AT&T Tech Repair Thoughts – Modem Tester Anyone?

New PictureAfter several days of intermittent WiFi access in late July, I contacted AT&T through their online chat. After a lengthy conversation and some basic troubleshooting, the online tech concluded it was an issue that needed to be reviewed by an onsite technician. They had availability a few days later during the 4 to 8 pm time slot so I agree that would work. I was relieved and happy to see the tech arrive at 4 pm after a prior phone call.

A little perspective, in April, new cat5 cabling was installed in our home which replaced the coaxial cable. Coaxial had to be replaced because they replaced our modem without being notified. Our modem was upgraded because we got DirecTV. 

So when the tech visited, he may have a good idea where to begin and what to troubleshoot. Because we had new cabling installed in the interior a few months ago, that was not his first place to start. The tech started from the outside to ensure the incoming signal was good. It looked good but because the interior cabling was new, he reluctantly checked the input signal one more time so he was able to conclude the signal was good to and around the house. 

He was leaning toward reviewing the modem, but because it was new and not part of the refurbished modem lot, he wanteIMG_0925 (2)d to eliminate all other potential problems.  

Because the exterior and interior cabling was fully functional, he kept thinking there may be some interference with the signal internally. In other words, electrical wires near the cat5 cables might interfere intermittently with the transfer of the signal. To eliminate that possibility, he moved each of the cables away from each other to reduce that risk. Still an issue with the inconsistent WiFi signal.

At this point, the only device to review is the modem. He plugged his device directly into the feeder cable and got a good signal. But still, the WiFi network had intermittent service. At this point, the modem is bad or has to be reset. 

After the reset, it took about 5 minutes before the signal came back up and appeared to be strong. As he’s doing other testing, I’m validating that reset may have been the key. 

IMG_0923Towards the end of his troubleshooting, I said the ideal would include a modem device where techs could quickly validate if the modem was completely functional or not. How much easier would there job be if that could be identified initially? What about if the online tech could make that determination without dispatching a tech? Mind you, he was certainly customer centric and spent over 60 minutes troubleshooting but if he had the option to test and validate the modem, all the other troubleshooting could be eliminated.

There are some situations where the cabling is bad or a weak external signal so a modem tester would not be a complete god-send but would save much time in these situations. Even if the tech does not initially know where the issue resides, testing and validating the modem would provide a good launching pad.