Posted by darren on Monday, December 07, 2009

One day in the near future, there will be an alternative to Comcast. And I will jump ship the first chance I get.

So yesterday morning at about 10:30, my Comcast Motorola cable modem decides to stop communicating with my trusty Linksys wrt54g router. Things had been iffy now for a few months. Their relationship had been on the rocks. Service would be spotty at times - usually in the middle of Glee. Perhaps they needed a trial separation? There problems never lasted long enough for me to assign blame, though.

So Sunday morning I checked the internet connection at the modem and it was fine. So, I thought it must be the router. The wireless network seemed to be up and working, just something between the router and the cable modem.

I took my other Linksys router and tried that in tandem with the cable modem. That didn't work either.

It seemed like the chances of both my routers crapping out on me at the exact same time on a Sunday morning were pretty remote, but, for good measure, I grabbed the original Linksys wrt54g and headed to my folks' house, who live a block away and also have Comcast. I connected it to their Motorola (different model) cable modem and got the same result - no connectivity. Then, I decided to connect my router to their router (cable modem-->their netgear router-->my Linksys router-->my computer). BAM. Everything worked in perfect harmony.

OK. Sounds like Comcast's problem right? I'll give them a call and straighten it out.

No, they told me. "I can give you Linksys' phone number. We don't do home networking." But this isn't a home networking problem, I said, this is some change in my cable modem. Maybe a firmware upgrade? "No, we haven't changed the firmware in a year."

After getting no satisfaction, I decided to cancel Comcast, which only lead to a maddening search for alternatives. DSL? Basically Qwest only offers 1.5 Mbps in my area. Verizon? I had to wade through four and a half minutes of phone menu hell (does fonolo have Verizon?) only to find out there'd be a seven minute wait. I called back today and was told Verizon doesn't offer service in my area. So, I can't cancel Comcast just yet.

So, I gave up on googling solutions. Seven hours later I began to think that if this were a new problem, then surely this would be on twitter. It didn't seem like this was a massive problem, but I did find this post which totally fixed the problem in about two minutes. Basically, all I had to do was clone the MAC address of the router to that of my computer - making the cable modem think it was talking to my computer when it was really talking to the router. That was it. Everything was back up and running.

Seven and a half hours. Pure Sunday computer joy.