Over the last few weeks I have added several new devices to my home network (iPad, guest computers, two new TiVOs, new router, etc) and have noticed my VOIP phone quality go way down. After doing some initial troubleshooting, taking devices offline one at a time, etc – I decided it was time to call my VOIP phone company to see what they had to say. After the initial dummy tasks (unplug, reboot, restart) – we finally got down to it – my connection speed.
I have Comcast, and have been happy with their service for years. Ten years ago – I bought a cable modem to use with my service and have been using it ever since without any issue. After talking to someone from the phone company – they noticed that my cable modem was old and was using DOCSIS 1.0 (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) which I had never heard about before. The customer support person recommended getting a new cable modem which they promised would help my bandwidth issue and thus take care of my poor voice quality issue as well.
I purchased a new cable modem earlier this week (DOCSIS 3.0) and what a difference. The speeds I am seeing down/up are 2-3x the speed I was getting last week – and no more phone quality issues at all.
Overall message/lesson: even though somethings are “working” – if they are older, they are most likely outdated and should be updated sooner than once every ten years. So – if you are like me and are seeing slower than expected speeds, and/or your VOIP quality sucks – make sure to check to see what kind of network equipment you have and if there are newer/better models available.
Phew – finally after I much frustration and a crappy picture – I am making the move to HD. We wanted to get HD a year or so ago when I first bought the big HD TV, but Comcast did not offer the Big Ten Network (for all our Penn State games) and DirecTV could not get all the needed HD signals because of a few trees in our yard. This week I was determined to get HD so it was a matter of either getting some trees trimmed or hoping Comcast and the Big Ten Network finally came to an agreement. Luckily – the later happened and as of tonight – we will be watching the Olympics in HD. Hello clarity!
I did not think getting HDTV was going to be so hard. Last summer I finally dropped over priced crappy Comcast for DirecTV. I have not had any issues with DirecTV and overall have been very happy with their service and picture quality. I recently bought a new TV and decided that the next step was obviously an upgrade to DirecTV’s HDTV programming. I had an appointment with the service technician yesterday to get everything installed so I could watch the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl in HD. Unfortunately the person from DirecTV told me I had too many trees in the way for their HD signals. I am now stuck with their standard signal (which was ok for the old TV, but it looks crappy on the new TV) until at least August unless I pay to break the contract. Not only does that suck, but my alternative is going to be going back to overpriced Comcast. Yuck! What to do…
I have been debating for the last several weeks about moving from my traditional phone service to Vonage. For someone like me who does not use the phone a lot, does it make sense for me to pay $50 a month for local phone service, another $50 for my cell phone, and A pays another $40 for her cell phone. While our cell phones have become a necessity, I cannot justify paying $50 a month for our land line. Vonage offers plans starting at $14.99, so even if there is $15.00 in taxes, I am still paying $20.00 a month less. Any Vonage users out there that have any comments?
I am also looking to move from Comcast cable…hopefully once and for all. I got sucked in for another six months when they offered me a good deal on digital cable and HBO, but when I got the $83.00 bill in the mail – just for TV…well, I knew I would be spending some time on the phone and researching satellite options. I know Ken is a fan of Direct TV. Anyone else have any opinions?