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Wed Feb 10, 2021, 01:04 PM

Ethernet connection from Comcast/Xfinity; Data usage; good cable modem recs

Hi All:

Need some help on three issues:

1) We have cable internet from Comcast/Xfinity. A few years ago, I had a CAT 6 cable run from the house (where the cable modem is) to the garage so that I could have a solid ethernet connection into the garage. For 3 years, it's been working fine. However, the ethernet connection in the garage seems to be on the fritz. Sometimes, it's solid. But, then, on occasion, the internet through the CAT 6 cable goes intermittently dead or completely dead (as it is now). Are there any tools (hardware or software) that I can use to see if there is a problem with the cable itself or to help me diagnose what the issue can be? I've reset the modem, the mesh router (Google) and the switch many times. I need the solid connection for work, and my IT folks are telling me that the the ethernet connection is not good. That's about the extent of my knowledge on something like this.

I can figure out stuff on the computer and networks through trial and error, but this seems to be a recurring problem. For example, I was just about to start a video call yesterday and everything went dead. I used my phone as a hotspot, but luckily the internet came on. I will call Xfinity, but they usually disclaim networks where it is not their equipment (i.e., modem and routers) being used, which is our case.

2) We seem to be hitting the Xfinity monthly data caps quite frequently. We have four people in our house, and on occasion, all four of us are on videocalls to school or work. But we don't download movies etc. I am concerned that there might be a network intrusion that's eating up our data. None of us are massive data users, and I wouldn't think Zoom calls etc. would take up that much data. Our monthly cap is 1.2 TB. Any guidance on software that I can use to see where the data is going?

3) I have a 500mbs plan. I am not sure my modem can handle it though. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good cable modem
for Comcast/Xfinity that can handle these speeds. I actually want to have one that can handle speeds in excess of 500 mbs so that I can benefit from down/up speed upgrades. I used to use Amazon recs for stuff like this, but I no longer trust the reliability of recommended products on Amazon.


Thank you.

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Reply Ethernet connection from Comcast/Xfinity; Data usage; good cable modem recs (Original post)
DonaldsRump Feb 2021 OP
mr_lebowski Feb 2021 #1
DonaldsRump Feb 2021 #2
jtb653 Feb 2021 #3
DonaldsRump Feb 2021 #4
jtb653 Feb 2021 #5
DonaldsRump Feb 2021 #7
mr_lebowski Feb 2021 #8
Nitram Feb 2021 #6
discntnt_irny_srcsm Feb 2021 #9
DonaldsRump Feb 2021 #10

Response to DonaldsRump (Original post)

Wed Feb 10, 2021, 01:24 PM

1. My advice ...

1) Get a Docsis 2.1 cable modem that's compatible with Xfinity from Amazon or even OfferUp/Craiglist. These are good up to Gigabit internet speeds. I have an Arris, it's great.
2) Get a small (2 or 3 node, depending on home size) mesh WiFi system. Put one node in your Garage. Get at least an 802.11AC system.
3) Make sure the PC in the garage has at least 802.11AC level Wifi network adapter. If it doesn't, just get a USB one (or a PCIEx one if you're handy with getting into your PC) they're cheap.

If you shop around and esp. if you buy some parts used, you can set up a really good home wifi for less than 200 bucks. And abandon the CAT cable. I know you're probably attached to it, but it has no advantage to your situation.

Not sure on the internet usage but an easy thing to do to help make sure nobody in the neighborhood is ripping you off ... is to change your WiFi password.

You don't do any streaming like netflix or prime or whatnot?

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 10, 2021, 03:37 PM

2. Thank you, Mr. L!

For that you deserve and get a heart!

We do stream movies via Prime and Netflix. Not all the time, but from time to time. Does that take up that much? We never came close to exceeding our cap before the pandemic videocalls for school and work. I don't think our streaming has increased all that much.

Also, thank you for your great suggestions. I've heard good things about the Arris, so I'll look at that.

One question: why do you say the CAT cable is of no use? Doesn't that give me a constant connection? We have a Google mesh set up with 7 nodes. The problem is that the garage is a completely separate building from the house. They are not that far apart, but when I only had the Google nodes with wifi in the garage, the connection was weak. Once I put the CAT cable in 3 years ago, everything was fine. Even before the pandemic, I used to do a ton of video calls where I needed a stable connection.

With the wifi, I do get signal in the garage, but it's not extremely strong. This is why I wound up with 7 nodes. That's probably way too much, but that's what folks who have no clue like me do!

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Response to DonaldsRump (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 10, 2021, 04:04 PM

3. Would it be difficult to...

simply replace the CAT cable with a new one?

I don't know your setup but perhaps it was damaged somehow.

I suppose you could also try connecting the cable that runs to the garage to a different port on your modem or router and see if that helps.

Also, check the physical ends of the CAT cable as sometime the clips break which would give you a "loose" connection.

Just brainstorming.

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Response to jtb653 (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 10, 2021, 04:17 PM

4. It's a fairly long cable (about 100 feet or so)

That runs to the top of the house, over the gap between the house and garage, and then into the garage (where my home office is). I got an electrician to do this would need to call him again. That's why I wanted to see if there was some tool (hardware or software) to see if there was data drop in the cable. As you can tell, I'm clearly not a network person.

I've checked the clips on the both parts of the connection and they seem fine.

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Response to DonaldsRump (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 10, 2021, 04:40 PM

5. Google "how to test a CAT 6 cable"

here's one: https://www.wikihow.com/Test-an-Ethernet-Cable

not strong in networks either but usually figure things out.

ever thought of burying a new cable in conduit via a shallow trench? don't know
how motivated you would be for that one though.

good luck.

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Response to jtb653 (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 10, 2021, 04:48 PM

7. Thanks. You too get a heart.

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Response to DonaldsRump (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 11, 2021, 03:47 AM

8. I didn't realize your garage is a separate building entirely.

A good Wifi connection these days (such as the one I get on my mesh, a Linksys Velop) can push over 800Mbps, which is close to gigabit, and is almost certainly faster than your internet speed. However if you have a lot of traffic on your network (multiple streams of high res stuff) going at once, that can sometimes slow down a bit. But with mine, it would take more than I'd ever do, living alone.

Cable isn't useless if you really cant' get good wifi signal to the garage though. But if it's going to be a lot of work and/or expense to replace it ... might make sense to have another go at a more powerful mesh. Cable is the most likely culprit given its exposure to the elements.

Do you have the older Google setup or the newer Nest one? If it were me and I had only the older one, I'd try getting the newer one, putting the main router unit up high, and unobstructed as possible, then put the new Point in the garage. Can always return it if doesn't work.

It does supposedly have greater range. And you can still use your other 7 (if you actually need them with the Nest) points if you want, at least if I understand what I'm reading. I'd start out with just the two Nest ones though, test that point-to-point with the furthest flung place you need signal i.e. garage.

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Response to DonaldsRump (Original post)

Wed Feb 10, 2021, 04:46 PM

6. Ethernet cables can stop working with even a slight kink in the cable, and then it needs to be

replaced.

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Response to DonaldsRump (Original post)

Thu Feb 11, 2021, 11:17 PM

9. My suggestion

To check the Ethernet, open a command prompt and use the ping command:
"ping -t router_ip_address > results.txt"

The -t switch lets it run until stopped by a ctrl-c.
The > results.txt pipes the output to a text file named results in the current directory.

https://support.reolink.com/hc/en-us/articles/360012076133-How-to-Use-Ping-Command-on-Windows-PC

When you check the results file, time outs indicate the link from your pc to the router isn't good.
It may be the cable or maybe a failing port on the switch.

Cat6 should be rigged with strain relief at points where it enters or exits a wall. Having subject to weather and wind and possible animal nibbling are concerns.

I don't like running regular Cat6 cable outdoors. You may want to consider sleaving the cable or setting up a better WiFi option. You can put a repeater in the house nearest your office in the garage and get an amplified adapter for your office pc like this:
https://www.newegg.com/wavlink-690a5d-usb3-0/p/0XM-00B5-00048?Item=9SIA6PFBHF2607&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ShellShocker&cm_mmc=EMC-SD022021-_-SD02112021-_-Item-_-9SIA6PFBHF2607&tp=i-1NHD-Q7H-1Hk-4pLgG4-2G-BLPd-1c-DO0-4m577C-l5gzXU5hT5-25FlqP&om_rid=4423291796&om_mid=4944&email64=cmtpYzFhdGlzc0B5YWhvby5jb20%3d

I'm not sure about your other 2 issues.

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Response to DonaldsRump (Original post)

Fri Feb 12, 2021, 08:00 AM

10. Hearts given to all the kinds folks who took time to respond! nt

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