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Cox Newsgroup Support

Postby puzzlepants » Fri Nov 11, 2005 8:15 pm

I have Cox as my ISP and I use their newsgroups quite a bit, but I have noticed that there is very little in the way of information about them. Most of what I have found out has come from word of mouth, forums, and other such sources. I figured I would save some people the trouble of going through all this and just post everything I know about Cox newsgroup access here.

UPDATED 12/5/06
- shortened some parts
- added information about beta servers and outsourcing to Highwinds

Servers
The addresses for the Cox newgroup servers are as follows:
news.east.cox.net
news.west.cox.net
newsbeta.east.cox.net (test server)
newsbeta.west.cox.net (test server)

The servers are named by location. However, I've been able to find out much more specific locations:
news.east.cox.net - Atlanta, Georgia
news.west.cox.net - Mckinleyville, California

Access
The Cox newsgroup servers restrict access based on your IP address so no username or password is needed to access the groups. All you have to do is enter in the address and you're ready to go. As one clever Slyck member found, you can find a proxy run on Cox connection and be able to access newsgroups via that proxy. You can find that thread here: http://www.slyck.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=17367

Speeds
Each server allows 4 concurrent download connections, technically allowing for 16 total connections if you utilize both the official and beta servers. The servers do not cross-reference connections, so if you connect to more than one at a time, they will not kick you off because you are connected to another server. Keep in mind that the beta servers are test servers and may give you errors (such as too many connections) even when nothing is wrong.

Each connection is around 50 KB/s (officially 384 kbps allowing 1.5 mbps per server according to the Cox website), pretty much allowing you to max out your connection if you get all 16 connections. Cox allows you to have an unlimited number of header updates going on, and the speeds for these are not capped.

You are more likely to get better speeds on off hours or off days, for instance Friday nights when everybody is out and/or relaxing, or early in the morning and late at night. You'll usually get the best results if you queue up a bunch and let it download overnight. During peak hours, you may not get more than 50 KB/s or even lower when updating headers, though the transfer speeds when downloading files doesn't seem to slow down quite as much.

Also, obviously, you will get the best speeds from the server that is closest to you. While the difference will not be incredible, it should be noticable. Furthermore, the caps are not strictly enforced, so again it is to your advantage to download during non-peak hours.

Equipment
Another pretty cool site I have found is http://newsfeeds.cox.net

This page is still up but since Cox has started outsourcing to Highwinds it's not really useful except to glance into the past.

Usage Caps
As we all hopefully know, Cox has supposed caps on the amount that you can download and upload per month (total, not limited to newsgroups). These caps vary as to the account you have, and they have changed over the years as well. I will post what they are now, but these are really just a general guideline.

Value Package (768kbit/256kbit): 4 GB download/1 GB upload
Preferred Package (5mbit/2mbit): 40 GB download/10 GB upload
Premier Package (15mbit/5mbit): 60 GB download/15 GB upload

Thankfully, these caps are not really enforced...at all. I have doubled, tripled, and quadrupled these limits without so much as a word from Cox. However, take these words with a grain of salt. They may not care in my instance, but I cannot guarantee the same will be true in your case. The bottom line is that they can disconnect you if you go over these limits religiously, though they will probably give you notices first before this happens.

Content Distribution
This section used to be important but since Highwinds has come into the picture, retention is long enough that it doesn't matter.

Retention
Retention used to be an issue with Cox's servers painfully holding 3 days. Cox decided to get smart and outsource to Highwinds which means retention upwards of 80 - 90 days. As far as I can tell, this retention is now included on the regular servers in addition to the test servers.

Cox's Own Groups
Another decent tool in the Cox arsenal is the Cox groups themselves (for instance, cox.internet.discussion.newsgroups). There are a bunch of actual Cox groups on the Cox servers, and they can provide you with a lot of good information and support. Finally, if you would like to see a group added to Cox, you can email the following address: newsmaster@cox.net. The process by which groups may be added:

* The Cox newsmaster aggregates these requests on Tuesday afternoons and works with Cox feed peers to add newsgroups.
* Once the groups have been added, and are present on Cox news servers, the newsmaster posts the list of new groups to cox.internet.discussion.newsgroups.
* If the requested newsgroup doesn't exist in Usenet, the customer follows procedure detailed at http://www.uwasa.fi/~ts/http/createng.html. Once the customer learns that the requested newsgroup has been added to Usenet, he forwards that notice to newsmaster@cox.net.


NOTE: The Cox groups are still around on the new, outsourced servers.

Other Miscellaneous Information
Cox carries over 55,000 groups which they say is continually increasing, though I cannot imagine that they add a significant amount of groups at any time. They also claim that they are "committed to offering excellent retention times and article completeness rates." Apparently the reason that Cox limits speeds so much is so newsgroup downloading does not affect the downloading speeds of other users using Cox for web browsing and email and such. It is true that the downloading habits of one hardcore user could affect the speeds of others on the same node, but I doubt this is really why Cox limits speeds.

Other Sources of Information
You can find out more information about Cox newsgroups from two places of which I am aware. Firstly, the Cox support site has an inadequate but improving page about newsgroups. Find it at http://support.cox.net. You can also check out the Broadband Reports forum for Cox here: http://www.dslreports.com/forum/coxhsi

Problems
Any problems Cox had with newsgroups have been rectified since outsourcing to Highwinds began. In effect, this makes any problems not the fault of Cox but I haven't noticed anything but good things since Highwinds took over.

Magic Disappearing Central Server
The central server has been gone since October 25, 2005. Cox claims this is to better serve you, but all in all it shouldn't really make that much of a difference.

Future Updates
I know this is not complete, and I will add to it as I discover more information, but I hope it's good enough for now

News
Cox recently began outsourcing their newsgroups to Highwinds, the same people behind Newshosting. Basically, this means drastically increased retention and completion as well as almost no downtime or problems. Have fun with these new servers and morn for the old ones.
Last edited by puzzlepants on Tue Dec 05, 2006 4:42 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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STICKY REQUEST!!! THANKS!

Postby LANjackal » Fri Nov 11, 2005 8:21 pm

VERY well done, Puzzlepants. Can an admin make this a sticky please? Thanks. I'm buried under work (but I'm still browsing Slyck. Why? ;)) I'll post my thoughts (I'm a Cox user too, formerly of TWC) later.
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Postby weaksauce19 » Fri Nov 11, 2005 8:42 pm

Value Package (768kbit/256kbit): 4 GB download/1 GB upload
Preferred Package (5mbit/2mbit): 40 GB download/10 GB upload
Premier Package (15mbit/5mbit): 60 GB download/15 GB upload


I know these are general guidelines but I have also double or tipled some of those numbers as well. So tap another user who went beyond these numbers. I don't even check my bandwith each month. I know its way beyond 4GB.

Another thing I have noticed that may be helpful to seasoned newsgroup user is that the east server always seems to get content before the other server


Ya, i have been noticing this too. My experience is that it takes like half-day for west to receive what east does.


I find that the retention tends to be about 3 days for most binary content


These are my same results as well. I sometimes get no files when over 2.6 days. The retention is real shitty. I think that's why they don't really enforce caps. Since you have to be on your toes to get binaries before they are let go.

You have cought everything I noticed on Cox NG's and more. At one point I purchased Newshosting simply for the retention. I then started to check newsgroups daily and decided that I can save money by just staying on top of releases. I came back to Cox and a couple of weeks later they cut the central server. I am contemplating going back to Newshosting just for the extra 2 MB/s bandwith. I hope people can start complaining like in braodband reports where I suggested in forums to increase the threads from 4 to 6. From 4 threads to 6 will put speeds back to what they were before the central server. Hopefully people can come out of the woodrucks that use Cox. Cause its a good Newsgroup provider if used right.
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Postby puzzlepants » Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:52 pm

I would definitely support a move from 4 to 6 threads, or at least raising the transfer speed of each thread from 50 KB/s to something like 75 KB/s. However, I find that with east and west working together, I can usually max out my connection since it adds up to about 400 KB/s
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Postby heartless » Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:22 am

Ahhhh Cox(pronounced COCKS)communications--

A good example for why a premium server is worth it.

I have found that my east-coast single speed never exeeds about 52KB/s. I assume that they have it pegged. It loads my searched headers bastard quick, but downloading reminds me of the overnight dial-up Napster days.

I use my premium (limited to 3GB/month because I'm po) which usually runs between 300KB/s and 500KB/s and supplement with Cox when the retention and completion allows. I get a good solid 2-weeks on my premium compared to (sometimes) less than a day for the same group on Cox.

I am completely shocked that Cox still bothers with maintaining a server. After years of experience as a Cable customer I have come to expect nothing but the crappiest, most impersonal, de-minimus service from Cox. The fact that they maintain any server at all is so anomalous that I wonder if they realize that they are still running a server.

Maybe if the three of us keep this whole thing quiet then we will coninue to realize the best retention of Cox.
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Postby LANjackal » Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:27 am

heartless wrote:I am completely shocked that Cox still bothers with maintaining a server. After years of experience as a Cable customer I have come to expect nothing but the crappiest, most impersonal, de-minimus service from Cox. The fact that they maintain any server at all is so anomalous that I wonder if they realize that they are still running a server.


SHHHHHHHH! Some of us don't like paying for newsgroup access and enjoy the ISP freebies, however paltry they might be. Quiet down before Cox starts seeing things your way and eliminates the provision.
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Postby heartless » Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:42 am

LANjackal wrote:
SHHHHHHHH! Some of us don't like paying for newsgroup access and enjoy the ISP freebies, however paltry they might be. Quiet down before Cox starts seeing things your way and eliminates the provision.


Yeah. . . I was shooting for the "Your service is so lousy that when your monopoly ends I'll move to another ISP" tone. Guess I came across as stroking Cox.

But seriously, Im super-smalltime and that retention and speed would drive me to madness if it was my only connection. The 100MB in 5 minutes or less is worth it.
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Postby puzzlepants » Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:49 am

I agree with LANJackal. Cox's newsgroups are where I get a vast majority of the things I download, and I would honestly be lost without them. I'm in high school right now, and I certainly do not have the money to pay for a premium news server.

However mediocre Cox's offering is, it is all I have, and I have to cling to it because it really is all I have
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Postby puzzlepants » Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:19 pm

I'm going to go ahead and bump this thread. It would be really nice if this was made into a sticky or put somewhere else on the site where it can be easily found.

If it is not stickied, I'm afraid it will get lost among the hundreds of threads where "Cox" is mentioned, which is what somebody would probably search for when looking for any information about the Cox newsgroups.

I would really appreciate it if this could be made into a sticky. Thanks in advance
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Postby max2 » Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:33 am

Cox is getting rid of their newsgroup servers soon!
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Postby heartless » Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:21 am

max2 wrote:Cox is getting rid of their newsgroup servers soon!


Now that is the level of service I've come to expect from Cox!

Despite the nervousness exhibited by other postings on this thread, I do not think that our dialogue here makes any difference to Cox. Our discussion is but a pebble in the river of suckitude that is Cox.

Just out of curiosity, what is your source for this information oh knowledgable max2?
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Postby puzzlepants » Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:37 pm

I would like to know where you got this information as well. I'm not sure why Cox would invest in new equipment in the last month just to "get rid" of their newsgroup service altogether. I have also checked Broadband Reports, which is usually a reliable source of information, and it has no mention of any such thing
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Postby LANjackal » Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:41 pm

max2's probably just trolling, otherwise he'd have mentioned some evidence for his announcement. Moving right along ...
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Postby puzzlepants » Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:08 pm

Yea I have to say that I agree...that and I would definitely cry myself to sleep if I lost the Cox newsgroups :mrgreen:
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Postby puzzlepants » Fri Feb 10, 2006 1:04 pm

I have updated my original post and added a bunch of information as well as some links.
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Postby puzzlepants » Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:34 pm

Back to problem city:

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Postby puzzlepants » Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:57 pm

According to status.cox.net, newsgroups are no longer having problems but I have yet to see this reflected in the actual servers themselves as I continue to see incomplete files and other problems.
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Postby fut » Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:27 pm

Cox outsources news to Highwinds now:

news.east.cox.net (New York)
news.west.cox.net (Phoenix)

4 connections total (mix/match), no login.
Each connection is speedcapped to 64 kB/sec.
The cox.* newsgroups are carried.
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Postby puzzlepants » Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:45 pm

That's good to hear. Thanks for the news. Fortunately I'm at college now on an OC-3 connection :mrgreen:
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Postby tm, » Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:58 pm

That's fantastic news for Cox customers, as Highwinds provides 70 days binary retention - a huge jump from the 2-3 days retention that Cox was providing using their own servers. Even with the 512 kbit/sec throttle (headers may or may not be throttled) it's still faster than downloading a typical file on ED2K, and in many cases even BT.

http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp ... &aId=20013

Cox Communications
9/11/2006

Customers will experience faster access, longer retention periods and more

ATLANTA - Cox Communications today announced that its high-speed Internet customers who utilize its newsgroup service will be able to experience a number of enhancements, including faster transfer speeds, longer storage of newsgroup posts and access to additional newsgroups. Newsgroups will continue to be available to all Cox High Speed Internet customers at no charge.

"Newsgroups are the original version of collaborative online communities," said Scott Hightower, Cox’s vice president of data development and support. "Many of our customers remain loyal newsgroup users, and we are glad to expand our already comprehensive newsgroup service."

Cox is working with Highwinds, an industry leader in newsgroup management, to:

* Increase retention by at least 30 days: Retention time for binary newsgroups is being increased from an average of 3 days to at least 30 days. Text groups will have even longer retention.

* Boost transfer speeds by more than 30%: Each Newsgroup user can utilize up to four connections to the server, and transfer speeds for each connection have been increased from up to 384 Kbps each to up to 512 Kbps each.

* Add more newsgroups: Cox has traditionally offered access to over 55,000 newsgroups, and now thousands of additional newsgroups are available to Cox customers. Each newsgroup has a primary topic of discussion, and users can read and post messages on topics ranging from C++ programming to sports and jokes.

"Highwinds Media Group is excited to be joining in Cox’s efforts to continually improve the Internet experience for Cox subscribers. The partnership with Highwinds is enabling Cox to offer an incredible Newsgroup service with greatly enhanced article retention, access speeds and availability. Highwinds looks forward to bringing its state-of-the-art service to the Cox community," stated Robb Barkley, VP Corporate Communications Highwinds Media Group.

The trial version of the newsgroup enhancements is effective today, and customers that wish to be one of the first to experience Cox’s new newsgroup capabilities can add the new server to their group list. The server address is either newsbeta.east.cox.net or newsbeta.west.cox.net, depending on where the customer resides. Customers who wish to switch after the trial period will only need to reset their group list. All newsgroup users should experience uninterrupted access to all newsgroups and the ability to enjoy all of the new enhancements.

About Cox Communications

Cox Communications, a Fortune 500 company, is a multi-service broadband communications and entertainment company with more than 5.9 million total residential and commercial customers. Cox offers an array of advanced digital video, high-speed Internet and telephony services over its own nationwide IP network. Cox Business Services is a full-service, facilities-based provider of communications solutions for commercial customers, providing high-speed Internet, voice and long-distance services, as well as data and video transport services for small to large-sized businesses. Cox Media offers national and local cable advertising in traditional spot and new media formats, along with promotional opportunities and production services. More information about the services of Cox Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, is available at http://www.cox.com, http://www.coxbusiness.com, and http://www.coxmedia.com.
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Postby fut » Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:44 pm

Outsource switch complete, old in-house servers are gone. Only 4 connections total allowed (mix of east and/or west). Speedcapped; what's your max speed now?
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Postby LANjackal » Fri Dec 01, 2006 7:52 pm

Anyone else unable to reach the servers?
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Postby weaksauce19 » Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:28 pm

Beta Servers on this end are running fine.
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Postby puzzlepants » Tue Dec 05, 2006 4:45 pm

I've added and updated a ton of stuff in my original post
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Postby fut » Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:23 pm

I had to update my update.

In-house servers are gone.

There are only 3 IP addresses now, which have various names and still include the beta names, and they are all outsourced to Highwinds.

69.28.173.184 (Phoenix)
69.28.173.186 (Phoenix)
69.28.186.120 (New York)

4 connections total, mix/match.
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