I decided that I wanted to try upgrading my Shaw@home service from the “high speed” service to their new “Xtreme” package.  The new Xtreme package uses a new DOCSIS 2.0 Motorola modem that can handle better raw throughput.  I was hoping that the upgraded service would allow me to use more bandwidth without affecting my phone service quality, since we’re using Primus’ TalkBroadband service and it can be very bandwidth-sensitive.

Immediately after installing the new cable modem, I happened to get a call from my parents.  They could barely hear anything on their end of the call and ended up having to call me on my cell.  After some network diagnosis and many tech support calls to both Shaw and Primus, it turned out to be that the packet latency with the Xtreme service is much more variable than the high-speed classic Cybersurfr modem service.  When I had first installed the modem, my ping latencies to my default gateway were hitting times up to 600ms.

Thankfully, Shaw gave me my old cablemodem back without a hassle.  After reinstalling it, my VoIP quality is back to normal and I can make decent phone calls again.

Just a warning to anyone with Primus service considering an upgrade to Xtreme!

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