I'll make a start, but this is just from memory.
1. speedtest.net 2. speedtest.comcast.net 3. speakeasy.net/speedtest 4. ?
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On Tue, 18 Aug 2015 13:28:22 -0600, Tony Hwang wrote:

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?
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On Tue, 18 Aug 2015 19:38:23 +0000 (UTC), ceg

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. <http://speedtest.comcast.net <http://www.speedtest.net <http://speedof.me <http://testmy.net <http://www.att.com/speedtest/ <http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ <http://myspeed.visualware.com and bunch of private iperf, iperf3, Jperf test servers.

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 route.
--
Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
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On Tue, 18 Aug 2015 16:21:52 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

This is good to know as I knew you'd have experience with the answer.

These are great test URLs to have handy, and I put them in my database. Others will find them useful also. Thanks.

I find, strangely enough, that if I run two or three sequential tests, that the second and/or third test are far faster than the first. I dunno why, but, it's almost as if the first test "cleans the pipes" or something obscure like that.

This makes sense, although I had never thought about that before. So, basically, run a few tests, and the highest result is the best.
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On Wed, 19 Aug 2015 03:48:49 +0000 (UTC), ceg

Not strange at all. What you're seeing is a problem with the speed testing algorithm caused by various devices along the path buffering or cacheing the data. Instead of getting an end to end test without any intermediate buffering, you're measuring the speed from some intermediate devices cache. This happens if the speed test uses identical data files for each test, instead of randomizing the data for each test. I have not checked if this is the case for any of the previously listed speed tests. The usual fix of downloading a large amount of data to flush the cache before performing the actual speed test doesn't really work because it slows everyone else down and ISP's hate that. This is another reason why you want to use the closest server, with fewer buffers and caches in the path. Of course, the ISP has a vested interest in producing the highest numbers and could easily "optimize" their system to produce amazing results that can't be duplicated by real applications.

Or, the highest number is what your ISP is throttling your performance. In my office, the best I can do is bursts of 25 Mbits/sec and sustained traffic of about 12 Mbits/sec. However, when it was first installed, I was getting 160 Mbits/sec because on a new building installation, the cable installers wanted to know if the system could handle the traffic from three business class customers. So they temporarily turned off the throttling in order to make the test and forgot about it. 160 Mbits/sec is about the maximum that the Netgear(?) router could do with DOCSIS 3.0.
Another performance problem is your local wireless speed. If your laptop tests faster with an ethernet connection, than with a wireless connection, obviously the wireless is what's slowing you down. For example, if you're using 802.11g only, your maximum download speed via wireless will be about 25 Mbit/sec. If your cable modem can do 60 Mbits/sec, the "problem" is in the wireless link.
I've previously ranted on how to setup a local iperf3 server for testing local network speeds, without the need for an online test server or even an internet connection. It's interesting to see how bad some network devices are when the speed is NOT limited by the internet connection. Find your wireless router on this list for a clue. Wired download: <http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/charts/router/view 2.4 GHz wireless download: <http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/charts/router/bar/111-2_4-ghz-dn-c Note that only a few of top wireless routers can do over 100 Mbits/sec on 2.4GHz.
--
Jeff Liebermann snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 23:10:38 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

I must admit, I had never seen so many access points in one place. The screen was *filled* with access points!
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On Sat, 15 Aug 2015 23:10:38 -0700, Jeff Liebermann wrote:

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.
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