My internet cable and phone connection recently failed. This is the first
time in years that this has happened. I contacted tech with my ISP who, after
the usual rebooting and disconnecting routine, were unable to restore the
connection but said it would be fixed by the next morning.
This, in fact, proved to be the case. However, the technician said that I
should leave my Motorola cable modem running 24/7 and implied that my failing
to do so had caused the problem.
I’ve never had this suggested before. It’s my practice to switch off all
computers and peripherals at night or when absent from the house as a
precaution. Indeed, the modem has a standby function. There is nothing in the
paperwork anywhere from Motorola or the ISP to suggest that this is required or
So really my question is: was this a PR exercise to cover up the failure at
the ISP’s server for the telephone has no connection with modem?
In this excerpt from
Answercast #5, I discuss initial connection devices, such as modems and
This type of equipment is designed to be left on. They are also
designed to withstand numerous power scenarios (such as power outages) and being
turned off and on.
Is it a coverup?
I won’t go so far as to say that it was a PR exercise to cover up. I’m not going to ascribe that level of cover up to your ISP. I honestly don’t know.
That being said, I don’t know of any reason that it should be required that you would leave your modem on 24/7, or that failing to do so would cause these other kind of problems that you are experiencing. I believe it’s highly unlikely that the two are related.
That’s not to say it’s impossible. I could certainly dream up some scenarios where a poorly designed system could in fact fail because it’s not turned on. But I just consider that to be extremely, highly unlikely.
The default is on
Now, I will say this: I do believe that most of these initial connection devices are meant to stay on. By initial connection, I mean the first device that the external wire connects to in your home. For instance, the cable goes directly to your cable modem: your DSL connection goes directly to a DSL modem. Those initial frontline devices, I believe, are actually designed to (more often than not) be left on 24/7.
In fact, in my house, that’s the way that they are because I leave the entire system on 24/7. I do believe that they just expect that’s the way that they will be left. If there are design decisions being made when those devices are being crafted in the first place, they’ll probably err on the side of that being the most common scenario.
“Off” is going to happen
Now, that’s not to say that those devices should not be able to handle the power going off. They should absolutely be able to handle you turning it off. They should absolutely be able to handle scenarios that are much worse: like the power suddenly disappearing during a power outage or power problems during other kinds of power-related failures. I really don’t think there’s a scenario here that realistically points the finger at you for turning this thing off all of the time.
My point is simply that it might their first line of defense to say this, only because it’s what they’re used to. It’s what they expect; it’s what they know works most commonly and most often.
I don’t want to get into the debate of whether or not turning it off actually saves power, or whether or not turning it off and turning it on again 365 times a year is actually causing additional wear and tear on the device. Those are almost unanswerable questions and you will get lots of strong opinion on both sides of that issue.
Regardless of which approach that you take, I really don’t see anything wrong or anything that would cause the kind of problem that you experienced simply by turning your modem off at night.