Saturday, February 8, 2014

If You Upgrade Your Xfinity Modem, Will the Speeds Improve? Answer Inside.

A few months back, I posted about an upgrade to my service with Xfinity. They had emailed me to say that they had boosted my bandwidth speed. And I was like "great".

But it came with a catch. In order to take advantage of these speeds, I had to upgrade the modem to the new DOCSIS 3.0 standard because the modem I had was outdated. Fortunately, I rent my modem and Xfinity sent me a new one without charge.

Well, without charge except for the additional $1 per month they added to my modem rental fee.

So did my speeds improve upon installing the new modem?

First, here is the speed I was getting with the old, outdated, junky cable modem (Model: Terayon TJ715)

And now, here are the speeds I am getting upon upgrading my modem (Technicolor TC8305C):

Update: A reader of my blog kindly pointed out my second tests was not on the same server as the first. So I reran the test on the same server and here is what I got:

As you can see, the speeds did improve. The upload speed increase was minor. But the download speed was significant. And the new speeds are testing on a server that is double the distance. So overall, I'm happy that I took the time to contact Xfinity and get the upgraded hardware.

For any who upgrade their hardware like me, there is something you should know about this modem. It's a dual purpose device, meaning it's a modem and wired/wireless router built into one.

You might consider that good because it means you have one less device to plug into the wall. But if you work from home and frequently need to connect to a VPN, that might be a problem. Apparently, Xfinity has locked out the ability to connect to a VPN with this modem if you are a Residential customer.

So how did I get around this issue (and I had to because my wife works from home and I have to keep her happy)? What you need to do is contact Xfinity and have them put the modem in Bridge Mode. This completely disables the router functions of the device and makes it work as a modem only. Then you can hook up your own router to the modem and connect to a VPN.

I had a problem when I first did this and had to reset my modem and contact them again to put it in Bridge Mode. What went wrong?

When Bridge Mode is activated, whatever device is plugged into an Ethernet port on the back of the modem becomes the only one that receives an Internet connection (if more than one is plugged in, only one of the devices connected will gain access to the Internet). This is because the modem assigns Internet access to one MAC Address.

How is this issue corrected so multiple devices can access the Internet?

I suggest plugging your main computer into one of the Ethernet ports during the Bridge Mode activation. This will give the modem that PC's MAC Address. Once you confirm the Internet works on the PC, unplug the Ethernet cable form the modem and then plug it into one of the available LAN ports on your router. Plug a new Ethernet cable into the modem and the other end into the Internet or WAN input of your router. You'll then need to access your router's firmware (see the manual for your router) and under the MAC Address section you'll want to clone the MAC Address of your PC. Some router's have a button that does this automatically. Otherwise, you can enter it manually. (Check your network settings on your PC to find its MAC Address. Also, make sure no other devices are plugged into your router's LAN ethernet ports if you are doing the automatic cloning of the MAC Address.)

Once you do that, your router can then function and distribute the internet through its Ethernet ports and wirelessly.

Hopefully this little tidbit of information on speed and this model modem helps you out. If it does, I'd like to suggest that you check out the books I've written or episodes of The Permanent Man that you might enjoy as a way of paying me back. :)