My upgraded Spectrum Internet 1 gig (1Gbps) service was 13x slower than the 400Mbps service.

My upgraded Spectrum Internet 1 gig (1Gbps) service was 13x slower than the 400Mbps service.

I upgraded from 400Mbps service to 1Gbps service and my Internet download speed dropped 13x. Spectrum said it wasn?t them, it was the Internet ? so asked them to ?downgrade? me back to the less expensive 400Mbps service with their tech present in my home. The result? ?Internet? speed improved 13x with the slower 400Mb service.

I purchased 400Mb service and received a speed of 268Mbps and, after I upgraded to 1000Mb service, performance was reduced 13x to 20Mbps!

Image for postSummary of Download Test Results for Spectrum 400Mb vs 1Gb Service Levels

If you move to New York you can get 1 Gigabit Internet to your apartment for less than $100/month. Since I?ve been bandwidth starved for nearly my entire life, I tried to get Gbps service activated before we moved in.

Verizon crushed my dreams on the first, second, and third they-must-be-mistaken-if-I-just-call-again-maybe-the-answer-will-change ? for there is no fiber in my building (yet).

Up next is Spectrum (AKA Charter Communications FKA Time Warner Cable) who informed me the best they could do was 400Mbps for $70/month.. however again, there was the promise of 1Gbps soon. So I ordered the 400Mbps service, it was quickly installed, and it performed very well.

Several weeks later I read Spectrum is moving quickly in it?s rollout of 1Gbps service in Manhattan. After a quick prayer to the data gods, I called Spectrum and received the good word? I was in their 1Gbps service area!

The 1Gbps installation went well; my coaxial cable was verified to be 1Gbps ready and a brand new cable Gbps modem installed.

Loading that first test page? wait for it.. wait for it.. um.. that doesn?t seem better. Slow page loads, intermittent spiky downloads, not good.

The technician agreed and dutifully went down to his van and fetched another cable modem to replace the first. After a battery of tests, reboots, re-certifications, he said he would escalate the issue ?upstairs? as it wasn?t anything here on premise ? my side was good.

For two weeks I suffered a slower Internet hoping they would work out the issue, then I called them again and after spending what seemed like forever with lower level tech support asking scripted questions, they agreed to send a tech over to further diagnose the issue.

I kept it super simple for the tech, plugging my iMac directly into the cable modem and upon his arrival, ran a speedtest.net test to Charter which was a good place to start testing because the server is closest and will generally provide the fastest results.

It scored a whopping 780Mbps so he immediately declared victory, blaming the the Internet, calling it ?slow? and saying it was proof everything was on their end was fine. I pleaded, but the Internet doesn?t live in Charter?s datacenter..

So there we were, I was adamant it was slower at 1Gbps than 400Mbps and he was adamant there was nothing more to be done. So I pivoted and said, ?Ok, well I?m not getting Gb service I am paying for, so I would like you to downgrade me back to 400Mbit service so I can get faster internet?.

I?m pretty sure he thought I was crazy but to his credit, he went down to his van without complaint and brought back an Arris Docsis 3.0 modem which he configured for 400Mb service. That?s all we did, swap modems and have HQ configure new modem/mac address.

The test results confirm my observations, Spectrum 1Gbps was 13x slower to the internet for downloads than their 400Mbps service. Until Spectrum really figures out their infrastructure, you?re taking a chance trying it in New York. It?s actually slower. If you?ve already upgraded, I suggest you measure your speed using Internet Health Test and see if you are getting better than my 400Mb service test.

Services used for testing:

  • The Internet Health Test Speed between you and some dominant ISPs, a reasonable ?real world? example of what you might expect.
  • Speedtest.net Speed between you and your ISP or someone close by ?best case? scenario.
  • Netflix?s fast.com Speed between you and your friendly netflix node. Typically another example of ?best case?

My equipment for tests was as follows:

  • IMac Pro 2017 / 3Ghz Intel Xeon w/64GB ram using 1Gbe Full duplex 1500mtu. (Wifi turned off)
  • 5m Cat 7 ethernet cable
  • Technicolor TC4400 Docsis 3.1 Cable Modem (provided by Spectrum)

Spectrum 1Gbps Service Test Results:

Image for postSpectrum 1Gbps: Internet Health ResultsImage for postSpectrum 1Gbps ? Speedtest.net resultsImage for postSpectrum 1Gbps ? Netflix fast.com results

And here are my reinstated 400Mbps results tested immediately after downgrading from 1Gpbs.

Spectrum 400Mbps Service Test Results:

Image for postSpectrum 400Mbps: Internet Health ResultsImage for postSpectrum 400Mbps ? Speedtest.net resultsImage for postSpectrum 400Mbps ? Netflix fast.com results

Testing observations and notes:

Speedtest.net:

  • Spectrum == Charter Communications, this speed test should always be the fastest as it doesn?t go through many hops and/or the Internet at large
  • Each speedtest was run in the same order, manually selecting the servers.
  • AT&T ? check out the chocked upstream bandwidth! Clearly something interesting is going on there. Again, it?s not on my end, must be in their DC / peering.
  • Netflix test seems to perform at same level as Charter, my guess is they have a server peered on same premise as the speedtest server.

Internet Health Tests:

  • Pay attention! Those 1Gbps download results ARE slower than upload. Crazy bad! Notice how we?re maxing out upstream to all providers, a good sign that the physical layer on my end is in good shape.

General Observations:

  • ~10Mbps upstream is given to 200Mbps service, ~20 Mbps upstream is given to 400Mbps and ~40Mbps is given to 1 Gbps

Whenever I attempted to sustain a high rate of bandwidth on a single socket (e.g. download a large file), the stream eexhibited symptoms of TCP packet loss and/or Congestion Avoidance or a really bad traffic shaper in-between myself and the source creating a sawtooth like pattern as bandwidth backed off/reinstated over and over. I can imagine a misconfiguration of a shaper in their data center as being the cause of all this mess:

Image for postTraffic Shaping? Packets being dropped on purpose?

So there you are ? overall I wasted 11 hours of my time and suffered a slow internet for a few weeks trying out their Gb service. I?m super not impressed.

Their agents in the field are capable enough to install the modem / test the line / certify signal is good ? but there is no way to escalate to anyone in the organization for help when the problem is between your neighborhood node and the border of the Internet at large for Spectrum.

Disappointing, I was really looking forward to 1Gb service. I hope they work through their infrastructure issues before others are duped into paying more for a slower level of service.

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