I came across good information I wanted to share about checking the power levels of your Roadrunner cable modem service. If you have have problems you will want to keep reading.
Every six to eight months the Roadrunner cable modem service becomes unusable in our neighborhood. Three times in the last few weeks I’ve lost service that lasted more than eight hours. Calls are made, again and again by me and my neighbors. Eventually we convince Roadrunner there is a problem and get someone to come out and the problem gets solved.
A few years ago I had the phone number of the head technical guy for Roadrunner in Northeast Ohio. Then I lost his number! I was able to cut through all the nonsense and get immediate results. I should have tattooed that number on my body like Leonard in the movie “Memento.”
The second guy who came out during this current outage provided some helpful information I could have used in the past to troubleshoot my problems.
He replaced all the cable connectors on the coax cables. The Dialetric Insulator in some of my cables were no longer round at the connector ends. Coaxial cables require an internal structure of an insulating (dielectric) material to maintain the spacing between the center conductor and shield. This was leading to a loss of signal strength. The he split off the wires in a different configuration to the TVs and the cable modem to boost signal strength.
The real problem, however, was out on the street.
Then he had me go to this web page to check the power levels of my service. Talk about burying the lead! Why didn’t anyone at Roadrunner tell me about this page before? Maybe they don’t want the average person to know about this?
The above page is only if your cable modem is a General Instrument, now Motorola, Surfboard 3100 or 4100.
Let’s take a look at how to make sense of these readings. I’ve included two screen captures of my service levels taken about 10 hours apart. Here’s the first capture:
Let’s break these numbers apart to better understand how to interpret them.
The two important items in the download portion are Signal to Noise Ratio and Power Level. The numbers I list below are when my service was being worked on right after he showed me this page.
My Signal to Noise Ratio was 37 dB on 10-6-08 – That’s about as high as I can expect and this is a good number according to the tech. RR considers anything over 30 as okay.
My Power Level was 6 dBmV on 10-6-08. The level range is -10 to +10 with zero being perfect. Virtually nobody gets a perfect 0.
Now lets look at the important upstream value, the power level.
My Power Level was 55 dBmV on 10-6-08 – the lower the number the better. Their range is 30-54 and the tech said my target number is 47. Below is another screen capture:
To learn more about this in depth see http://homepage.ntlworld.com/robin.d.h.walker/cmtips/signal.html
The upstream power level of 42 is the lowest I’ve seen since I started watching this page. It’s bounces around pretty regularly. It’s at 52 as I type this post, but was at 54 a short time before that. My download power lever dropped to a three at one point, which is good since zero (0) as good as it gets for this reading.
Thanks to this page for pointing the way.