Several weeks ago, I got a notice from ComCast that my modem was out of date and they’d send me a new one for no additional charge if I’d just go online and order it. Great! Yippeee! I love new toys.
Well…I went to the page and typically it wasn’t clear what or how I was supposed to go about getting this wonder. So: Chat time. Nevermind they’ve got my flipping records in front of them, this dodo kept trying to make my request for the modem they’d offered me into an upgrade to a telephone service. DUH! What part of TV/Internet/Phone bundle don’t you get? Just send me the flipping modem already! I finally get through to her that I can connect the stupid cords myself and refuse to pay another $15 for somebody to come out and do it for me (what part of FREE doesn’t compute, ComCast?) and the order is placed.
Six weeks they said it would take for it to get here. Oh. OK. I’m kinda busyand not feeling well anyway…next thing I know, it arrives on my doorstep. Sheesh. I really don’t want to do network stuff with half a brain and that half on cold meds, so…heck, I have a month before I have to return the other. I’ll wait til I’m over the worst of the flu.
Last week, I decided to do the deed. I replaced the old cable from the wall with the new one, just because I’d started having all kinds of ghosty problems with the old modem and since they sent me shiny new cable… Why not? Perhaps had I considered the gymnastics involved in the operation, I’d have gone with the old cable, but I persevered. I plugged everything in as per instructions (and common sense) and then, as directed by the instructions, I opened up my browser to activate. That seemed kinda weird to me, since in order to get online the modem had to be activated, but, I tried it. Not surprisingly to me at the time, this didn’t work. So…no phone. Grabbing cell, I call the activation number. I asked about the online activation and how that was supposed to work and got lots of hemming and hawing and no answer. We’re now about an hour and a half into this. We move on to activation.
For the next hour, she tries to activate the internet access. It reads as activated on her end, but nothing in the house can reach the internet, no even a direct connect to the modem. We try restarts and reboots and different computers…nothing works. The sequence of events gets confusing, but the upshot is, she has my home phone and my cell phone. Eventually, my cell phone goes dead. Typically, it hadn’t warned me it was running out of juice. I run to get the charger. Plug in…and wait. No call back. Half an hour, no call back. I try redialing the number she called in on and get some idiot in bounced checks who can’t get it through his head that what I’m trying to do is get a modem activated and give me the number to get back to the right department. No, he keeps asking me about my check.
So, I hang up and go back to the actual activation page. Call again, and go through the same damned thing. We can get the telephone to function, but no internet access. Again, she says the internet shows as activated, but I can’t get out. After another hour and my asking about a different modem over and over, she finally explains that if it’s any sort of software or advanced trouble shooting, she can’t do that. She’s just simple activation (so why didn’t someone say this two hours ago?) and connects me to the tech department. AGAIN we got through the same activation garbage and then he begins running more checks. He leaves the phone silent for some time as he goes and runs these “checks”, comes back briefly. Does a reboot that loses the telephone, calls me back on my cell. That connection gets lost…and he never calls me back. Or maybe at that point we were on the land line and it went dead and he didn’t call me back on the cell. I honestly don’t really remember. But now I have the techline number. So…I call that number and try to get the person who answers to connect me back to “Paul” (Yeah, right.) HE keeps trying to start all over, and I begin saying…with decibel rising…that he’s not going to run checks. He’s either going to get me to Paul or his supervisor. He keeps saying “Let me see what I can do” and I keep saying “Get me a supervisor.”
I avoided cursing. I don’t really know how. By this time, it’s time for dinner. I started right after lunch. But I finally get a supervisor, who blithely comes back and says “I’ve check into it and the problem is, your internet hasn’t been activated.” I come back with “Three different people have activated it over and over and over and it never works. THE MODEM IS DEAD I NEED A NEW ONE.” Still, she insists on going through the whole activation process and finally sees it switch from activated to not activated and admits the thing’s a dud.
Now we have to REactivate the old modem so we have internet and phone while waiting for the expletive deleted new modem. We do that, I get online, the phone works and she promises me I’ll have a modem, sans wireless, in a few days and she’s going to wave the shipping charges! HOW SWEET! Give me an effing break. After over six hours that could have been avoided by the first person saying “we’ve got a problem with this modem” she’s going to wave the shipping charges on something they offered for free in the first place. I’ve now lost a day of work that was designated for getting books up on B&N, my office is a mess, the chair is out in the living room (it’s not easy to extricate it) and I’ve got another day of this lurking on the horizon.
So…Monday, the new modem comes in. I open it…and it’s the same flipping modem, complete with built-in wireless. Yippee.
5AM Tuesday, hoping to have internet by the time CJC gets up, change out the modem, open the browser and Oh, look! There’s the activation page! So that’s how it’s supposed to work. I put in my account info, and get a screen that lists both modems, the new one and the dead one, with little “activate yes/no” toggles. I flip the toggle on the “Yes” for the new one, hit “activate now” … and get some stupid popup that says “are you sure you don’t want to activate both? If yes, click here and we’ll bookmark this page and move on with activation. Ok. Fine. I click the button…and it takes me back to the page. And nothing happens on the modem. I’m familiar with activation now…gawd am I familiar with it…and the lights should go out and restart. I wait. Nothing happens. I try again, thinking I’ve mistaken how the yes/no toggles are supposed to work…maybe they’re defaulted to “on” so I switch the yes and no…and get the same nothing result. Finally, I gird my loins and hit the “chat” button.
After a bit of nardy fardling around, we did get it activated, and it really went pretty smoothly. Seems to be working well. She set it to “bridge” so I can use my proven router. Yippeee. I also discover that, contrary to what all the other activation people said, there IS a way for ME to set it to bridge by going to this page:
Which I haven’t tried yet, but this is a good thing because if you have to reset the modem, it goes back to its default wifi.
I also discovered that they supposedly give price breaks to people who have been with them for a long time…but you have to call and ask for it. How sweet is that? I’ve got the number. Haven’t called yet.
So…right at the tail end of this, CJC gets up…thanks to the test call the tech made to our land line (sorry CJ!) I thank the tech for her help and figure we’re all set. Log off the chat session…and now it was time to get the router working.
OMG. More headaches. I reset the router, plugged the modem into the router, plugged the router into the computer…and no internet. All the lights on the router were green, but there was no internet access. I have no idea why. I plugged the modem back into the computer and after a couple of computer restarts got back up online (the modem’s inbuilt wifi, even when set to bridge, is a serious pain in the communication butt) and went to see what I needed to do to get it talking to another modem. By everything I saw, it should have just worked. I should have been able to get up online to the Linksys admin page and sync the modem…but it didn’t work, no matter how many powerups and restarts I did in what order. But Linksys has a “Connect” software that came with the router (the disk has long since vanished because I’ve always gone online to do it myself). I hunted it down, installed it…and the router is now working like a champ again, with no need to change all our codes.
But the fact that I couldn’t get the internet by a simple hardwire through the router still bugs me. I’m betting it’s one more thing ComCast has done to try to force you to use their equipment. I’ve tried to find an option online for a modem that will work to replace their equipment, and everything I see indicates you simply can’t do it. Not that you shouldn’t be able to but ComCast refuses to activate and if they don’t activate you’re pretty much hosed. It’s not an equipment incompatibility, it’s a policy. If anyone has successfully used their own modem, I’d sure love to know what it is and how they got it to work.