Update: dropped connection issue
So I gave in and decided to rent a modem. Trying the panoramic modem but really I probably could have purchased my own but oh well I figure if something goes wrong and the modem is at fault then Cox can correct it. But anyway one week after installing, I was still experiencing periodic drops. So I had another tech come out and he changed or installed something on the outside saying something about it being all digital and my existing connection was not able to keep up, or something like that. Anyway, since that time, which has been at least 3 weeks ago, I have not experienced any drops in connection. So far looking good.