Airport Extreme, Motorola Surfboard and Time Warner Cable

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by brian0526, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. brian0526 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    Ohio
    #1
    I have a wireless network attached to Time Warner Cable via an Airport Extreme (5th Generation) and a Motorola Surfboard 6141 Cable Modem. Everything worked perfectly up until about two months ago. Since then, I have spent hours troubleshooting a very strange and very intermittent problem.

    The symptoms is I simply cannot connect to the internet at certain times. It might be unavailable for a few seconds, a few minutes or several minutes. If I do nothing, it comes back on its own. The modem stays connected to the Time Warner's network. The Airport Extreme stays connected to the modem. The Wifi network stays up. None of the lights on the devices shows any connection problems. The only indication of the problem is loss of ability to connect to the internet and the internet light on the Airport Utility (not the Airport Extreme itself) goes amber.

    Apple has replaced the Airport Extreme (twice). Time Warner has sent people to the house. All the signals are perfect. There is no pattern to the problem. The problem occurs on every device (iPad, iPhones, Apple TV and all computers) whether it's attached via ethernet or wirelessly (it's not wireless interference).

    Has anyone experienced anything like this and did you find a solution? I've escalated to a senior advisor with Apple and a senior advisor with Time Warner. I've tried every possible configuration setting with the Airport Extreme. I've reset the modem to factory defaults (twice). It seemed to help, but then the problem came back.
     
  2. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    Mar 4, 2013
    #2
    The last logical steps would be to replace the router with another brand (D-Link, Netgear, Asus, et al). Failing that, try changing out the modem. Zoom seems to be the next best alternative to Motorola.
     
  3. brian0526 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Ohio
    #3
    Thanks for the advice. The reason I went with the Airport Extreme (changing out a Linksys) is my devices would drop the connection to the network when I had the Linksys. I'm almost all Apple (iPhones, iPad, Apple TV). I'm scared that if I change out the router, I'll be back to that problem. I'm pretty sure there's nothing wrong with the modem hardware-wise, but it just doesn't seem to want to play nice with the Airport Extreme.
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #4
    I have TWC with that same modem and a new Time Capsule (essentially the same as your Extreme with a hard drive inside) and everything works fine, so what you have can work together.

    http://192.168.100.1/cmLogs.htm

    The very next time this happens, click on this link and that will take you to your cable modem's log page. Look there for clues to what is going on. I suspect what you will see when you do this is a series to T3 and T4 timeout errors like this, followed by a modem reboot. You will be able to see the reboot in the log. Note the times there are shown in GMT, so will be off your local time.

    [​IMG]

    If this is what is going on, you need to get TWC out to fix it because there is a bad connection somewhere between you and the cable plant. What happens is the cable plant and modem talk to each other all the time to stay online, and when there is a breakdown in that process you get those T4 T4 errors. After a string of those errors back to back, the cable modem will reboot to try and fix things. I suspect it is during this reboot that your Internet is going down.

    In 2007 I fought with TW for two months before a tech finally fixed a bad connection in a junction box a mile away and I never had the problem afterward.

    Take a screenshot of the T3 and T4 errors followed by the log showing the modem reboot. Don't be surprised when some of the techs don't even know what those log entries are and try to dismiss them.
     
  5. brian0526 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 3, 2003
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    Ohio
    #5
    Thanks for the reply. That was a great guess.

    I have checked the modem's logs. Nothing out of the ordinary shows up in the logs when the outages occur. The modem stays on line and shows that it is transmitting and receiving as normal. No timeout errors, no DNS errors. We tried changing the DNS servers anyway. That didn't help.

    Time Warner has been out to the house and checked the connections. The only thing they found was an old connection from the coax into the modem. They replaced the crimped connection with a compression connection. That was weeks ago. Didn't help.
     
  6. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #6
    Could be that the modem is going on the WAN to LAN connection internally.
     
  7. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    Mar 4, 2013
    #7
    The OP has a different issue than this since the modem logs aren't showing anything out of the ordinary. I had similar problems to what you described with Comcast, using a Motorola Surfboard SB6121 and basically any router connected to it. I would get anywhere from 2-3 days of solid service, followed by days where the modem wouldn't stay online for more than 20-30 minutes before a T4 timeout and reboot. Not to mention T3 timeouts every couple hours when the modem was online. Comcast came out no fewer than 4 times, replacing connectors at various points from the drop to inside the house. Every time, the service would be fine for the next 4-8 weeks, then we'd be right back to square one. I ended up purchasing an Electroline ERA-4100 reverse path amplifier and setting it up between the wall and modem to lower the upstream power level. It looks ugly, but it gets the job done. Reboots happen far less frequently, maybe once every couple months at worst. T3 timeouts have all but disappeared, too; sometimes the modem will go at least 2-3 weeks before I see one in the log.

    OP, I'm not sure what else to tell you here. Does the connection die for all devices connected to the network? Are you running the Airport Extreme in mixed mode, with both the 2.4 and 5 GHz antennas enabled? If so, perhaps try switching to one or the other and see if that doesn't help.
     
  8. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #8
    Can you string an ethernet cable direct from the cable modem to one of your devices and run like that without the router for a bit and see if this eliminates the problem.

    If you are not seeing anything in the cable modem logs when this happens, that points to an issue with your router or wiring.

    Have you tried replacing the ethernet cable between the router and the modem?
     
  9. brian0526 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    Ohio
    #9
    Thanks guys.

    I have run a cable from the modem directly to my computer(s). I have never had the problem with it configured with the Airport Extreme out of the network. That is why I was able to convince Apple to replace the Airport Extreme (refurbed Gen 5 not once, but twice). I can't be certain it would never happen without the Airport Extreme though because the problem literally will not happen for days, then it just goes so wonky I can't get any work done. It seems to happen at the most inopportune times- when we are using the internet most.

    I have the problem whether the devices are connected wireless or via ethernet. Originally my network had my iMac and Apple TV connected via ethernet and everything else (two HPs Windows 8 machines, iPhones, iPad) wirelessly. I have removed the ethernet connections to the Mac and the Apple TV. I have replaced the ethernet to the iMac and it happens that way as well as wirelessly. So, we have eliminated wireless interference.

    I went over to Micro Center. This was my second trip. The first time I replaced the ethernet cable between the router and the modem. This time I bought a different cable modem (Zoom). I have it provisioned and up on the network. So far, so good. (fingers crossed).

    ----------

    Could you explain that a little more? Something VERY intermittent is happening. No discernible pattern. It'll go down for a few seconds at a time sometimes. Other times, we just have to give up.

    It always corrects itself on its own, but how long it will take is totally random.
     
  10. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #10
    Meaning it will always stay connected to the WAN (Wide Area Network) in otherwords your ISP. That explains the lack of T3 and T4 timeouts. Your connection to the Internet is good. The AirPort never talks about losing WAN connectivity which goes to the LAN on the modem. That means your AirPort can communicate without issue with the modem which communicates to the Internet. So essentially the break is going from the WAN (Internet) to the WAN on the Extreme. This is solely in the modem so that is why I suspect it.
     
  11. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #11
    I had a similar issue. Turned out to be a bad firmware upgrade on my router (Netgear N600). I flashed back to a previous version, issue resolved. I realize the OP has an Apple router, but it's possible there's something in the firmware that's causing it.
     
  12. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #12
    I find firmware 7.6.1 to be the most reliable.
     
  13. eduardrw macrumors 6502

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    May 20, 2013
    #13
    Have you tried to ping a known external IP address like google 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4 while the connection is down?
    If the ping is successful the problem might be with your ISP's DNS servers not being available at times - then just use the two IP addresses above in your Airport Extreme as DNS Server.

    You will find OS X ping in Network Utility - just do a spotlight search.
     
  14. fhall1 macrumors 68040

    fhall1

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    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    (Central) NY State of mind
    #14
    Going along the same lines as eduardrw, what are you using for your DNS settings? If it's just your router address (e.g. 192.168.10.1) you are relying on wherever Time Warner's DNS setting points you - you should try adding 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4 to your DNS settings (those are Google DNS servers that anyone can use). Add them to both your Airport Extreme and your PC's, Mac's, iDevices, etc.
     
  15. gc916 macrumors regular

    gc916

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2012
    #15
    I am using an SB6141 modem and new AirPort Extreme to connect to TWC, and have been experiencing the very same connection issues for more than 3 months. The connection would never fully disconnect, and the lights on the modem would appear normal, but the connection speed was so bad that I couldn't connect to Speedtest or any other websites for periods ranging from a few minutes to more than an hour.

    Innumerable calls to TWC's Tier 3 support always yielded the same results; "restart your modem and router; everything looks fine on our end; you need a new router (which prompted me to replace my 5-year-old Netgear router with the AirPort Extreme)," etc., but the problem persisted. Each time I called, the tech said he could see that the modem was functioning normally.

    I finally spoke with a tech that saw the problem as "unacceptable" and sent 2 techs out the next day. After verifying the proper operation of the modem and AE and the integrity of the local connections, one tech called engineering. After a few minutes, he told me they had identified a "Node Utilization Issue." He said there were 250 modems connected to the node that serves my area, and that utilization rates were peaking at ~90%, when the max should be around 75%. Like the OP, I had the connection problems during what I presume to be the peak times, i.e., 6-8 pm during the week and on Saturday mornings and evenings.

    I was initially told on May 19 that the repairs required TWC to place an order for new equipment to be built, installed, and tested, and that it would take about 3 weeks for the issue to be corrected. I called TWC on June 5, and was told the completion date had been pushed back to July 27, with no further explanation. A very helpful Tier 3 Team Lead I spoke with has contacted a manager for more info, and is supposed to be monitoring the progress, but I haven't heard from him in more than a week.

    Needless to say, the problem is very frustrating. My complaints to TWC have resulted in credits for my Internet service since my initial calls back in March, but that obviously doesn't solve the problem.

    To the OP, I suggest raising this issue with TWC. When you call, immediately ask that you be transferred to Tier 3 support, and ask about a possible Node Utilization problem in your area. It may not be the cause of the issue you're experiencing, but it might be worth a try.
     
  16. brian0526, Jun 17, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2014

    brian0526 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Ohio
    #16
    Thanks all. You guys are giving some really great input.

    The connection doesn't become slow. It becomes non-existent. It's on or off. Speedtests are always spot on- when they run. The tier 2 (or 3) tech I spoke with last Friday mentioned high utilization on my node, but I don't think that is the problem because it's an on/off thing, not a slowing down.

    When the connection is down, I am not able to ping anything. DNS servers have been set at Time Warner's and I have set them to Google's (8.8.8.8). No difference in the problem either way. Also, the modem's logs show no timeouts. Nothing gets logged when the outage occurs. The modem stays connected.

    I suspect it's a firmware issue with the modem and the Airport Extreme. It ran rock solid for months when I first paired them up and I doubt the hardware has gone bad given that my modem is less than a year old. The Airport Extreme, as mentioned before, has been replaced twice by Apple (each time with a refurbed one as I bought a refurbed in in the first place.

    Yesterday I got a Zoom 5341 modem. It's the last piece of equipment to replace since I have replaced the ethernet cable and the Airport Extreme. No connection problems since then. I will come back and update this thread if that changes. Interestingly enough, I had such major problems yesterday (Monday morning) that I couldn't get any work done and had to rush over to get this modem in hopes I could finish my work for the morning. I don't know if Monday morning is a peak time or not as I work from my home in a residential neighborhood. Is it working now because we're off-peak or because I got a new modem?
     
  17. McRumour macrumors member

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    Oct 6, 2013
    #17
    I too am a TWC customer (victim!).
    I experienced similar grief (in LA)
    It began back in May, out of the blue - when for no discernible reason I discovered, whilst online and wanting to send an email, that I couldn't.
    And then I realized that I wasn't even online any longer, as I was unable open any new links.

    At the time I was using a combo modem/router - the (TWC recommended) Motorola 6580 (my own device), only purchased 6 months prior.

    And so began the dawn of a nightmare - hours upon days which stretched to weeks - of escalated tech support with TWC, Motorola and Apple - each blaming the other - and all to little avail.

    I had TWC techies swarming through my house (3 at a time, on 3 separate occasions).

    Finally, one day, the Supervisor's Supervisor suggested: "Get an Airport - you've got all Apple equipment - just disable the router functionality on your (still new!) Motorola! Replace it with an Apple device".
    (No one had even suggested the router functionality was the issue...)

    But, by then I'd just about thrown in the towel - So, hey...throw more $$$$s at the problem, anything....just solve it and get these geezers out of my life, I thought.
    I did as he suggested.
    And it worked.
    (In fact I bought 2 Extremes (one to replace the Netgear Extender I'd been using with the Motorola - and now find I don't need...but that's another tale)

    Of course this is all anecdotal; it probably doesn't offer you any specific assistance Brian - other than to suggest this too shall pass:

    Perseverence,/patience and $$$s will solve the problem.....one day... :rolleyes:
     
  18. brian0526 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    Ohio
    #18
    I bought the Airport Extreme to replace a Linksys that couldn't stay connected to my Apple TV and other Apple devices. That's why I've been hesitant to switch it out (for another brand) as has been suggested since the problem has not occurred when I direct connect the modem to my computer.

    I threw another $70 and bought the Zoom modem which a guy at Microcenter had suggested a couple of weeks ago. The Motorola I got is on Time Warner's approved list and has gotten some great reviews. But, there are those who have had problems with it using it with an Airport.

    It's been 24 hours and the connection has been rock solid.
     
  19. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Elkton, Maryland
    #19
    If you type "Motorola 6141 AirPort" into Google you will see similar issues from a wide array of users. Many use Time Warner Cable company though. I think that this issue with the 6141 isn't limited to the AirPort though.
     
  20. campyguy macrumors 68040

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    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #20
    OP, replace your SB6141. I bought mine brand new - white model, at Best Buy last November for my Comcast Business Class account (CBC has only a few approved routers). It worked pretty well with my 4th-gen and current AE routers. About two months later, I experienced exactly the same problems you are for a couple of weeks. My residential cable (cable card/Tivo) was fine. Fortunately, I could use my iPad's MH.

    The SB6141 signals were fine the first few times I called in, then a tech "sat" on the modem to monitor it and found that it started resetting itself and the power levels went sky high for several minutes, then it was fine again. I found others on the DSL Reports forums expressing the same problem with the SB6141 as well.

    I exchanged the modem to BB for a new one, got it activated and it's been working fine since. Good luck.
     
  21. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #21
    I think the Motorola SB6141 is a good modem but the firmware has issues with certain routers which in my experience are generally Netgear, Apple, and occasionally Linksys.
     
  22. campyguy macrumors 68040

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    Portland / Seattle
    #22
    I fixed that for you.

    The modem is OK at best. I would choose another one but for only 4 choices are available to me and Comcast Business Class. Only two Moto (now Arris) modems can be bought to avoid the rental "tax" for CBC. I should have bought an SB6121 - older but bulletproof. My only other choices are a POS Cisco and discontinued SMC (which I had and hated) - neither of which I can buy outright.

    As to my earlier point - the SB6141 FW was overwritten by Comcast - it's their firmware, and it's locked down. I have friends with SB6141 modems and a few of them had their units crap out just like mine. Replacements seem to work fine.
     
  23. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    California
    #23
    I don't think it is the ISP's firmware. If you follow this forum you can see discussion about Moto firmware updates across all ISP's. It appears as if Moto makes the firmware then releases it to the ISP for testing, then the ISP pushes it out to the cable modems over their system. But it is Moto firmware.

    I have never seen any indication the ISPs are writing their own firmware.
     
  24. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #24
    I have seen issues with the "vanilla" firmware on 6141s and the ISP locked down versions.
     
  25. tlaw81 macrumors member

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    Oct 31, 2010
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #25
    Any update

    OP,

    I have the same issue. I was wondering if you had any success after changing out your modem.

    I'm not certain that I have the same modem, but I am going to check when I get home.

    Thank you.
     

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