In general my Comcast internet service has been reliable and fairly fast. So I was not overly concerned when in December Comcast offered to increase my internet speed for free. All I had to do was trade in my cable modem for a newer model. I accepted the offer, but I was surprised when a wireless gateway was delivered by UPS rather than a camel modem. The wireless gateway is a combination of a cable modem, a voice over ip adapter, and a wifi router. I already had a wifi router that I had recently purchased and was very happy with.
My router is an Archer C9 made by TP-LINK. It is 802.11ac router, and I had found it delivered much better performance to both 802.11ac adapters in my iMac and MacBook as well as the 802.11n adapters in my Roku boxes. I was very happy with it. I did not want to give it up for some other device of unknown quality.
I decided to try the new wireless gateway, and it delivered the higher speeds promised. In the best case that I tested I saw a 50% increase in downloads speeds. I found that an appealing situation, so I sent back my old cable modem. As I got my more experience with the setup, I found some problems that I was able to solve, but I had one lingering issue. Machines connected by wifi would have problems after the computer went to sleep. When I would wake up the computer, it reported that wifi was connected, but when I attempted to browse the internet I had DNS lookup failures. I checked the configuration of the wifi adapter and it showed the correct DNS servers listed. If I stopped and restarted the wifi, everything worked fine once again. After a couple of weeks of having to restart my wifi several times a day, I was quite annoyed.
I spent some time in Comcast’s support forums, and while I could not find my exact problem being discussed, I did see that many people were having problems with the model of wireless gateway that I was using. Many people suggested putting it in bridge mode, which bypassed the router section and allowed you to use your own router. I decided that this was the best solution, but it required Comcast tech support to put the gateway into bridge mode.
Calling Comcast puts you into a voice mail menu system that seems impossible to escape from. I had clearly tried all of the obvious fixes for my problem, and I had a preferred solution, so I needed to talk to person. I tried hitting the 0 key repeatedly and requesting an agent over and over. Eventually, the system said I would be transferred to a person. I got voice mail saying tech support was closed for the evening.
When I decided to try contacting tech support again, I gave up on the phone, and I tried a web chat with Comcast tech support. This worked. I got through to a support person in about 10 minutes, and I requested that they put my gateway into bridge mode. She was happy to do that. After I gave her the MAC address of the device, she told me she would put it into bridge mode.
At that point I lost the connections to web chat. I never got a chance to ask if it mattered which ethernet port I used to connect to the gateway, or if the gateway would need to be restarted. It took me about 20 minutes to get everything reconfigured, and I did have to power cycle the gateway to get things to work. Things have been running well since, but it would have been helpful if the Comcast tech had arranged a alternate method of communication before putting the gateway into bridge more.
Because of how difficult it was to get hold of a person at Comcast, I spent about 4 weeks with flaky internet. After my first attempts to call Comcast, I knew I would need to have at least an hour of free time before I could seriously tackle fixing my problem. In the future, I will be extremely leery of attempting anymore upgrades to my Comcast hardware.