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Knology/WoW Offline In Charleston SC. Again.

Knology WoW Down Banner

This is apparently a weekly occurrence now.   While it is far better than Comcast and their NIGHTLY service outage, Knology is offline at random times at least once/week.   AT&T is no better with lesser speeds at higher prices with ZERO increase in reliability.

This is a battle that EVERY company in Charleston South Carolina must endure.   Unreliable high speed Internet.    No matter which company you choose you will be hard pressed to maintain 24×7 full time Internet access week-after-week.  If you are LUCKY you will get back-to-back weeks with ZERO interruptions.

Yes you can go the “old school route” and pay for T1 to OC3 services on copper.    However for most small businesses, like mine, it is ridiculously expensive.  As in an completely useless (these days anyway) 1.5Mbps for $300/month.   These days that is not far from having a 2400 baud modem.

The only exception to this rule… if you are one of the lucky few that has a business on or near a fiber line.    WoW is the only company that even offers reasonable fiber rates at $500/4Mbps.  Sadly it is NEVER available in residential neighborhoods or anywhere off the main utility easements.  It is also still grossly over-priced compared to other areas of the country such as the Boston neighborhoods that routinely get 10Mbps service on fiber for $100/month.

Someday Charleston will catch up with the “big boy cities” and eventually get reasonably-priced RELIABLE high-speed Internet services to EVERY location.   In the meantime, and for likely the next decade, all Charlestonians will suffer through mediocre quality Internet service that is grossly over-priced and figure it is “good enough”.    Having lived in other cities and traveled frequently it is obvious that Charleston is not yet ready to be a “big boy High Tech mecca” thanks in large part to limited competition in the Internet utilities market.     We will continue to pay 5x the rates of cities like Boston, Houston, Seattle, and Orlando for service that is 1/4th the speed and comes in closer to 1980’s 90% up-time guarantees than today’s 99.999% uptime that “big boy cities” offer.

We won’t even “go there” when it comes to comparing the Internet infrastructure in America to other countries around the world.  As America continue to allow huge monopolies and special interest groups to fund politics we continue to lose any true competition in the utilities market.   Instead we pay higher prices for lesser services as we continue to lose competitive advantages over the rest of the world.  I only wish Google would push their disruptive gigabit fiber offerings out from the middle of the country a LOT faster than the current snails pace.

Charleston SC Knology/WoW Downtime

Business class service in Mount Pleasant SC.

  • 07/11/2013 12:33PM through 2:50PM
  • 07/11/2013 7:44PM through 8:??PM
  • 07/13/2013 8:22PM through 9:??PM
  • 07/14/2013 10:47AM through 11:35AM
  • 07/14/2013 7:59PM through 9:??PM
 DOCSIS(CM) Events
Date Time Event ID Event Level Description
7/11/2013 12:53 20000500 3 Started Unicast Maintenance Ranging – No Response received – T3 time-out
7/11/2013 13:38 20000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out
7/11/2013 13:38 20000300 3 Ranging Request Retries exhausted
7/11/2013 13:42 20000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out
7/11/2013 13:42 20000300 3 Ranging Request Retries exhausted
7/11/2013 19:44 20000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out
7/11/2013 19:44 20000300 3 Ranging Request Retries exhausted
7/13/2013 20:22 20000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out
7/13/2013 20:22 20000300 3 Ranging Request Retries exhausted
7/14/2013 10:47 20000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out
7/14/2013 10:47 20000400 3 Received Response to Broadcast Maintenance Request, but no Unicast Maintenance opportunities received – T4 timeout
7/14/2013 10:48 20000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out
7/14/2013 10:59 8000700 3 TFTP failed – OUT OF ORDER packets
7/14/2013 11:01 20000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out
7/14/2013 11:04 20000400 3 Received Response to Broadcast Maintenance Request, but no Unicast Maintenance opportunities received – T4 timeout
7/14/2013 19:59 20000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out
7/14/2013 19:59 20000300 3 Ranging Request Retries exhausted
7/14/2013 20:03 20000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out
7/14/2013 20:04 20000400 3 Received Response to Broadcast Maintenance Request, but no Unicast Maintenance opportunities received – T4 timeout
7/14/2013 20:42 20000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out

 

11/13/2013 15:56 82000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/13/2013 15:56 82000400 3 Received Response to Broadcast Maintenance Request, But no Unicast Maintenance opportunities received – T4 time out;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/13/2013 15:57 90000000 4 MIMO Event MIMO: Stored MIMO=-1 post cfg file MIMO=-1;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/13/2013 16:11 82000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/13/2013 16:11 82000300 3 Ranging Request Retries exhausted;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/13/2013 16:11 82000600 3 Unicast Maintenance Ranging attempted – No response – Retries exhausted;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/13/2013 16:11 82000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/13/2013 16:12 82000400 3 Received Response to Broadcast Maintenance Request, But no Unicast Maintenance opportunities received – T4 time out;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/13/2013 16:12 90000000 4 MIMO Event MIMO: Stored MIMO=-1 post cfg file MIMO=-1;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/13/2013 16:12 82000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/14/2013 13:50 83010205 4 Service Change Response rejected – Unrecognized configuration setting;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/14/2013 15:26 82000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/14/2013 15:30 82000300 3 Ranging Request Retries exhausted;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/14/2013 15:30 82000600 3 Unicast Maintenance Ranging attempted – No response – Retries exhausted;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/14/2013 15:30 82000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/14/2013 15:34 82000300 3 Ranging Request Retries exhausted;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/14/2013 15:34 82000600 3 Unicast Maintenance Ranging attempted – No response – Retries exhausted;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/14/2013 15:34 82000200 3 No Ranging Response received – T3 time-out;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/14/2013 15:35 82000400 3 Received Response to Broadcast Maintenance Request, But no Unicast Maintenance opportunities received – T4 time out;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
11/14/2013 15:36 90000000 4 MIMO Event MIMO: Stored MIMO=-1 post cfg file MIMO=-1;CM-MAC=00:1d:d1:fb:c5:e0;CMTS-MAC=00:01:5c:3a:7e:45;CM-QOS=1.1;CM-VER=3.0;
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Back To Coding

10 days, 7 pounds, and 67 emails later I am finally getting back online.    While I’ve managed to sneak in a few coding hours between entertaining guests and partaking in the awesome “foodie’s playground” of Charleston South Carolina, I’ve essentially been “unplugged” for the week.    Today it is time to get back to the code.  On my short term agenda:

Get Tagalong updated & published.

Tagalong has been neglected for a while.   I am pushing to get the new release out there so it works properly with Store Locator Plus 3.9.    Along the way I’ve been making some updates to the Store Locator Plus core to better support Tagalong.   Most of the changes to the main plugin will be hidden elements but it will make for a better way of adding “deep data” to store locations without hacking up the database every time.   Tagalong was already doing this which is why Store Pages was needed, however the new release is being crafted in a way that ANY add-on pack could use this methodology WITHOUT requiring Store Pages.

It is a lot of work, but I will be putting my “head down” and focusing on Tagalong code and the core plugin changes required to support.

Without further adieu… time to code…

 

 

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Charleston High Speed Internet Grade: D+

I am really getting frustrated with high speed Internet here in Charleston.   Most of Charleston, whether a business or residential address does NOT have access to fiber.    In the few business locations that do have access the fiber is at least $100/Mb and you can only get pricing that low if you sign a 3 year contract with steep disconnect penalties.   Then you get to pay all those fun telecommunications fees on top which makes it more like $140/month.    Days like today make me miss the REAL Internet available in Boston and Los Angeles.

Why am I writing about this on a blog about software development?  Because the access of RELIABLE high speed Internet is critical to productivity.   Case in point.   My main workstation was acting up this morning.  Time for a reboot and when I do that I install all the Windows Security Updates.    First issue, could not connect to the Internet at all.    Reboot the modem, my router, and my PC.   Finally get connected but it is S-L-O-W.    Windows is pulling a piddly-little 58MB of update files.    On my 20Mb/2Mb service (fastest Knology provides) it should take seconds.    20 minutes later the file is downloaded.    Not good.   So I connect to Speed Test (not a “tweaked ISP version”) and find this:

knology speed test 2013-02-19
knology speed test 2013-02-19

As suspected, my throughput with Knology is less than 1/10th of the promised speed on the download side.    As it says the download from a test server less than 100 miles away is worse than 61% of other US services, a grade they give a D+.

This means pushing my updates, pulling new repos, pulling test data, and more all take 10x longer than normal.   In an average development day that sucks.   It means drinking 5x as much coffee as a 20-second operation now takes 3 minutes.  Literally.

Soooo frustrating.

Alternatives

What are the other choices here at my home office in Mount Pleasant?

mount pleasant providers
mount pleasant providers

AT&T/Bellsouth DSL

They have THE WORST customer service in the industry.  By far.  Hands down.   They are also expensive and while I’ve not tried their new “highly touted” (meaning 3 sales people/month coming to my door) AT&T Uverse service, the speeds are horrific.    They also cannot keep a network online.    Last time I used the, over 5 years ago, the service was off multiple times/week and average throughput was < 1Mbps/256k.   Welcome back to dial-up days.   I guess that should be expected from an old-fashioned telco.   At least they finally upgraded from the telegraph this year as I was having a hard time typing in my passwords in Morse Code!

Grade: F

Comcast

High speed Internet, yup they have it.   I can get 50Mbps/10Mbps service at my house.  It actually is almost that fast most of the time.  Until 10 of my neighbors get online and start streaming Honey Boo Boo on Hulu.   Any evening the actual throughput drops to more like 5Mbps/2Mbps.   Comcast swears up & down that this does not happen and that they don’t pool resources on a business class line.   It is a lie.    Real world tests prove otherwise and like clockwork the network comes back up to full speed when the “normal people” go back to work.

Also like clockwork… the network goes offline.   Just about every week on Friday and Saturday evening after midnight the network goes offline.  Sometimes for 20 minutes, sometimes for several hours.      You will also find that many Saturday mornings it is still not online.    That sucks when you are trying to push out a new development release.

Comcast swears they do not do routine maintenance at that time.   I find that hard to believe.  Literally nearly every-single Friday or Saturday this happens.  The Internet is completely offline and I can see in the modem log files it is the head end router (their end) not responding.

So true high speed but always off.  Also kind of pricey at $150/month for just the Internet service alone.

Grade: C-

Knology

Finally Knology dropped some new lines in the ground 2 summers ago.  I could now choose something besides the OMFG This Is HORRIBLE service of Bellsouth and the now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t service of Comcast.    Knology would save the day, or so I thought.     Last year I decided to finally “make the switch”.   20M/2M service for Internet plus phone plus TV for just $130/month after taxes.   Great!  Not as fast as Comcast, but I’ll take it.

The honeymoon was perfect.   I always got 20M/2M or BETTER speeds.   The network connection NEVER EVER NEVER went down.   I think I had 3 minutes of down time in 6 months.

Then the “in laws” arrived.  And by “in laws” I mean Knology got bought out by a company that was trying to become the next big conglomerate to follow in the footsteps of Comcast.    It didn’t take long.   Within a month my new in laws trashed the place.    Someone decided to reconfigure the network and while Knology claims “backhoe in idaho” (Atlanta actaully) the network was 100% completely dead for most of the southeast for more than 3 days.

First of all, if a SINGLE network fiber can shut down the entire southeast segment of the network and you are an ISP then you’re doing it wrong.  Fire the CTO.  Now.   The guy is an idiot.  And while you are at it fire the network engineer.    Secondly, it is obvious from the network routes (thanks traceroute) that the configuration of the network was notably changed.

After the “backhoe was backed up” and the problem was fixed, nothing has ever been the same.    The in laws may have left but the damage to the relationship at home has been done.   And just to remind you of the experience, the “in laws” send a friendly post card in the mail every now & then… OK about every DAY…. by giving you 1/10th your contracted service speed.    The New Knology (post merger) has completely FUBARed their network.    Now days of 1Mb downloads are common and it is killing my productivity.

Not too mention I can no longer stream Honey Boo Boo without waiting 12 hours… I might as well watch it on… GASP…. regular ol’ television.     I’ll have plenty of time while I wait for my Windows Update to download.

Grade:  A (last summery) to D+ (today)

High Tech Yes, High Speed No

Apparently, even with all the high tech businesses in the neighborhood, NONE of the perks that come with it have trickled out into the local economy.    Benefit Focus and Blackbaud are miles from my home, they have high speed.  But they only pulled private fiber to their buildings.    Google is up in Goose Greek about 20 miles away.   Again, nothing for us down here in Charleston County as the major trunks all stop right outside of town at their facility.  Amazon is in the upstate and again has a private fiber network that nobody up there can get.  People Matter is moving in downtown, I’m not sure what they are using but I’m guessing they will provision with AT&T or SCANA directly to get a dark fiber lit.   Again, the network here is not improving.

Part of the problem is that SCANA owns 80% of the fiber in the ground.  More than half of it is not lit.   But I’ve tried working with them in the past and they want an exorbitant rate to utilize their lines.   You also can’t get it very far from the main Route 26 corridor, which means tens-of-thousands of dollars to run it to most “outlying” locations like the “boonies of Mount Pleasant” (a significant metro area adjacent to downtown Charleston).

charleston population
charleston population

I’m not sure what “powers that be” are stopping new companies from getting into the ISP business, but some unusual market factors are at work.   Charleston Metro Area hosts over 300,000 residents and it growing by more than 10% annually.   It is an up-and-coming major metro market yet there is near-zero investment in high speed infrastructure ANYWHERE in the state.   You can see from $7.2 BILLION dollars that was offered by the US Government to improve high speed just how much South Carolina earned in comparison to our neighbors.

south carolina broadband act share
south carolina broadband act share

So here I wait for some new savior to come along.    Google Fiber…. Verizon FIOS… maybe some company down the street on a private fiber line will install WiMAX.    I can dream can’t I?

Looks like my 10MB download is finally done… back to work…. for now.

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Charleston Technical User Groups

Looking to connect with other technology professionals in the Charleston South Carolina area?  Here is our quickly compiled list of user groups in the area. This list was inspired by Charleston Barcamp (#barcampchs).

Charleston Area User Groups

.net Users Group

We’re an INETA and Microsoft sponsored .NET user group for people in Charleston, SC and the surrounding areas. If you have experience with .NET, or an interest in learning more then this is the place for you.

http://www.gcnug.org/
last activity published online: November 2009

Drupal Users Group

The mission of the Charleston Drupal User Group is to spread the use of Drupal in the Lowcountry by holding regular meetups and camps, organizing special events and providing networking opportunities

http://chsdug.org/
last activity published online: November 2010

Java Users Group

The Charleston Java Users Group provides an intellectually stimulating environment that allows the Java community in the Charleston area to share ideas, discuss advances in technology, and promote the use of Java.

http://www.charlestonjug.org/
last activity published online: unknown 2010

Linux Users Group

The Charleston, South carolina Linux Users Group (CSCLUG) is dedicated to the awareness, advancement and development of free software ideals and solutions in the Charleston, SC area expressed through the abilities of our members.

http://www.csclug.org/
last activity published online: November 2010

Ruby Users Group

Agenda: Upcoming announcements, A presentation about some Ruby or Ruby-related technology, Open source contribution, Promotion of Ruby locally, Development of www.charlestonruby.org and our other projects, General discussion.

http://www.charlestonruby.org/
last activity published online: November 2010

Sharepoint Users Group

The Charleston SharePoint User Group is a group designed for those interested in SharePoint technologies. Membership is free. We plan to host monthly meetings with industry leading speakers. Please join the group for notice of meeting times and location.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=50989546219
last activity published online: January 2009

SQL Server Users Group

We have meetings on the second Thursday of every month.

http://charleston.sqlpass.org/
last activity published online: December 2009