So I’m back in my apartment in Colorado. And, as usual, I’ve got my ear to the ground on tech. Especially since, mysteriously, my quite-reliable router had dropped off the ‘net sometime a few weeks ago…or so it seemed.
What had really happened is the modem has been kicked off the network for a bit, been reassigned a new IP address, and I had forgotten to set up DynDNS again on my router (easy to overlook when you’ve had the same IP for months on end). So in reality the internet at my place was hunky dory…I just didn’t know where “my place” was on the ‘net.
So what was the cause of the modem reboot and subsequent switch from 76.xxx.xxx.xxx to 67.xxx.xxx.xxx for my IP address (people with 24.xxx.xxx.xxx addresses probably didn’t see a change; they’re still around here)? A DOCSIS 2.0 upgrade, as a matter of fact.
How do I know that the upgrade was to DOCSIS 2.0? I can’t access my modem configuration/status page; the modem in question (a Zoom 5241) has those funcctions walled off for whatever reason. However I *could* do a speed test, and Comcast’s own test revealed a near-shocking 7-11 Mbps on the upstream, a far cry from my typical 2.6-3 Mbps, limited by the DOCSIS 1.1 technology the system had been running on until recently. Another tip-off: Comcast e-mailed me a few days ago, tuting their new DOCSIS 3.0 services as “coming soon”…they’re still not here yet but DOCSIS 2.0 upgrades are one big step closer to that reality.
If you’re wondering why Comcast gave me the upgrade, it’s not because of competition; Qwest’s services are handily beat by DOCSIS 1.1 on Comcast. However if Comcast upgrades their systems to DOCSIS 3 (with DOCSIS 2 as an interim step) they’ll be able to release higher-speed tiers at higher prices, including a 50 mbps down, 10 Mbps up tier weighing in at $116 without TV (versus the $65 I’m paying right now for 8 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up, plus PowerBoost in both directions).
Speaking of rampant capitalism, apparently Comcast wants me to sign up for some of their other services. During my absence, the company sent me two letters. One offered cable for $30 per month (I think it was the mid-tier digital package; I didn’t get further than that since I don’t want cable and I certaily don’t want a one-year contract for the service). The other offered phone service for $15 per month (I already have a cell phone…and yes I know that the phone package is normally $40). Despite these offers, and the fact that the internet portion of m bill would go down if I added another service (TV in particular would drop my internet price by $12 per month), I’m not interested. Still, nice try guys.
Lastly, Comcast has been sprucing up their website portfolio lately. Comcast.net is now shiny and new, as are Comcast.co’s pricing pages. The company has even overhauled their account managment portal so that it now looks pretty cool. I’m pretty sure all these upgrades, combined with the relatively recent introduction of their SmartZone Webmail/web-voicemail system, means every portion of Comcast’s online consumer presence has been reworked in the past nine months or so.
Lastly, while messing around with my modem I decided to test IPv6 connectivity. Not that anyone cares about IPv6 yet, but I was able to ping and trace to a few hosts (he.net, softlayer.com, fdcservers.net). Though I must say, latency was rather absurd, on account of all IPv6 traffic being routed through AMS-IX (AMSterdam Internet eXchange) and SWIPNet before going to those fragments of the internet that are IPv6 enabled. Of course, the situation on that front will improve and it’s cool of Comcast to have the tech in place, but it’s largely a bragging-rights deal at the moment.
Personally, I’d rather have a minimalist online UI and 10 Mbps symmetric fiber with no PowerBoost and IPv4 only for $40 or $50 per month including one branded GMail address, but I suppose I’ll have to pioneer that service myself. For now though I suppose Comcast’s service is becoming more passable every day, and that’s rather Comcastic of them :p