marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

After we brought the modem home one hot and disgusting day toward the end of last month in between ceaseless rain storms, Other Person called Comcast to help us troubleshoot it. The modem was simply not cooperating; we'd exchanged the old one to fix download speeds as low as 1.5mbps when we're supposed to be getting 75mbps down and no less than 30-45 over wifi, but even with the new modem there was no improvement.

OP wound up speaking to what, back in the day, we'd call Level 5 tech. The guy who worked with him over the phone (it was on speaker so I could listen and participate as needed) was well-spoken and clearly knowledgeable, as well as extremely patient and nice, but couldn't figure it out. He walked OP through a number of steps and processes to no avail, before he got the idea to log into our modem as us and make some adjustments.

This meant granting himself access to our gateway admin panel (the panel you normally log into over 10.0.0.0.1, or similar) which made me a bit nervous because I tend to lock things down like Fort Knox the same day we bring each modem home (and this is our third one in a year, so I've gotten rather good at practicing really tight security) but I consented simply to get the modem running right.

Well, it got running right (I'll post an image of just how fast our wifi is on the laptop we keep in the kitchen to use while we're cooking or hanging out nearby, maybe as my next post, only because it is rather funny by itself) but the possible tradeoff for that was when I logged into our Comcast account later on that night, the wifi page told me the modem was no longer ours.

But this was impossible with the way Level 5 would have left things for us. He specifically asked permission to use our last modem's broadcast name (let's say it was Cowboy, though it was not) and our last wifi password (let's say it was c0mca5t5uck5, though it was not) while he was in there making his adjustments*, which we allowed him to do for the sake of expediency.

But when I logged into Comcast later on that night instead of seeing the gateway broadcasting as Cowboy with the password c0mca5t5uck5, I saw this:

Instead of seeing our wifi broadcast name and password, I saw info belonging to someone else on our Comcast account page

The screencap shows our gateway broadcasting with the wrong name and password. To protect the information from search indexing I'm not posting the text.

I'm like, who is L*, and what kind of password is that, because neither I nor OP would ever choose it. There is and has never been a gateway named L* in our area, so it didn't seem like it could be an odd, local mixup on Comcast's part, not to mention our wifi was literally broadcasting as Cowboy - not as L* - even as I saw this strange name and password on the page, so it also didn't seem possible a stranger had overtaken our router. And again, our Level 5 told us he used Cowboy and c0mca5t5uck5 when he went into our router to make his changes, so he should not have been at fault for why the broadcast name and password were showing up as someone else's.

At this point I was wondering if I should call Comcast as I realized I hadn't once logged into the admin panel myself to do my usual Fort Knox lockdown, when suddenly I thought to just refresh the page. Sure enough, the reloaded page showed our broadcast name as Cowboy and the password as c0mca5t5uck5. Multiple refreshes didn't bring the page back to showing the wrong name and password, so at that point it looked like the problem was solved - but not knowing what caused it has been sort of bugging me ever since.

* Edited after posting to more accurately explain what Level 5 did.