Earlier this week my Internet service was bogging so badly that it felt like dial-up, or worse. Unable to get any work done, and tired of waiting on hold, I posted a complaint on Charter Communications’ Facebook page. While the company did nothing, a friend happened to spot the post and offered a solution.
For anyone not in our circles still having trouble with Charter (née Optimum, née Bresnan) Internet, the problem is with the company’s domain name servers, or DNS. I’ll let the friend explain:
These are servers that translate (or “resolve”) a domain name like google.com into an Internet address like 123.456.789.123. It is like a phone book for the Internet. Charter/Optimum/Bresnan has used their own DNS servers for years. Something went badly wrong with their recent changeover to Charter and those servers are not working well. When you go to a website like nbc.com, you may actually need to “resolve” more than a hundred domain names in order to display that page. Every ad, every video, every link on the page may use a different domain name. A properly functioning DNS server can do that in milliseconds. But Charter’s DNS servers were taking a LONG time (up to 20-30 seconds) to resolve the domain names.
Here is the prescription (for Mac users): Go to System Preferences > Network > Advanced > DNS > click + and type 184.108.40.206 or 220.127.116.11 into the window. Those are Google’s servers. If using a wireless network, you also can change these settings on your router (Airport Utility for Mac users).
For those not wanting to use Google, other options are 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124 from Open DNS.
Many thanks to Jim Little Jr. for his assistance. By spreading the word so widely, it was like the St. John’s Hospital physician had inoculated half of Jackson from a measles outbreak.