[ale] Comcast cable modem - incompatible?

Lightner, Jeff jlightner at water.com
Sat Oct 2 12:32:11 EDT 2010

Does anyone know what Comcast is doing on October 12th that might make
my Motorola SB5100 modem no longer be compatible?


Does anyone know what could be done to make it compatible?


Note:  This is a cable modem I purchase not one "leased" from Comcast.



Comcast sent me a letter back in August indicating my modem needed to be
replaced because it is an "older device" by Sep 14th.   I went online to
the site they listed in the letter for compatible devices and found that
the SB5100 is in fact showing as "Approved".   I gathered from further
research that what was happening is that they were EOLing modems that
don't do at least DOCSIS 2.0.   The SB5100 can do DOCSIS 2.0 but not
DOCSIS 3.0.    On calling Comcast the person I spoke to confirmed that
it was an approved device and should continue working through Sep 14th.
It did and is working today (10/02/2010).


However, I've received another letter from Comcast similar to the first
except now it says it "may be functioning with unsupported firmware"
and "may not be able to receive the full range of speeds" and now says
it should be replaced by Oct 12th.   This letter like the former one
says my service will stop on that date despite the "may" it contains in
the first paragraph.   Since the prior letter didn't mention firmware
and it continued to work despite its dire warning I'm skeptical.


On checking Motorola's site for firmware they say that is done by the
ISP (which would be Comcast).   Other forums mention that ISPs don't
like doing this because they have to pay Motorola but suggest that they
in fact do it.


On calling Comcast they at first told me they "never" push firmware.
On challenging that statement the person put me on hold then came back
and told me that the "servers" push firmware but that it failed on my
modem because it was "broken".  I pointed out that I was on the internet
as we were speaking so clearly it isn't "broken".  Given that statement
and the fact she didn't know anything about them pushing firmware I
asked her question such as:

1)       When was the firmware push attempted?

2)       What version of firmware was attempted?

3)       What version of firmware do I have that won't be compatible on
Oct 12th?

4)       What exactly is happening Oct 12th that requires a change?

At that point she took an attitude and said that I was acting like she
didn't know what she was talking about.   She couldn't or wouldn't
answer any of the questions I had asked.   When I tried to get to a
higher level support person she simply transferred me to the main 800
number.  I did speak to Customer Service there and was essentially told
that they believe the letter was sent in error but  on pressing for
details couldn't get any.   That person transferred me to what turned
out to be Comcast Security Assurance Ctr which of course wasn't where I
needed to go as their purpose is to deal with phishing/spamming and
other security concerns.

I again called the main line and escalated to a supervisor but still got
no answers.   


I don't think Comcast is just trying to get me to lease a new modem as
the letter says I can buy one at a retailer.  I've already priced
replacements that do DOCSIS 3.0 (e.g. SB6120) that are listed as
compatible on their site.   However, without them being able to give me
good information I'm loathe to do that because they can't tell me why
the current modem isn't adequate or why there is a need for a change on
Oct 12th in the first place.
Proud partner. Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
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