Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What Are Acceptable Signal Levels for Comcast for High-Speed Internet Modem to Maintain Audio Streams, Video Streams?

When you have intermittent interruptions in audio streams or video streams while using your Comcast Internet service, you might have a technician come to check your Cable Modem, and the technician might tell you that everything is fine with your modem because the Downstream (Rx) Power Level is in the "Acceptable" range. Then the next day or even the same night you have signal problems again, and you lose a video stream or lose an audio stream connection. You might also see timeout errors, or certain sections of web pages might load a lot more slowly than other sections of the web page. You might notice that you are waiting abnormally long for an embedded Tweet, or Facebook picture, or Google map to appear on a web page. The page seems out of sync. There is a good chance you might have a problem with your Downstream (Rx) Receive Power Level.

In order to have good Internet speed, good web page loading, and well-functioning audio streams and video streams; a household or business must have good signal levels going into the cable modem. Here is an unofficial table that is believed to be accurate or close to accurate regarding downstream power levels that users receive at their Cable Modems ...

Downstream (Rx) Receive Power Level:
-7 dBmV to +7 dBmV "Recommended"
-8 dBmV to -10 dBmV / +8 dBmV to +10 dBmV - "Acceptable"
-11 dBmV to -15 dBmV / +11 dBmV to +15 dBmV - "Maximum"
Lower than -15 dBmV & Higher than +15 dBmV - "Out Of Spec."

Rx = Receive

Comcast techs usually quote the "Acceptable" range when you ask them what levels are "good" coming to the modem. (Note: None of the techs have ever mentioned SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) or QAM modulation. SNR is another factor that could be causing problems, but you can't fix SNR problems yourself.) Downstream (Rx) Receive Power Level problems are probably more common than other problems.

Take note that even if you are too high or too low but within the "Maximum" range you might have problems, such as slow loading pages, pages that don't don't load all the sections of a web page, and audio and video streams that disconnect. You might even have temporary problems when you're are within the "Acceptable" limits but are near the outer limits of the "Acceptable" range.

You can check your own levels by logging into your modem from your own home network while you are at your home or business. The web address to access your modem is usually 10.0.0.1

The default admin name and password is ...

admin
password

Here is an example of how to check your levels. From your browser at your home or business connected to your Comcast/Xfinity network, type 10.0.0.1 in your browser's URL address line.

Enter your admin name and password ("admin" and "password").

In the menu at the left, go to Connection: XFINITY Network

You should see a table that is titled "Gateway > Connection > XFINITY Network"

In the table, look for Downstream: Power Level. You can compare your levels to the Downstream (Rx) Power Level at the top of this article. Ideally you want to have levels in between -7 dBmV to +7 dBmV.

If you see a level that is too low (-11 dBmV or -15 or worse), you need to contact Comcast because you need a stronger signal. If you are at -15 dBmV you probably don't have any Internet service at all.  Keep in mind that if have a level like -8 dBmV, changes in weather and temperature can possibly change the signal to a lower level. If you are having intermittent problems, weather conditions might drop your signal "Out of Spec" when you deserve a better signal coming to your house or business. Call Comcast.

If you see a level that is too high (+15 dBmV or even +8 dBmV) you might be able to fix the problem yourself by putting a splitter or a cable coupler in between the Comcast line into your house (or business) and your Cable Modem. A good splitter causes a drop of about 3.5 dBmV (-3 dBmV). Every location where there is a break in the coax cable line there will be a power loss. If you have a power level of +10 dBmV and you put the splitter on the line, you should then see a modified Downstream (Rx) Power Level of 6.5 dBmV. There are also 1-to-4 splitters that drop the signal about 7 dBmV (-7 dBmV). Keep in mind that changes in weather can also increase as well as lower the power level signal relative to the time you observed the readings.

This is a simple solution to the problem of a signal that is too high out of range or near the upper limit of an acceptable Downstream Power Level.   Keep in mind also that other problems can also cause changes in signal. There are situations when technicians forget to cover boxes on utility poles. This causes the boxes to fill with water, which can cause serious line problems. Squirrels can also chew on lines and cause disconnections or signal problems from loss of insulation.  Technicians often work at night. Whether they are working at night or during the day, they might make a quick change on the cable line that interrupts the signal for only a few seconds. This might not be noticed when you are loading a regular web page, but it might freeze your audio or video stream.

Also keep in mind that your audio stream or video stream source may also have technical problems. The source could have line problems, or the source could be overloaded by viewers.

If you are having trouble, try to get your Downstream (Rx) Receive Power Level in the "Recommended" level, which might provide a simple resolution. If you still have problems, then make sure Comcast rules out other potential problems up the line.

Monday, June 27, 2016

How Much Data Is Used During Audio Streaming on a 3G/4G Smartphone?

According to Verizon Wireless the data usage for audio streaming is 60 MB/hr.

Audio Track Download (3 1/2 min at 192 kbps) = 7 MB

1 MB = 1,024 KB
1 GB = 1,024 MB

Verizon Wireless Data Calculator
verizonwireless.com/b2c/splash/dataShareCalculator.jsp


How Much Data Use on a 3G/4G Smartphone for a Text Only E-mail?

According to Verizon Wireless the data usage for a text only email is about 10KB.

1 MB = 1,024 KB
1 GB = 1,024 MB

Verizon Wireless Data Calculator
verizonwireless.com/b2c/splash/dataShareCalculator.jsp


Friday, June 24, 2016

My TwitterFeed Stopped Working; Nothing Is Posting to Twitter or Facebook

TwitterFeed offers the following instructions for troubleshooting designated posts that don't make to your Twitter or Facebook timelines.

First, check that there isn't something in the feed that instructs TwitterFeed to stop posting items - for details of the elements that we check when deciding whether to post an item or not, see the previous entry "My feed updated once, but only once, and never again". If everything looks OK in this respect, it could be related to a problem with the realtime (pubsubhubbub) hub not sending us notifications, or with the server headers returned by the feed server incorrectly telling us there's nothing new to retrieve.

First, try the "check now!" link for the feed in the dashboard, this should run a fetch of the feed, and update to Twitter if it finds anything new. If this doesn't work, or the issue consistently returns after a manual check, please let Twitterfeed know at support@twitterfeed.com with details of the feed URL and your account, and they will investigate.

In addition to TwitterFeed's advice ...

Also, be aware that Facebook has a "Token" that expires every so often. If you are feeding your blog articles to Facebook, they will probably stop after a certain time interview. TwitterFeed shows the status regarding when the Token will expire.

To see the information, go to Dashboard: Feed: Step 2.

If you have already setup a Facebook feed, you will see it listed in the Step 2 page with the expiration date in brackets. Twitter doesn't have an expiration token.

Before the expiration (optimally) or after expiration date, click on the Facebook listing in the Step 2 page.

Next click on the blue button that says "Connect with Facebook" ... Make sure your previously connected personal Facebook page is listed in the first drop down menu. When you click the blue Facebook button, another dropdown menu will display below the blue button. Select the Facebook page in the dropdown menu where you want your blog article to post.

A new expiration date will appear.  The posts will eventually stop working after the expiration date, so it is best to do this procedure before the expiration date. The token lasts about two months, so a page connect today on June 24, 2016 would get an expiration date of August 24, 2016.

See also ...
help.twitterfeed.com/knowledgebase/articles/88113-feed-isn-t-posting-even-though-there-are-new-items

My TwitterFeed Stopped Working; Nothing Is Posting to Twitter or Facebook

TwitterFeed offers the following instructions for troubleshooting designated posts that don't make to your Twitter or Facebook timelines.

First, check that there isn't something in the feed that instructs TwitterFeed to stop posting items - for details of the elements that we check when deciding whether to post an item or not, see the previous entry "My feed updated once, but only once, and never again". If everything looks OK in this respect, it could be related to a problem with the realtime (pubsubhubbub) hub not sending us notifications, or with the server headers returned by the feed server incorrectly telling us there's nothing new to retrieve.

First, try the "check now!" link for the feed in the dashboard, this should run a fetch of the feed, and update to Twitter if it finds anything new. If this doesn't work, or the issue consistently returns after a manual check, please let Twitterfeed know at support@twitterfeed.com with details of the feed URL and your account, and they will investigate.

In addition to TwitterFeed's advice ...

Also, be aware that Facebook has a "Token" that expires every so often. If you are feeding your blog articles to Facebook, they will probably stop after a certain time interview. TwitterFeed shows the status regarding when the Token will expire.

To see the information, go to Dashboard: Feed: Step 2.

If you have already setup a Facebook feed, you will see it listed in the Step 2 page with the expiration date in brackets. Twitter doesn't have an expiration token.

Before the expiration (optimally) or after expiration date, click on the Facebook listing in the Step 2 page.

Next click on the blue button that says "Connect with Facebook" ... Make sure your previously connected personal Facebook page is listed in the first drop down menu. When you click the blue Facebook button, another dropdown menu will display below the blue button. Select the Facebook page in the dropdown menu where you want your blog article to post.

A new expiration date will appear.  The posts will eventually stop working after the expiration date, so it is best to do this procedure before the expiration date. The token lasts about two months, so a page connect today on June 24, 2016 would get an expiration date of August 24, 2016.

See also ...
help.twitterfeed.com/knowledgebase/articles/88113-feed-isn-t-posting-even-though-there-are-new-items

Friday, June 17, 2016

Change DNS When Your Page Has Sections that Don't Load or Load Slowly

All computers and most mobile devices and routers let you point to DNS servers other than those provided by your ISP (Internet service provider). If you are having weird symptoms with your browser not loading the complete web page, or stalling at certain points, you might want to try alternate DNS. Symptoms include web page widgets not loading, such as Twitter embeds or Facebook embeds. You might notice an extra long time period while an ad loads, and you might see the ad server address show during the delay in the status box of your browser.

Choosing an alternate DNS
So-called public DNS providers offer DNS lookups that anyone can use. Switching to an alternate DNS requires a little tech operation, but there is no account set up, and it's free. There are two common alternatives -- OpenDNS and Google's Public DNS.

OpenDNS is the original DNS, beginning at a time when ISP-run DNS servers were very slow while your computer looked up the web address. OpenDNS sped things up by using an array of fast servers. Today OpenDNS has an array of servers with free-with-registration and paid add-on services for malware, threat protection, and network usage analysis. OpenDNS's DNS servers are 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220.

Google’s Public DNS doesn't include the add-ons. Google's Public DNS is just DNS with the sleek numbers 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 for its DNS servers. There are additional public DNS servers, but these are the most common alternatives.

In most network configurations, an IP address and other network settings are provided from a DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server on a local network via a router to all devices that connect for Internet access. One or more DNS servers is set this way. However, you can override this.
Public and ISP DNS providers typically give you two servers, that’s to handle a temporary failure or temporary overloading. One server usually works, but two gives you a backup in case the first one is having a problem.

Mac OS X

Open System Preferences and click Network.

Select your active adapter, such as Wi-Fi or ethernet.

Click Advanced.

Click the DNS tab.

Click the + sign at the bottom and type or paste in the first DNS server (e.g., 8.8.8.8). Then click + again to paste in the second (e.g., 8.8.4.4).

Click OK and then Apply.

Window 10

Right-Click on the monitor or Wi-Fi icon on the bottom right-hand corner, and Click on “Open Network and Sharing Center”.

Go to the active Internet connection

In the next window click on “Properties” button

Uncheck the “Internet Protocol Version 6” checkbox (6), then select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and click on “Properties”

Select the “Use the following DNS server addresses” option and enter DNS Server addresses into the box for "Preferred DNS server" and "Alternate DNS server." You can find them in your Client Area -> VPN Packages -> your Smart DNS package or your VPN package that support Smart DNS service. Click “OK” .

Restart your computer.

See also ...

macworld.com/article/2930714/change-your-dns-to-avoid-or-bypass-broadband-outages-like-comcasts.html

zdnet.com/article/fixing-dns-woes-for-comcast-users-and-everyone-else/

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Track Outbound Links to Report Links from Local Banner Ads or Text Links from Local Advertisers

If an advertiser wants to track clicks, you might want to check to see if Google Analytics can track your outbound links. According to Google Support for Google Analytics, you can use Analytics Events to track clicks on links that take users to a website other than your own.

Google Support states that if you copy and paste this script exactly as it appears here, your outbound clicks will appear in your Analytics Events reports with a Category of "outbound" and an Action of "click". (In the snippet, these are shown in bold.) You can use these values, or change them and define your own values. Learn more about Event components.

Your website must be using the analytics.js tracking code, and not older deprecated versions of tracking code.

The recommended script is here ...

Track outbound link
https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1136920?hl=en


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mac File Sharing Trouble with El Capitan: Mac File List Doesn't Refresh from Host: Turn Off SMB and Turn On AFP

For some reason when a Mac mini was updated to Mac OS X El Capitan, shared folders made the connection, but new files listed on the host were not being shared with the client Mac running Mac OS X 10.8.5.  File in the folder might show at the initial connection, but any files added might not show in the display on the client Mac.

HERE IS THE FIX ...

Go to system preference on the host Mac

Go to Sharing on the host mac

Make Sure File Sharing is Checked (left)

Click the Options Button

Check "Share files and folders using AFP" to use the legacy file sharing protocol for Apple Macs. If there are no Windows machines on your network, turn off SMB (Windows).

Click Done.

You may have to login to the host again. Also, if had an alias in the sidebar, you may have to remove the old alias from the sidebar, and drag in a new alias for the connection.


The reason the change is necessary is caused by the fact that The Apple Filing Protocol (AFP), which has been Apple's default networking protocol in the classic Mac OS as well as in OS X, has been replaced with SMB2.

Server Message Block (SMB) is a file transfer protocol that has been the main networking protocol for Windows-based systems. Having different default protocols has made the use of both Windows and Mac systems on the same network frustrating, since until Apple introduced native SMB support in OS X, users had to rely on third-party SMB support for sharing files with Windows systems.


The Server Message Block (SMB) Protocol is a network file sharing protocol, and as implemented in Microsoft Windows is known as Microsoft SMB Protocol. The set of message packets that defines a particular version of the protocol is called a dialect. The Common Internet File System (CIFS) Protocol is a dialect of SMB.