The short version of this is that whether you pay $50.00/month for “speeds up to” 20 Mb/s or $14.95/month for “speeds up to” 2 Mb/s, you get exactly the same service: 2 Mb/s.
Every once in a while, we can’t get the Time Warner modem to give ANY router or workstation an IP address. This happens so frequently, apparently, that Time Warner now has a voice recording on their help line that tells you to shut down your modem and your router, wait 60 seconds and power them back up. Sometimes that doesn’t work, so you’ll get a “technician” from India who will help you find out what the problem REALLY is.
Here’s what they ask you to do. Connect a computer (not a router) directly to the modem and shut down any firewall or anti-virus software you may have running on that computer. Guess what happens? You get Internet — and a significant number of trojans, viruses etc., in just a matter of seconds (which you don’t find out until you re-enable the anti-virus software). The technician tells you that the malware was the reason you had a problem in the first place and it’s a computer problem, not a Time Warner problem, so they can’t help you with that…. (Have a “crash cart” computer ready for these people, that is, one that has no personal data on it and which you can easily re-image.)
I was paying $50.00/month for Internet access, having to shut down the modem and router several times a day. I had hacking attempts logged on the router from an AVERAGE of 1 every 30 seconds to 1 every 30 minutes. I had gone out, bought and programmed a Cisco router (IOS) to stop gratuitous ARP requests (DOS attacks), source routed attacks, unused ports and protocols, and all manner of unsolicited traffic. I put this router in series with my regular router, which worked when Time Warner would give the outer router an IP address.
One day when I really really needed to get an email from a potential employer, the Time Warner Internet service was down. NOTHING could get an IP address (yes I have several routers and laptops to test with). That was it. I had had it with Time Warner. I took the Time Warner modem back to them and cancelled the Internet service.
I still had Time Warner cable, though I cut it back to the basic package because their cable channels were also frequently down. I saw commercials for Time Warner Internet for $14.95 and thought that if the service was down, $14.95 was a lot less painless if the Internet didn’t work, even tolerable, so I bought my own modem and went for it. To my surprise, I got exactly the same service I got for $50.00/month, which was at best spotty and not exactly screaming fast.
This is a brand new home. We’ve had Time Warner technicians out here checking for cable noise ingress, replacing cable ends and splitters so, while I haven’t tested for the signal to noise ratio myself, I’m pretty sure it’s within Time Warner specs by now.
Here’s a tip for those who think they’re stuck with Time Warner (and also the only reason I opted for their lower price Internet service): You can get a Cradlepoint router which offers 2×2 MIMO (Multiple-In Multiple-Out) on the WAN side (WAN over wireless), so you can have a failover to another Internet provider. The ones under consideration on this end (and seem to work almost as well as Time Warner) are Millenicom and t-Mobile. (Yeah, t-Mobile. Those hotspots you can buy in Walmart work pretty darned well. AT&T doesn’t seem to have a product in our area and Sprint is so slow you can’t even download a PDF.) Wireless is not the most efficient at downloading graphics though and it can get expensive, so that’s why you want Time Warner as a backup. You can make it through the Internet outages and flourish when Time Warner Internet actually works.
So for those Time Warner / Road Runner employees (and other sympathetic Netizens) who think I’m a horrible and stupid person for posting something bad about Time Warner, I wish both you and Time Warner well. Have a nice day….
By the way, you know how many hackers the router has recorded on t-Mobile so far? One! One in all the time I’ve been using the service….