Optus cable issues - help appreciated


Nov 14, 2014
After an Optus technician came to our place a few weeks ago to check out an ongoing issue with our internet connection, he found that our cable modem had, in his words, "had it". It was a few years old so it probably was due for replacement by this time, so he replaced it with a 'cable home network gateway' which seems to act as both a wireless router and a modem in one unit.

Our ongoing issue was that, without warning, our internet would randomly time out. These dropouts were mostly centred around activities like gaming and watching YouTube videos, all other activites like web browsing were seldom triggering a time out. Digging around in the Docsis log showed a bunch of these messages relating to Unicast Maintenance stuff. Never fully understood what that's all about, and probably never will..

So, the same thing is happening now, except I've been better able to isolate the problem. I've ruled out the cable home network gateway as the root of the problem, and when I go into the config for it ( by default) it always says on the status page- cable status: not connected. When I click on it, it says 'Your cable modem is offline. Please check the RF connection'. This leads me to believe that the problem lies in the cable.

My questions, for those who can answer;
1. In layman's terms, what's all this Unicast Maintenance stuff about? It seems to be a recurring thing in the new and old Docsis logs.
2. What to do about the cable problem?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

This leads


For a start, you should be getting Optus to sort out any ongoing problems.

Unicast Maintenance - no idea. Was Unicast the brand of one of the modems?

RF connection is Radio Frequency connection. For cable, it shouldn't be relevant.

Sometime I really just think you post to get your post count up. Pretty much you just say I don't know call the vendor.

RF connector means exactly that. Coax cable of course is a form a radio frequency. What do you think the terms RG-6 and RG59 actually relate to some magic data protocol.

Not knowing what unicast is on a network forum just makes me laugh.

There are a number of variations of these unicast maintenance messages some are normal operation but some indicate a error. Most times they are related to not receiving a response from the equipment at the cable company. Pretty much it means the modem sent out a message and didn't get a response. Many times these are caused by bad cabling but there are a couple other things that can cause these also.

The check the RF connection is also a indication that the modem thinks there is a cabling issue.

So checking all the cables in your house is a good first step. You need to check all the cables make sure none is damaged and the ends are firmly attached and the connections to all the equipment is full tight. You also need to make sure all splitters in the path are rated for data. It only takes a little bit of corrosion or a end not making firm contact with the shielding braid to cause massive problems.

Once you have verified the cable in your house then you are unfortunately stuck calling the cable operator. There could be a issue with the cable between your house and the telephone pole or where ever they run the cable to.

It makes you very suspect of the cable guy who first came out. To have exact same problem means it was never the modem to start. They have a meter than can measure the quality of the cable. For them to assume it is the modem is strange when most problems are the cables.