I evidently didn’t blow a subwoofer, it was AT&T

This is one of the weirder going down the rabbit hole of tech woes I’ve run across and what started as me thinking I had a blown subwoofer (scratching, popping, the noises a blown subwoofer makes) lead me to the final cause, which was evidently a router settings change by AT&T.

TL;DR – details random issues caused by unexpected configuration change from an ISP

Let’s set the stage – in my living room is a VIZIO SB36512-F6 sound bar. It’s been working oddly lately, and there are a lot of things going strange with it but we’re going to start with the better the sound quality that’s coming through the line the more pops and fart noises were coming out of the subwoofer. The subwoofer is a wireless little box and sat on the far right of the room nestled next to a small array of communications gear including my fiber modem.

But they weren’t consistent, and when I went places like YouTube and pulled up a subwoofer test video, I did not get the expected flapping and crapping sounds I would expect. Occasionally there was a pop, but usually not. The subwoofer was pushing out a lot of pressure and felt fine. There were no bugs, evidence of damage, etc. Add to this that I really have not bassed the place in a long long time. There have also been no hardware changes or device moves in months. This was new.

Reset sound bar, reset TV, repair, still flappy noise. Plug sound bar into ethernet and noticed that while the flappy noise was there occasionally, a lot of it went away.

While re-pairing / setting up my sound bar I noticed there’s an old WiFi I’ve disabled a whole lot of times back. It’s broadcasting from the AT&T fiber modem, again. This time there’s no way to disable it from the main WiFi page. There are reasons I don’t want their WiFi and have disabled over and over again.

Disabled can’t be checked, although you can kill it under advanced – didn’t catch this earlier

Well, this unwanted WiFi and my VIZIO subwoofer evidently don’t like each other. I had to physically move the sub further away from the unwanted WiFi access point. I didn’t initially catch that it could be disabled through an Advanced menu, because when you’ve got a greyed out enable/disable option and have disabled it over and over again in the past only to see it pop back up, you sort of assume it’s stuck this time.

Anyway, once the subwoofer was moved, it stopped the farting, and so far I have not seen the other issues I was as of recent times having either.

My guess is this is also why my whole house WiFi has been a bit off lately – my real router and this one were fighting on the same channels because of course they were.

So yeah, AT&T made my wireless subwoofer pop (due to lost connection,) and it took me far too long to figure out what was happening. I suspect that when I plugged the sound bar into ethernet the ethernet cable acted as an antenna which got the signal slightly past the fiber modem, but not entirely sure.

That’s about what I accomplished today.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts