Comcast Business Services support has been consistently stellar. Network or line problems are addressed within the same day, and I always get straight through to a knowledgeable person when I call support.
Recently, the coax connector on the cable modem/router snapped loose. I called Business Services, and within two hours a replacement router sat on my desk. I configured the device and called to have them enable it on their network. I got right through.
"This is Ron. How may I help you?"Twentysomething, confident in tone. A good sign.
"Hi Ron. This is Chris. I just configured a replacement router and need to have it enabled on your network."Hard stop.
"That is not a router. It is a mod-em. We call it a cable mod-em."Like I was five, or something.
"Ok, well, I use it to manage the network, that's why I call it a router."
"That is a cable modem, not a router."Strictly speaking, he was right: the Comcast Business Gateway (SMC 8014) modulates and demodulates the cable signal and is therefore a cable modem, albeit one with router-y capabilities.
I called it a router anyway. Another question:
"I have two Comcast devices. Next to the router is a Scientific Atlanta DPX2203. It's what we get our TV and phone with. What do you call that?"He should have. It was just a standard cable modem.
"I have no idea what that is."
He probably doesn't do residential customer support. Let it go.Ron logged on to the router. He did something and it rebooted.
"Try it now."No joy. My carefully configured network ceased up like an acrophobic mountain goat.
"Ron, the LAN can't see the WAN, local DHCP is busted, the NAT and DMZ configuration pages are disabled on the router and my server can't see the network."He shouldn't have to know, but I gave it to him. The router rebooted.
"What's your server's IP?"
"Ok, try it now."Better, but not right.
"The NAT and DMZ options are still disabled, and my local systems are assigned public IPs. Not good."I explained, patiently and at some length, that I wanted my local network behind the firewall and that my server had to bypass the firewall. I also didn't want my local systems using the block of static IPs assigned to my account. Basic stuff, but Ron simply didn't grasp the concept.
Then he said this, I swear:
"I can't help you with that. Those features are disabled for your account."Something had gone terribly, terribly wrong in my world. Subarachnoid hemorrhage? Radon?
Shake it off, Powers.
"Now, wait a minute. The router was shipped unlocked, just like my old router. I configured it, just like my old router. When you remotely configured it, those features became disabled. I NEED THEM. Did the firmware revision change or something?"Clearly, I was being tested. Ron said this with complete conviction, and it threw me.
"Sometimes the firmware changes, but NAT is disabled. You do not need those features."
"Ron, I most certainly DO need those features to configure my network. I had a server in the DMZ and a LAN behind the firewall, and now you're saying that I can no longer do that? Has my account status changed?"Confusion yielded to irritation.
"No, but we don't support those features. I really can't help you with that."
"Look, this is unacceptable. You replaced my router--sorry, cable modem--but disabled the features that I was using. It's useless now. Please let me speak to your supervisor or someone else who can help."Ron stumbled, then recovered.
"I can transfer you, but those features are not enabled for your account. We don't support NAT."My incredulity finally inspired a calm sense of purpose.
I will appeal to Ron's higher mind. He can be reasoned with. He is stubborn because he is afraid. I know he is wrong and he suspects he is wrong but wants to appear confident like his fellow techs who really do know their stuff.I chose to de-escalate and reason with him instead.
"Ok, let's think this through. Assuming you are right, why is my laptop accessing the Comcast DHCP server? Are you saying I can't even turn on the router's DHCP?"A pause.
"Let me look."The router rebooted. Third time.
"Check it now."All lights were green. Homepages blossomed.
"There! Great! What did you change?"I thanked him. He said to call back if I needed anything else.
"I enabled NAT."