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Posted at 10:25 PM ET, 11/28/2010

Comcast Internet (or any other service) out? Try a new DNS.

By Rob Pegoraro

Sometime earlier tonight, Comcast's Internet service seems to have suffered a major malfunction -- but, fortunately, one you can actually fix on your own.

The issue, as reported in numerous complaints on Twitter and at such troubleshooting sites as DSLReports.com -- but still unmentioned on Comcast's own "network health" page, even as users have begun to report a restoration of service -- involves a failure of Comcast's domain name servers.

comcast_logo.jpg

You don't need a working Domain Name System to get on the Internet, but you do need it to get anywhere online. DNS translates the numerical Internet Protocol addresses used by computers on the Internet to human-readable names like comcast.net or washingtonpost.com.

Fortunately, you don't have to stick with your Internet provider's DNS. By plugging a handful of IP addresses into your computer's networking settings, you can have another service route your requests properly.

One of the most popular alternatives in this category is a free service called OpenDNS. I've tried it and liked it; for a detailed writeup, see this review by New York Times technology columnist David Pogue.

(Note to self: Probably should have written about OpenDSNDNS sooner.)

Another option comes from Google, which launched a competing, also free DNS option called Google Public DNS last December. Google's major advantage is a set of easily-memorized server addresses: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4, which roll off the tongue a little easier than OpenDNS's 208.67.220.220 and 208.67.222.222.

Using either of these alternatives requires plugging in a new set of numbers in your computer's network-settings software. Google and OpenDNS each has detailed setup instructions available.

(In the case of Windows, they're obscenely detailed, thanks to the byzantine interface Microsoft has put between users and this fundamental network setting.)

This glitch could affect a large chunk of America's online population. Philadelphia-based Comcast touts itself as the largest broadband Internet provider in the United States, reporting 16.7 million subscribers in its latest quarterly filing (PDF).

It might also lead to some unsettling questions for executives at Verizon Wireless. As my colleague Cecilia Kang wrote last week, OpenDNS is accusing that wireless carrier of blocking its service. The Verizon affiliate denies that; outside reports suggest that although it might have done so in the past, it no longer stops users from switching to Open DNS.

If you're on Comcast and can read this post, please share a report on your connectivity in the comments. When did you get knocked off the Internet? When did things seem to return to normal?

By Rob Pegoraro  | November 28, 2010; 10:25 PM ET
Categories:  Telecom, Tips  
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Comments

This site shows you how to fix the problem:

http://brokencomcastinternet.wordpress.com/

Posted by: techjeff101 | November 28, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

This site shows you how to fix the problem:

http://brokencomcastinternet.wordpress.com/

Posted by: techjeff101 | November 28, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Out around 7, back shortly after 11. This is in northern DC proper.

Posted by: davidg7376 | November 28, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Rob, here in Crystal City (Arlington, Va), Comcast internet went out about 8:20pm. Calling the Comcast 800 number, the automated voice told me that my call couldn't be routed to a human and that I should visit the Comcast website instead.

A call to the local (Alexandria, Va.) Comcast number resulted in recorded message that all circuits were busy, and to try again later.

Connectivity returned about 11:25pm, so for me the DNS issue lasted a bit more than 3 hours.

Posted by: psybrrr69-washpost | November 28, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

I got knocked off sometime after 9. Unplugged and replugged, finally got around to calling at 1130 and stayed on hold for over 20 minutes. Of course, as the guy start talking, I open my browser and the internet has decided to grace me with its presence. For the time being, I have internet.

Posted by: futbolclif | November 28, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

I think my internet was down for 2 hours and came back around 10.30 pm.saw the outage posted on Twitter and that helped to see it was a system outage and not my router

Posted by: shashib | November 28, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

I lost my Comcast internet connection around 8:00 p.m. EST. A funny thing was that I had no problem in receiving or making calls on Vonage (which I use over the Comcast internet connection) but had no access to internet on my computer.

Around 9:00 p.m., I called the Comcast customer service several times by my mobile phone and found that both their local and 800 numbers were not working (with a male voice reciting an error code). I called again around 11:00 p.m. and was connected to the regular automated customer service. Because I had turned off my computer, I chose not to proceed with the call and hung up. Thinking that the fact that the Comcast telephone lines were working must mean that the internet service was back up, I turned on my computer and found that I got my connection back. It is now midnight, and I think I am OK.

Posted by: shrekc | November 29, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Bethesda. Noticed an outage around 9:15pm as I had been watching TV and not using the 'net til then. Didn't check the computer again til 11:30pm or so at which pt. it was back up.

Posted by: thedoo-da-man | November 29, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Service was out on NE Capitol Hill from 9ish until 11:30pm ish. Competition now!

Posted by: capitolconservative | November 29, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

OpenDNS has a reputation of being a faster DNS server. I switched because of this and various articles that I had read about ISP DNS software not being maintained with latest security patch's.

You spend the time to make the change on your computers once, and you never have to worry about your ISP's dns servers being down.

I've never seen OpenDNS go down. Ever

Posted by: LiberalBasher | November 29, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

PG county, started noticing I could not reach sites sometime after 8pm. I did some troubleshooting, noting my modem seemed OK and I was able to ping the Comcast gateway and nameserver IP addresses so I figured it was a nameserver problem. I had some old nameserver IP addresses from elsewhere jotted in a note on my older computer (couldn't find where I had the OpenDNS ones) so I tried those. That shows how rarely we have trouble with Comcast DNS. Thanks for the info about the Google Public DNS - I will keep both handy for future incidents.

Posted by: msienkiewicz | November 29, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Here in NE DC. Service went out at about 8 and came back at about 11. I called Comcast when it first went out and the 800# said it couldn't route me to a human and I should go online (maybe they should revisit that recording on a lone dedicated for internet outages). 10 minutes later the number could not even be connected.

Posted by: bb_or_droid | November 29, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Out in Chevy Chase from about 8 pm to half an hour ago. God, I hate Comcast. We got to see the light with Fios for two years before we moved to a new place and had to go back to this horrible, rotten, expensive cr@p. With Fios never any Internet problem and faster than Comcrap, dozens more HD channels, way better DVR... I feel like someone who briefly escaped the Iron Curtain, only to be exiled back again.

Posted by: woody2471 | November 29, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Out in Chevy Chase from about 8 pm to half an hour ago. God, I hate Comcast. We got to see the light with Fios for two years before we moved to a new place and had to go back to this horrible, rotten, expensive cr@p. With Fios never any Internet problem and faster than Comcrap, dozens more HD channels, way better DVR... I feel like someone who briefly escaped the Iron Curtain, only to be exiled back again.

Posted by: woody2471 | November 29, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Internet went out in Charlottesville, VA around 9pm. Rebooting the modem didn't help, but changing the DNS server numbers to Google's worked perfectly.

Posted by: mlm3bd | November 29, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Hi-
Returned home around 10 PM and while my system showed an excellent network strength, I couldn't access the internet with my desktop or laptop. After rebooting, unplugging the modem, router, etc., still couldn't get the internet using Comcast. After 40 minutes of troubleshooting, I tried their Comcast Diagnostic program or Comcast doctor (whatever it's called) and within a couple of minutes, I accessed the Internet. Coincidence? I really think so. Losing my connection is happening daily over the past 3-4 wks and all my equipment is less than a year old. How does Comcast get away with providing such unreliable service?

Posted by: NewHamp | November 29, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

It's truly amazing that the modern operating systems don't give you a way to tell if you have a DNS problem or a general connection failure. Reading all of the above comments about how the internet was down are interesting, if absurd. I get to specify three servers in my list, I use one Verizon one, one Google, and one OpenDNS, assuming the failover works, that's probably the safest approach.

I can see why Verizon would try to block using alternate services, since they serve ads on the unresolved domain name pages, but I haven't experienced any problems.

Posted by: staticvars | November 29, 2010 1:40 AM | Report abuse

This is just terrible! I even called my technician and he is scheduled to arrive tomorrow evening around five. I will call him in the morning to cancel the appointment. Shame on you Comcast!

Posted by: VerdeBon1 | November 29, 2010 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Lake Ridge area - Comcast went out a little after 8:00; service restored after I went to bed after 11:00.
My son noticed that certain gaming programs that don't require DNS were still functioning.

It would be nice if Comcast had customer alert processes in place that didn't require email systems or web-based alerts.
Or accessing the Comcast.net web page (which did not work, but why not have system in place to let it default there and still work when DNS server is down). We spent way too much time troubleshooting our home systems when a customer alert could have prepared us.

Posted by: Korey_Jackson | November 29, 2010 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Based on my Comcast TV cable service, and problems a couple of neighbors have had with Comcast Internet service, I will NOT consider Comcast Internet service.

In Feb/Mar 1996, it took a month to get Comcast to solve a simple outside wiring problem - 4 visits by service techs inside the house, each stating the problem was in the main line; the fourth visit by service techs for the main line, plus a supervisor, finally got the problem solved. Strong signal on all channels in the AM; by 9:00 PM, we were lucky to get 2 or 3. Note - four inside visits PLUS four outside - total of eight visits.

Then late last December, we suddenly had no cable service. Five days later, Comcast was able to send a technician to figure out the problem - the neighbors had canceled their service, Comcast had 'mislabeled' the lines, and Comcast cut our service, not the neighbors.

Multiple and various other service problems I've had have convinced me that if Comcast can't deliver consistent and quality cable TV, there is almost no hope in them delivering Internet service consistently.

About the only good thing is that Comcast has given me no grief about 'compensation' for lost services. All in all, I've probably received close to year's service free in the past 15 years.

BTW - I live in Baltimore City.

Posted by: critter69 | November 29, 2010 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Been using OpenDNS for months & months, *still* had intermittent connectivity issues this evening via "Bombcast"; in fact, just closed both browsers due to 'cannot connect' issues. Got curious, though, and it's working again - but reliably? {shrug}

Posted by: Mark_CharmCity | November 29, 2010 3:55 AM | Report abuse

You're scratching the surface. I'm in South Florida where Comcast has a monopoly on cable. For a year now internet access has vanished an average of two to five hours a day. Since October, I'm surprised to walk past my modem and see it's not blinking. Comcast has sent three tech guys out in three weeks all three of whom swear the problem is not on my end (two giving me a look like I must be up to something). Comcast refuses to admit the problem is on their end. Apparently, they don't bother to inform their technicians or the folks at the service switchboard.

It would seem by now they'd be convinced the regular interruption of service is their problem, not that of a user who can't plug-in a device. So, one can only assume they (the headshed) are more than aware of the problem and are attempting to pretend it doesn't exist, trying to snarl customers in their endless service call loop.

One cute addition? The tech guys always offer to switch-out modems for me. Though I feel blessed by their generosity, I refuse.

There is a story here for serious journalists interested in doing more than surface coverage or passing along news releases. As Comcast does hold a monopoly on cable in South Florida, and a lot of folks use Comcast for their telephone service, one has to wonder how to report an emergency when the internet is down (or...how to call up their website, for that matter.)

Suffice to say my internet experience is reduced to daily jousting with Comcast's tech people and they seem to be holding all the lances.

Posted by: Stephensahn | November 29, 2010 4:11 AM | Report abuse

This is nothing new. When I dropped Comcast over 5 years ago as an ISP, they regularly had so many DNS server issues that I switched to a 3rd party service. Today, I use a combination of Verizon's and Google's DNS servers, but In 5 years Verizon's DNS have never gone down.

But Comcast was so bad, my internet service went down for 6 weeks and they refused to do anything about it. I opened up 1-2 trouble tickets a day until a supervisor from Comcast called me up to yell at me for opening so many tickets. But yet they wouldn't fix it.

When they finally sent a guy out 6 weeks later to fix it, he told me the issue was that I didn't have surge protectors (???) but that fortunately, he sold them and could install them for me for $400.

I was about to report him to Comcast, but I realized the way to get back at Comcast was to *not* report him so that he could further damage their businesses.

I switched to Verizon FIOS within a week after that, and Comcast called me back and said "What will it take for you to switch back".

I said "A guarantee that my internet won't be down for 6 weeks again".

He said "Sorry, I can't do that".

That tells you all you need to know about Comcast.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | November 29, 2010 5:10 AM | Report abuse

Beware, from OpenDNS's own privacy policy:

"When a website visitor searches on OpenDNS, the IP address and query are shared with OpenDNS’ advertising, search and security providers but OpenDNS does not provide them with any information that enables them to associate or identify these IP addresses and/or search requests with any individual"

I don't want my surfing habits shared with advertisers, even if I am just identified at an IP level. An IP address can be tied to an individual with some effort, even if OpenDNS does not identify me explicitly. Collecting surfing habits long enough for one IP address can eventually make it possible to tell who is doing the surfing. As far as I can tell, Google DNS has no policy of sharing my IP address and surfing habits with third parties.

For more, see the link below. David Pogue has overlooked this aspect of OpenDNS, I think.

http://www.digitalsociety.org/2010/11/another-net-neutrality-violation-debunked/

Posted by: Bob_Dobbs | November 29, 2010 5:29 AM | Report abuse

I know you have an anti-Windows bias but you are clearly wrong in this instance. You say Windows has a "byzantine interface Microsoft has put between users and this fundamental network setting..."

#1: Google instructions for Linux and Mac has 8 bullet points. For Windows? 11 bullet points. So only 3 more than Linux and Mac. I don't think that meets the definition of byzantine (unless you consider the others to also be complicated).

Second, changing your DNS setting isn't exactly something users do (or should have to do). So it makes sense that it's tucked away.

I really don't understand why you can't write a simple blog about an ISP's failings without using it as an opportunity to take a dig at Microsoft.

Posted by: tundey | November 29, 2010 5:48 AM | Report abuse

In fairness, I'd like to add that Pogue refers vaguely about how OpenDNS could be collecting information, but does not do so as I explicitly do above. It's possible the current OpenDNS privacy policy was not in place when Pogue wrote his article.

Posted by: Bob_Dobbs | November 29, 2010 6:03 AM | Report abuse

Bigger is better ........ RIGHT???

Now Comcast will do a great job taking over NBC too. Can't wait for the change to happen.

That is what happens when we ingore anti trust laws and let these big get bigger.

It's all about the money!!!

Posted by: bkarpus | November 29, 2010 6:44 AM | Report abuse

We had no Comcast Internet service for more than 2 hours on Sunday Nov. 28th in western Connecticut starting around 8:30 pm. Calling Comcast telephone support either got an "all lines are busy" message from the telephone company or else a long hold on the Comcast line after which a message stated "we cannot complete the call" and Comcast hung up. Service was restored by 11:30 pm.

Posted by: dopplerquine | November 29, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm in southern NH and mine went about 9 and came back around 1130. Which was all very annoying as I'm English and I was watching England play cricket in Australia at the time.

Reading all the comments above about Comcast, I hear what you are saying but do bear in mind in the UK my "broadband" service was running at about 1.5Mbps, here its regularly around 20Mbps for about half the price. And if you think Comcast customer service is bad, spare a thought for me - they don't seem to be able to understand anything I say when I speak to them. I was always under the impression we spoke the same language!

Posted by: nomisd2 | November 29, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Lost Internet in G'burg around 8:30. Knew something was a major problem because when calling Comcast from landline and cell phone I got all circuits are busy message or a busy signal. Gave up trying to reconnect until this am. Lost major homework time.

Posted by: Sec131 | November 29, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

As much as this article is about Comcast, it is also about TRUST.
it is also about the power of individuals sharing information freely to solve a problem based on the belief that everyone has "good intent".

Within minutes of the initial outage, I checked my cell phone twitter application and found the alternate DNIS servers referenced in this article. Through twitter I could see the spread of the outage as a function of the really frustrated tweets.

The whole time Comcast's DNS page showed all of the servers green.

Now I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that if they were totally focused on solving the problem, the customer relations side of the house couldn't get the page updated!

But why would I ever again look at that page? Why would I trust Comcast?

I've got a dual band router, and changed the DNS server on one network, not the other. I check every once in a while and as of about 5 minutes ago, the Comcast settings didn't work in the Towson, Maryland area.

And still they are all green.

For now, I trust Twitter...but all it will take is one "bad guy" to post a bogus network address that allows my computer to get hacked, and then it will become much more difficult to believe.

In this season of giving, I want to thank all of the other technology and network folks who shared enough of their knowledge to give "Cyber Monday" and the economy a breath of hope through their generosity!

Posted by: LorettaMahonSmith | November 29, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

In the Richmond area, we lost Comcast a but after 8 p.m. last night, and it came back on just after 11 p.m.

Posted by: pattiea1 | November 29, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

I've been a Comcast user for years now, and also work as a Unix systems administrator, managing DNS services off and on since 1994.

Comcast has a habit of just turning off their DNS when their network is stressed, to get customers off their lines. It's a deliberate tactic, and somehow they expect no one to notice.

I didn't notice this DNS outage since they routinely turn off DNS. I've had a script I call fixdns that I run, and I taught my daughter to run, whenever nonsense like this happens.

Using a third party DNS also gets rid of the "we're going to fail on simple DNS lookups so we can dump adverts into your browser", another tactic that Comcast uses to make its customers happy.

Oh yes, and never use any kind of networking tool on their network, or they'll do everything they can to block your tools.

Fun bunch, Comcast. Their only redeeming quality is the speed of their network.

Posted by: dwm042 | November 29, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Off last night from 8pm'ish in Arlington, VA until after I went to bed. Wondered if somehow it was related to the Wikileaks DOS or cyber-reprisal for revelations in those leaks.

As for the complaining about Comcast service, well I've had their broadband pretty much since they first offered it. There have been some rough patches over the years, but in general I'd say these days they are at least as reliable as the other utilities. Cell service comes to mind as there are still many dead spots, dropped calls, and outrageous fees (gotta have a data package to get a smartphone; only certain phones available and no you can't just bring your own phone). Be kinda like Comcast saying which computers you can use, and not allowing the use of macs or Dells... And yes, we have Verizon wireless and Sprint PCS for the other cell carrier, both have multiple problems, awful customer service, and outrageous fees. By comparsion, I'd take Comcast any day of the week.

Posted by: Flyover_Country | November 29, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

It took a while to tell the difference between this outage and the regular Comcastic!!! service we get. DNS is a regular issue for us, intermittently. Of course, it's the fault of my computer/wiring/router/using OpenDNS, etc. Not theirs, of course.

Posted by: keepandbear | November 29, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Comcast is garbage. If I was "Bill Gates rich," I'd buy the company, then immediatly run it out of business. I'd waste billions of dollars ridding the earth of that horrible entity.

Posted by: stinkyhangdown | November 29, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

From Columbia Maryland and had service up until at least 7:00 PM EST. Went offline to eat, tried getting back on around 8:00 PM EST and no luck. Did the usual reset of the modem and router but as others found, wasn't helpful. Oddly my VoIP phone from Comcast was working, which I'm embarrassed didn't tip me off to it being a DNS problem. I made phone calls to Comcast but ran into the same busy signal or incomplete Comcast menu most of the time. After a 30 minute break, tried again to call and got a message that they were aware of the problem and there was no need to stay on the line. Figured it was a good time to read a book instead of playing games online.

I had Comcast a while back and switched from them to Verizon FiOS for a few years because of intermittent drops. I went back to Comcast about 2 months ago though when Verizon yet again messed up their billing. Imagine getting a $1400 bill one month and no explanation until you make numerous calls and spend hours on Verizon's poor customer service system to find that they messed up and didn't bill a portion of the services. I've also had problems with Verizon Wireless billing that took about 6 months to straighten out. Comcast may have the occasional network issue, but at least their customer service/support has been prompt for me. The live chat (which wouldn't have helped last night) has been very useful for other problems with the XFinity bundle so far.

Posted by: jim_maryland | November 29, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Ricky @ Comcast,

Service went down in NoVa about 8. It was not up at Midnight. The 24/7 "customer service" was non-existant. The only information I could get was on my 3G iPad (that goodness for AT&T) and it was not from Comcast. It was from all the people posting on Twitter. BTW - You should give ComcastWill a bonus for at least attempting to keep people informed.

Several years ago I abandoned Comcast Cable due to repeated service outages and equipment issue. Amazingly Comcast would not fix a problem even when I told them what the problem was and offered to pay them to fix it. I kept the Internet because it had been, to that point, relatively reliable. Now, Comcast Internet is behaving in the same ah-shucks-poor-quality-poor-service manner. By my count, you have violated 3 of your 7 quality service promises (for the second time) so I will be leaving your service for something more reliable.

EB

Posted by: edmundburke247 | November 29, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Why is fast internet so expensive? Are we still paying for the bloated bureaucracy at the telecoms.

Posted by: jercha | November 29, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

The only thing that surprises me about this story and the associated comments is that there are two or three comments from people who say they haven't had any problems with Comcast.

We had Comcast for a couple of years (in Arlington VA), after dropping Verizon DSL because of poor line quality. Comcast's service was so atrocious that we switched to Verizon FiOS as soon as it became available; I spent hours on the phone with Comcast's "customer service" reps, made appointments to have a service rep come to the house, then wasted more hours waiting for the rep, who never showed up. As if that weren't enough, I was lied to repeatedly by Comcast personnel. You couldn't get me to go back to Comcast (or its rebranding, Xfinity -- as if no one knows that's Comcast) at gunpoint.

Posted by: ajsmithva | November 29, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Charlotte, Vermont: Internet went out Sunday about 8:30 PM. Went to bed at 11:30, still no service. No service before I left for work Monday morning.

Posted by: joenusbaum | November 29, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Following the Unix design directive, any error encountered at a low level is translated to a single, all-purpose error message at a high level. For example, most low level errors for a certain database management system translate to TNS Adapter Error. Unix was designed by graduate students for graduate students. The guy who wrote the code was just down the hall if you needed him. Also, you could thumb through the code to make a list of possible reasons why you are seeing the message. There will be man pages, but they are way out of date, they provide a handy list of "known bugs," and they only sketch the purpose and operation of each use case. This orthodoxy has unfortunately infected Windows and its nonpareil web browser. DNS? What's a DNS, mommy? It's a little man inside your computer who translates IBM.COM to 129.42.38.1.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | November 29, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I lost service last night as well as my wife was finishing an online assignment. Yuh know, if Comcast is going to continue having these internet connectivity issues, I just may have to look for service elsewhere because this has been happening quite frequently with them.

Other than that, no complaints...just get it together folks! BTW, love the new digital cable boxes. =]

Posted by: cbmuzik | November 29, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Here in Cambridge, MA the outage was from about 8:30pm to 11:30pm -- consistent with most reports here. Calls to Comcast only yielded a rapid busy signal. Initially I did not think of a widespread outage since a Comcast tech had been here Saturday because I've had serious connect problems for months. My connection drops multiple times daily, sometimes briefly, sometimes for longer periods. The tech put in a new modem (second) and new wireless router (fourth). It worked for a few hours before getting unstable again. So when the outage hit Sunday, I thought it was my same old problem still haunting me.

It just infuriates me how much money I shell out to Comcast, which has a chokehold on this city, for such incredibly slow (and I'm paying for high-speed) and unreliable service. Happy Monday. Grrrrr!!

Posted by: GadgetJunkie | November 29, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Comcast creates problem/s for customer/s, then the Comcast can't Solve the problem they created for the customer/s.

I know of one problem that they spent about 7 Days (almost 8 hours a day staright) and Failed to Solve it even to this Date?

I guess if I were of sueing kind of person, they probably have been sued year or two ago.

Do you best to stay away from Comcast (this is personal opinion).

Posted by: SOCIETY1 | November 29, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Never had a problem since I use Google's DNS servers and specify them on my router as well as my PCs and other devices. Sometimes it pays to be a techie.

Posted by: jslaff | November 29, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Comcast internet went out sometime after 7:30 EST here on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Gave up and moved on to other projects after it didn't come up within an hour. I know it was still out until at least 9:30 when the neighbor asked about it.

Posted by: jkstehn | November 29, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I never completely lost service in Houston TX last night; but during the time frames referenced above, response to search requests was glacial in nature.

After 1100PM CST, service seemed to return to normal.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | November 29, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Rob and other readers, Would like to see comments about the recent third option: Norton DNS.

Posted by: fanofrp | November 29, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I lost Comcast DNS last night around 8:00 pm in Stafford Va.

Posted by: daverino1 | November 29, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Got knocked of about 8pm in Fredericksburg. Tried to call but line was BUSY. Finally got recorded message that Inet was down. Came back about 11pm.

Posted by: ken40 | November 29, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

In NH, service was rocky around 7PM and completely lost by 8PM. Didn't want to deal with it last night waited until morning and service was restored.

Posted by: BTM55 | November 29, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

For even greater reliability, use one google and one OpenDNS value?

Posted by: ellis2 | November 29, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Only out for a few hours? Sounds good to me. My mother in Northern Virginia has Verizon DSL, and it went out three times in the space of eight or nine days in mid-November, for 18 hours each the first two times and over 48 hours the third time. The first one was caused by a cut cable. No clue about the others. Verizon's "tech support" people were pretty useless--all apologies, no information. I've thought about switching her to Comcast.

Posted by: moxilator | November 29, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Only out for a few hours? Sounds good to me. My mother in Northern Virginia has Verizon DSL, and it went out three times in the space of eight or nine days in mid-November, for a day and a half each (if this posts twice, it's because I screwed up the math the first time and tried to stop the posting) the first two times and over 48 hours the third time. The first one was caused by a cut cable. No clue about the others. Verizon's "tech support" people were pretty useless--all apologies, no information. I've thought about switching her to Comcast.

Posted by: moxilator | November 29, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Northern Baltimore County went out just before 8:00PM and was back on by 11:30PM. Very annoying, since everything was blinking like it was working. Fortunately, Vonage was working the whole time. My son, the computer guy, found out what was wrong and told me how to go in and change the DNS and what to change it to, so I was back on-line pretty quickly. I think I'll keep my new DNS numbers for a while.

Posted by: momj47 | November 29, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I went down around 8:30 last night and gave up at 10 and went to bed. Was back up in the morning. Hate Comcast!!!!! Unfortunately I have no other option.

Posted by: davidwg46 | November 29, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I just read through the comments and I've never seen such a group of spoiled brats. People things break. You can't have it perfect all of the time.

For the record I have lived in this house for nearly ten years and last night was the first Internet outage that I have ever experienced.

Posted by: MKadyman | November 29, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

This wasn't limited to Comcast. I was talking to a co-worker who also lost internet last night. He is not a Comcast customer.

Posted by: valleymom | November 29, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

thanks for this column, Rob. I wondered why the comcast modem's status lights looked ok, and the IM apps worked, but not the browser, last night. When something like this happens, trying to get thru to Comcast is futile. lol, they spend their profits on gobbling up other cable & media companies.

Posted by: Hattrik | November 29, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Last Sunday night in Massachusetts I retained my connection to Comcast but lost all access to the internet when it couldn't find the server. Cisco's software program informed me that all the computers were still connected to Comcast. Still I reset it and was connected again but Comcast informed me that the server still couldn't be found. Then I realized that only Comcast could deal with this problem. Service was fully restored the next day.

Posted by: Daedalus | November 29, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Brunswick, MD here. Comcast was down AGAIN tonight, coincidentally (or not) at the same time as last night. IDIOTS! The only reason they're still in business is because of their monopoly in a lot of areas. Unfortunately, I live in one of those areas.

Posted by: davidwg46 | November 30, 2010 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Brunswick, MD too. I experienced the same outage last night.

Posted by: ChrisVmd | November 30, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Over the past week or so, my internet service has been unstable - crashing on a daily basis. Last night at around 9:30, I could not connect at all. After conducting cursory diagnostics, changing cables, and rebooting the computer, I finally did a reboot of the modem. That did the trick at around 10:30. This morning, I tried to reply to a trusted email and got a "scripting" error - email could not be sent. Finding this article and subsequent comments with the DNS information is priceless. It also reinforces that I am not crazy for believing something is amiss with the Comcast service. Although the rep was relatively sympathetic - there was still a tendency to deny the fault was with Comcast even though she was able to see an connectivity issue in my Historical Plot (think that's what she called it). This is an issue that needs to be kept in the spotlight especially for those whose reliance on service is critical to their business or finding a job!

Posted by: WiderAngle | December 3, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I just realized that this dates back to November. Today, December 5, DNS servers are down again. This is ridiculous, but there really are no consequences for their service failure is there.

Comcast, you will be facing regulation like the energy industry until you get your act together.

Posted by: jssj | December 5, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

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