I think I have varying signal levels from Spectrum


Senior Member
I went to spectrum internet about 6 months ago. Seems like I have trouble every 4 - 6 weeks and often they have to send a tech out. One time they reduce the attenuator in line and another time they increase it. Last time they removed a two way splitter (used as attenuator with second line terminated) with -4db with a 4 way that gave 8 db. Just started having trouble and called - they said I needed a site visit by a tech. They left the -4db unit here last time (screwed to a joist in the basement) so I figured I would give it a try last night. And I got about 90 Mbps download speed - not the 300 they claim but plenty good. This morning I confirmed the 90 download and then switched back to the -8 db unit. Still worked but download is now about 35 Mbps so it seems my level is a bit lower. Even 35 would be plenty but yesterday I was having complete loss of internet at times. I have their modem so can't see anything about levels. Not sure if they still allow customer modems but might look into that. Or I might be able to get something to measure level but that's probably as much as the modem - just guessing. I haven't connected changes to weather but it might be. Any suggestions on how to improve this? Do the modems have any automatic gain control? Seems like a 4 db change should be able to be handled unless it's at the very low or high end.
Typically the modem section of your router will auto adjust itself to signal levels. Such that it could be related to Spectrum's infrastructure.

Your assigned speed tier should always remain the same and not decrease or disconnect.
Cable internet is shared with your neighbors, so its pretty normal to see your speeds vary all the time. From dinner time to about 10 pm is maximum neighbor streaming, so slowest speed. During the day is usually faster and the middle of the night, the fastest. Check different times of day to see your fastest speed, and don't pay for a speed faster that that because you are just wasting your money. You "speed" is set in the modem, so that is what limits your maximum speed. For example, if your max speed measured is 50Mbps, than having a 50Mbps plan will provide the exact same speed as a 300Mbps plan.

I should say, also check out other options. There is more competition than ever. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all have wireless plans now if you qualify. I have Verizon, put the modem by the window, and I get 40Mbps - 50Mbps. Some people get 300Mbps or more. For Verizon customers its only $25/month. I wouldn't call it great, but its OK. I also have a 100Mbps fiber connection from COX, and I have the two working together. The fiber has much lower jitter and latency, but its more expensive, 50$/month. So for both I pay about $75/month for 140Mbps with full redundancy. Not bad.
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Ano, I understand the loading issue. For example, I had ATT Uverse previously. 6 Mbps package. It was ok until their system got overloaded and the speed dropped way under that at peak times. I could have upgraded to 10 Mbps (max I could get at my distance from the head end) but realized if their system was overloaded that wouldn't gain me anything. I have the 300 Mbps spectrum package. I don't mind some variation but I am getting total failure at times. I simply can't load any pages for minutes at a time. If I had consistent minimum of perhaps 15 Mbps I would be happy.

My options are fairly limited. I tried Starlink which worked well but then spectrum ran cable in the street so I went with them as it was quite a bit cheaper and it also had some TV options hard to find other places. I don't have good Tmobile signal here but do have good Verizon signal so have thought of trying their wireless package. Spectrum would be ok but it seems to have trouble fairly frequently. They come out and fiddle with things and it mostly works until it doesn't about 6 or 8 weeks later and they send a tech to do whatever they do.
Found the monitoring graphs in pfsense.
1 day, 1 week, and 1 month views. Note the resolution goes down with increasing time span so the 1 year view is practically useless and in fact shows some spikes of negative packet loss. :) The month view though clearly shows the start of the issue about 5 days ago before I noticed the issue. This gives me some help setting thresholds and I need to figure out if it can send me a warning alert.

1 week:
1 month:
It is suggested that the monitor IP be somewhere within the providers infrastructure. The default is the gateway IP which is the box sitting in my basement so the connection to it is usually good even if the incoming signal to it from Spectrum is completely gone. I could use the google DNS. Do I just enter the numeric IP for spectrums web page or how do I figure out what to use?
Tech checked out things and it seems to be working a bit better but said it was really a mainline issue, they have been doing a lot of work in the area, yada, yada... and that it was another group that would be addressing main line issues. The packet loss graphs have settled down, at least for now.