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Cluttermagnet

Questions About WiFi Aspect of VOIP (Comcast) Telephony

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Cluttermagnet

Hi, All-

I hope you guys know a little more about these issues and can help me
find clarity on how to move forward from my (new) present situation
so far as my home telephone setup at Casa Betty...

A little background- I finally threw in the towel with Verizon and our
one surviving POTS (plain old telephone service) wired line. They
disconnected us- twice- not at our request but rather to try to herd
us into accepting a FIOS line to the house. I won't go into detail- there
is a lot- but I ended up ordering Comcast VOIP telephony. As an
expediency, I accepted provision of a Comcast modem (planning to
buy my own modem later). That runs 14 dollars/month, 168/year.
A low end modem costs around 40-50 dollars. That's likely where I'll
end up.

There was already Comcast internet here, but we had dropped
the TV entirely- too expensive very little choice- they push
'packages', I want a la carte. We had 2 cable modems operating
simultaneously on a single coax line, as enabled by Comcast.

Several problems cropped up immediately after the telephone
modem install- which went pretty smooth and easy BTW. One is
they have disabled both our regular cable modems (customer
owned) I've been through that sort of thing before, and I know
what I need to get done to get those reinstated. Takes help
usually from both tech support and finance- the latter to get the
two now dead modems 're-provisioned' in their system. Much
bedlam can be created when things are done 'automated'...

BTW after the install the telephone line sprang to life and is
working just as it should. Great! I've been without a 'landline'
for about a week, bless their shriveled, wicked hearts at
Verizon (sarcasm intended).

***But here is what I want to ask you guys about: Comcast
wants to turn every customer site into a wireless WiFi
paradise, and if I remember right, seems I even heard that
they intend that every Comcast-subscribed bozo who is
nearby can obtain internet connectivity through *my* modem!
This is utterly unacceptable to me. I am wondering if there
is any easy way to toggle the WiFi function in the modem
on and off as needed? Somehow I doubt it- at least they
probably make it pretty hard and inconvenient to do.
All I wanted was a freakin' cable telephone modem,
I didn't want any WiFi...

So this new modem is running a wireless hotspot in my
house that I don't want. I don't yet know if I can disable
that. The modem does have 4 ethernet jacks in back, as
well as 2 RJ-11 telephone jacks. I used the ethernet
connection and a laptop to set up the new modem.
I don't want any WiFi running in general because I see
that as less secure than Ethernet. You may remember
that Clutter has his whole house wired up with Ethernet
cables, and has been using it almost exclusively. I am
also concerned about health implications of having WiFi
constantly running.

***Can anyone confirm that I am stuck with this unwanted
WiFi hotspot until I dump the Comcast modem and buy
my own?

It's been a tough year, guys. I lost my partner. This
recent outrage with Verizon is just one more relatively
small painful experience. I can tell you that, while I'm
not a big fan of Comcast and the sometimes poor
customer experiences they provide, my fury towards
Verizon burns white hot. I'll have more to say about
that some other time. I've been repeatedly lied to and
generally mistreated and I'm very angry right now.

Thanks All, HNY...

Clutter

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V.T. Eric Layton

Well, my first comment would have to be that you should have allowed Verizon to set you up with the FIOS. I had that system here from Day 1 that it became available in my neighborhood. It was FANTASTIC! I never had a bit of troubles with Verizon Customer Support or Tech Support.

 

Then, after a few years of this joy, Verizon sold their entire system here in Florida to Frontier Communications. It was a cluster-screw from the get-go. Finally, though, and relatively quickly, the Frontier tech folks resolved all the issues and I'm happily enjoying my FIOS once again.

 

The next comment I would have to make is that from all I've ever heard from multitudes of people Comcast is the DEVIL incarnate. I understand that they are THE most hated company in the U.S., with the lowest customer satisfaction ratings. But hey... if they're good for you, more power to you.

 

OK, about your Wifi... I've never heard of a provider "forcing" you to run Wifi in your home. When Verizon (and later Frontier) set up their router in my home, it was with Wifi disabled by default. They asked me if I wanted it activated and I told them no. I knew I could access the router and turn it on/off as I needed it.

 

This is how my home network is set up right now. My Wifi is usually off, but when someone (my lady-friend) wants to use a laptop in a room where I don't have Ethernet, or when I want to use my shop computer, or when I want to sync my Nook online, I activate the Wifi. How do I do that?

 

Well, I access the router's Admin features by opening my browser and typing 192.168.1.1 into the address bar. This is usually the access point for a router on a network. When I do that my router's Admin login page comes up in my browser. I login using "admin" and my custom password that I set 10 minutes after the tech left the house. The default password was the router's serial number. Once you're in the Admin area of the router there will be many options and other baloney. Somewhere in there is a "On/Off" Wifi option.

 

Since I'm not familiar with the router that Comcast provides, and if they didn't tell you about this ability, there's not a whole lot more I can say that will help you. You may have to call Comcast (good luck!) to find out how to access their router. I'm pretty sure the network access point is 192.168.1.1 (probably 10.0.0.1 - see links below), though. Type that in and see what happens. It can't hurt. You can also type "admin" in the login area and use the router's serial number as a password. It's worth a try. This is common practice with many providers, by the way.

 

Stand by...

 

Read HERE, particularly the last post. Evidently, Comcast uses 10.0.0.1 as the gateway address.

 

If this is Comcast Xfinity Public Wi-Fi baloney, you may have to check out THIS posting from Tom's Guide. It turns off the wifi hotspot from your online Comcast website.

 

HERE is Xfinity's method from their website. It's the same as the first link above (last posting on that website); uses direct access to the router with your browser to shut down the wifi (10.0.0.1).

 

The first and the third links above are older than the second one. You'll need to use the method that applies to your current equipment, of course.

 

Lotsa' LUCK, David! :)

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V.T. Eric Layton

Wow! I had completely forgotten about your original Comcast posting from a few years back in the Tiki Lounge (limited member access).

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goretsky

Hello,

 

Your new Comcast residential gateway broadband router with integrated router, Ethernet switch, Wi-Fi, and (most important) ATA* for VoIP service functions as an integrated unit, so your replacement unit (modem) is going to need to have ATA functionality, which limits the choice of replacement devices.  Comcast has this post in their forum listing some compatible devices, but as that post is now five years old, I would treat it more as a guideline of what to look for in compatible devices, as opposed to, say, a list of hard requirements.  Comcast does have a page where you can look up compatible devices for your neighborhood here, but it requires you to enter your address, so you will want to do that yourself.  If, after you sign in, there's an option to include VoIP/internet telephony/voice modem functionality in your search, be sure to select that so you get the right equipment list.

 

The Comcast public Wi-Fi service provided by your modem uses a separate SSID and bandwidth from your personal cable Internet connection, and its usage does not count towards your own broadband caps.  That said, though, you are paying for the electricity the device uses and, as far as I know, Comcast is not providing any credit to customers for the energy expenditure.  There's a three-year-old article here which explains how to disable the "free" Wi-Fi service.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

*Analog Telephone Adapter, aka VoIP telephony adapter

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securitybreach

Well I was going to tell you how to disable Comcast's hotspot but it looks as though Eric has already shown you how and Aryeh explained what I was going to tell you as well about how the bandwidth is handled. That said, this link shows you how to disable the hotspot feature in your account settings instead of just on your device https://www.xfinity.com/support/articles/disable-xfinity-wifi-home-hotspot

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Cluttermagnet
Posted (edited)

Thanks so much, guys! I will need a day or to to digest this all and figure
out how to proceed. The Comcast supplied modem woke up with the
'free' WiFi hotspot enabled by default. It will have to eventually be
disabled.

I was aware of some of the info out on the net regarding Comcast
approved compatible modems. I had studied that just a little already-
preliminarily...

That being said, since my house is by choice an exclusively Ethernet site,
with cables running all over the house- and *very* little WiFi running
(usually)- and since the majority of my computers are desktops that
don't even have a wireless card plugged in- that leaves me dead in the
water with most of my current setups around the house. I will have to
make do with a little WiFi for a short time. On it right now...

The new Comcast 'telephony' modem does have the usual 4
Ethernet jacks. I should be able to rerun a few cables and get a few
desktops back up and running. Like I have time for this carp...

Going into this I had 3 desktop towers upstairs, 2 on the main floor,
and 3 in the basement. In addition, two ancient Lenovo laptops
(T420) floating around the house. One laptop tended to live on a
corner of the kitchen table, coexisting with dinner... Desktop towers
are all Dell now, mostly Precision T3400. Dirt cheap to acquire used,
and perfectly adequate for the light use seen here, all running
Linux Mint- I pressed the "Easy button" I guess- cheap and easy...

After my (somewhat expectedly) disastrous install of the
'telephony' modem, I find that apparently one of my customer-
owned Arris modems has become completely unresponsive. It
has probably been 'de-provisioned' automatically and that will
necessitate my talking with both tech support and billing, which
has custody of the 'provisioning'. My other Arris modem seems
to 'work' on Ethernet but will only give me the usual Comcast
activation window. So that one may still be functional but is
clearly no longer internet-enabled.

It's been a tough year, a busy year. I'll post comments later in
the other venue Eric alluded to. All of this is of a personal nature
ultimately. I lost my partner back in the spring. It's been chaotic.
Yes, I wrote that old post about Comcast and all. I did find that
the wireless hotspot device I got from Consumer Cellular did
the job, ultimately- so I have at least 'adequate' internet
connectivity from Casa David since I unsubscribed from
Comcast over there. But not decent bandwidth, can't stream
much video content... Here at Casa Betty, Comcast has been
a constant the entire 34+ years since Betty built the house in
'85.

Sure, I hate Comcast. Doesn't everybody? They irritate me
all too often. My anger and resentment towards that
corporation has been simmering for years. No need to go
into that. Let's say 'orange red' hot anger. But my pitched
battle with Verizon over retaining POTS telephony spans a
number of years now. I would characterize it as 'white hot/
incandescent' anger at this point. No FIOS connection exists to
either residence at this point, and it will likely remain that
way for the duration. It would sooooo pain me to give them
the satisfaction- and the business...

Let me just titilate you with one very interesting fact for now.
It leaves you with something to think about- to know it is a
fact that during my nearly week long pitched battle with
the bureaucracy they came up with an offer to let me keep
the POTS line but would I please, please, pretty please
let them put in a FIOS fiber as well? I'll leave the details for
later, if ever. I am soooooo steamed... Nothing compares
with the reliability of a POTS line- and there is a reasonable
expectation of privacy with that FCC-regulated service.
Not so with any cell phone, VOIP, fiber optic backbone,
however...

The POTS lines still work in this neighborhood (Casa Betty).
Still reliable.

I think they lied to you and your whole neighborhood, Eric-
when they caused everyone to stampede to FIOS. I know
with certainty they have lied to me- repeatedly- over the
years regarding POTS line issues. A typical one (from an
admittedly non-technical order taker) just recently:
(paraphrasing) "Your line is shorted" I knew durn well it
was anything *but* shorted- it had been disabled by
Verizon and wasn't returning dial tone. I could hear the
characteristic hum you hear faintly on POTS lines, and
also some conversational crosstalk bleeding over from another
pair, and faintly, some bleed from the local 50KW
AM radio powerhouse near me at Casa Betty. Harumph!!!
Baloney. Lies.

Clutter

Edited by Cluttermagnet
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zlim

Just one comment, clutter. I distrust Comcast less than Verizon. That's why I went with Comcast rather than Verizon for internet.

Verizon pulled some horrid stuff on me when I was executor of my late roommate's estate. It took the lawyer's office, hours over 2 days and $$$ to get the phone service restored. Her home was fully furnished and had jewelry, paintings and collector's items and the burglar alarm needed the phone line to function! All the bills were paid on time so there was absolutely no reason for Verizon to turn off phone service!

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V.T. Eric Layton

The main reason that everyone is being converted to fiber optic lines, David, is that the  telephone companies no longer want to maintain their old tech (copper lines) COs (Central Offices). It requires maintaining old and obsolete switching circuitry that no longer has parts available nor the knowledgeable techs required to keep it going. It also COSTS LOTS OF $$$ to maintain. Companies are all about the bottom line, you know. So with fiber, they can eliminate 80% of their tech staff and rely on just a few to keep the system going because the newer system is mostly automated and doesn't have many moving parts.

 

It is what it is. It's a Brave New World. Us old farts will just have to get used to it. There are abandoned poles and copper lines all over my neighborhood. The telcos don't even bother the remove the old tech. There are wires cut off from my neighbor's houses just dangling off the poles in my alley. Whaddya' gonna' do? :(

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Cluttermagnet
3 hours ago, zlim said:

Just one comment, clutter. I distrust Comcast less than Verizon. That's why I went with Comcast rather than Verizon for internet.

Verizon pulled some horrid stuff on me when I was executor of my late roommate's estate. It took the lawyer's office, hours over 2 days and $$$ to get the phone service restored. Her home was fully furnished and had jewelry, paintings and collector's items and the burglar alarm needed the phone line to function! All the bills were paid on time so there was absolutely no reason for Verizon to turn off phone service!

 

Yes, Liz- Betty has a burglar alarm system in this house, now semi-useless.

It also uses a wired phone line to call out. I suppose I could have it connected

to the new VOIP line, but why bother. Nowhere near the reliability of the old

POTS lines. I didn't even bother to get a backup battery for this new modem.

It was terribly expensive, somewhere around 200 dollars. The modem has

a 120V line cord coming out the back. I took a traditional computer battery

backup unit and draw power from there. Only thing hooked to it is the new

modem. I haven't calculated run time yet but I can once I get the specs on

the modem. But let's guess somewhere around 100W? That would give run

time on the order of 12-24 hours- maybe.

 

We probably can't say "absolutely no reason". Their reason is they are trying to

put a silver stake through the heart of the old wire lines system.

 

Clutter

 

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Cluttermagnet
15 hours ago, V.T. Eric Layton said:

Wow! I had completely forgotten about your original Comcast posting from a few years back in the Tiki Lounge (limited member access).

 

That thread is a long one! I just re-read it. A lot of things of historical interest to me.

 

Clutter

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ebrke
Posted (edited)

I also have Comcast VOIP, but have an earlier modem without the Wi-Fi capability. It has a single port to which I attach my own router. They asked me several times to switch out my modem for a new one, but I never responded; it's fine for my use and I don't own tablet or phone to utilize wi-fi. I also refused to reboot the modem when they told me I could get "faster internet" they had magically made available to me. I had a paranoid suspicion that might disable the modem and force me to get another. Probably I was wrong because at least one lengthy power failure has occurred since then and the same old modem has come online again afterward without incident.

 

I too had epic battles with Verizon over the POTS line still in the house (I have two phone lines, one in my mother's name). It cut out every time there was a lot of rain, and I finally resigned myself to the fact that it just would be ify service, after supposed plans to change to FIOS never materialized (too long a story to go into). The problem with the line had been traced to a particular point, but Verizon wouldn't commit to continuing to track it down beyond that. At some point, the problem just stopped occurring, and I suspect that some other repairs resulted in my problem being fixed as a byproduct. I wish even more ill-will on Verizon than on Comcast.

 

Luckily, my home alarm system doesn't use the POTS line any longer. I always had a backup cellular option in case of power failure, and when it was upgraded to 4G the technician eliminated the landline option for me. However, my mother's pacemaker (of all things) continues to dial out on the Verizon line automatically every month or so to transmit data to the cardiologist's website(!).

 

I have saved all the helpful information posted here for future use.

Edited by ebrke
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Cluttermagnet
Posted (edited)

I have now had time to string a couple of Ethernet lines and I seem to have some of the

computers (desktops) in the basement and on the first floor back online. Yay! This

lessens the pressure a little so far as getting my two cable modems reactivated and/or

re-provisioned. I'm letting that slide to tomorrow- just a little worn out from the past

week dealing with multiple problems. Or maybe it can wait until Monday...

 

I am leaving the WiFi hotspot enabled for now. I'll kill that later after I've had time to

fully recover from my Verizon misadventure. I have one laptop upstairs that connects

to the basement WiFi OK.

 

What do you guys think of my backup solution? I hooked up an old APC Back-UPS

EPS 725 (with a fresh battery, just changed). My Comcast 'voice modem' runs from

120VAC*. I think it will work and hold it up for at least a while if power drops.

(* no freakin' wall wart or 'lump in cord' power supplies, just an AC line plug cord)

 

The nameplate on the Comcast modem says it is an Arris TG1682G and it pulls 1 amp

at 115VAC (115VA). The UPS is saying it is more or less a 725VA unit- so one might

expect a holdup time around 4-7 hours I guess...

 

Clutter

 

Edited by Cluttermagnet
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V.T. Eric Layton

Sounds reasonable.

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Cluttermagnet
Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, ebrke said:

I also have Comcast VOIP, but have an earlier modem without the Wi-Fi capability. It has a single port to which I attach my own router. They asked me several times to switch out my modem for a new one, but I never responded; it's fine for my use and I don't own tablet or phone to utilize wi-fi. I also refused to reboot the modem when they told me I could get "faster internet" they had magically made available to me. I had a paranoid suspicion that might disable the modem and force me to get another. Probably I was wrong because at least one lengthy power failure has occurred since then and the same old modem has come online again afterward without incident.

 

I too had epic battles with Verizon over the POTS line still in the house (I have two phone lines, one in my mother's name). It cut out every time there was a lot of rain, and I finally resigned myself to the fact that it just would be ify service, after supposed plans to change to FIOS never materialized (too long a story to go into). The problem with the line had been traced to a particular point, but Verizon wouldn't commit to continuing to track it down beyond that. At some point, the problem just stopped occurring, and I suspect that some other repairs resulted in my problem being fixed as a byproduct. I wish even more ill-will on Verizon than on Comcast.

 

Luckily, my home alarm system doesn't use the POTS line any longer. I always had a backup cellular option in case of power failure, and when it was upgraded to 4G the technician eliminated the landline option for me. However, my mother's pacemaker (of all things) continues to dial out on the Verizon line automatically every month or so to transmit data to the cardiologist's website(!).

 

I have saved all the helpful information posted here for future use.

 

If I had on older modem I would tend to keep it- especially if it were voice-specialized

voice only) or voice-capable. But OTOH we did replace our two older Motorola cable

modems, 5100 series, a while back- with two Arris modems that were DocSys 3.0

capable, in order to benefit from the faster pipe Comcast was offering at our then

present service level.

 

Quote

I wish even more ill-will on Verizon than on Comcast.

 

Yep, sounds like exactly where I am. The irony is I could have recovered my POTS

line from Verizon, and even Betty's old 301 area code number, but they stuck in a

spoiler/deal killer right at the very end and I walked. It gets a little personal, I won't

go into it here- perhaps in the other venue Eric mentioned above. I guess that

ultimately I'd rather hate Verizon with a white hot anger than surrender to them.

But there's more to it than that...

 

Continued POTS functionality is iffy, I suppose, but it is still working reliably in

Betty's neighborhood.

 

Take away message from all that: If you raise a big enough stink and demonstrate

to them that you are somewhat proficient technically and you see through their lies,

they will cave and hook you back up to your POTS line they yanked away through

various trickery. This is not my opinion, this is a verifiable fact based on my

personal experience! The POTS system still functions- and is subject to stricter

FCC 'tarrifs' than other telephony services- but they are trying to drive a silver

stake through the heart of that old system. I could write an entire short paper on

the advantages of the POTS system in terms of consumer rights and protections,

but that's getting a little beyond the scope of this rant... er, thread- so I'll leave

that one alone for now...

 

Quote

I also refused to reboot the modem when they told me I could get "faster internet" they had magically made available to me. I had a paranoid suspicion that might disable the modem and force me to get another. Probably I was wrong because at least one lengthy power failure has occurred since then and the same old modem has come online again afterward without incident.

 

Yep, I don't blame you. Your distrust is generally well-founded and probably shared by

millions of other reluctant customers to some degree. And that's why, as 5G comes

along, and especially if it is offered by a 3rd party (not Comcast/not Verizon) those

millions will jump ship immediately, yelling "Die Comcast, die!" (grin)

 

On the negative side, 5G appears to be a real health hazard in the making for those

millions. As it is, 3G/4G WiFi appear carcinogenic for high-exposure/high-hours

users. Sigh! I miss POTS telephony very much. Those were simpler days...

 

Oh, and so far as reliability, cell phones are on my carp list. They are nothing more

than toys, not a serious communications instrument. Too many limitations. Here

at Casa Betty, the house is sheathed with aluminum siding. In other words, I am

effectively in a 'shield room' (Faraday cage) when inside. The two cell phones do

not even ring reliably. People call me, I find out later. The phone never rang.

(insert profanity here)

 

Clutter

 

Edited by Cluttermagnet
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Cluttermagnet
18 hours ago, Cluttermagnet said:

(snip)

 

What do you guys think of my backup solution? I hooked up an old APC Back-UPS

EPS 725 (with a fresh battery, just changed). My Comcast 'voice modem' runs from

120VAC*. I think it will work and hold it up for at least a while if power drops.

(* no freakin' wall wart or 'lump in cord' power supplies, just an AC line plug cord)

 

The nameplate on the Comcast modem says it is an Arris TG1682G and it pulls 1 amp

at 115VAC (115VA). The UPS is saying it is more or less a 725VA unit- so one might

expect a holdup time around 4-7 hours I guess...

 

Clutter

 

 

I can keep extra 12V batteries around, kept charged- including bigger batteries.

In the event of an extended power outage, provided Comcast is still operating,

It is easy for a geek type like me to substitute fresh batteries to the UPS using

a self-made extender cord with male spade lugs to mate with the UPS battery

compartment connections. Provided that modem will boot back up after being

shut down for a battery change, I could realistically keep it all going for days.

 

Things were much simpler in the days of POTS service. You let the Bell

operating companies deal with all the big 48V battery banks in their local

central office switch rooms. Simple, no muss, no fuss... And you could get

dial tone from the phone company on your line 5-6-7-8 days out during

extended power outages!

 

Clutter

 

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Cluttermagnet

Aryeh, Eric, Josh- You guys were very helpful with your comments above.

Everyones' comments so far as 'war stories' have been helpful indeed.

I appreciate it! And you've saved me a bit of work when I do get around

to turning off the WiFi hotspot. After my busy week, last week, I'm feeling

kind of exhausted, and have decided it can wait for Monday so far as my

contacting Comcast to reinstate my two customer provided cable modems.

 

After I lost Betty I got into taking long walks around the neighborhood,

around a mile per session- and recently I joined a local gym. Getting over

there 3-4 times per week for a good workout, trying to strengthen a lot of

neglected muscles. Often tired, but a good sort of tired.

 

Clutter

 

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V.T. Eric Layton
3 hours ago, Cluttermagnet said:

The POTS system still functions...

 

Not an option here. In most of the neighborhoods in my city, the copper line systems are dead and gone.

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Cluttermagnet

I had to laugh at this old thread from five years ago on Scot's Forums:

 

Overwhelmed by Comcast service packages and hardware choices

 

It was all good, but Page 2 especially so.  I had to chuckle at the very

last post by Josh...

 

Connectivity issues and choices is an ever-present topic of interest!

 

Clutter

 

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securitybreach
2 hours ago, Cluttermagnet said:

I had to laugh at this old thread from five years ago on Scot's Forums:

 

Overwhelmed by Comcast service packages and hardware choices

 

It was all good, but Page 2 especially so.  I had to chuckle at the very

last post by Josh...

 

Connectivity issues and choices is an ever-present topic of interest!

 

Clutter

 

 

Well nowadays the ones without a landline simply use cellular to communicate with the security company's monitoring center. My mom and stepdad have a really nice security system and it doesn't need a landline. Plus landlines can be snipped as well.

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Cluttermagnet

Yep. Coax, wired landline, or optical fiber can all be clipped-

and ironically, cellular not so much. Kind of funny, really.

 

Clutter

 

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ebrke
Quote

Plus landlines can be snipped as well.

Indeed. Although my security system now uses only cellular, my telephone box is covered with a locking metal box and the connecting wire up 8 feet is encased in PVC pipe. This from the days when housebreakers in the area routinely cut phone lines before kicking in your front door.

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