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May 20, 2011

Time Warner Cable Business Class First Impressions

Filed under: Uncategorized — aspensmonster @ 6:31 am

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I just had TWC installed, 10 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up, 1 static IP in the Austin, Texas area. The following is a summary of the experience thus far.

0.) Pre-Sales

The website was simple enough to navigate: Placing the order was also easy. The form promised a call within 24 hours. Granted, I placed the order on a Friday, so I figured I wouldn’t get a call until Monday. But Tuesday was going by without a call. A ticket got me a call back in about an hour, wherein the order went into processing by the end of the day. So far so good.

Wednesday came, got a call saying they would install services “between the hours of 8AM and 5PM [on Thursday],” which isn’t exactly a narrow time range. Meh. No biggie. Thursday came and with my luck, I was still at work when the call from the installer came. Managed to get out early and let him do his work. He was great and courteous to boot. By the time he was done, I had a cable line going into a SMC8014W-G modem/firewall/router/wireless access point , and then into my machine.

1.) Installation and Configuration

So, now I’ve got a SMC8014W-G modem with all of my static info configured, and the internet is working fine. All speedtests report the expected rates. But how do I go about configuring this beast? I spent nearly an hour trying various combinations for this thing, including:

  • cusadmin / password
  • cusadmin / cusadmin
  • admin / admin
  • admin /
  • mso / cxf1rst!
  • rogcesadmin / wra8uje
  • mso / msopassword

I then proceeded to perform a hard reset, and go through those combinations again. Still nothing. As it turns out, the answer to the question “How do I configure this thing” is… You don’t. You call Time Warner and have them set up what you want. HA! I don’t think so. I figured I’d just get another cable modem. I went out and bought one. I gave customer service a call and, after spending 4 minutes in phone tree hell, I got a hold of an individual and asked him if he could update my static lease with the MAC of my new modem. He said that this was impossible with a Business connection and that I was forced to use the SMC8014W-G device “for security purposes”. I hooked it all back up, and he reconfigured all of the static information. He then set the device in bridge mode for me to use my own router.

I’m not sure if the SMC8014W-G is plagued by the same issues as the SMC8014WG-SI , but I’ll bet it is. And if that is the case, then it turns out the reason that you can’t get in is because of a Java vulnerability:

Now, the suggestion that they can’t update my static lease with a new MAC address is ludicrous, and the “security” reasoning even more so. Might not want to update it? sure. Might take a while to get a hold of a tech with access to do so? yeah. But it’s by no means impossible. What if that modem was faulty? Would I be shit out of luck? Of course not. They’d bring out a new one and update the static lease. I’m still contemplating efforts to clone their device’s MAC onto a suitable cable modem or else hack my way into my own device, but in the meantime, using it as a bridge is functional and all of my forwards and triggers and QoS configs are working. However, should I take a look at my first monthly bill and see a charge for a “leased” device, I will certainly give them a ring and find a suitable alternative.

2.) Customer Management ( Online Management Portals )

Holy fucknuts what a nightmare. There are a few crucial pieces of info you will need in order to get the various accounts set up:

  1. Last Four of Social OR Last Four of Federal Tax ID
  2. Account Number
  3. Customer Code

And apparently, there are several different log-in portals as well:

To give you an indication of what I started with in this rat race, here is a snap shot of the “Web Lead” contract with my relevant data:

In any case, the gentleman who installed the line gave me a little card that had the link on it. The screen there leads to a register page that requests the account number. The only problem is, the account number in that picture up there is blank. Granted, it isn’t required, so I go through and sign up without it.

I then went to the MyServices/Residentail? Portal login page and began the registration process. It picked up on my email well enough, but got to a point where it asked for the last four of a Social Security Number or (I believe) of a credit card. Needless to say, neither worked. Now, that tidbit about the last four of the tax-id up above isn’t indicated in any help documentation I could find, much less the precise spot where the form was asking for a Social Security Number. It was a wild-ass guess on my part that happened to work. I figured it might be what they were looking for because sole proprietorships are not strictly required to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can just use your Social as well. That and the fact that both a SSN and EIN are nine digits long… In any case, the last four of the EIN worked.

Alright, I now have a login for MyServices/Residential? Portal and sure enough, it provides me with my account number, which I sadly can no longer input into the Business Portal. As well, the “Account Holder” field is identified as “Missing.” Never a good sign. Whether that makes any difference or not I have no idea. I decide to try to pay my bill with their PayXpress system. And yet another portal:

Billing Portal

that asks for my account number in order to set up. Thankfully, I have that. But upon logging in, I see that there isn’t a balance. Furthermore, it states that I have Cable and Internet service. I don’t. I only have Internet. And to make the clusterfuck even worse:

this login link (found on this page on the Business Portal):

recognizes my credentials…

but this one (found as a tab inside the MyServices/Residential Portal) does not :

The use of different geographic subdomains is probably a load-balancing measure. The real question is why my MyServices login is kicking me over to a Los Angeles billing portal and not the correct Texas portal. The MyServices portal has my valid Texas address. Apparently, the

LinkLocalizer.ashx script isn’t doing its job correctly.

Alright, so now I have a Business Portal, MyServices/Residential Portal, and Billing Portal all set up. Each seems to have false or missing data, and at the end of all of this, I still do not have a customer code, which will be required for setting up the Add Ons. The link asks for a login username and password, no combination of which I try works. And there is no option to create an account So I try another link from the list of Management links:

Which asks for a username and password. Fortunately, this link does have a create account option, so I choose the option to create an account. I provide the email and zip and click on the verification link in my email, only to once again be greeted with the ugly Customer Code requirement, at which point I figure it might be a good idea to get in touch with customer support, since nothing so far had given me my Customer Code.

3.) Customer Support

They have an option for chat support. I am greeted with this when I try to use their online chat:

Seriously? Windows-Fucking-Ninety-Eight? IE 5? Netscape? Is it fucking 1998 again? I change my User-Agent header to Internet Explorer 7 and that gets me to an option to download some support tools:

but I can’t get past it. The “Chat Without Controls” button is dead, no response. Apparently, this software really does need to operate in a Windows+Internet Explorer environment. Which is a problem, seeing as I run Linux. So, I’m forced to resort to running Internet Explorer 7 within a WINE bottle:

Where I am eventually told I will have to phone in anyway. Which leaves me at a standstill, because it’s now one two in the morning and I’m sick and tired of blogging about this.


  1. Thanks for your post – I am in a similar situation with the SMC 8014wg and spent an afternoon fiddling with it.

    Comment by rusty — March 5, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

  2. WOW, I almost have had the exact same experiences with Time Warner. I was installed today and after spending an hour on the phone, no customer code. So far, I am not impressed.

    Comment by Ben — March 28, 2012 @ 7:13 pm

  3. And how.

    Yeah, ditto on the multiple websites. Try having more than one account. 🙂 I’d write about it, but I’m not even sure what’s going on yet. I can at least see a total and that the last bill was paid. As long as that’s happening, maybe I’ll just leave it alone. In this case i think change is probably bad.

    Comment by Justin Haynes — June 5, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

  4. I believe TW supports the Motorola Surfboard SB6141 OTB if you purchase it. It obviates the need for terrible leased SMC wireless router/modem combination units. Then use your own router. Seriously, the SMC stuff is not good. I’ve never had any problems with my Motorola unit on Comcast.

    Comment by blargher — January 9, 2013 @ 7:40 pm

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