Thursday, August 16, 2012

Charter Communications blacklists Netgear DOCSIS modems, as Comcast XFINITY users continue to experience problems.

CMD31T - BLACKLISTED 05/24/2012
Add Charter Communications customers to the list of broadband subscribers who have been cut off the 'net, when their Internet Service Provider (ISP) ceased to support the Netgear CMD31T DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) 3.0 modem. This follows the problems that Comcast Xfinity subscribers experienced back in March, when that provider of cable broadband services was forced to roll back an IPv6 upgrade, after finding that it rendered the Netgear CMD31T useless.

Earlier this week, a Charter subscriber and CMD31T owner in Atlanta reported intermittent connectivity problems to Netgear's customer support. According to the subscriber, Netgear pointed the finger back at Charter. The subscriber then escalated the issue with Charter's senior support advisers in Greenville, North Carolina. In an email, which he forwarded to the EE Daily News, a Charter supervisor advised that the NetGear CMD31T had been "blacklisted" on May 24.

I apologize this was above my level to assist you with the issues we had today and hope that the corporate contact or netgear can assist you further with this issue.
At our request, Charter is currently investigating the reasons for the blacklisting, but according to the company's policy - "Any device considered non compliant must be replaced with a compliant device." The Charter customer in Atlanta had just purchased and installed his NetGear modem in March, when Charter did include NetGear on their list of compatible modem providers:
One month after the blacklisting, on June 26, Charter instituted a new policy, prohibiting new customers from using their own modems.
Note: Effective June 26, 2012 For new Internet Customers and customers switching to our New Package Pricing, we will no longer allow customer-owned modems on our network. In order to provide our customers powerful and reliable Internet service at a great value, we will provide modems included in Internet pricing under our New Package Pricing.

Netgear modem problems persist for Comcast customers

After their IPv6 debacle in March, Comcast also essentially blacklisted the Netgear CMD31T, saying at the time:
The retail NetGear CMD31T device has a known IPv6-related software defect. This prevents the device from being provisioned on the Comcast network.
Netgear has since updated their firmware, and Comcast now approves the CMD31T for use on their network, including a check mark for IPv6 compatibility.

However, the CMD31T problems apparently persist on XFINITY also, as last week a customer in Maryland reported that Comcast was unable to deploy his brand new modem. The subscriber had been advised by Comcast that he needed to upgrade his equipment, in order to take advantage of enhanced network speeds, and he unfortunately chose the Netgear device from Comcast's recommended list.

According to the XFINITY customer:
"after an hour and a half on the phone they tell me the network won't recognize my modem and they need to send someone out in a few days"
Our inquiry to Comcast resulted in this response:

I can confirm the Netgear CMD31T modem has been certified by Comcast engineers, is on our approved modem list and is IPv6 compatible.

  As you noted, we have that device listed here: 

Based on our conversation with Netgear, they told us they are “aware of no issues that should be occurring, but will immediately diagnose and address.
Though no issues "should be occurring", as the Charter blacklisting shows - they are and all Netgear needed to do was check their customer support logs.

Netgear's response, through their PR agency:

“Over the past few months, NETGEAR has worked closely with Comcast to provide updated firmware for the CMD31T modem that supports Comcast’s IPv6 deployment. That update has been pushed out to installed customers and all NETGEAR inventory has been shipping with this new firmware since early May.  If there are any remaining customers with CMD31T modems which did not receive this update, NETGEAR will be happy to replace the device at no cost. Customers are advised to contact NETGEAR support if a replacement device is needed and can verify which firmware version the device has through logging into the administration screen for their modem .” – A NETGEAR spokesperson
Netgear also advised that owners of the CMD31T should check their firmware version, and "If the software version is V404d, customer should contact NETGEAR support for a replacement".

The XFINITY customer did not have an opportunity to check his firmware version, but he was able to return the just-purchased CMD31T to Walmart.  Since Netgear states they have been shipping updated modems since May, and he purchased his from Walmart on August 6, it is unlikely that he got a device with the older firmware. The Charter customer, who had purchased his modem in March, did check his firmware. He has Software Version V501d, and is still experiencing intermittent connectivity issues.

A request for an explanation from Netgear produced this response:
"according to the Charter Communications website, they will provide modems under their new package pricing. This will in-turn effect all third-party modems/vendors."
Unfortunately, as shown above, Charter is only providing modems to new customers or those who change their pricing plan. Charter has not done an across the board blacklisting of non Charter-supplied modems, nor have they prohibited customers from continuing to use the complaint devices that they currently possess.

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