How do people like Comcast Extreme 105?

How do folks like Comcast Extreme 105 Internet service? I have to appeal to readers because interacting with Comcast yields conflicting information. My current Comcast connection is 25 down/4 up, which is annoyingly slow when I am trying to clutter youtube with unlisted 1080p videos of my kids. It also means that VoIP phone service suffers a bit when a heavy upload is proceeding.

It is hard to tell exactly what Comcast promises in terms of upload speed with “Extreme 105″ but it seems to be 20 Mbps, i.e., slower than the mid-tier Verizon FiOS connection (50/25). Comcast has a “usage cap” of 250 GB per month, which works out to 5 hours of usage at 105 Mbps. Comcast says that they have to send out an installer to “install” Extreme 105 even though I already have Comcast Internet and a Motorola cable modem that is supposedly fully capable of handling Extreme 105. The customer service representative said that this was so that Comcast could set up a fiber optic line into my cable modem (this would be an interesting achievement since the Motorola modem has only a coax connector).

I don’t hammer the connection that much day-to-day, but the standard Comcast service seems to be subject to annoying hiccups. Do folks who upgraded to Extreme 105 find that the service is more reliable? And what does the installer do when he/she comes out? Finally, what does Comcast do about this usage cap?

11 Comments

  1. Tom

    March 23, 2014 @ 11:53 pm

    1

    I’ve had the 105 service for over a year now.

    My local Comcast install tech agrees with you and me about the install requirement, but he did make sure that all the cables are new, grounded correctly and not made by cheap monkeys. I think the higher speed is more susceptible to interference, so this can help a bit with reliability

    As for speed, I get about 90mbits testing against a server that is on the Comcast network, and about 45-50 for a server that is outside the network – both tested over wifi.

    My wife games a lot, and we do a bit of Netflix and software downloading. This workload never seems to get bogged down at our end, unless Comcast is having a network issue, so we’re actually quite happy with the service – it feels un-American to be happy with Comcast, but there it is!

  2. jseliger

    March 23, 2014 @ 11:55 pm

    2

    slower than the mid-tier Verizon FiOS connection (50/25).

    FiOS is only 50 / 25? That’s depressing: I’m on RCN cable in NYC and get 50 / 5 for $50 a month. Drastically faster speeds than the alternatives is the whole point of running fiber everywhere.

  3. Joshua Boyd

    March 24, 2014 @ 12:04 am

    3

    Comcast has suspended their 250 GB/mo usage cap. In some markets they are trialing new data caps. For instance, in Tucson, AZ, Extreme 105 service has a 600GB/mo cap, and Economy customers get 300GB/mo.

    In parts of TN, AL, GA, KY, MS, TN, SC, and ME, they are trying everyone with a 300GB/mo cap and then charging overages of $10 per 50 GB.

    Since Boston isn’t in any of those locations, you should find no cap to your data usage currently.

    I can’t comment on the quality of the Extreme 105 plan since I only have to 50Mbps plan, which doesn’t ever seem to deliver 50Mbps performance (not that I really expected it to).

    As to your VoIP issue, does your home router support QoS? If so, you might try configuring that to give VoIP traffic higher priority.

  4. Joshua Boyd

    March 24, 2014 @ 12:26 am

    4

    I forget to include a reference to Comcast’s current stance on caps. Here: http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/internet/data-usage-what-are-the-different-plans-launching

  5. yischon

    March 24, 2014 @ 10:46 am

    5

    Here’s another link to Comcast addressing “usage allowance” (or what they are more concerned with, “excessive use”):

    http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/internet/common-questions-excessive-use/

  6. Jacob

    March 24, 2014 @ 11:19 am

    6

    It’s not clear from this posting, but I think I recall a previous post saying that you don’t have the option of FiOS where you are? I have more experience with Comcast business, but the service is identical to residential – it works, sort of, except when it doesn’t, and no one can tell you why or when it will be repaired. Packet loss and excess jitter ensure that VoIP will not work.

    FiOS speeds range from 15/5 for $50 on the low end to 500/100 on the high end for $300, plus taxes

  7. philg

    March 24, 2014 @ 11:44 am

    7

    Jacob: FiOS is not available in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Our local government has decided that there should be only one television supplier, which means that nobody can compete with Comcast.

  8. Mark Belanger

    March 24, 2014 @ 2:16 pm

    8

    If you’re stuck with Comcast, opt for their business offering. While it’s a lot more expensive, it’s reliable and you get competent people on the phone.

    -MB

  9. Anthony

    March 24, 2014 @ 3:43 pm

    9

    I have it. I love it. The upload is on average about 23Mb/s. The download has been has high as 249Mb/s but lately has been more like 130Mb/s.

    For some reason I got it before they required an installer to come out to the house and charge a fee to install it. I use my own modem.

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/62281/258266892.png

  10. J. Peterson

    March 24, 2014 @ 4:08 pm

    10

    Our VoIP box (old model Ooma) is set up so it’s plugged in ahead of the router for the rest of the house, and insures it always gets the bandwidth it needs. It seems to work pretty well.

  11. boozedog

    March 25, 2014 @ 9:59 pm

    11

    FWIW I’ve had good luck with a cheap Linksys router running DD-WRT firmware QoS … VoIP calls sound good despite lots of video streaming etc.

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