My ISP could potentially do something, but what information do you provide them to get them to actually listen? Maybe I'm a bit too analytical, but I'd rather have something concrete to point to rather than saying "Hey, my QoS numbers aren't so great, come fix it."
For example, a couple of weeks ago looking at my cable modem, the power level over time ranged from -16 to -19dB. Doing some research, I found this should never be below -15dB. I had them put in a new line directly to where I have the cable modem and the level is no usually at -1dB. Unfortunately, this hasn't seemed to help anything other than bringing the one number up. Rather, things seem a bit worse if anything, though it may just be coincidental.
Anyway, so has anyone been successful presenting information to their ISP to get them to figure out what's wrong?
I don't have an issue discerning which numbers are good and bad on my reports (generally QoS is the issue, though sometimes packet loss and even less frequently jitter). It's just that "bad" doesn't help point to any cause or solution & besides, they have already put in the new line from the outside of my house.
Were it an option, I'd change ISPs but the cable company has exclusive rights in my neighborhood. I guess I do have the option of DSL...
That helped reaffirm that just saying something is "bad" doesn't mean much. Besides, with my quality varying so greatly hour to hour, even if someone came out to look at everything, they may find it entirely acceptable.
I'm not even sure how much they can do aside from running a new line from the outside like they already did. They are not about to run a new cable line down the street just because the sound quality of one person's ooma isn't up to par.
In both cases where I was able to effectively communicate with ISPs about real technical problems with their sevices is on public forums where they might be watching. About a decade ago I have a problem with Time Warner Cable. I can't recall the exact details any more but my approach was to post the specific errors and log information from the Cable Modem asking for helping understanding what those errors mean, why it causes me problems, and how to address them. Thankfully the chief engineer read it and told me to call him directly because he's never seen those errors before. After talking to me, he sent someone out to test my lines, they found they were flawless. A week later they had to replace some of their gear on their end because they found several bad modulators affecting large sections of the city. Recently I have been having issues with my QWest DSL services. I worked with QWest Tech Support countless times each time citing the exact problem. In every case I knew more about their technology than they did and they could not help me. Three days ago someone found my post on a DSL forum and told me to contact him to resolve the issue.
See where this is going? I say start with the forums specific to your provider and technology. So something on Broadband Reports and than directly with your provider's forums or newgroups if they have them. Post the exact problems which in this case is your varying attenuation and ask what you can do to isolate it.
It isn't easy, but in both instances I found a solution.
Even my speed isn't what it's supposed to be. Granted, you never achieve advertised results, but I'm supposed to have an 8/2 connection but these results are showing 2.5/1.4.
VoIP test statistics
Jitter: you --> server: 1.1 ms
Jitter: server --> you: 1.7 ms
Packet loss: you --> server: 0.0 %
Packet loss: server --> you: 0.6 %
Packet discards: 0.0 %
Packets out of order: 0.0 %
Estimated MOS score: 3.9
Speed test statistics
Download speed: 2623448 bps
Upload speed: 1484512 bps
Download quality of service: 31 %
Upload quality of service: 48 %
Download test type: socket
Upload test type: socket
Maximum TCP delay: 123 ms
Average download pause: 7 ms
Minimum round trip time to server: 81 ms
Average round trip time to server: 85 ms
Estimated download bandwidth: 16800000bps
Route concurrency: 6.403786
Download TCP forced idle: 63 %
Maximum route speed: 6472592bps
If you are suspecting your ISP you will want to isolate as much as possible. Connect your PC directly to your cable modem and run the test again. Just to be sure you have isolated everything from your environment as possible.
Next, look at your modem logs to see if it is providing any errors. I recently discovered by accident that my modem runs Linux so I shelled in and found more detailed log information that really helped identify the problem in an online forum. That's when a QWest person asked me to contact them because it was apparent it was a QWest problem at that point.
Ran 4 sets of 5 tests. The four sets were at different locations on my network (modem, hub, router, and full-up). With the exception of full-up, there was not another device on the network other than my computer and the devices through which i was accessing the network (modem/ooma hub/router). Full-up was taken at same place as router but with the normal network "non-busy" load. The 5 tests within the set were used to average out the randomness since test to test results varied drastically. Here are the averaged results, though I realize the table format got clobbered on the paste.
Modem Hub Router Full-Up
Jitter: you --> server: 0.966666667 0.9 0.74 0.66
Jitter: server --> you: 3.8 3.78 3.66 3.84
Packet loss: you --> server: 0.566666667 0.52 1.32 0.92
Packet loss: server --> you: 0.5 0.96 0.6 0.32
Packet discards: 0.5 0 0 0
Packets out of order: 0.5 0 0 0
Estimated MOS score: 3.833333333 3.84 3.76 3.9
Speed test statistics
Download speed: 5251369.167 6951390.4 7840387.2 3784251.2
Upload speed: 2323267.833 2790052.8 1665355.2 1666440
Download quality of service: 58.83333333 68.8 76.2 94.4
Upload quality of service: 79.5 96.8 83.6 84.8
Download test type: socket
Upload test type: socket
Maximum TCP delay: 51.16666667 68 82.2 67.8
Average download pause: 4 4.4 3.8 5
Minimum round trip time to server 63.66666667 77.2 77.8 78.4
Average round trip time to server: 65.33333333 79 80 78.4
Estimated download bandwidth: 27600001.33 33280000 33600000 36320000
Route concurrency: 5.890710183 4.86773806 4.29812426 10.6980161
Download TCP forced idle: 66.83333333 80.2 80.8 84.2
For clarification, though mine was the only computer on the network for most of the tests, I used my regular chain of access to the Internet, computer->router->ooma->net. Hence, the "router" numbers were really router + ooma.
Anyway, i don't see any trends that are particularly alarming which would point to a particular device. Some of the results are even counter-intuitive where the numbers get better the further I am into the network rather than worse.
I'll try to check the modem's logs as you suggest.
If you are on cable, connect to the cable modem
and get the downstream signal level in dBmV and the upstream power level in dBmV.
The limits for downstream signal level are between -15 dBmV and +15 dBmV.
Telo with 2 Handsets, a Linx, and a Safety Phone
Telo2 with 2 Handsets and a Linx
2009-07-10 11:14:56 3-Critical T001.0 SYNC Timing Synchronization failure - Failed to acquire QAM/QPSK symbol timing
2009-07-10 11:14:55 3-Critical T002.0 SYNC Timing Synchronization failure - Failed to acquire FEC framing
2009-07-10 11:14:40 3-Critical R002.0 No Ranging Response received - T3 time-out
2009-07-10 10:50:39 3-Critical R004.0 Received Response to Broadcast Maintenance Request, But no Unicast Maintenance opportunities received - T4 timeout
Prior to 7-10, the previous errors occured on 6-30. Another day with a huge list of errors. These 2 days completely fill the log. However, since the only errors I've had are on 2 days in 2 months, I doubt any of this is helpful. The ISP probably just had issues on those 2 days & is unrelated to my regular issues.
I own my own SurfBoard cable modem. After calling the isp several times and them immediately saying "It's your modem", I went down and picked one of theirs up. Theirs is the exact same model as mine & I have the same issues. At this point though, I'm renting theirs for $3/month just to not hear "It's your modem" when I call.
For the signal levels, Downstream SNR: 37 dB Power Level: 1 dBmV, Upstream: 50 dBmV. From what I've read, those numbers are ok. As stated earlier, I did have very bad power levels previously, downstream was ranging from -16 to -19. I had them come out and run a new line going from the outside of my house (where they go into the wall of my house, not the street) directly to where I have the cable modem. That fixed the power level but my service is really no better at all.
When we moved in a year ago, the cable installers were very friendly and warned us that the cables in the house, since it was 20 years old were not in the best of shape & suggested we subscribe some repair service where they charge a monthly fee but then repair issues inside the house. They said all of the houses in our neighborhood had similar issues & were all wired poorly. The impression I got from their behavior was definitely not one of salesmanship but one of doing us a favor. As such, we did subscribe to the service.
With the new line run from the outside, it is not going through any of our previously existing wiring in the house so that's not really an issue any more but I was attempting to give a frame of reference.
As to the actual ooma related issue, the majority of the time the connection is fine. It's just at certain times the caller on the other end has issues hearing. I've been on the other end talking to my wife & it's completely intolerable. Entire chunks of the conversation are lost. On the ooma end, there has been occasional static but nothing unbearable. Also, one day, my wife had 3 dropped calls. I've attempted to measure during the 'bad times' and the upstream QoS is horrible with significant packet loss. An hour later, without doing anything, the service is fine again.
From just random measurements I've made over time, one set of numbers will look great & another taken 30 seconds later looks horrible.