Comcast Availability

Posted by: on May 13, 2007 | No Comments

I declared jihad on Comcast a few weeks ago, and decided that I should monitor (TOTDT has this idea too, thanks!)

I had full monitoring on by April 19th. So far:

  • Monitor: 50 pings
  • Monitoring interval: 10 minutes
  • Total packets sent: 178,800
  • Total packets lost: 1,965
  • Total loss: 1.1%

That seems, well, okay. (Although as a software architect for web sites, I’d not accept anything less than 99.7%) They’re a large company, which in the US comes along with all the caveats: years of monopoly like buy-outs and crushing behavior to kill competition, low-paid employees, and an utter lack of customer attention until complaints get attention on national news. (Let’s not forget the Comcast employee who fell asleep on some dude’s couch waiting for his own company to answer the phone.) But it’s been an unusually good few weeks. I’ve not stopped the monitor, and it’s getting loaded into a database. It will get worse, unless the past does not repeat itself — and we know how that goes.

And if I start pairing down the stats to ‘prime-time’ hours, things get worse. I’m considering setting up some speed tests as well. I do get some amazing blasts of speed out of my cable modem, but I would really rather have 100% (or as close as you can get) reliable service. I also pay for their higher speed service, which promises 8Mbps downspeed. Of course, that rarely happens, a complaint hard to make given that you’re at the mercy of general internet traffic and the server from which you’re sucking down a file. Comcast’s “Power Boost” is an attempt to quell the masses, and it does an amazing job of seeding sites like with bullshit stats. Fact is, the very nature of the technology yields less availability the more that utilize the service at a given time. And there’s the rub. I’ll try to develop some “real” availability tests over the next few weeks — speeds in addition to basic availability.

I’m expecting Comcast, at some point, to declare my various tests against my connection some sort of violation of their TOS. That’s great. Too bad I’m working on a package which every Comcast subscriber (or any other) can install to judge the true availability of their ISPs connection.

Power to the people. Or some such shit.