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View Full Version : ot: do modems die?


eddief
08-08-2017, 10:33 AM
Have had Comcast installed for a few years. That is triple play with phone, net, and TV. I was renting my modem for a long time and then decided to buy my own instead of rent. Think I paid upward toward $300 for the modem. Yesterday when I woke up the modem seemed dead. No lights blinking at all.

Called Comcast and they tried to troubleshoot over the phone and reboot the modem from their office. No luck. Sent out a live tech and he tested everything and thought my modem was dead. So now I am renting their modem again :).

Why am is suspicious that Comcast could kill my modem if they wanted to? If they can re set it over the line, could they just as easily kill it?

Regardless the uptime over the years has been great and their service yesterday was exemplary.

Geeheeb
08-08-2017, 10:35 AM
capacitors dry up, IC's fail, exceed tolerance. They can die. RIP your modem, but a large part of me is skeptical of comcast. Did you try a factor reset?

eddief
08-08-2017, 10:38 AM
we plugged, unplugged, decabled, recabled, pushed the reset button on the back, still no lights at all.

capacitors dry up, IC's fail, exceed tolerance. They can die. RIP your modem, but a large part of me is skeptical of comcast. Did you try a factor reset?

Marc40a
08-08-2017, 10:42 AM
A power surge can certainly kill it.

eddief
08-08-2017, 10:48 AM
$10 per month for full modem security. Their modem, their responsibility.

Interestingly enough I spoke to a friend yesterday who also lives in Santa Rosa and has Comcast and rents a modem. He woke up yesterday, his modem needed to be reset, but it worked after that. So maybe there was and electricity event in our town. His lived, mine died.

Marc40a
08-08-2017, 11:00 AM
$10 per month for full modem security. Their modem, their responsibility.

I'd reconsider, if you're in it for the long haul.

A DOCSIS 3 modem (the current standard) can be had for $50.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AJHDZSI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1

At that rate, if it stays alive for 5 months (5 years, more likely) you haven't lost a cent.

I don't know what your router situation is but they're similarly inexpensive.

benb
08-08-2017, 11:03 AM
To add to all the other things they are probably done with lead free solder for environmental concerns and that doesn't last forever.

*Definitely* buy your own modem. Comcast (I'm a customer) even has a list of approved modems.

I think mine was $40 last summer (Motorola). I don't do TV/Voice, just internet, but the key thing is there is no hardware in my house that is property of the carrier, so the # of games they can play is reduced.

I had Verizon for 6 years.. they gave me the hardware at one point, then tried to say you had to buy new hardware at your own cost (something insane like $250) or start paying a monthly fee to keep using the old hardware. The hardware they were selling for $250 was worth less than $100, and they have a pretty bad track record in terms of security updates... I don't expect Comcast to be much better.

FlashUNC
08-08-2017, 11:06 AM
Invest in surge protection and your own modem.

Mark McM
08-08-2017, 11:33 AM
A few questions:

How long have you owned/used your own modem? Might it still be under warranty?

Is the Comcast modem you are now renting a combined modem & Wi-Fi router? If so, are you aware that Comcast is likely using the Wi-Fi router to create a public Hotspot in your home?

https://www.extremetech.com/computing/184263-comcast-turns-50000-paying-customer-homes-into-public-hotspots-millions-more-by-the-end-of-the-year

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/comcast-sued-by-customers-for-turning-routers-into-public-hotspots/

eddief
08-08-2017, 11:48 AM
so I think I at least broke even by not renting for that period of time.

Yes, modem is combined voice, data, wifi. What happens if I'm a hotspot?

joosttx
08-08-2017, 12:05 PM
I am sorry for your loss.

Polyglot
08-08-2017, 12:11 PM
I have been with Comcast for 16 years and am on my third modem. The first lasted 4 years and was supplied free of charge by Comcast as a sign-up bonus. When it "died", Comcast offered to rent me a new one at a monthly price that would have effectively paid for the modem in 2 years time. I bought the replacement myself and it ended up lasting 6 years before I started having performance issues. The latest one was also purchased outright and is still going strong after 6 years. I'm hoping to get a few more years use out of it but would not worry about replacing it if necessary (besides I still have modem No. 2 that still works, if sub optimally for the case in which my modem were to die unexpectedly)

HOWEVER!!!!! Comcast did add in an item charge onto my monthly statement a few years back for an equipment rental charge, which they claimed was for my personally-owned modem. This is apparently common practice with Comcast. They did refund the charge to me because I was sufficiently vigilant to catch it, but I would guess than many people would simply miss it amongst the many miscellaneous charges and taxes and fees that litter their account statements.

shovelhd
08-08-2017, 12:35 PM
A lightning strike can also kill a modem. Were there any thunderstorms in the area lately?

eddief
08-08-2017, 12:38 PM
new triple play Arris modem is $240. In some ways a no brainer, in others it's a crap shoot.

No lightening here I am aware of.

ftf
08-08-2017, 12:57 PM
new triple play Arris modem is $240. In some ways a no brainer, in others it's a crap shoot.

No lightening here I am aware of.

240 for a modem is a complete ripoff. This modem will work: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIADP05R52643&ignorebbr=1&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleMKP-PC&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleMKP-PC-_-pla-_-Modems-_-9SIADP05R52643&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvNayuY3I1QIVmIizCh0UbAHCEAYYASAB EgL15fD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

http://forums.xfinity.com/t5/Home-Phone-Service-Equipment/How-to-purchase-and-install-a-voice-modem/td-p/2632277

$50

sitzmark
08-08-2017, 01:04 PM
No lights/dead sounds like a power issue. Did prior modem have an external power adapter? If so, easy to check output with a multimeter. External power "blocks" are easy and inexpensive to replace.

The Comcast tech should have had a multimeter, but isn't incented to diagnose customer-owned equipment. Tech and Comcast would rather you rent because it is profitable for the company and limits the amount of troubleshooting they have to do. Doubt they "killed" the one you have though.

Comcast/Xfinity publishes a checklist of modems/routers that work by download speed and service area. Purchase vs rent depends on personal objectives.

dave thompson
08-08-2017, 01:05 PM
new triple play Arris modem is $240. In some ways a no brainer, in others it's a crap shoot.

No lightening here I am aware of.

Costco has a variety of Comcast compatible modems on their shelves for far less.

weiwentg
08-08-2017, 01:14 PM
In addition to what everyone said about cheaper modems being available, you (OP) said that you had this modem a couple years. A lot of credit cards will extend a manufacturer's warranty by 12 months (usually the caveat is that said warranty has to be less than 36 months). You usually have to provide proof of purchase and some evidence of the original warranty coverage (often can be pulled from the manufacturer site, but not always). I've filed a claim once, and I think I got tripped up because I couldn't prove the original warranty's length. But this can be worth investigating nonetheless.

unterhausen
08-08-2017, 08:35 PM
every problematic router I've ever owned had a bad power supply. I'm guessing that's all that's wrong with yours

11.4
08-09-2017, 12:19 AM
Run the bandwidth numbers. If you are only paying for slow access, any modem will do. If you have an old TV and low-resolution computers, any modem will do. If you're buying 300 GB or 1 TB bandwidth, you need a state-of-the-art modem. Ditto if you have three teenagers streaming HD movies. If you are anticipating even faster speeds soon to come, then ditto. The modems the carriers provide are pretty poor and won't deliver the speeds you may have coming into the house, and have various other limitations. I would prefer to spend the money on a good high spec modem and get the speed I want.

Will that modem die? Yes. As mentioned above, lightning, any kind of electrical shock, too much dust collecting on the power supply, installation where it overheats, any shock coming in through the coax, and other issues can all kill one. Comcast cannot send a shock down your coax or optical fiber to kill your unit. Sorry. If it died it was its time, or you did something or allowed nature to do something to it. Modems tend to be a bit fragile and while the chipsets are pretty reliable, the power supplies (as mentioned above) and integrated telephony or wifi chips tend to go pretty easily. It's the nature of the beast. Buy one and get a cheap 5-year replacement warranty with it; that's about the best you can do. And remember don't cry when a modem dies. In the three years you had it, modems will have gone through at least a couple levels of performance improvement and you now have the opportunity to get better usage with newer equipment.

eddief
08-09-2017, 09:29 AM
thanks.

Run the bandwidth numbers. If you are only paying for slow access, any modem will do. If you have an old TV and low-resolution computers, any modem will do. If you're buying 300 GB or 1 TB bandwidth, you need a state-of-the-art modem. Ditto if you have three teenagers streaming HD movies. If you are anticipating even faster speeds soon to come, then ditto. The modems the carriers provide are pretty poor and won't deliver the speeds you may have coming into the house, and have various other limitations. I would prefer to spend the money on a good high spec modem and get the speed I want.

Will that modem die? Yes. As mentioned above, lightning, any kind of electrical shock, too much dust collecting on the power supply, installation where it overheats, any shock coming in through the coax, and other issues can all kill one. Comcast cannot send a shock down your coax or optical fiber to kill your unit. Sorry. If it died it was its time, or you did something or allowed nature to do something to it. Modems tend to be a bit fragile and while the chipsets are pretty reliable, the power supplies (as mentioned above) and integrated telephony or wifi chips tend to go pretty easily. It's the nature of the beast. Buy one and get a cheap 5-year replacement warranty with it; that's about the best you can do. And remember don't cry when a modem dies. In the three years you had it, modems will have gone through at least a couple levels of performance improvement and you now have the opportunity to get better usage with newer equipment.

unterhausen
08-09-2017, 10:14 AM
I bought the fastest Comcast-approved modem a few years ago. Have they really gotten any better? Is comcast upgrading their end of the line?

eddief
08-09-2017, 10:19 AM
is running about 80 mbps. I am not a power user, one person and a cat in the house, and minor wireless at this time. No streaming here...yet.

This new modem has both 2.4 and 5.0 options for wireless. The old modem did not have this option.

fffuhq
08-09-2017, 10:23 AM
modems always change with technology. Always good to upgrade anyways.:cool:

benb
08-09-2017, 11:15 AM
I am honestly not sure what people are doing with these 50-100mb connections as consumers.

We've got 25 mb and you can easily stream a 1080p video on the TV and watch videos on a couple of iPads or something at the same time and then have someone else doing their work on the computer.

I've had a few co-workers (I'm a software engineer) who did things like pirate massive amounts of TV/Movie content and they'd have computers setup downloading stuff 24/7 and they used a lot of bandwidth but that is really really weird usage. (They would download 100x more stuff than they could ever watch in their life, digital hoarding.) One of these guys was even archiving the local public access TV channel.

If you're running an office and have a bunch of people working on the computer all day that obviously requires higher bandwidth too.

Finally keep in mind these consumer plans never guarantee what you are advertised. They are all oversold and the network is not built to support everyone getting the advertised speed at the same time, but at the same time sometimes they will let you get more bandwidth than you pay for if the network is not busy.

unterhausen
08-15-2017, 10:29 PM
yeah, for years we had a whole lab with 8 computers running off of a 10mbps hub, so not even a switch. In fact, I may never have replaced that hub. Never had any complaints from the grad students, a notably whiny bunch. Building is only 100mbps anyway. Of course, those are real numbers, not Comcast numbers

tylercheung
08-16-2017, 08:11 PM
not sure if this is the case but consumer electronics, esp cheep ones like routers, often use low quality solder on chips (google "ball grid array failure") and capacitors. They also are often fanless and don't get good heat ventilation esp if in dusty area. So they do fail.

Often you can get a discount w cable co if you get your own modem (typically Arris/Motorola Surfboard models are pretty good).

Routers - the new Google Wifi/Eero's are worth the extra $$ vs the standard tp link or net gear, if only for the better security featurss