First, they tricked me into paying monthly for their modem, now they are preventing me from using a modem I purchased. Here’s the story of that particular level of hell reserved for Comcast customers.
I researched which modem to get for a long time. It came down to the Motorola SB6141 and SB6121 modems. Comcast’s own compatibility chart didn’t seem to suggest either would be better for me, so I chose the newer model (the SB6141).
My SB6141 comes, I plug it in and call Comcast. I settled in for what I thought would be a long call. Sometime after the new modem was activated and we were having trouble getting it to work, the Comcast rep said “you can’t use this modem, it’s not certified for Business class service.” He also said that I couldn’t use this modem with static IPs, like I have, so I would definitely have to get another one, and the SB6121 was a good choice, he said. After some interrogation by me, I gave up and put the old modem back. The guy configured it and we couldn’t get it to work. He said “I can see the modem fine from this side, so the problem is definitely on your side.” Right. I fiddle for an hour and find nothing wrong (I didn’t change anything on my side, after all), so I call back. Turns out the original guy configured the network mask incorrectly. Anyway, after several hours I’m back up, though a little more pissed than I started.
So, I ordered the SB6121 and sent the SB6141 back to Amazon.
My SB6121 comes, I plug it in and call Comcast. I settle in again for what I assume will be a long call. The nice lady activates the new modem and says “oh, you have static IPs and this modem doesn’t work with static IPs.” What? Are you kidding me? First, the modem for sure does support static IPs. I say this with absolute authority. She relents and says, “well, it is Comcast policy that static IPs require a modem rental.” I plead with her not to do this. I tell her the tale of woe above, about the first modem. She puts me on hold for 10 minutes while she checks around. Comes back and says “sorry” nothing she can do. I reinstall the old modem and she activates it, without problem this time.
I’m sending the SB6121 back today.
- Comcast tells me when I sign up for service the modem is included.
- Later, they decide they want that revenue and even though they told me it was free, they start charging.
- One internet shit storm later, Comcast says “but you can buy your own modem if you don’t want to pay for ours!”
- I buy not one but TWO modems that are on their compatibility list, only to finally be told of their policy: if you are a Business Internet customer with static IPs you must rent the modem.
Let’s be clear: there is absolutely no technical reason for this policy, and either of the modems I bought would have worked fine had Comcast wanted to activate them.
Comcast, you make it so easy to hate you.
I posted this on a Comcast forum and got this reply from user networkengineer:
Sorry to hear all your issues. I too am a Comcast Business customer as well as a Sr. Network Engineer for one of Silicon Valley’s largest tech companies. There is actually a very good reason for them to require you use their cable modem/router for static IPs. They provide static IPs via a routing protocol called RIP. They do not provide static IPs to business customers via a bridge connection (local gateway other side of the wire) and for good reason. Most business customers would not want static IPs in the same subnet as other business customers. There are many reasons for this that would require a whole separate conversation.
Since they use a routing protocol to do this, they require a routing security mechanism that is built into the linux based SMC router. This is to ensure those that know just enough to be dangerous do not poison and/or destroy the routing tables for all other Comcast customers. You as a customer can not see the routing protocol and how they secure it from the customer accessible WebUI.
With that being said, not all is lost. If you really want a bridged connection with multiple sticky IPs, I know with a Residential account, you can get a 2nd one for $4.95 and additional ones thereafter for $9 each. This may or may not fulfill your needs. You would be able to use the SB6141 with the 8×4 channels as well.
If you want to remain on the Comcast Business account using the SB6121, you can switch to a dynamic IPv4 address and fill out this form to get a /56 IPv6 subnet wherein you can have static IPv6 addresses there. There are routers such as the ASUS RT-N66U or the Netgear WRN3500L where you can run open source firmware like TomatoUSB to enable the IPv6 function.
IPv6 is coming faster than most people realize and this could be the better route for you in the long haul.
So, it looks like there is a good reason to require me to have a modem they control. That’s fine, but:
- This modem is an essential part of the service, and
- their argument the rental is because the equipment is optional is no longer valid.
Will they also start charging me a rental fee for the wire the laid from the telephone pole in front of my house?