Mac vs Xfinity/Comcast

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Had much trouble with new modem sent by Comcast. Techs did this, did that, etc., then I finally got hold of a tech on the phone who told me that the Apple router was "negotiating" constantly with the Xfinity modem/router, and that caused the stoppage, slow-down and general crappy internet service. He "shut off" the router signal from the Xfinity modem to "let the Apple modem work". I never had this problem with the old, outdated Motorola modem they provided a long time ago. Also, whenever I mentioned I had a Mac, there was a pause from the "techs". The fourth tech finally got it all working, but despite the supposed upgrade in speed from them, I still experience slow downs. So, does Comcast have their head up a dark place (I know they really don't give a rip) and is this tech giving me the straight scoop? If you need more details about this fiasco, let me know. There's no specific category to choose from on your discussion, so I stuck this on Apple Notebooks.
 

chscag

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This discussion has been moved here in "Internet, Networking, and Wireless".

The Comcast tech obviously knew nothing at all about your Apple router which I assume is either an Airport Express or Extreme? Anyway, he should have provided instructions for putting the Xfinity modem/router in "Bridge" mode so that your Airport would be doing the work. That's probably how your older Motorola was setup. I'm not sure what the tech did by shutting off the Xfinity router signal?
 
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Thank you for your reply. It was frustrating working with Comcast/Xfinity or whatever they are to get a resolution. I was happy to get a tech that instantly knew what the problem was and was eager to resolve the connection problem, although it took way too much time. It's too bad that the company does not educate it's technicians about the subtle differences that occur with Apple and Their Company.
Thanks again for your input--it is appreciated.
 
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It's too bad that the company does not educate it's technicians about the subtle differences that occur with Apple and Their Company.

Comcast is a huge company, servicing huge areas of the U.S., and one of their secrets is that many of the technicians who come out to your home don't work for Comcast, they are independent contractors that Comcast hires. In most cases how good your technician is depends completely on the luck of the draw. Many of them won't have any specific knowledge about Macintosh computers at all; maybe just a tech note from Comcast.

One thing that you can do is request that Comcast send out the "area supervisor" either by themselves or along with any technician they send out. I once did this, and I made friends with the area supervisor when he showed up, and he showed me a number of juicy tricks for getting quite a bit more performance out of my Internet connection. He ended up staying and chatting for quite a long time, the entire time he kept busy doing one cool thing after another.

Every one of the Internet providers, in my experience, are heartless and to varying degrees incompetent or uncaring. (Some would say "evil.") Comcast is one of the lesser evils, but they are still far from being a good company.
 
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We have had many problems with Comcast, but they are all worked out as well. Area supervisors are quite knowledgeable. Unfortunately the first CSR's aren't! Now that everything works, we are very happy. Still too expensive, but good.
 

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The answer is quite simple. You have a wireless router in the AirPort Express/Extreme. Prior to the change, you had a straight Comcast modem. When they upgraded your modem, likely to a DOCSIS3 unit, they provided one that is both a modem and a wireless access point.

It sounds like what the tech was getting at is that it's possible for the wireless radios of the Comcast device to conflict with the wireless radios in your AirPort Express/Extreme. The contention resulted in slower speeds. The right answer is to disable the wireless access point in the Comcast modem - and it sounds like they did just that.

Fortunately, this has very little to nothing to do with what kind of client you have on your network (Mac, PC, iPad, whatever) and everything to do with the integrity of your wireless network. As Randy mentioned, Comcast uses a lot of hired hands and they are not always technically astute. I have personally schooled a number of these technicians who had a very rudimentary understanding of networking before they met me.

Unfortunately, network-savvy techs are not inexpensive - and really all Comcast wants are people who can pull the cable to your desired end-point. They could care less whether the tech can effectively troubleshoot.
 
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I have to agree with the comments about Comcast's contract workers. My wife and I moved to Colorado in late July and Comcast was our only choice for high-speed internet. It took four service calls over two months to get our connection working properly. We finally had someone in a Comcast van show up last week and install the exterior wiring correctly. The first three (three!) people who showed up left a rat's nest of wires hanging off the outside of our house. We also had a bad modem originally, then got a replacement modem but still had connection issues; drop outs, 2 Mbs download speeds when it worked, etc. Our third modem was the wrong model and didn't give us the speed we're paying for. Now we're getting >50 Mbs download. We've had a fast, reliable connection for one week.

I spent four to five hours per week talking with Comcast tech support before we got the issue resolved. The front-line support is outsourced and the reps follow a script. They displayed a complete lack of thinking skills. The last rep I spoke with on the phone is based in Seattle and knew his stuff. He diagnosed and fixed my modem issue on the first try and identified the outside cabling mess as the culprit.

This is a process issue.I find it hard to believe a company as large as Comcast does not realize how much money they are wasting on incompetent tech support and installation personnel. That's what happens when a company is hand a monopoly by government fiat.
 

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