Possible Fix for Cox Internet Flakiness

A LOT of my clients are complaining about their Macs losing Internet connection on a constant basis, forcing them to re-start the cable modem… Sometimes, several times a day. These are folks using an Apple device (Airport Extreme, Time Capsule, or Airport Express) for their wireless network.

Right now, Cox is telling folks to beware of the problem when installing new, bought-separately cable modems, and that they are working with Apple on a fix.  Personally, I think that their programmers are lazy, but that’s another topic.


At the moment, I believe that the problem all relates back to “IPv6” – What the heck is that?  It’s the far, FAR better way of dealing with the Internet as it matures and grows.  However, many companies are resisting the change-over to the new system, which allows for vastly more growth in numbers of connected devices, worldwide. Modern companies have made the awkward change to the new system, but not everybody.

In the meantime, here is a possibility for making things more stable:

On your Mac, close all windows.  Click once on the colorful desktop. At the top of the screen, look for the “Go” menu.  Pull it down, and choose “Utilities”.  Double-click on the “Airport Utility” program, and then follow these instructions to downgrade your Airport’s firmware:

Apple Airport/Time Capsule 7.6.3 update breaks IPv6 tunneling, fix is downgrading

If it doesn’t make a difference, then you can always switch it back.  Let me know if it helps!

Update from Darren:

I may have a solution for you, because I had the exact same problem. For months, I would have to reboot my modem and Airport router intermittently but persistently, sometimes once a week, other times more than once in a day. I tried resetting the modem using Cox’s automated system, I tried 3 different Airport routers to see if that was the problem…. I even rigged up a remote control just as Tony did, to turn the modem off and on. 

Finally, at the end of my rope and without much optimism, I called Cox tech support. On the call, a helpful (!) support person and I half-accidentally stumbled on the issue. The problem in my case was that I had a modem (Motorola’s SB 6121) that wasn’t able to handle the level of service I had ordered from Cox (I have the next tier down from their top speed, whatever that’s called). So I ordered a new Surfboard 6183 modem, got Cox to initialize it, and haven’t had the problem since. 

I imagine if you didn’t want to buy a new modem, you could always downgrade your service speed to achieve the same effect. Seems worth a try, anyway. I suppose I could still blame Cox for not being savvy enough to know that I needed a better modem for my service level, but for now I’m just happy that things are working properly.

Update two:

I just went to look at my cable modem, which is an old Motorola Surfboard 6120 – probably six years old.  I’m severely tempted to order a newer 6190, or the 6183, which is sold at Costco.

SB6190 SURFboard® Cable Modem

Update three:  I bought the Surfboard 6190 a while ago, right after writing this article.  I’ve been serenely happy with the results.  My previous modem wasn’t particularly OLD – It was more middle-aged.  It seems that a NEW, properly-sorted-out-for-2016 modem is what was needed.

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