Recent quality issues; contemplating switching out ARRIS SB6190 to a SB8200
We’ve been using Comcast Internet at the same house since 2005, with very few problems over the years. We’ve always used our own cable modems and routers. There is a dedicated coax line entering the house into our “home office” where the modem/router live – we’ve only ever used that one outlet to connect the modem. Our current modem is an ARRIS SB6190, which has been in place since January of 2017. I do remember some Comcast folks coming out to run a new cable from the street box to our house, but that’s been at least ten years ago. I don’t remember if that was done to address a specific problem, but I don’t think so.
Over the last several months, we’ve experienced intermittent quality problems with the Internet – dropped connections, slow speeds, and significant packet loss when using game streaming services over UDP protocols. Sometimes these issues are chronic and occur for days at a time, and other times they are short-lived (hours). I have a permanent work-from-home IT job, and use computers with Ethernet connections in the home office (it’s only myself and my wife at this point). Whenever there are problems, I’ll open a browser to the Xfinity speed test site and run the test. Our current plan is a 200 Mbps down / 5 Mbps up, and when things are working normally, the Xfinity speed test shows ~ 230 Mbps down and 6 Mbps up, quite consistently. When there are problems, the download speeds will be much slower, usually under 100 Mbps. We’re having problems today, and the download speed just showed 39.3 Mbps. Earlier in the day it was 75 Mbps. The upload speed doesn’t seem to degrade/change much, and that is at 5.8 Mbps currently. I’ve been spending more time at a shared office space recently, where there is symmetrical 1 Gbps Comcast Business service, to avoid problems at the house. I’m getting spoiled by that stability at the shared space.
During the problematic times at the house, I’ll check the modem’s status and event log, and then restart it (via the link in the Comcast web site’s device page) as well as the router. When the cable modem is back up and there are still problems, there will be one or more downstream channels in a “Not Locked” condition, and several of the others which are “Locked” but have large numbers of “Corrected” and “Uncorrectables.” When things are normal, all of the downstream channels will be “Locked,” and have few “Corrected” and nearly zero “Uncorrectables.” I have screenshots of both of these statuses. In terms of the modem’s event log, when there are problems, there will be frequent/recent “RCS Partial Service” and “Started Unicast Maintenance Ranging - No Response received - T3 time-out” messages.
I’m also aware of the “Intel Puma 6 chipset” controversy, and have researched that a bit. The information I’ve read about it was a bit cringeworthy, not written by network professionals and/or not speaking English as a first language. Despite this and my inherent skepticism, I still believe there is a strong case since problems often go away after a restart of the modem. In recent days, though, those restarts are not bringing resolution.
I’m seeking advice on what to do next – I’ve long wanted to replace the modem with an SB8200 to get DOCSIS 3.1 and eliminate the Puma 6 chipset problem, and will be pulling the trigger on that shortly. However, I don’t expect that will bring lasting resolution, and need to know what to do when it doesn’t. Perhaps another physical inspection of the line would be in order.
Thanks for any help!