Network Woes Unwoed

When we moved into our townhome two years ago, I was determined to get the fastest broadband internet access possible. The best choice at the time, believe it or not, was Time Warner Cable, aka The Great Satan. We were set up with their “wideband” tier, which promised 50 mbps. Well, I never measured anywhere near that and it would not surprise me if it’s because their Ubee modem did not handle that kind of throughput. I ran a lot of speed tests at and averaged about 22 – 23 mbps. This was rather disappointing, so I had TWC bump me down a level to their “extreme” service which topped out at 30 mbps. I found to my delight that the average speed went up to about 27 mbps. I was pleased and a little angry at the same time, since I’d already paid the devil for several months of wideband service, but I guess I could have contacted them about it much sooner than I did. Mea culpa.

But soon our service, though speedy, became somewhat unreliable. I could not stream internet radio for long before it would cut out. I did everything I could to ensure it was not related to my PC or idevice. Netflix (via our Blu-ray player) became spotty as well, and we’d often give up in frustration when trying to watch something as simple as a 30-minute sitcom. Moving the Ubee modem/router to our entertainment center, where we could direct-wire it to the Blu-ray player seemed to make no difference.

Well, the inter-tubes eventually came to my rescue, as it (they?) always does (do? Aww, screw it). I did a lot of googling on the subject and soon learned that the best recourse was to bridge my Ubee modem and use a router, bypassing the integrated router in the Ubee. It just so happened that we had an old Linksys router laying around, one that we’d gotten about eight years ago that supported the wireless-G protocol.

[Author's aside: I am listening to Radio Paradise right now and they are playing Led Zeppelin's sublime Rain Song. I have to pause here and soak in the song's intense climax]

This seemed to work fine, although speed tests showed a max throughput of only about 10 mbps, no matter what server I contacted for the test. My friend Ahmet suggested this was because the G protocol had an upper limit of 10 mbps. That’s all I needed to hear; off I went to Best Buy to get a new router that supports the N-protocol. I installed it and now I’m smoking along at 23 mbps once again, but better yet, it seems to have mitigated the spottiness issue as well. I’ve had Radio Paradise streaming for hours now without interruption. Yay technology.

And thanks, Ahmet.

Here is an important photo of my fantastic new router, together with the questionable Ubee cable modem from the maw of Hell.


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