New cable modem

Maybe it was getting old, or maybe the much-increased traffic from pandemic WFH caused problems, but for whatever reason our Spectrum-provided cable modem has been a problem. I’ve had to power cycle it a few times to clear slowdowns. Symptoms – speed tests dropped down to under 10 megabits, and on reboot would rebound to over 200. (We’re paying for 400/25 and seem to be provisioned for faster.)

Having seen similar problems before, I first narrowed the suspects down by power cycling the (apple) access point and (Mikrotic) backbone switch and (ER-4) router; none sufficed but a modem cycle did. I found the Spectrum supported modems page, did some research and bought the Netgear CM1000v2 direct from the manufacturer and installed it today.

Install was painless. I called Spectrum’s activation line (877-309-5869) and waited for a callback. The tech took the MAC address, waited patiently for the power, sent down an activation packet and waited for reboot and DHCP to the router. Easiest install I’ve ever had with any ISP!

Now things are back at line speed and I’m a lot happier. I’m spending hours a day on Zoom and BlueJeans and now Google Meet, so fast and reliable internet is rapidly becoming essential. is a great test
Admin interface is basic

The CM1000v2 isn’t their fastest – they have ones that can gang 2 or 4 gigabit ports together. I decided not to bother, as 1G is the max available locally and going faster than that would cascade to needing a new router and possibly multipoint wireless. I’ll wait.

New gear

I considered the other supported modems, but the Arris ones ran hot and some had the problematic Intel Puma chipset; hard pass. Do your research if you’re thinking of buying an Arris SB8200 Rev 4 or Arris SBG8300.

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How to stop Spectrum junk mail and spam calls – The Verge

If you’re tired of getting junk mail from Charter Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable), here’s how you can opt in to Do Not Call, Do Not Email, Do Not Mail, and Do Not Knock in a single online form. While you’re at it, enable the rest of Spectrum’s privacy settings, which control how the ISP uses your personal data to target ads to you.
— Read on

Do this now. I just did. No login required, take five minutes and save yourself hassle and the planet a bunch of trash.


Gigabit internet, the WiFi link

So now that I’ve got “Gigabit” home Internet I’m doing reading about WiFi, because my WiFi tops out around 400ish megabits (45MB/sec) of usable throughput. While researching, I found more bandwidth-testing sites as linked above. The site is something Netflix made, which is a great idea since that’s there core business and they can refer customers there for a quick test. I don’t actually have 1.3gigabit, but it’s a flattering screenshot. 😉

On Wifi, I get

Screenshot 2018-09-16 10.08.50

That’s an Apple Airport Extreme (A1521) and MacBook Pro (Retina, 13″, early 2015, A1502) using 802.11ac, on a 5GHz/80MHz channel. From what I’ve read so far, maximum WiFi usable (ie HTTP) goodput is around 650Mbits, so I’m not far from best-case. Our house is around 1800 square feet, so a single access point provides great coverage, the issue right now is that a gigabit ‘net drop is just plain faster than the wifi you can buy right now. 😉 First world problems

The Airport Extreme is and has been an excellent choice. It does 3×3 MIMO, according to the wonderful Mactracker. From opening System Information/WiFi on the laptop, I appear to have the Broadcom BCM43xx. I know from the Ars Technica article that some MacBooks have the BCM94360CS with 3×3 MIMO; if I do that’d explain my good speed results.

One of the advantages gained by spending more on Apple hardware; it’s lasted well and is better engineered. I bought them in 2014 and 2015 respectively, so this is not new.


I’m going to hold fast and not buy anything for now. For my friend Tom, whose laptop is older, I’d recommend a ‘600Mbit USB AC WiFi’ off of Amazon for $15. The Airport Extreme was discontinued this year, but they can be found used easily and its 3×3 with 6 antennas really has been superb.

For gigabit in general, see my other posts – you really need to be thorough choosing modem, router and switch before you try to do WiFi.

Learn More

via Internet Speed Test |

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Internet Speed Test – HTML5 Speed Test

MBP13, gigabit ethernet, Thunderbolt adapter. YASSSS.

Screenshot 2018-08-12 14.11.40

The latency varies quite a lot, and it’ll download even faster sometimes. I’m feeling like that I’m getting the bandwidth that Spectrum advertises, which is nice. Sorry Dan, I wish Australia had more sane policy on broadband. 😉

via Internet Speed Test – HTML5 Speed Test

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Gigabit two

Bad snaps of the new modem and router:

Now to figure out max throughput on WiFi!

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“Gigabit” home Internet

In San Diego, we have decent ISP options, and for a while we even had the possibility of Google Fiber. (That would have been awesome.) I’ve been on Spectrum, FKA Time Warner, for a few years at 300/25Mbit, and today a technician came by, swapped out our cable modem and upgraded us to “up to 940Mbit.” The Spectrum page with availability check is here.

Upload speed unspecified, and the ‘up to’ is never good. The price is 125/month, but there’s a $20 discount for a total of $105 a month with taxes, which is the same price I’m paying now. You do have to pay $200 for a technician visit, but I can get over that.

The other local ISP of interest is AT&T, who in some areas has full, symmetric gigabit. Not our area yet, though.

Anyway, it looks like the money I saved on my EdgeRouter X has bitten me. It was a $50 replacement when my ER-3 Lite died, and I knew when I bought it that it maxed out under 400Mbits. Sure enough, today I ran some speed tests, and also a BitTorrent download of the Ubuntu ISO and even on wired gigabit I’m “only” seeing around 350Mbit by 45Mbit:

Screenshot 2018-08-01 19.36.59.png

Screenshot 2018-08-01 20.17.32.png

During the test, the CPU on the router hit 100% – there’s the problem!

Screenshot 2018-08-01 19.37.20.png

Meh, I say, meh. This MUST BE FIXED IMMEDIATELY. Off I went to the Ubiquiti router comparison page:

Screenshot 2018-08-01 20.19.35.png

The ER-4 is new, and looks great – still silent and fan-less, more power (13W vs 5) but not too bad, and much faster. Amazon has them for $166. I’ve ordered one, and if that helps then it’ll be money well spent. I think I made the right call with the ER-X, as the ER-4 wasn’t out yet. If not, well, hmm. That’d require more work and research.

More info for the curious: I tried disabling DPI in the ER-X, but it made under 10% difference, and the other thing I’ll try is doing the speed tests directly from the laptop to the modem. The tests that I used are HTML5 speedtest and

Update 8/2/18

I enabled hardware offload and re-ran the tests. A tiny bit faster, and now no CPU problems, but where’s my speed?

Screenshot 2018-08-02 07.13.35.png

Screenshot 2018-08-02 07.13.04.png

Screenshot 2018-08-02 07.23.21.png

And when I plugged my laptop directly into the modem, voila:

Screenshot 2018-08-02 07.40.35.png

Still not full gigabit, but much better. Uploads peaked over 100Mbit too:

Screenshot 2018-08-02 07.41.00.png

So I think I’ll try the ER-4 and see how it does. Odd that others on the net had better luck with the ER-X, though.

Update 8/3/18: Yay new router! Peaking at 958Mbits:

Screenshot 2018-08-03 19.03.41.png

Screenshot 2018-08-03 19.03.56.png

Mind you, this is testing at peak Internet time, Friday evening, so I suspect I’m limited elsewhere. So far it looks great as far as speed. I wasn’t able to restore my old configuration onto the new router, so I’m in for a couple of hours of tedium tomorrow recreating the dynamic DNS setup, but that’s not terrible.