BRAVO TECHNOLOGY CENTER

Time Warner Cable to Spectrum Transition by Sam C. Chan
 
March 21, 2017    Minor edit:  MAR 22 to correct typos.  APR 1 added new Static IP price.  APR 4 added footnote.

Keeping you apprised, furnishing business strategies and tech digest. This memo focuses on data network IT aspect. TV, voice (VoIP) and SIP are beyond the scope. Those are covered in separate documents.

I view this merger as VERY POSITIVE*, for both fiber and coax customers. -SCC

Background 

  • Time Warner Cable, Inc. (NYSE:TWC) was acquired by Charter Communications in April 2016, after Comcast's bid was rejected.
  • The merged company is operating under the brand Spectrum, by Charter.
  • The on-going development of AT&T/Time Warner, Inc. (NYSE:TWX) merger is completely unrelated, as TWC was spun off from TWX back in 2009.
  • TWX is a content provider. TWC was a content distributor and ISP.
What and When?

Each regional market executes the transition independently, according to different rules and schedules. In the greater Rochester region, there had been behind-the-scene infrastructural and operational changes for months, culminating in public announcement in February.  As events are still unfolding, we must react as warranted.    STATUS:  Currently in flux...  Stay tuned!  Reach out as needed.

Changes to Email Service

For the average user,
this is the only
section of concern.

The rest is tech brief for management/DIFA

  • areas affected: 
    • SMTP/POP3/IMAP server names
    • SMTP authentication (newly required)
    • TLS/SSL (certificates-related issues)
    • SPAM policy & false positive characteristics
    • per-message size limits
    • per-mailbox traffic & storage quota
    • potentially changing email address in the future
       
  • IF you have been using the free ISP mailboxes provided by TWC
    • you should have received notifications from Spectrum
    • and you must make adjustments accordingly
    • Symptoms: send/receive unreliable or fail entirely, others can't reply to you, etc.
       
  • IF you have commercially hosted (@xyz.com) mailboxes, they should be fine
    • unless you've been using TWC's SMTP server for sending in the past
    • In any case, it's time to re-evaluate strategies & schemes:
      • which SMTP on which device, which user account
      • what identity, TLS/SSL, ports,
      • IMAP vs POP3, etc.
         
  • IF you have self-hosted on-premises Exchange Server, you're 100% fine
    • you're using local server via EAS protocol, not POP/IMAP
    • not dependent on your ISP, not subject to their policies
    • as ISP transition does not pertain your Exchange Server
      • OWA (Outlook Web Access) works as before
      • all your mobile devices can still talk to your server
  • free 3rd-party (non-ISP) mailboxes also would likely be unaffected
  • all webmail access via http/https will not be affected, regardless of type of account or provider

Overall Changes to ISP Access Line

  • consumer grade coaxial service (residential and business)
    • no discernible change in web surfing & most outbound traffic
    • TCP port filtration is comparable
    • DHCP pool changes are transparent to the average user
    • might have implications on policy re: bridging, static NAT
    • changes to DNS servers at ISP (static entries for SWX/pfSense, etc.)
    • dynamic DNS services (DDNS) continue seamlessly
    • $$$ static IP address option is now $20, down from $35 (business account only)
      • well worth considering, if you have a public presence, or
      • staff/partners heavily rely on inbound access
      • will make your existing VPN more robust, less service calls for RDP
    • consolidated plan price tiers, eliminated modem rental fee (parity with Frontier)
    • equipment compatibilitya review of your plan + device is in order
      • your existing TWC modem (or modem+router combo) should work
      • if you already have DOCSIS 3.1 (2013 standard), you're all set
      • with DOCSIS 3.0 (2006), high speed plans are not supported
      • DOCSIS 2.0 (2001)... dinosaur sighted! Must be replaced! e.g. Cisco DPC2100
         
  • enterprise grade fiber service (TWC Ethernet DIA/P2P fiber optic
    • DIA: now under Spectrum Enterprise Fiber Internet Access
    • P2P (point-to-point): now under Ethernet Private Line (EPL)
    • could see restructuring of IP blocks in the future
    • SLA basically remains comparable
    • minor TOS differences
    • new routing table & peering points: advanced admins should re-tweak accordingly
    • $$$ much better fiber offerings from Charter
      • can realize significant cost savings or bandwidth increase in many cases
      • highly recommend looking into re-negotiating contract (details upon request)

* In the near term, it's a big win for you as a consumer. You gain features & performance at better prices. Long term societal implications on macroeconomics, of yet more consolidation, is of course, a much more complicated matter.

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