Author Topic: Network Help?  (Read 879 times)

Ben

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Network Help?
« on: December 17, 2023, 09:31:15 PM »
It's embarrassing for me to ask, since I used to be really good at this stuff, but man, I have forgotten everything.

Issue: My fixed wireless, which has been pretty rock solid for five years straight is currently, for the past couple of weeks, going all glitchy on me. It has always pretty steadily provided me with 12-18mbps with low latency. Currently, it's jumping all over the place from 0.5mbps to 18mbps with crazy latencies into the hundreds. It has been hell on streaming, and also irritating to just browse with the latency delays.

Troubleshooting: I've been running speedtest to document the crazy jumps. I have of course turned everything from the POE to the router (Orbi mesh with two satellites - I've restarted all three) to the computer off and back on again. I've plugged a computer directly into the POE, bypassing the router, and have gotten the same results. I've also logged into my Verizon hotspot and that has worked fine. So it really seems like this is on the other side of the POE connector.

ISP: I called the ISP last week, and of course the first tier guy just read from his manual, told me to do what I already did, then said that everything was fine on their end and that it's me. I had interestingly gotten a late evening voicemail from a higher tier guy who had seen the ticket and who said he had made some changes on their end and that I should see what happens and call them back if nothing changes. So of course nothing has changed and I'm calling them back tomorrow.

Reason for this post: Can any of you network guys think of anything that I missed checking on my end? I might have blamed my router if it wasn't also doing the same thing directly at the POE. I just want to doublecheck before I talk to them again that I didn't miss anything so I can be more forceful about having them look at things on their end or sending someone out to inspect their POE and the antenna.

I'm suspecting that it might be an issue between me and the tower they're pointing me to. Either it has suddenly gotten a lot more traffic, or else maybe some new structures went up between me and the antenna that could be causing the mbps variations.

I've been pretty happy with their service up until now, even at the 15ish average mbps, which has been adequate for HD streaming and stuff. If they can't resolve this though, I think it will be time to give Elon a call. I'm in an area that was iffy for solid Starlink, but I had a buddy pass through a couple of months ago. He's doing the van life thing for a while and has one of the portable Starlink setups. He set it up on my front lawn while he was here so I could test it out, and I got a reliable 100-300mbps the entire time he was here. So I guess all the new sats are providing solid coverage here now.
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zxcvbob

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2023, 10:32:56 PM »


(it was a lot funnier before I reread your 3rd paragraph)

What is the latency on those Starlink systems?  Perhaps that's not as important as it used to be -- you're not waiting for keystrokes to be echoed back to your terminal, they are buffered locally now  :old:
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Brad Johnson

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2023, 10:52:09 PM »
If it's doing it cabled directly to the gateway and a plugs-out reset changed nothing, it's most likely a provider or inbound cabling issue. They'll need to send out a tech for onsite testing.

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RocketMan

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2023, 11:43:33 PM »
What's the antenna setup like on your end?  Is it an outdoor antenna?  Connections tight?  Antenna itself not flopping around, changing where it's pointed?  Birds taken up residence in the structure?
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Ben

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2023, 07:39:16 AM »
What's the antenna setup like on your end?  Is it an outdoor antenna?  Connections tight?  Antenna itself not flopping around, changing where it's pointed?  Birds taken up residence in the structure?

Yeah, with the winds we can get here, I'm always keeping an eye on the antenna. The roof is too steep for an old guy where the antenna is, but with binos the mount looked solid and the antenna is still pointing where it's supposed to. I've checked the cable as far as I can go, but there could certainly be a problem at the connection to the antenna. One of the reasons I'd like them to get off their asses and both check those connections plus use whatever the device is called that they plug directly into the antenna to align it and check signal.
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RocketMan

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2023, 08:46:11 AM »
From your description of the problem it sounds like an intermittent signal strength problem.  Those can be tricky problems to diagnose as there are so many different things that can cause them.  Getting them off their backsides to bring out diagnostic equipment as you described is a good first step.
One thing to add to my previous post would be to ask if critters have been gnawing on the feed line.  Our local squirrel population absolutely delights in chewing on electrical lines and wires.  They have even damaged two different fuel lines in my truck, the little bastidges.
If there really was intelligent life on other planets, we'd be sending them foreign aid.

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lee n. field

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2023, 12:45:00 PM »
The other half of my employer is a wireless ISP, so I see how they work.  Our support guys have a network map that shows them everything going on.  They'll be able to get access to everything down to their equipment at your house, of if you're leasing a router from them, your household router.

It sounds like the level 2 guy spotted something, made a change, and wants to know if it did any good.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2023, 09:06:26 AM by lee n. field »
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Ben

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2023, 12:53:35 PM »
The other half of my employer is a wireless ISB, so I see how they work.  Our support guys have a network map that shows them everything going on.  They'll be able to get access to everything down to their equipment at your hours, of if you're leasing a router from them, your household router.

It sounds like the level 2 guy spotted someting, made a change, and wants to know if it did any good.

Yeah, just got off the phone with them an hour ago. The level 2 guy had apparently changed me to another tower thinking it was increased traffic issues, but of course that didn't work. I was back on with the same level 1 guy as last time, but this time he and I both ran speedtests at the same time, and he had me do them both from behind my router and straight from the POE. He was getting similar numbers to me, so at least they seem to believe it's on their end now. He recorded those and some more info from me to pass on to tier 2, so I'm waiting for a call back on next steps, but at least they're done blaming me for it.  :laugh:

The bummer is that I can't watch Reacher. I tried last night, but it was dropping to 1mbps levels, and Amazon booted me.
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charby

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2023, 03:27:16 PM »
How old is your equipment? Might be a time to replace everything that you own.

My router/AP is about 8 years old, I know the dish on the outside of my house has been replaced twice in that time. I probably should be thinking about replacing my network hardware in the next year.
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Ben

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2023, 04:01:53 PM »
How old is your equipment? Might be a time to replace everything that you own.

If it does it through the POE, it means it's not my equipment.  =)
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charby

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2023, 04:08:08 PM »
If it does it through the POE, it means it's not my equipment.  =)

To me POE is Power over Ethernet? What are you referring too?
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Ben

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2023, 04:13:18 PM »
To me POE is Power over Ethernet? What are you referring too?

Power over ethernet. That's what the fixed wireless ISPs call the connector from the antenna to my router.
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Brad Johnson

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2023, 04:30:10 PM »
If your antenna depends on POE, another possibility is a failing POE injector. Maybe some kind of intermittent heat-related thing. That would cause occasional signal degradation. Hopefully the tech tests for it.

Also possible the antenna has somehow been knocked off axis just enough to cause intermittent signal fade, or maybe a critter has made their way into the enclosure and started nesting.

Brad
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Ben

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2023, 04:42:50 PM »
If your antenna depends on POE, another possibility is a failing POE injector. Maybe some kind of intermittent heat-related thing. That would cause occasional signal degradation. Hopefully the tech tests for it.

Also possible the antenna has somehow been knocked off axis just enough to cause intermittent signal fade, or maybe a critter has made their way into the enclosure and started nesting.

Brad

All good possibilities. This has been a pretty on the ball ISP with knowledgeable techs and engineers, so I'm sure they'll be checking their entire hardware path.

I'm kinda hoping that they aren't on the path to go out of business. A lot of people around here have been switching to Starlink. There's more fiber coming out too, but I have heard that the companies are not great nor is the connection reliability or bandwidth outside city limits. Regardless, FO wouldn't be run down my private road anyway without me paying for it.
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charby

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2023, 04:50:55 PM »
Power over ethernet. That's what the fixed wireless ISPs call the connector from the antenna to my router.

Ok, that is just a little transformer, it doesn't route any data, just provides power to the dish outside and passes data through to your home router. I doubt that your ISP can remotely examine it either.

I have a similar setup for my home internet. A new PoE injector is under $20 on Amazon.

I echo what Brad said, your PoE transformer is getting flakey, or the dish has issues with alignment/line of sight is compromised or internal components of the dish antenna.
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AZRedhawk44

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2023, 06:02:24 PM »
Sounds like your problem is in your bespoke carrier hardware.  For those of us in cable-land, that's the cable router.  For you, it sounds like this POE device.
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Regolith

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2023, 10:31:25 PM »
We're on fixed wireless and occasionally have issues. If it's not on our end, it's one of four things: something wrong with the tower, something wrong with the antenna, the line to the antenna, or the PoE device.

The last time they had to come out they replaced the ethernet line to the antenna. Apparently it was filled with water. Tech said he'd never seen that one before. We've also had to have the PoE device replaced once. The tower goes down a few times a year, either due to weather or due to maintenance.

Sounds like your problem is in your bespoke carrier hardware.  For those of us in cable-land, that's the cable router.  For you, it sounds like this POE device.

There isn't much to the PoE device itself. It's basically just a PoE power adapter with a data pass-through. It does occasionally have issues. And I smoked my cable tester on it once when I forgot to unplug the other end of the cable I was testing from the device before plugging it in to my tester.

I'm kinda hoping that they aren't on the path to go out of business. A lot of people around here have been switching to Starlink. There's more fiber coming out too, but I have heard that the companies are not great nor is the connection reliability or bandwidth outside city limits. Regardless, FO wouldn't be run down my private road anyway without me paying for it.

My ISP silently upgraded our speed from 11 mbps to ~40 mbps a year or so ago, about the time Starlink was really starting to hit its stride. Only reason I noticed is I was downloading a game on Steam and noticed it was going much faster than usual. I think they're starting to feel the pinch and want to retain customers.

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Ben

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2023, 09:17:29 AM »
Well, this is becoming interesting, and I don't want to jinx things, but it might not be equipment at my physical location at all. Suddenly this morning geographic IP trace has me pointing back to my old tower again (where this started before they moved me to a different tower) and I am consistently getting 19-19.5mbps test results. Before any of this started, I never saw above 18. So they must be doing something remotely on their end.

I'll still monitor and wait to hear back from them before I claim success.
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Brad Johnson

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2023, 09:36:31 AM »
Well, this is becoming interesting, and I don't want to jinx things, but it might not be equipment at my physical location at all. Suddenly this morning geographic IP trace has me pointing back to my old tower again (where this started before they moved me to a different tower) and I am consistently getting 19-19.5mbps test results. Before any of this started, I never saw above 18. So they must be doing something remotely on their end.

I'll still monitor and wait to hear back from them before I claim success.

Entirely possible they lost the primary tranceiver and didn't say anything, letting your system fail over to a min-power backup or secondary location while they dealt with it. That, or they were trying to free up bandwidth on your original Xcvr by switching you to another location and it bit them in the ass.

Either way, glad everything seems back up and running. Now Steve can go about his day without the interruption of you griping in the background.  =D

Brad
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Ben

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2023, 09:41:36 AM »
Entirely possible they lost the primary tranceiver and didn't say anything, letting your system fail over to a min-power backup or secondary location while they dealt with it. That, or they were trying to free up bandwidth on your original Xcvr by switching you to another location and it bit them in the ass.

Well, the issues actually started on my original tower, and they moved me to another one to see if it would help, which it didn't of course. And now I'm back on the original tower with (as of now) more speed. I don't understand all the technical settings behind "service tiers", but I'm on their middle tier. I'm wondering if they (either temporarily or permanently) moved me to the next tier up, which I guess would give me traffic priority? IIRC, while they have up to 40mbps in some locations, in my area they top out at 20mpbs.

Quote
Either way, glad everything seems back up and running. Now Steve can go about his day without the interruption of you griping in the background.

Accurate.
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Ben

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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2023, 05:07:07 PM »
Argh. Back to single digits and high latency this afternoon. I'm keeping my mouth shut until someone comes out here and they fix it, or I give my money to Elon.
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Re: Network Help?
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2023, 10:31:06 PM »
Also possible the antenna has somehow been knocked off axis just enough to cause intermittent signal fade, or maybe a critter has made their way into the enclosure and started nesting.

Brad

Ben - Brad may have a point.  Check and see if it is possible that there are no trees or other vegetation that could be partially blocking the signal.
That has been a problem for me with Dish TV, to the point that ~3 years ago, they had to come out and shift the dish to a different satellite where this tree was out of the angle.
Good luck.
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