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Summary:

I have been a customer of Roadrunner high speed internet service for over five years and I have been extremely happy with the service.  Until recently.  A few weeks back the service began going up and down regularly, until it eventually was down more than it […]

I have been a customer of Roadrunner high speed internet service for over five years and I have been extremely happy with the service.  Until recently.  A few weeks back the service began going up and down regularly, until it eventually was down more than it was up.  I called the Roadrunner tech support line which was the standard maze of menu surfing on the phone until getting a tech rep.  The call quickly went into the predictable reset the cable modem, reset the router, reboot the computer, rinse and repeat.  When none of that worked they scheduled a service call to my location.  I was lucky and the service call was only two days later.

The repairman and his trainee showed up on time and were very professional and knowledgable.  He quickly determined that there was something wrong with the cable that came from the cable box in my neighbor’s yard directly into my home office and he ran a brand new cable.  Just to be safe he also replaced my cable modem which was over five years old and voila I had broadband speeds easily twice what they were before.  Everyone in my household was very happy.

Unfortunately this only lasted about 2 weeks.  The service started getting intermittent until eventually it was down more than it was up.  So today I braced myself for the obligatory service call.  I made some fresh coffee, recharged both my cell phone and my headset so I would be sure and have ample power for what would probably be a long call to tech support.  And it was.  I was on hold for about 20 minutes before the Tier 1 tech support technician came on the line and we immediately went into the familiar reset the cable modem, reset the router, reboot the computer, regroup.  After 20 minutes of this I was forwarded immediately to a Tier 2 technician.  This technician had me connect the cable modem directly to my computer and bypassing the router to rule out a problem with the router.  Same results, unable to obtain an IP address.  We tried various things for about 20 minutes when I realized the technician was leading into a “your computer is not configured correctly” routine.  I told her that since I was getting the same (non)results with both the router and the computer that it was not indicative of a network configuration problem with my PC. Especially since the connectivity works intermittently, which it couldn’t do if there was a configuration problem.  Plus, throw in the fact that it does the same thing on 3 different computers.  The technician was obviously following a script and was adamant that I had to reconfigure the whole network, including deleting TCPIP support in Windows XP and re-installing it.  This did not sit well with me as it introduced a potential for a bigger problem than I started with.  Needless to say this didn’t work either so my Tier 2 technician bumped me up to Tier 3.

I was on hold for over 30 minutes for the Tier 3 technician.  This was ridiculous given the fact I was already being supported by Tier 2 but what can you do?  Note to Time Warner- during a service call resulting from your customer having problems with your service is NOT the time to bombard them with an hour’s worth of commercials for your services.  What are you people thinking?  Anyway, back to being on hold.  While I was waiting I experimented with different things.  I removed the ethernet cable that was running directly from the cable modem to my computer (which, best as I can remember has never worked with Roadrunner) and plugged it into an ethernet port on the Linksys router.  Bingo!  I get connection.  So I experiment some more and begin to feel like maybe the WiFi part of the router is not working correctly.  This possibility had not occured to me as the router is only a month old.  I waited 5 more minutes on hold and then hung up.  I had smartly gotten a ticket number from the Tier 2 rep earlier.  That would soon be important.

Quick trip to Walmart, pick up another Linksys router just like the one I have, hook up the new router and still no WiFi, but the wired ethernet works fine.  Bummer.  I check back through all my Windows XP network settings since the Roadrunner rep had me totally reconfigure everything and I painstakingly reconfigure everything properly.  Voila!  Now I get both wired and wireless connectivity through the new router.  I’m going to watch this for a few days and see how stable it is, I still think there is something not quite right with the cable service.  Time will tell but I’ll tell you what- this is Time Warner’s last shot at my high speed internet service.  And that takes a lot of cable TV services with it too.

OOPS.  Ran for an hour and then the cable modem READY light is flashing and no connectivity.  I get a pounding headache as I reach for the phone..

Tier 1 rep starts in on the rinse and repeat- I stop him and give him my ticket number for Tier 3 support.  I am put on hold for 25 minutes and a rep comes on the line and interestingly enough while on hold the READY light on the cable modem begins to flash, something that all the other reps were looking for as it means a technician needs to be dispatched locally to fix it.  Upon hearing this the rep says I am going to escalate you up to Tier 3, the level I thought I was already speaking to.  On hold for another 5 minutes and the Tier 3 rep comes on the line, puts me on hold to look at a log of my modem for the past week and says that my service has dropped over 20 times in the last 5 days.  Which is what I told rep # 1 oh so long ago.  They will escalate this to the highest level and send a technician to my house 3 days from now.  I ask for sooner.  I’m told this is the soonest they can send anyone out.  I tell them that they have already recabled my yard and replaced my cable modem so what’s left?  Replacing the big box in my neighbor’s yard?  I’m told they don’t know until the technician checks it out.  So for the next 3 days I am once again without high-speed connectivity except for my beloved EVDO, which has kept us all connected through my sharing that connection once it’s established.  It’s more than fast enough for most things, although sharing it among too many computers at once really drags it down.  It will easily be fast enough for me to locate the best competitor for my internet connectivity.

 

  1. jk,

    I feel your pain, I had that kind of problem with roadrunner a few months back. The service would be online for a few seconds and it would disconnect and reconnect again. It was like that for a few days until it finally stoped and started working properly. I now have SBC DSL so I wouldn’t know if its still happening to other people. Good story and good luck.

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  2. Ouch. I’ve been going through a similar problem and troubleshooting situation at work. Every time we think we’ve arrived at a solution, a problem (usually the same one-sporadic connectivity) crops up again. We’ve been through 3 different routers, a couple of cable modems, and the cable guy might as well be on staff.

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  3. I suspect this might not be a local problem. Like you I have been a very satisfied RR customer for 5+ years with very little problem. About 2-3 weeks ago, the services started going up and down just as you describe.

    I wonder if these problems are more indicitive of a systemic problem with the RR network.

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  4. What else are you looking at going to? DSL? Dialup? Full time EVDO? The choices we have beyond cable aren’t very good. T1 sure would be nice if it was affordable. I’ve tried DSL and while it’s okay, it’s no match for RR cable.

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  5. my friend a few days ago asked me, “so is the internet in U.S.A. not working?” He’s in Saudi Arabia!

    his question is starting to make sense now, hmmmm!

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  6. Definitely familiar — I’ve had similar issues with different cable company. After more than a year of intermittent drops (and, of course, it’s “fixed” three days later when the cable guy shows up), I finally got a technician who had a clue and listened to what I was telling him. Turns out the signal level reaching my house was marginal for the cable modem; variations in the temperature/weather or almost anything could push the signal below the noise floor. They ended up putting a booster of some sort out at the street. Been great ever since… until the last few days. The weather is getting colder, and my number of dropouts is going up… hmmm.
    Verizon just laid the cable for FiOS on my street; 3-4x the speed I’m getting on the cable at about the same price. Yep — I’m seriously thinking about.

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  7. Thanks for sharing your experience and mastery of tech support, James. Are you available for hire to be my advocate?

    :-)

    I feel your pain.

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  8. I should explain my last post. I have a bunch of devices (Tablet Pcs, internet, etc.) that are all sitting, because I’m too arrogant to deal with tech support. I wonder if someone will create a service to outsource the customer service side of tech support. This way, folks in some land far away can call folks in some land far away and try to work one other through their respective decision support trees.

    I had better stop now.

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