Occasionally, I run into a problem where the internet connection from the cable tv and internet company is not performing well or has frequent outages. I’ve found a few common causes for this problem.
Unfortunately, the technician that is sent by the cable company is rather clueless. All they do is replace a modem and run away, leaving you in a cloud of dust and confusion. After going through a couple of these “visits” or DIY modem replacements, we have to take a better look at the root of the problem. Often it turns out that the signal quality coming from the street is poor even before it comes into your home. In most places, the cable tv network is decades old, and the coax cable that comes down from the street to your home is no longer conducting a good quality signal.
Why Coaxial Cable Goes Bad:
- Physical Damage (rodents, gardeners, construction)
- Water intrusion
- Heat damage
- UV light degradation (white coax is only for inside!)
- Connectors have gone bad or were poorly installed.
The cable company is responsible for the connection between your home and the street. Usually, the connection runs from a location near the outside electrical panel to the nearest utility pole.
Somehow, we need to convince the cable company to send out a technician to inspect the cable from the street to the house and replace it if needed. Keep a log of when the internet connection is poor and also make a note of the weather conditions. Keeping a log might help to find a pattern that could be related to the weather. For example, loose coax cable dangling from the pole might cause outages in windy conditions. If you feel adventurous, you could log into your cable modem and check the signal’s values that come into the modem. Further, you can go outside and inspect the coax cable from your home back to the nearest utility pole. Sometimes it is apparent that a rodent has chewed the cable or landscape maintenance has caused damage. Sometimes the coax cable is dangling unsupported from the utility pole. If you see any of this, take a picture and convince the cable company to install a new cable.
The Internet Service Provider (ISP) responsibility ends at the cable modem. Once they have established a good connection, we can take care of fast and reliable internet throughout your home or business.
PS This is written from the perspective of how most cable ISP’s work in the US