UDM Pro and Comcast

UDM Pro and Comcast

We have Comcast Xfinity cable internet. It is the only internet provider I can get. Because it is cable internet I am served my internet over a coaxial cable to an Arris modem, currently an under performing SBG7400AC2. This was a standard WiFi combo modem/router unit a long while ago. While it still functions it does not currently support the internet speeds we pay for. Nor the amount of wireless devices they have set upon it. The powers that be where I live refuse to upgrade, so they pay for speeds I cannot attain.

Well the router sucks as you would imagine, there is not much control over anything, and the wireless was severely lacking in performance. I have noticed that most household routers can only handle about 20 active clients before you start to really see an issue with speed and packet loss, pages timing out on you.

At work I occasionally deal with networking. I  was able to get my hands on and install and play with some Ubiquiti gear in the past few months. I ended up getting a Ubiquiti Universal Dream Machine Pro and a pair of UniFi Flex 5 port switches for myself to tinker with at my house. The special edition was a tad too expensive but I should have gotten that one in hind sight. The SE version adds all PoE ports (but only two PoE+ ports) and a 2.5GB port WAN1 instead of a 1GB port WAN1. Both have two 10GB SFP+ ports. AND, it seems the SE gets all the damn software updates first! What the fuck Ubiquiti??  I was able to talk the “management” into letting me use my UDM-Pro vs their current crappy Arris stuff and they agreed. So I installed a UDM-Pro and an U6-Lite access point. It was fantastic, the wireless coverage was now covering the entire house and the basement as well as it being capable of handling up to 300 devices. Fanfuckingtastic! The UDM-Pro also was achieving higher speeds (by about 200MB) with the modem in bridge mode rather than it handling the overhead of router as well. This worked great for a while, until I started to notice lots of high latency periods and moments of lack of connection.

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ClearOS and SMTP with Comcast

With ClearOS 6 I was never able to get outgoing mail to work decently. Sure I could have used Comcast as a relay but then all my mail shows a bunch of Comcast junk as the sender. Pass. For some reason I don’t remember I could not get it to work well with Google;s servers either.

Well now I am running ClearOS 7, and the email seems to work flawlessly out of the box. I simply entered my Google mail settings (worked just fine with a Google Apps Domain) and hit the “Update and test” button – BAM! Email delivered. I am so happy right now.

There was one small catch, not any Gmail config worked. Here is what I used: Port 465 with SSL, 587 with TLS wouldn’t work for me. This was for ClearOS using Google SMTP servers with Comcast as the ISP.

Double your speed double your fun

I was at one of my in-laws neighbors homes the other day, he needed some help setting up Rabbit.TV and his Chromecast. I had never heard of Rabbit.TV, while it is cheap, $10 for the year, I found it very hokey and very difficult to navigate. Plus I believe it just links you to all the free content, but places it all in one convenient spot – I don’t know and not the point.

When I was all finished he asked if I wanted an extra cable modem he had. He had been mailed the modem in error or ended up not needing it after he bought it, I can’t remember which. I hesitated at first as I really need to stop collecting ewaste, but I took it and I am glad I did. I looked it up when I got home, nothing fancy just a Motorola SB6141. I was using a Ubee DDM3513 at the time. I originally has some Motorola Dinosaur but it had died, the Ubee is what was given to us in its stead. I haven’t had a lot of issues but I do feel it was sluggish at time. Not evidence to back it up thats just the overall feeling I was given from The Family. They two modems are both DOCSIS 3.0 the difference is (that would make a difference) that the SB6141 can handle “channel bonding of up to eight downstream channels and four upstream channels” (up to 300 Mbps downstream, 100 Mbps upstream). The Ubee is 4/4 (up to 171Mbps downstream, 122Mbps upstream). I Googled the hell out of the Motorola for a few hours and I came up with a lot of posts and forum comments on the performance. Most people advertised they were getting a higher Mbps with the SB6141 than other modems for their current speed tier (hitting 12Mbps on a 6Mbps account for example). So I decided to swap the modems out.

It actually went very smoothly, on Comcast’s side. I connected the new modem (SB6141) in place of the Ubee and plugged my netbook directly into it. It connected to the net within about 3 minutes or so. When I transferred the modem to the server/router is when I hit a snag. My ClearOS box wouldn’t grab a new IP address from the modem. If I watched it closely I could see it get the local address, then drop it, then switch to the ISP public and then drop it 10 seconds later. Then I got to stare at the spinning loading logo forever. The netbook would grab it no problem every time. I power cycled the modem and the server/router many times, made no difference. I even tried cloning the MAC of the netbook on the server/router, it did take the clone but it made no difference either. What worked for me was to delete the ethernet card under “IP settings”. Mine is eth11 so I just deleted eth11 and then added it back in again. Voila it worked.

Speed tests ran from speedtest.net and speakeasy both report 12Mbps down, 1Mbps up. Prior to the modem switch I was only hitting 6.5Mbps, which is my speed tier cap. So 12Mbps on a 6Mbps speed tier – score, at least for now.

Update 10-22-2015: I have come to find an easier solution (other than not using Comcast and therefor not needing a cable modem). If you SSH into the box you can simply release and renew the IP of the ethernet port.

sudo dhclient -r your_nic followed by
sudo dhclient your_nic

For example my card is enp3s0 so I would type:

sudo dhclient -r enp3s0

That should release and renew the IP for you. I found this out after upgrading to ClearOS 7. The old trick of deleting and re-adding the NIC wasn’t working anymore. So it appears that it is not just Comcast and their cable modems, ClearOS has something to do with it.