Time Warner came up short
I used to have nothing but praise for Time Warner Cable and their Roadrunner service. All that went out the door this past week when my wife and I moved to a new home.
I called Time Warner Cable 3 weeks before the move took place in order to have the cable connected the day we closed on the home. Had I known what was going to happen the week following I would not have even bothered.
Soon after the cable guy left on Friday the 19th, I noticed the Internet was slow and not as responsive. Since we were moving that weekend, I didn’t think anything much about it.
On Monday, the 22nd, I finally setup my router and plugged in our computers throughout the house. Quickly I noticed the Internet was very slow and a couple times within that hour the Internet went out. The cable modem never blinked, the status lights were as they should which left no indication that there was a problem with Roadrunner. Never the less I called Roadrunner and went through all the normal steps, directly connected my computer to the cable modem, cleared my downloaded files, etc.. The tech had me use the dslreports.com/stest to see how fast my connection was. I was still observing very slow speeds and during the conversation the Internet went out again. Finally after about 45 minutes of doing different things they scheduled a tech to come out to the home. Unfortunately they have to schedule these visits during business hours, which meant I had to take 2 hours of paid time off to meet the cable tech on Tuesday between 3-5pm. I scheduled the appointment for the following day.
From this point on, I had my computer directly connected to the cable modem that way we could eliminate the router as the source of the problem.
On Tuesday at about 3:45pm, the tech arrived. He tested the levels in the cable, put new ends on all the cables inside the home and installed new splitters. He told me there was nothing wrong and I shouldn’t have the problem anymore. I ran the speed test a few times while he was there. I observed download speeds of 1.5Mbps. I was not satisfied with this speed. At the previous apartment I was consistently getting 4.7Mbps down. Never the less if he fixed the problem that caused the connection to reset I would deal with the slow speeds for a while. Within 5 minutes after the tech left, my Internet connection died. Imediately I called Time Warner Cable and ended up on hold for 15 minutes before I could speak with someone. I wanted them to have the tech turn around and come back, but the call center said they would have to create anotehr new ticket, walk through all the tests again before they could schedule anotehr visit at the home. For another 45 minutes, between 4:15-5pm, the tech I talked to kept having me type in trace routes to www.rr.com and then had me read all the numbers for every single hop. At about 5pm, the guy hung up on me. At this point I was furious. I called back again, spoke with another tech who finally ran all the typical tests a 3rd time. At this point I started asking lots of questions about the network. I found out there are over 380 cable modems in the neighborhood that I am connected into. I also found out that the first hop in my connection should not be exceeding 150ms. My first hop were at times timing out and at best 200-400ms. By 5:30, this last tech worn me down and basically said there was nothing wrong and I should be ‘all set’. I just wanted off the phone at this point.
Now my dslreports.com/stest results were not even breaking 1Mbps down. Out of desperation, I E-mailed a friend who works at Time Warner about the problems I was having. I told him that all the cable ends were replaced, new splitters installed, and the levels in the cables were ok according to the tech that visited the home. He suggested I exchange the cable modem since that will most likely be the next step they do if I call back and complain about the problem again.
At 6pm, I drove down to the Time Warner office near Downtown Columbus. I exchanged my cable modem, drove back to the home and plugged it in at about 7pm. I ran the dslreports.com/stest and observed even slower speeds, ranging from 400-700Kbps. Trying to not worry about the actual speed of the Internet, I started to do my typical computer programming work and within about 15 minutes the Internet connection died again. At this point, I gave up out of fustration and went to bed early.
On Wednesday during my lunch hour at work, I called the Time Warner Cable tech support to see if they can investigate the network between my home and their offices. The first woman I spoke with insisted that I have to be physically in front of my computer and she has to walk me through all the steps I have gone through 3 times already before she would elevate my call to someone who could help me. I didn’t mess around and within 5 minutes of my call I was speaking with her supervisor.
I spoke with a supervisor named Daniel at the Roadrunner call center in Canada. He really didn’t want to bend on their policy of wasting my time and having me do a bunch of steps to eliminate the problem being my computer. I told him I could ping my computer from my office, but then every so often in 5 minute pockets, my computer at home will not be online and my pings will time out. He argued with me for a good 40 minutes. In the process I found that he was making claims of how fast the network should be and what appropriate ping latencys should be with the first hop from my home I decided I wasn’t speaking with someone educated with any real networking skills. I insisted I speak with someone in level 3 support and he refused. Finally he convinced me that I could speak with the local Time Warner office here in Columbus to see about getting a tech to come out and check everything again.
When the call was transferred to the local Columbus office, I spoke with a tech who seemed to actually know what he was talking about. He immediately ran a test with the cable modem and noticed some problems with the ping times (same times I was complaining about with the supervisor a few minutes before). He said we should schedule a tech to come ot the home and investigate the problem. I reluctantly agreed to meet the tech between 8-10am on Friday morning.
On Wednesday evening, I used my neighbors wireless connection and observed better connection speeds than on my own Time Warner Cable.
On Thursday, some co-workers recommended I take a look at WOW cable and Internet. Their pricing is more expensive than Time Warner Cable, but if they could give me a stable Internet connection and good bandwidth, I’ll gladly pay $20 more a month. I decided I should wait and see if the next tech can figure out the problem first.
Finally on Friday the 23rd, I waited from 8-10 for the cable tech to arrive. at 5 minutes before 10, the tech finally arrived and started doing the same tests the previous tech made. I told him there was something seriously wrong and he would have to most likely test from the box back to their network. He said he didn’t come with any computer testing equipment, he was only there to test the cable levels and that the modem is online. I tried hard to keep the guy there as long as I could finally he told me everything is working right and there is nothing more he could do.
Right as he walked out the door, I called WOW Cable and setup an appointment the following Saturday.
On Saturday, the WOW cable tech came to the home, installed new splitters and the new cable modem. Within 1 minute, I was downloading at over 6Mbps!
I did some reading on dslreports.com of the reviews of Time Warner in the past 12 months and found many people had the same complaints that I did. I followed one thread where the guy stuck with Time Warner for 5 weeks. They finally did solve the problem, Time Warner had to upgrade their networking equipment for that particular neighborhood in order to meet the needs of the amount of customers they had their. It seems Time Warner has lost sight over the past year on maintaining their infrastructure in favor of buying other cable companies including Adelphia. It is a real shame, cause they lost me as a customer.
I was fortunate to live in a neighborhood where there are two separate cable carriers available. You can read more about WOW cable at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WOW!_Internet_Cable_Phone