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post #1 of 43 Old 09-03-2015, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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HTPC Network Setup?

Hello Everyone, about a year ago I built my own home server and HTPC. During that time I hardwired everything together, added a switch, ran cables through the attic and walls and replaced a 1980s UHF splitter I found in the wall that was running to my modem (yuck).

Problem is - man does my bandwidth and quality suck. Maybe I wired everything wrong or something just isn't setup right. I'm hoping you guys can help. Anyways, here is my whole setup.

I have my HTPC sitting in my living room, cat.6 connected to my motherboard (no dedicated NIC, should I have one?). That runs to a TP-LINK TL-SG1005D sitting in my home theater. I also have my PS4, TV and Wii-U wired into the switch. I ran the switch into a wall outlet, up the wall, into the attic, cat.6 about 25 feet to the back bedroom (computer room). Comes out of the wall and heads to my N66U which is mounted right outside the door in the hallway.

My N66U has 1 PC hard-wired, followed by my home server which is also in the room. Neither have a NIC - both plugged into motherboard, all cat.6. My modem is in this room as well - at some point within the last few years Time Warner ran cat.5 coax from the box to this room and put a 1980s UHF splitter between the two bedrooms. I switched it out with a better one and capped the other end. It might be a 40ft direct run from the box. I ditched TWCs modem for my own DOCSIS 3.0.

DSL reports is giving me bufferbloat of almost 900ms and quality ratings of C and D. Here are two separate hard-wired reports from my HTPC:

Test 1:
Down: 14.56 Up: 6.14
PING: 33-38ms
Streams: 24/3
Quality: C
Bufferbloat: F
Top Speed: F

Test 2:
Down: 34.5 Up: 6.21
PING: 34-40ms
Stream: 24/6
Top Speed: D
Quality: D
Bufferbloat: F

I feel like I'm all over the place with this and nothing seems to fix my issues. When Sabnzbd kicks in, my entire network comes to a shuttering hault - you almost can't even surf the web.
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post #2 of 43 Old 09-03-2015, 09:43 AM
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My approach to such a problem would be to start by bypassing everything up to the splitter, cable my modem directly to the incoming cable line, hard wire a notebook (or some other PC) to the modem and re-run your test. If your speeds are phenomenal in that arrangement, replace the splitter, reconnect the modem and PC further downstream from it and retest. If your numbers still look good, add in the switch and retest.

At some point, you'll add a device and your numbers will start to degrade. That should tell you where your problem lies.
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post #3 of 43 Old 09-03-2015, 10:11 AM
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So, from what I gather, you are only testing the speed you get on the internet. Do you have local speed issues?

Hey, just to be clear, you do have a NIC, it's just integrated into the motherboard. In most cases, just about any modern NIC will work, even the Realtek ones. Now, I do use Intel Pro NICs in my server, but that's a different situation (I am running VMWare with several VMs, etc.). My main HTPC has a Realtek NIC and works just fine.

Did you build your own cables? If so, have you built cables before? I've seen some make the mistake of not swapping wires 3 and 7, and then they wonder why things don't work right. Also, on gigabit, you need all 8 wires, not just 4, I've seen that mistake happen too.

I would follow the advice above, go as minimal as possible to determine what the issue is. So, cable to TWC modem, to pre-made Cat 5e or 6 patch cable, to laptop or PC. If you still have performance issues in this configuration, then you have a pretty good idea that the problem is not on your network.

One other thing, you can set a speed limit in SABnzbd. I highly recommend doing so. Even though I'm on a 75/75 connection, I still limit the speed on SABnzbs.
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post #4 of 43 Old 09-03-2015, 10:15 AM
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Use LAN speed tester to test your local network, not the internet speed tester. Most likely problem is not with your LAN, but with TWC's WAN

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #5 of 43 Old 09-03-2015, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Stupid post limit. I can’t quote text and it has taken me 20 tries to figure out why I can’t reply.

I use remote desktop to connect to my server and it is really slow. It can take several seconds to open a window or folder and minutes to open software such as drive pool. Doesn’t seem to matter if my network is active or not. Also, I did not build my own cables. I bought pre-made 25 and 50 foot cat.6 cables from amazon.

I will try disconnecting everything when I get home and testing it. There is one slight issue with the cable in the wall. When I unplugged the old splitter, the end came off the coax. It looked like it just twisted onto the end so I just twisted it back on and then attached it to the splitter, making sure everything was still tight. My issues started months before that, however I need to figure out how to fix that.

We get a lot of buffering on youtube, although I chalk that up to TWC throttling youtube. My wife has been complaining about websites not loading and the buffering, especially for the $77 a month for 30 down and 5 up extreme internet we are getting.

Also, where might I find this LAN test?
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post #6 of 43 Old 09-03-2015, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by royalneo View Post
Stupid post limit. I can’t quote text and it has taken me 20 tries to figure out why I can’t reply.

I use remote desktop to connect to my server and it is really slow. It can take several seconds to open a window or folder and minutes to open software such as drive pool. Doesn’t seem to matter if my network is active or not. Also, I did not build my own cables. I bought pre-made 25 and 50 foot cat.6 cables from amazon.

I will try disconnecting everything when I get home and testing it. There is one slight issue with the cable in the wall. When I unplugged the old splitter, the end came off the coax. It looked like it just twisted onto the end so I just twisted it back on and then attached it to the splitter, making sure everything was still tight. My issues started months before that, however I need to figure out how to fix that.

We get a lot of buffering on youtube, although I chalk that up to TWC throttling youtube. My wife has been complaining about websites not loading and the buffering, especially for the $77 a month for 30 down and 5 up extreme internet we are getting.

Also, where might I find this LAN test?
Google pointed me here http://www.totusoft.com/lanspeed.html

I would make sure your LAN is up to speed before dealing with your WAN. Your computers should be registering 1Gbps in the network adapter properties. If you see 100Mbps and you have gigabit adapters then you probably have a bad cable.

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post #7 of 43 Old 09-03-2015, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I haven't run the LAN test yet, but I did mess around. I compressed a new connector onto the coax and plugged the modem directly into the wall and from there into the PC. I ran dslreports speed test twice - once with the splitter and once without. Both were just as bad as usual. I was actually surprised. I didn't get a rating on bufferbloat either time which is different from the normal F rating, however I did see a huge latency spike to the usual 700-900ms during the test.

I decided to just leave the splitter in the wall, but bypassed it completely and plugged the coax directly into the modem and left it that way. Unless that cable in the attic is bad, I assume the problem is on Time Warner's end and there is nothing I can do about it.
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post #8 of 43 Old 09-03-2015, 08:11 PM
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Maybe an issue with your modem?
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post #9 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 04:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by royalneo View Post
I haven't run the LAN test yet, but I did mess around. I compressed a new connector onto the coax and plugged the modem directly into the wall and from there into the PC. I ran dslreports speed test twice - once with the splitter and once without. Both were just as bad as usual. I was actually surprised. I didn't get a rating on bufferbloat either time which is different from the normal F rating, however I did see a huge latency spike to the usual 700-900ms during the test.

I decided to just leave the splitter in the wall, but bypassed it completely and plugged the coax directly into the modem and left it that way. Unless that cable in the attic is bad, I assume the problem is on Time Warner's end and there is nothing I can do about it.
Several things left to do:

Trace the coax back to where it comes in from the outside and inspect the connectors as you go. I used to work for a coax connector company. One of the biggest problems they have is moisture ingress through the connectors. Water corrosion on the center conductors can cause a whole host of different problems. You might just replace all the connectors you can find even if they look good. Run your tests with each replacement to see if there is any improvement.

And you should absolutely be calling Time Warner about this. They'll continue to take your money good signal or bad.
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post #10 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 04:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Luckily I had already done that tracing. The line had been run within the last few years. It runs up the wall, directly down the center of the attic, through a hole and outside - straight to the box on the house - which is locked of course. Now like I said the line was added recently so it seems like it is attached to a splitter, but I can't get to it. My modem is giving me these 2 errors.

TLV-11 - unrecognized OID
No Ranging Response received
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post #11 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by royalneo View Post
Luckily I had already done that tracing. The line had been run within the last few years. It runs up the wall, directly down the center of the attic, through a hole and outside - straight to the box on the house - which is locked of course. Now like I said the line was added recently so it seems like it is attached to a splitter, but I can't get to it. My modem is giving me these 2 errors.

TLV-11 - unrecognized OID
No Ranging Response received
You're probably best off scheduling a technician to come out and take a look. If you have another modem to try, I'd do that, too.
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post #12 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 05:50 AM
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I have TWC in the Carolina's, and they're terrible. Their connections are sporadic, intermittent, and they generally don't care. I definitely would not let it lie, and take the attitude that there is nothing you can do, if it's on their end. You're paying for 30 down, and not getting it. Otherwise, why not pay their 14.99 a month dial-up speed special?

One thing you mentioned, is you added your own Docsis 3.0 modem. Did you call TWC, to let them know you are running your own modem? I understand they have to change some kind of setting if you have your own modem...otherwise your system seems throttled. This doesn't explain, however, your internal LAN speeds.

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post #13 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
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I will give them a call.

Quick question: I noticed on the TWC website that there is an option to have them reset my modem. Is that any different from me just turning it off and turning it back on?
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post #14 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kevin g. View Post
I have TWC in the Carolina's, and they're terrible. Their connections are sporadic, intermittent, and they generally don't care. I definitely would not let it lie, and take the attitude that there is nothing you can do, if it's on their end. You're paying for 30 down, and not getting it. Otherwise, why not pay their 14.99 a month dial-up speed special?

One thing you mentioned, is you added your own Docsis 3.0 modem. Did you call TWC, to let them know you are running your own modem? I understand they have to change some kind of setting if you have your own modem...otherwise your system seems throttled. This doesn't explain, however, your internal LAN speeds.
Yep, my modem is registered with them. I recently logged into my user account (Through TWC email access, not bill pay) and saw my modem registered, they also still have the rental modem registered to my account even though I returned it - I don't pay a rental fee.
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post #15 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 06:43 AM
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Have a tech come out and check the line before it enters the house. I would guess that is where the issues are. I've dealt with TWC for about 20 years now and have encountered all sorts of strange issues including animals chewing on lines and causing sparadic issues. ALSO if any of your neighbors have TWC talk to them about what speeds they are paying for vs what they are actually seeing.

Bill
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post #16 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 07:13 AM - Thread Starter
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I suppose I should mention that when I cancelled my cable over a year ago...they could never 'find' the junction box for my group of houses. They sent 1 TWC truck and 2 or 3 contractors to shut off my cable and just gave up. Ever since then....First 60 channels free - which I only use during football season, but still.
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post #17 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by royalneo View Post
I will give them a call.

Quick question: I noticed on the TWC website that there is an option to have them reset my modem. Is that any different from me just turning it off and turning it back on?

It can be...depends on what they do. They can do a factory reset, as well as a soft boot...but typically you only have need of this for their rental modem...nothing you can't do yourself, by logging in to your modem...which begs the question: Have you logged in to the modem and configured it?(I assume you have, but...see below)


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Yep, my modem is registered with them. I recently logged into my user account (Through TWC email access, not bill pay) and saw my modem registered, they also still have the rental modem registered to my account even though I returned it - I don't pay a rental fee.
You also mention that you have a N66U, apart from the switch...what is doing the actual routing for your network? Did you set up the Modem to run in bridged mode? If not, there could be conflicts in what DHCP is being handed out...(possibly by both the modem, and router).

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Last edited by kevin g.; 09-04-2015 at 07:30 AM.
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post #18 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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It can be...depends on what they do. They can do a factory reset, as well as a soft boot...but typically you only have need of this for their rental modem...nothing you can't do yourself, by logging in to your modem...which begs the question: Have you logged in to the modem and configured it?(I assume you have, but...see below)
If I go to the modem's IP address, there are no configuration options. It lists the power levels, noise, etc. I can see the IP address, MAC address. The ONLY button I can actually click in the settings of my ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 is Reboot.


Quote:
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You also mention that you have a N66U, apart from the switch...what is doing the actual routing for your network? Did you set up the Modem to run in bridged mode? If not, there could be conflicts in what DHCP's are being handed out...(possibly by both the modem, and router).
I'm at work so I can't really look at this, but I swear I saw some kind of DHCP setting in the modem. Can't be for sure. The N66U is doing the routing. Can't change the settings in my modem.
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post #19 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by royalneo View Post
If I go to the modem's IP address, there are no configuration options. It lists the power levels, noise, etc. I can see the IP address, MAC address. The ONLY button I can actually click in the settings of my ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 is Reboot.




I'm at work so I can't really look at this, but I swear I saw some kind of DHCP setting in the modem. Can't be for sure. The N66U is doing the routing. Can't change the settings in my modem.

Just researched, and it looks as if your 6141 is a basic gateway modem, and is doing no routing...and, oddly the DHCP is only being served at startup, or if the cable is disconnected.
I am wondering however, why do you have the switch inline first, due to the fact that you need the extra ports to your theater? And then you're sending the signal to the router and your PC? Maybe you're creating a bottleneck here?

At this point, I'd have to agree with @ajkrishock 's earlier post of taking everything out of the equation, and adding them back in, one by one.

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post #20 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Just researched, and it looks as if your 6141 is a basic gateway modem, and is doing no routing...and, oddly the DHCP is only being served at startup, or if the cable is disconnected.
I am wondering however, why do you have the switch inline first, due to the fact that you need the extra ports to your theater? And then you're sending the signal to the router and your PC? Maybe you're creating a bottleneck here?

At this point, I'd have to agree with @ajkrishock 's earlier post of taking everything out of the equation, and adding them back in, one by one.
My network goes like this:

Modem to Router
Router: Switch, PC and Server
Switch: HTPC, PS4, wii-U, TV

Also, I have taken everything out of the equation and plugged my PC directly into the modem - was still getting sporadic speeds and bad test results.
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post #21 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by royalneo View Post
My network goes like this:

Modem to Router
Router: Switch, PC and Server
Switch: HTPC, PS4, wii-U, TV

Also, I have taken everything out of the equation and plugged my PC directly into the modem - was still getting sporadic speeds and bad test results.
Then it sounds like it definitely is up to Time Warner to determine what's going on. I really would press them on the issue, and not throw up your hands, or allow it to lie...especially if you've been paying for speeds that you haven't been getting.

Post back with your results.

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Last edited by kevin g.; 09-04-2015 at 09:07 AM.
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post #22 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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I have noticed that the coax that runs through the attic and down the wall seems rather thin and the connector was clamped on before it fell off when I switched out the old splitter. I attached a compression connector, but I've heard if the cable is older it might not seal as well around the end. I wish I could replace the cable myself, but those box locks (terminators) get in the way.
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post #23 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 10:00 AM
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None of this explains why it is slow to RDP to your server on your local LAN though...

I agree you have a TWC problem, but why is your local network slow too?
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post #24 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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None of this explains why it is slow to RDP to your server on your local LAN though...

I agree you have a TWC problem, but why is your local network slow too?
The slowest part of my LAN would be remote desktop. The other time that my LAN comes to a halt is when Sickrage does a complete scan. Sick rage is on my HTPC and all of my media files are stored on my server. Basically, can't do a thing when that is going on. That should have nothing to do with internet access though, unless because it is searching for new episodes for 30 different shows it bogs down the bandwidth.
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post #25 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 10:20 AM
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The slowest part of my LAN would be remote desktop. The other time that my LAN comes to a halt is when Sickrage does a complete scan.
Switch to Sonarr.
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post #26 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
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I have noticed that the coax that runs through the attic and down the wall seems rather thin and the connector was clamped on before it fell off when I switched out the old splitter. I attached a compression connector, but I've heard if the cable is older it might not seal as well around the end. I wish I could replace the cable myself, but those box locks (terminators) get in the way.
I'd be interested in knowing what kind of cable that is, exactly. 75-ohm coax for households should be mainly tri-shield "brightwire" or quad-shield. Belden and Commscope are the biggest brands. There shouldn't be much single braided stuff out there because from a shielding effectiveness standpoint it's horrible.

If you're using something other than that, it could very well be a big part of your problem. A lot of cable companies now source chinese cable of very questionable quality. If that run is relatively new, I'd be suspicious. The fact that the connector fell off at all suggests to me that it was an amateur effort.
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post #27 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 10:46 AM
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RG6 is best, but a lot of houses were built with RG59. Just an FYI. The shielding is the difference, and why I only use RG6.
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post #28 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I'd be interested in knowing what kind of cable that is, exactly. 75-ohm coax for households should be mainly tri-shield "brightwire" or quad-shield. Belden and Commscope are the biggest brands. There shouldn't be much single braided stuff out there because from a shielding effectiveness standpoint it's horrible.

If you're using something other than that, it could very well be a big part of your problem. A lot of cable companies now source chinese cable of very questionable quality. If that run is relatively new, I'd be suspicious. The fact that the connector fell off at all suggests to me that it was an amateur effort.
Here is the strange thing. A couple weeks ago I had read about splitters causing issues, so I decided to look in the wall to see what kind of splitter the cable company had originally installed between the two rooms - knowing that they had run a dedicated coax to the master bedroom and 1 cable to the guest rooms that splits in the wall. Those two cables run up the outside of the house and into the attic, the rest of the house comes in through the wall. It seemed as though those 2 cables were fairly recent.

Taking off the wall plate, I moved my ethernet cable out of the way and grabbed that coax. It said cat.5 and I thought well this is rather new at least, shielded, nice and hard to bend. Then I hit the splitter. Labtec gold plated #TV-15 VHF/UHF splitter - I can't even find this company. The cable beyond that has no markings on it, bends and kinks fairly easily, has some green paint on it and a crimped connector - that fell off. That's when I thought - what cable truck is going to have this splitter on it and why on earth is any of this setup this way?
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post #29 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 11:43 AM
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Here is the strange thing. A couple weeks ago I had read about splitters causing issues, so I decided to look in the wall to see what kind of splitter the cable company had originally installed between the two rooms - knowing that they had run a dedicated coax to the master bedroom and 1 cable to the guest rooms that splits in the wall. Those two cables run up the outside of the house and into the attic, the rest of the house comes in through the wall. It seemed as though those 2 cables were fairly recent.

Taking off the wall plate, I moved my ethernet cable out of the way and grabbed that coax. It said cat.5 and I thought well this is rather new at least, shielded, nice and hard to bend. Then I hit the splitter. Labtec gold plated #TV-15 VHF/UHF splitter - I can't even find this company. The cable beyond that has no markings on it, bends and kinks fairly easily, has some green paint on it and a crimped connector - that fell off. That's when I thought - what cable truck is going to have this splitter on it and why on earth is any of this setup this way?
When Time Warner comes out, show them the splitter, connector and the green cable and have them replace all of it with good, solid tri-shield and compression connectors. Ask them to leave a good 20 or 30 feet of the same cable for future use, too (most of them don't mind doing that). Most big cable companies now rely on third-party independent contractors to handle their tech support calls, and some of these guys are real clowns. No training and very little if any sense of professionalism. They're not well paid, and a lot of times they're required to purchase their own tools and supplies. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the splitter and green cabling were the work of one of these guys.

If you want, just have the tech replace the cables and connectors. E-bay has a good selection of splitters (I think I have one of the anthronix ones). Pick one up and install it yourself when it arrives.
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post #30 of 43 Old 09-04-2015, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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When Time Warner comes out, show them the splitter, connector and the green cable and have them replace all of it with good, solid tri-shield and compression connectors. Ask them to leave a good 20 or 30 feet of the same cable for future use, too (most of them don't mind doing that). Most big cable companies now rely on third-party independent contractors to handle their tech support calls, and some of these guys are real clowns. No training and very little if any sense of professionalism. They're not well paid, and a lot of times they're required to purchase their own tools and supplies. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the splitter and green cabling were the work of one of these guys.

If you want, just have the tech replace the cables and connectors. E-bay has a good selection of splitters (I think I have one of the anthronix ones). Pick one up and install it yourself when it arrives.
I had purchased a Extreme Broadband BDS102H splitter to replace that old one, but decided to bypass it altogether and leave the outlet in the other room disconnected for now. I'm giving them a call to get them out. First step is to get that cable replaced and have them checkout the line coming to the house.

Took me a long time to actually get a tech scheduled. The lady wanted me to run a battery of tests before they could even send a tech. Had call back later to do a trace route, the following agent didn't even bother and just put me through to scheduling.

Last edited by royalneo; 09-04-2015 at 01:58 PM.
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