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Comcast Service outage in Pearland Texas

Comcast Service outage in Pearland Texas

Posted on Dec 5, 2009 by Paul White

Comcast of HoustonTonight comcast had a major outage here in Pearland Texas.  The outage started around 7PM Friday Dec 5th 2009, and of this posting ( 12:19 AM Dec 6th Saturday ) Service was still not restored.  Granted today we had snow, which is rare in Houston ( happends only once a year if at all ).  But still Snow shouldn't affect Comcast Service.  So I figured out how to tether my computer onto my Sony Xperia X1i and use my unlimited AT&T data connection to get online and keep working.  However I was very surprized with the speed I got from AT&T.

ATT of HoustonAT&T hasn't gotten the best press recently due to Verizon taking cheap shots at AT&T's limited 3G coverage.  I was starting to agree as it seemed that my phone was getting bad signals, and would drop calls when I was working in my home office.  I know AT&T says they don't allow tethering, but the truth is there is nothing they can do to prevent it.  There is no difference between browsing the web on your phone and browsing the web on your desktop computer while tethered.  the packets and data looks the same.  Its just a matter of having software that enables you to use tethering.

Windows Mobile 6.1 Internet Sharing Application

For anyone using windows mobile 6.1 or newer there is a program on your phone called Internet Sharing.
It allows you to select how you phone is connected to your computer, and then what data connection on your phone you want to use.  Pretty simple really.  I plug my phone into my computer via the USB cable.  Then set my phone to
PC connection ( USB )
Network Conneection ( Media Net )
and click Connect.
Then the status on the phone updates with Connected

I opened a brower on my computer and away I went.  I was amazed with how fast the data transfers were moving both up and down.  It would seem that the weakness isn't with AT&T but with the hardware when you try to browse the web from you phone.  When you use your phone as a GPRS modem it flies. 

I did a benchmark using the speedtest site to see how it performed



Not bad.  This is actually faster than the cheap DSL lines.
1.23 Mb/s = 153 KB/s download speed
0.70 Mb/s = 87.5 KB/s upload speed.

Sony Xperia X1i's battery cover causes weak signal.

Something I noticed was that when I removed my phone's battery cover ( which is made of metal ) my signal strength would go from 1 bar to 4 bars.  In my house I have experienced WIFI issues when trying to make connections that have to go through flat metallic surfaces like mirrors.  It would appear the same issue is present with the battery cover of my Sony Xperia X1i.  Removing the battery cover helps the phone get a better signal.  I will have to investigate this further, as this is a rather major design flaw on the part of Sony.

So in conclusion, if you are ever stuck with your cable modem or DSL going out, try to tether your Windows Mobile phone and use its data connection. 

UPDATE: (Dec 5th 2009 3:53 AM )
As of right now My Cable, Phone and Internet are still down.
Luckily I am tethered to my Windows Mobile Phone.  else I wouldn't be able to write this.
Starting to think I could honestly live without comcast.

UPDATE: ( Dec 5th 2009 9:95 AM )
Cable finally came back online, which is good because my wife didn't want to miss the Texas Vs Nebraska Game ( We are from Nebraska but live in Texas ).  Phone is back online but Internet is still down,  Thank god AT&T HSDPA is fast ( I was geting 2 Mbit / sec downloads ) with my desktop tethered to my Sony Xperia.

UPDATE: ( Dec 6th 2009 12:26 AM )
Internet is still down.  Not happy but once again my love for AT&T wireless has grown as I get work done tethered to my cell phone

UPDATE: ( Dec 6th 2009 12:38 AM )
Internet just came back up.  So 28 Hours of downtime.  Comcast just lost some points,  AT&T just gained some.

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Discussion

Karthik | Dec 5, 2009 10:21 AM
Man i really have to say this, that's one awesome speed i can really live life with that from My phone the max i get is about 500kbps(we don't have 3G yet), best of luck with the your connection, Happy Holidays :)
Paul | Dec 6, 2009 12:34 AM
Hey Karthik,
Actually I have gotten up to 2 Mbit / sec downs.  So far I am very happy.  Its kind of like working off a typical DSL connection.  Only downfall is the ping times are terrible ( 400ms - 500ms )  But I can't really complain.  The amazing part is my phone can continue to receive and send text messages while I am online tethered.  Having gotten any calls yet, not sure if the phone rejects calls while tethered, but so far its been great.  I have a new respect for windows Mobile Phones now.  Its just a matter of installing the active sync software, then connecting with the Internet Sharing Application found on the phone.  I couldn't believe how easy it was.  No need to setup some dialup modem, or a special network connection.  No passing any initialization strings like *99#.  I put in my phone via USB click connect and it was done.  Just had to make sure to disconnect from my wireless router so my computer wouldn't try to use that as the primary internet connection.
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