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First and formost.. I have Gigablast. I only have a Router with a ONT and not a modem.
Your own forums cause conflicting information concerning firmware updates. one post says you don't do firmware others say you test and will push updates. I have yet to see a single firmware update since i have had the modem. this is going on over 2 years now. what is the deal?
Routers have never been updated by Cox, only modems, and you said you have a ONT instead of a modem. If you want to upgrade your router's firmware, then it is up to you. See here.
::edit:: I should have said never been AUTOMATICALLY updated through the CMTS, because there is no CMTS when you have fiber. I forgot about remote support.
So even thought the router was provided by Cox, with a special version of the firmware on it.V18.104.22.168_10.0.85COX i'm able to upgrade my firmware anyways and not lose any of my speeds?
That I don't know and is a good question. I found this post on DSLReports about it. Basically the special firmware is to fix hardware acceleration, disable guest wifi, and set up remote support options. If that is true, and you don't mind losing remote support, I think you should be able to upgrade it yourself. Just remember to turn off things that break hardware acceleration like any of the cloud features. However if you want to be safe, wait for a moderator to confirm.
PS. Since the routers appear to come with remote support, it may be possible for Cox to upgrade it for you. How far up the phone chain have you been? It might be something Tier 2 or one of the other higher departments(CAG?) has to do. I would imagine most wouldn't have any idea how to do it.
I have only reached out to the chat support which handed me off to a telephone number. so not far at all