Since I couldn't ping the next hop gateway for my normal connection I figured this must be a connectivity problem with Comcast. I told my wife to call tech support and she spoke to some very less than helpful person (that's my description, hers was more colorful). They told her there were no problems with our internet connection. When my wife insisted that things weren't working, he replied, "I am not saying you're lying, but I've refreshed my screen three times and your internet is working fine on my end." He then said he'd be happy to "roll a truck" for a business account customer, but since the problem was obviously on our end, they would likely charge us for it. He also stated that they had many people in the queue waiting for help and maybe she should call back when she knew what the problem was. She hung up.
When I got home, I logged into our cable modem and discovered that it did indeed seem like we had an internet connection. The cable modem had negotiated an upstream connection and could ping other hosts on the internet. Digging further into it, I discovered that the modem was indicating that we were hosted on a different subnet block, with a different static IP address. As mentioned before, I have a static IP address (which I pay extra for) because I run a server at home. In general, when you run a server you want to have an static IP address so that you can configure services to use that address. (For those not familiar with IPs, the easiest way to think of them is as phone numbers. You give them out your number and people know that they can use those numbers to contact you.) But in this case Comcast changed my IP (which I had been using for the past two years) without notifying me.
I called Comcast support, pointed out the problem, and the support folks spent about 30 minutes taking me on and off hold while they confirmed that:
- Yes, my static IP block had been changed earlier in the day.
- No, there was no attempt to notify me that the change had been made.
- No, there weren't any notes on my account indicating that this change had been made. So, had I not diagnosed the problem myself, their tech support would have had no way to see that there was any problem at all. This kinda explains (but does not justify) my wife's wonderful support experience with them.
- No, they couldn't restore my IPs because they had already been re-assigned to someone else.