Comcast is slowly training their loyal customers to embrace what many are calling the end of the free, neutral, Internet. Several individuals, myself included, continuously experience a diminishing quality of service from Comcast. A couple examples include: DNS servers randomly become inaccessible, selling their customer's phone number(s), and employing phone technicians that simply refuse to troubleshoot anything.
"NO. I WOULD NOT LIKE FOR YOU TO SCHEDULE ANOTHER TECHNICIAN TO COME TO MY HOUSE, RUN HIS TESTS, PUT A SPLITTER IN THE LINE, REMOVE A SPLITTER, AND TELL ME EVERY THING'S FINE. I WILL NOT TAKE ADDITIONAL TIME AWAY FROM MY JOB TO ACCOMMODATE SUCH RIDICULOUS AND UNJUSTIFIED BEHAVIOR. MY CABLE MODEM IS NOT RECEIVING A REPLY FROM YOUR DHCP SERVER, DESPITE CONTINUOUS EFFORTS TO RECEIVE AN IP! HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED YOU'RE THE ONE THAT NEEDS A POWER CYCLE?"
And after all this, the poor girl replied with,
"I'm sorry sir, we don't have DHCP servers, but we can try to power cycle your modem again if you think that'll help."
Yes, I've personally heard a Comcast technician say the phrase cited above. I've also been told Comcast doesn't have DNS servers. After hearing all this non-sense, switching to DSL crossed my mind several times, but claiming defeat doesn't come that easy.
Convinced Comcast is throttling my bandwidth, I started looking for ways to resolve the problem on my own, and here's what I've come up with. Linksys routers, and presumably most others, have what's known as a MAC Address Clone function/capability. Comcast assigns their customers an IP based on not the cable modem's MAC address, but the MAC address of the device next in line within a network.
To confirm the previous statement is true, plug your cable modem directly into your computer's NIC, power cycle (HAHA) the cable modem and make note of your IP address. Now, insert the router back into the equation by unplugging the Ethernet cable from your computer (the other end is plugged into your cable modem) and plugging it back into the WAN port on the router. Reestablish the connection between your computer and router, and finally, power cycle your cable modem. Your IP is different.
Login to your Linksys device and find the MAC Address Clone link somewhere within the navigation menu. In the drop down menu, change Disable to Enable. The text input boxes become active. Type in a random series of letters/numbers within 0-9, A-F. Here are a couple examples.
Once you're satisfied, click the Save Changes button toward the bottom of the user interface. Your router will not have an IP address from Comcast at this point, so you'll need to power cycle your cable modem, again. That phrase [power cycle] is hilarious.
Here's a screen shot, with highlights:
This trick doesn't mean you're deceiving Comcast, they still own you. Your Cable modem's MAC is associated with your account information, so don't think of this as a way to conceal your identity or anything - you just get a different IP, potentially from a different gateway.
Twelve hours since implementing the suggestion above and my tunneled remote desktop session has yet to drop. I'll continue using this MAC address until outgoing packet loss starts occurring again. Expect an update in the near future.
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