television cable internet service

Bill Moran wmoran at
Tue Jun 17 10:49:23 PDT 2003

Lee_Shackelford at wrote:
> Greetings fellow B.S.D. enthusiasts.   Recently, I requested installation
> of a television cable at my home in Sacramento, California.  The cable
> operator is Comcast.  I requested connection of the television cable to my
> computer, which is a service that the operator advertises profusely.  The
> telephone sales representative assured me that all things are possible,
> including both a Unix operating system, and an in-house L.A.N.  The
> installation technician spent some time installing the cable, then attached
> it through a Motorola DOCSYS modem to the NIC board on the computer.  The
> computer saw the cable network, but the cable refused to accept a logon
> request from the computer.  The technician said that he believed that
> neither B.S.D. nor any other Unix, nor any Microsoft product that could be
> programmed to act as a server was acceptable.

This is ridiculous.  The requirement that "any product that could be programmed
to act as a server" would eliminate EVERY SINGLE operating system.  Including
all versions of Windows and Macintosh.  Hell, even DOS.
The technician didn't know what he was talking about and made up an excuse
so he didn't have to figure out out.

> Has any other person had the
> same problem?

Yes, it's called a bad economy.  Companies hire incompetent workers because
they're cheap, and then the customer pays the price when they're unable to
do their job.

> How did you solve it?

Specifically, I hooked up a client with Comcast in my area (western PA) and
there was nothing magical that needed done.  Comcast in this area supports
all the standard auth protocols.
However, having experience with cable Internet, I've had multiple occasions
where they just hooked things up wrong and tried to blame it on someone else.
Often, cable companies sub-contract the work to other companies, and sometimes
these other companies don't know their butt from a hole in the ground.
You claim "The computer saw the cable network", what evidence do you have of
that?  Flashing lights do not guarantee a solid network connection.

> If I insist on a B.S.D. connection,
> how do I locate a B.S.D. friendly internet service provider in Sacramento?

Well, you've taken the first step.  You're likely to get emails from BSD-
friendly providers who read this list.  Another idea is to post to
freebsd-isp at and ask if anyone on that list offers high-speed
residential service in your area.  WARNING: a posting like that would
technically be off-topic for that list, although I don't think anyone will
be too upset.

> If I insist on B.S.D., am I confined to a 56 kb Hayes-type telephone modem?

Heaven's no.  I use Adelphia, which is total CRAP Internet service, but I'm
still able to make it work (in spite of their lousy technicians).  I'm looking
to switch to a _real_ provider (city-net in this area is VERY good, but they
can't get service to my location)

> Any comments or advice is appreciated.  Lee_Shackelford at

I would call Comcast's technical support and ask "What protocol do you use
for authentication?"  Write down the details.  It's probably PPPOE, but there
are other possibilites.  Once you have those details, post another question to
the list and it's likely that someone here can tell you how to set things up
(or point you to a web page that explains it).
There's also a possibility that someone in your area will read this post and
contact you with an explanation of how they got theirs working.

Bill Moran
Potential Technologies

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