AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

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AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:52 pm

I hope someone here can help me out. I'm at the end of my rope with this problem. Please bear with me and this wall of text!

Our AT&T DSL was fine up until the end of January. Now we're having an intermittent problem where the internet will stop functioning for 5-20 seconds and then come back like nothing happened. It's fairly reproducible, so we've narrowed it down to streaming videos or other high bandwidth situations.

It is most noticeable when playing online games like WoW where the client will lag out for a time and then catch back up. It hardly ever disconnects us from the game, so the connection doesn't seem to completely drop. If there's a device on the network streaming a video the lag will strike whether it's the one playing the game or another.

We had some techs come out and check the cable pairs and equipment in the cabinet up the street, but they found no issues. Same with the techs over the phone. All their tests come back clean so they say there's nothing they can do. I deal with them fairly regularly at work (work IT for a large company with many small offices) and run into the same story there. At least with business class T1s you can usually get someone out there to swap cards or cable pairs; no such luck with the residential crew.

I don't normally do network stuff so I'm not very knowledgeable in this area. I'm sitting here with a command prompt continuously pinging youtube.com while playing WoW and they come back in ~45ms. Out of every 50-100, two in a row will time out and that's when the game lags out for 5-10 seconds. After those two, there is no increase in return time, still ~45ms...

Is there anything I can use to track what's going on with the internet when it lags out? Or has anyone else had this problem and fixed it? I've tried two different modems, and taken my router out of the loop and the problem still persists. I don't see how it can be anything other than AT&T's equipment as nothing has changed on my end, but I'm open for all suggestions. Please help! :)
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:08 pm

Step 1- have them replace the modem. It's a hassle, but that's the easiest thing to do, if you haven't tried that already, and should be free.

Step 2 is to insist that they look deeper into the line- it may be 'fine' according to their loosest metrics, especially when Netflix and Youtube can buffer around small drops, but there may still be issues. I had AT&T tell me that there was nothing wrong with the connection I was using for six months, and then had a technician say 'Oh, look at that! This line has been spliced! Lets use a different one...'. Thought that was hilarious.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:45 pm

It can also be a node halfway between you and wow. Thus outside att. Does everything lag or just certain websites and games? If some games lag but others never do its very likely a node issue and not att or your modem.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:09 pm

That's not lag, that's packet drop.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:43 pm

Everything lags or whatever it is. The videos stop buffering and games stop responding. Sometimes we'll get a "this page cannot be displayed" message.

I've got a new Netgear modem that didn't fix the problem. If it's packet loss, what could be causing it and why can't the phone company see it? It happens on all 3 of our PC's.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:49 pm

bobboobles wrote:Everything lags or whatever it is. The videos stop buffering and games stop responding. Sometimes we'll get a "this page cannot be displayed" message.

I've got a new Netgear modem that didn't fix the problem. If it's packet loss, what could be causing it and why can't the phone company see it? It happens on all 3 of our PC's.


If you can watch your modem while it's happening, that may give you a better idea. In my case, the modem's connection was actually resetting, and yeah, everything dropped.

It may very well be that you're getting your full speed because the available bandwidth is higher than what AT&T will sell you, but you're also getting a lot of errors on the line. Since TCP/IP can handle a dirty line quite well it won't be a problem until the modem decides that it's had enough and cycles the connection, briefly killing everything.

It's pretty hard to imagine it being anything other than a line issue, really, unless AT&T is simply unwilling to admit that the circuit you're on sucks and that they're not going to do anything about it.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:54 pm

I don't know if it'll fix it, but I upgraded from a 3g modem to DSL and I STILL can't live without cFosSpeed.

Give it a shot sometime.

(Although, all the people I recommend this to....I doubt they ever actually try it heh :p )
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:18 pm

bobboobles wrote:Everything lags or whatever it is. The videos stop buffering and games stop responding. Sometimes we'll get a "this page cannot be displayed" message.

I've got a new Netgear modem that didn't fix the problem. If it's packet loss, what could be causing it and why can't the phone company see it? It happens on all 3 of our PC's.


I get these too and yes I have att.. When I looked at the nodes between me and the site I was going to it turned up a node partway that was having 3-5000 ms times. My side however was very fast .

Cant remember the tool I used to check that... was years ago.

But ya its been getting worse lately.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:46 pm

Airmantharp wrote:Step 1- have them replace the modem. It's a hassle, but that's the easiest thing to do, if you haven't tried that already, and should be free.

Step 2 is to insist that they look deeper into the line- it may be 'fine' according to their loosest metrics, especially when Netflix and Youtube can buffer around small drops, but there may still be issues. I had AT&T tell me that there was nothing wrong with the connection I was using for six months, and then had a technician say 'Oh, look at that! This line has been spliced! Lets use a different one...'. Thought that was hilarious.


Both of these.

Especially the second. The "tests" performed by the folks who answer the phones is generally nothing more than seeing if a connection exists; they aren't necessarily going to see a problem like yours, where it appears to fail under high volume. Insist on a more complete diagnostic.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:07 pm

meh, i gave up on at&t years ago, and haven't regretted it. while their old dsl service was fine (ameritech dsl), their newer uVerse service sucked big time with frequent drops (i guess they're moving all their dsl stuff over to uVerse now). had no fewer than three different techs come out, check everything, even run a dedicated line from the outside box to the modem inside, nothing.

happier with roadrunner so far. at&t has a customer forum at dslreports, but i assume you've already tried there. sorry i can't help more, i know what it's like to have **** internet problems lol!
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:37 pm

Cyco-Dude wrote:meh, i gave up on at&t years ago, and haven't regretted it. while their old dsl service was fine (ameritech dsl), their newer uVerse service sucked big time with frequent drops (i guess they're moving all their dsl stuff over to uVerse now). had no fewer than three different techs come out, check everything, even run a dedicated line from the outside box to the modem inside, nothing.

happier with roadrunner so far. at&t has a customer forum at dslreports, but i assume you've already tried there. sorry i can't help more, i know what it's like to have **** internet problems lol!


The only real pain is that so many neighborhoods 'belong' to one vendor with respect to communication lines. Apartments are worse, and I would have killed for Uverse over the crappy stuff they contracted out to- AT&T has Uverse installed literally in every other residential area around the complex, but we got 'DirecPath'.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:41 pm

Tech for a small ISP here:

If you log into your modem, can you get any performance stats out of it? I.e, train rate, SNR margins, corrected blocks, etc? Low SNR margins (below 6 db and things get iffy) or uncorrected or corrected blocks, errored seconds, low train uptimes, all indicate problems.

If these details aren't reported on your modem, when you call in, ask the rep you talk to to give you some of these performance numbers.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:05 pm

Any chance you're suffering from Bufferbloat? I see this on my home DSL line; if anyone starts an upload or download that saturates the line, ping times increase to over 500 ms (normally pings are sub-20 ms for "nearby" servers) for the duration of the file transfer.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:26 pm

Sorry; TLDR. Apologies if this has already been mentioned:

1. I reboot my DSL modem and my router about once every two weeks. I pick a time when no devices really need internet access and I hit the power switches on both modem and router. Then I count to 5 and turn both back on. This seems to prevent laggy behavior.

2. I have never had a DSL modem last for more than 5 years; most only last for 2-3 years. They seem to get hot and slowly cook themselves from the inside out, so at the first sign of trouble after the end of the 2nd year, I just bin them and start with a new one. Never purchase from AT&T, they'll charge you between $99 and $129 for a $40 modem.

3. If problems persist, contact AT&T with your new modem on and ready. Be prepared to be annoyingly persistent yourself, but in a nice way. It's the only way.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:40 pm

I called in with a similar problem 4 times over a 4 week period. On the 5th call the AT&T tech just suggested I go to U-Verse as it is now better supported. I was ultra pissed for a moment, then realized my only other choice was to go back to Comcast. I'm a U-Verse subscriber now and it works pretty damn great! You can even block a proxy that AT&T Youtube gets routed through to keep from getting throttled (it may work with your current DSL as well):

Block this IP range in your windows firewall (or your router if you can): 173.194.55.1 to 173.194.55.255

http://www.studyblog.net/2011/10/block-ip-address-or-ip-range-in-windows-server-2008-by-windows-firewall/
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:48 pm

I've seen things like fire ants in the outside box cause issues with DSL and all kinds of whacky things. I'm not sure how much this will help,but maybe try these tests.....

http://netalyzr.icsi.berkeley.edu/

http://measurementlab.net/measurement-lab-tools#ndt



The first test if java based.so install it,run the test and uninstall java after if you want(which i would with all the issues with java atm).But it is a very useful test.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:56 pm

wingless wrote:You can even block a proxy that AT&T Youtube gets routed through to keep from getting throttled (it may work with your current DSL as well):

Block this IP range in your windows firewall (or your router if you can): 173.194.55.1 to 173.194.55.255

http://www.studyblog.net/2011/10/block-ip-address-or-ip-range-in-windows-server-2008-by-windows-firewall/


Aha! This explains a lot. A friend of mine has Uverse. For the most part it's been pretty solid for him but one major issue: YouTube videos load very slowly. This may explain that behavior, I'll try it out next time I'm at his place.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:58 pm

I've been checking my AT&T DSL service recently due to a large number of very slow loading websites. With just me on the network, I ran continuous pings to yahoo.com, where I know I typically get 28-35ms loops. The average, over a 3 minute period, was around 450ms with about 4-5% dropped packets. This is very unusual, and I wonder if something broke upstream. The problem persists through all local equipment reboots. This is in San Jose, California.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:58 pm

yokem55 wrote:If you log into your modem, can you get any performance stats out of it? I.e, train rate, SNR margins, corrected blocks, etc? Low SNR margins (below 6 db and things get iffy) or uncorrected or corrected blocks, errored seconds, low train uptimes, all indicate problems.
Yup, go search DSLReports for your modem model and see if people have found the line stats page on it. Then dump your stats and post here or at DSLReports.

wintermane666 wrote: I get these too and yes I have att.. When I looked at the nodes between me and the site I was going to it turned up a node partway that was having 3-5000 ms times. My side however was very fast .

Cant remember the tool I used to check that... was years ago.
Was it traceroute (or "tracert" as Microsoft insist on labelling it)? That can help spot dodgy parts in the network.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:42 pm

So AT&T won't tell you what your DSL stats are? Like if you ask what your noise margin, and line capacitance is sitting at? They ought to. It's not like a big secret. Do you have a friend or anyone that has a DSL tester? Maybe ask them to throw it on your line and see what it pulls from the jack you are hooked up to?

Do you have one of those demarc boxes that you can wire directly up to? If your DSL stats are borderline, it is possible that you are flapping in and out. Does your DSL modem have a line sync or DSL light? Does it ever go out?

Where I live has pretty old phone lines, and sometimes DSL is activated in places that really aren't able to get much in the way of service. Some places are just too far away, and yet when the line profile is added they try to put a 6M-8M profile that the line cannot handle. When you hook up a DSL tester, you can see the line totally capped out.

If the DSL service to the house looks good I would see if there is some sort of traffic chaping in place, or something going on with routes to certain locations.

Just me, no expert or anything.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:39 pm

Have you direct connected the modem to a PC to verify the router isn't causing any hangups?

If the issue still occurs with the router out of the loop then do a traceroute to TR or Google and start pinging from the closest address out until you start seeing the packet loss with the modem still directly attached to the PC. from the traceroute and pinging you'll be able to see if which part of AT&T's service is dropping the packets. You'll want to do long pings, like about n=100 too, and then copy the traceroute and pings to notepad. Then call an AT&T technical care representative to submit the data to an engineer via an escalated ticket.

Source: It's what I had to do when my cable was acting up. A device right after the cable aggregator was dropping my packets.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:09 pm

sluggo wrote:I've been checking my AT&T DSL service recently due to a large number of very slow loading websites. With just me on the network, I ran continuous pings to yahoo.com, where I know I typically get 28-35ms loops. The average, over a 3 minute period, was around 450ms with about 4-5% dropped packets. This is very unusual, and I wonder if something broke upstream. The problem persists through all local equipment reboots. This is in San Jose, California.


I live in the same area (Milpitas, right next to San Jose) and have been having latency issues the past 3 days. I am pretty sure the problem is upstream, maybe the wind that's been blowing messed something up. Hopefully it gets fixed really soon, about to ditch this service if it doesn't.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:24 pm

Yup I used traceroute and im near you too... It was one of the nodes midway up the chain. My att nodes were all doing great but it got to some node along the way and blamo.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:52 pm

Thanks for the ideas and tips folks. I don't know anyone with a DSL tester. At work all we've got is T1/T3 stuff.

I have replaced the modem, as stated, with no change in behavior. I'll have to try out the tracert + pinging up the line without the router connected tomorrow and see what turns up.

Here's what info my modem will give. Only way I could get it to show up nicely.
Code: Select all
System Up Time 67:21:09

Port            Status         TxPkts    RxPkts      Collisions     Tx B/s    Rx B/s    Up Time
WAN             PPPoE         6620179    10466888      0             2937       12595   67:20:11
LAN             10M/100M     10365702     6638307      0            13173        3034   67:20:59

ADSL Link            Downstream     Upstream
Connection Speed     3552 Kbps       384 Kbps
Line Attenuation     46.6 dB          24.5 dB
Noise Margin         23.0 dB          11.0 dB


wingless wrote:I called in with a similar problem 4 times over a 4 week period. On the 5th call the AT&T tech just suggested I go to U-Verse as it is now better supported. I was ultra pissed for a moment, then realized my only other choice was to go back to Comcast. I'm a U-Verse subscriber now and it works pretty damn great! You can even block a proxy that AT&T Youtube gets routed through to keep from getting throttled (it may work with your current DSL as well):

Block this IP range in your windows firewall (or your router if you can): 173.194.55.1 to 173.194.55.255

http://www.studyblog.net/2011/10/block-ip-address-or-ip-range-in-windows-server-2008-by-windows-firewall/


The tech that came out the first time tried to upsell us on that too. Problem is we're about 1.25 miles from their cabinet and past the max range they support. Unfortunately there's no cable company to go back to; they didn't install it back when homes were sparse on the street and now that everyone has a satellite it's not economical to pull it in. Thus, we're stuck with AT&T dsl.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:13 am

That line attenuation is somewhat bad, you must be quite far from the DSLAM. I would bet the lag you are reporting is actually the DSL losing sync and resyncing. You should insist ATT sends a tech out to your house to check the lines both outside and inside your house. You can also test it by removing EVERYTHING else plugged into the phone line, and running the DSL modem's phone cord to a point as close to the house's junction box as possible. See if the stats change by a large amount, and if they do you know there is an issue with wiring in the house.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:09 pm

SuperSpy wrote:That line attenuation is somewhat bad, you must be quite far from the DSLAM. I would bet the lag you are reporting is actually the DSL losing sync and resyncing. You should insist ATT sends a tech out to your house to check the lines both outside and inside your house. You can also test it by removing EVERYTHING else plugged into the phone line, and running the DSL modem's phone cord to a point as close to the house's junction box as possible. See if the stats change by a large amount, and if they do you know there is an issue with wiring in the house.


I can hook up outside at the demark. Do you mean take off all the phones or just have a pc hooked straight to the modem?
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:23 pm

bobboobles wrote:
SuperSpy wrote:That line attenuation is somewhat bad, you must be quite far from the DSLAM. I would bet the lag you are reporting is actually the DSL losing sync and resyncing. You should insist ATT sends a tech out to your house to check the lines both outside and inside your house. You can also test it by removing EVERYTHING else plugged into the phone line, and running the DSL modem's phone cord to a point as close to the house's junction box as possible. See if the stats change by a large amount, and if they do you know there is an issue with wiring in the house.


I can hook up outside at the demark. Do you mean take off all the phones or just have a pc hooked straight to the modem?


Take off all the phones. Try to have it setup as close to [Outside Box] <=> [Modem] as possible.

EDIT: In fact, if you can get to the maintenance jack on the access panel and plug into that it would be perfect. If the DSL attenuation drops by a large amount, your inside wiring (or one of your phones/fax/answering machines etc) might be at fault.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:50 pm

Finally had time to test it out. No change at all in the attenuation/SnR when running straight out of the maintenance jack into the modem and straight to a computer. Guess that rules out house wiring once and for all. I was still getting dropped packets/timeouts while pinging google, youtube, etc.
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:51 pm

bobboobles wrote:Finally had time to test it out. No change at all in the attenuation/SnR when running straight out of the maintenance jack into the modem and straight to a computer. Guess that rules out house wiring once and for all. I was still getting dropped packets/timeouts while pinging google, youtube, etc.


Have you tried pinging your gateway with your router bypassed?
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Re: AT&T DSL Issue: Intermittent Lagging

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:57 pm

bobboobles wrote:Finally had time to test it out. No change at all in the attenuation/SnR when running straight out of the maintenance jack into the modem and straight to a computer. Guess that rules out house wiring once and for all. I was still getting dropped packets/timeouts while pinging google, youtube, etc.



I don't know if this will help you or not, but here's my experience with ATT. I had regular DSL service with them for a year at one location with no issues at all. When I moved and had my service transfered to my new place I started having problems within 24 hours. A tech came out and said something with the inside wiring was not right so he supposedly corrected it.About 30 days later it went out again for awhile but was back on when I got home from work. I ended up adding UVerse TV and that's when things really went south. Seems around every 30 days I would suffer outages, usually it would come back on by the time I returned home from work.Once it didnt so they sent a tech out with a newer modem, but again it seemed every 30 days it would drop service. This always seemed to happen a day or 2 after paying the bill or when a major sporting event was taking place.I finally got fed and said if the problem wasnt corrected after 3 or 4 techs came out and said my inside wiring was fine along with a new modem on one occasion that I would cancel my service and go to Ccast.They said they would dispatch a senior tech this time. Well he went through the usual deal and said everything downstream was fine but upstream didnt look right. He asked his call center to send out an exterior tech to look at the box outside, the center refused to do so and asked him to replace a 10-15 foot run on telephone wire from the jack to the modem , which he did, again still the problem which he believed was outside. He put in another request for an outside tech to look at something in the box. The Outside guy came the next day and since then,) right around 30 days) I have had one minor drop lasting less than a minute. My guess is they dont want to send outside techs unless they absolutely have to, why I have no idea. It seems to be all sorted out , but again it's only been 30 days or so.I would ask them to check the box outside.
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Graphmaster Gerbil
 
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