Comcast Can’t Handle The Traffic

For more than a year I’ve been reporting that around 10pm every night our Comcast internet becomes unusable. Streaming video fails, web pages start timing out. Media content in Facebook and Twitter stop loading. Every time I have looked, the problem is the same: the Sunnyvale node is dropping packets. Like this:

That 5th node is Sunnyvale. In this run it wasn’t even able to get the reverse DNS for that node.

Over the course of the year, I have sent them pings, traces & speed tests over my network. From neighbors who all report the same thing, and even over a modem they installed in parallel with mine here (when they were claiming it was my modem in Alameda causing the packet loss in Sunnyvale!). It is always the same. Around 10pm the network becomes intermittently unusable, and it is always the Sunnyvale node that is dropping packets. It will stay bad until after midnight most nights. 

I’ve been told that the router dropping ICMP is normal (not true: it is true that it will drop ICMP packets first when overloaded though, so the high loss rate indicates an overloaded router; the failing video & web downloads tell me it is dropping other packets too).

I’ve been told it must be my router, my modem or the cable into the house. Nobody has been able to explain how any of those things could result in packet loss at Sunnyvale though. 

When the network is working, Speedtest results look like this:

Just after 10pm that periodically changes to this:

Every time I report it we go through the same sequence. First there is the request to send a tech to my house to check the wiring (total waste of everybody’s time since it is obvious the problem is in Sunnyvale, about 45 miles from here), then the request to send the logs (I’ve been sending them for months). Then radio silence. Until I ask again, when they repeat the process. 

At no point do they ever get the networking team to admit their network is becoming overloaded. A year after I first reported it, their network is apparently still unable to cope with the traffic passing over it between 10pm & midnight. Not continuously though. It is intermittent. Randomly, there will be a few minutes where nothing works, then it will be back. Streaming video fails, web loads timeout. My neighbors tell me they get dropped from conference calls too, making it hard to do late night calls with overseas teams. 

I am starting to wonder whether Comcast actually knows how to run an IP network. It certainly seems that every time I contact them they try to find a fault in the cable TV related parts of the system. Never in the IP network. I can’t believe they don’t have load charts for that node. Or statistics on packet drop rates. I just suspect they aren’t even looking. 

One thought on “Comcast Can’t Handle The Traffic

  1. Comcast is lying scum of the Earth. I have had issues with Comcast’s ibone servers while gaming for over a month straight literally every single night dropping my packets during peak usage hours, mainly between 5pm – 11pm EST.

    The fact is that their servers do not just drop ICMP packets but discard all packets that are not considered high priority by their servers. (I’d believe this to be data from IP addresses associated with their business accounts or such. Non customers and normal customers all get their data discarded as Comcast will not upgrade their servers to handle the ever growing needs of more and more people using the internet.)

    Their tech support and customer service is trained to respond to all complaints with responses like the one I received below after sending them many images, graphs, and .pp2 files from PingPlotter Pro which showed 100% a serious problem with their server(s). These support replies are complete lies and utter bullshit which they are trained to do and won’t even bother to look into the issue whatsoever.

    I do not know if you have had a response to this, but you are not seeing packet loss on one of our headend routers. Multi-ping/ping path is sending ICMP echo requests to every router in the path to your game server, if there was any device with high latency that would cause the issue with the game. The ICMP packet that is being dropped is not “packet loss” every router on every ISP has two conditions where they will drop ICMP echo requests. One is that they allow only so many to the backplane of the router, usually 250Kb/s once that is met all others will be dropped. Two is if the router’s CPU hit 30% of max utilization then it will drop ICMP requests. The device you claim is causing you issues is one of the most robust devices we have in the network, I am sure that it is not causing this issue. You may want to call your ISP to check if there is an issue in your area, as this device is acting as it should to keep you and everyone going through it up and running by dropping ICMP requests and not allowing itself to be DDOS’ed. I hope this helps, have a good day.

    Spencer Jones
    Engineer II Enterprise Technical Support
    7150 S. Fulton St, Centennial, CO 80112

    I have filed a complaint with the FCC and will include all my saved data but more people, whether directly customers of Comcast or indirectly forced to go through Comcast ibones/servers, need to do the same thing. There are way too many other service providers throughout the USA for us to be forced to go through Comcast shit servers. I hope that, given enough complaints, the FCC will stop allowing Comcast to be a part of the internet backbone to anyone not their customer.

    The best solutions right now are to either use software like WTFast which allows you to go through different servers which are not Comcast and I now have absolutely no issues or you can look into using a VPN to get around going through Comcast’s shit servers.

    Here are other forum posts explaining and proving my exact issues with Comcast.'t_acknowledge_a_pr#Post2978

    I also wrote on Comcast’s tech support forums and never once received even a reply to one single post. I won’t link those as only Comcast techs can view them unfortunately.

    PLEASE FILE FCC COMPLAINTS about Comcast when you are sure your internet service is being poorly affected by Comcast ibones/servers. It is really our only course of action.

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