television cable internet service

David Kelly dkelly at
Tue Jun 17 18:47:03 PDT 2003

On Tue, Jun 17, 2003 at 10:33:43AM -0700, 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.  Has any other person had the
> same problem?  How did you solve it?  If I insist on a B.S.D. connection,
> how do I locate a B.S.D. friendly internet service provider in Sacramento?
> If I insist on B.S.D., am I confined to a 56 kb Hayes-type telephone modem?
> Any comments or advice is appreciated.  Lee_Shackelford at

You didn't give any hints as to how the service was to be implemented.
Did the technician copy your NIC's MAC address and phone it in? Or did
he/she expect to access a web page to enable your service? Or was
anything said about PPPoE? DHCP? Did they leave the modem installed?

Did they provide a URL detailing online how to connect a Mac or Windows
system? If so, somebody could interpret it and explain what needs to be

As for my cablemodem, with both services I have had the tech exclaimed,
"Easiest installation I've ever done" as when it was all hooked up and
the modem LED's indicated it was talking to its upstream master I typed,
"dhclient fxp0" and was online. In both cases the NIC MAC address had to
be phoned in.

Another site was almost as simple but required an https web browser to
initially register with username and password. Then it snagged a copy of
my MAC address. And that was all that had to be done. But for the fact I
was installing a headless FreeBSD firewall/router/vpn machine. The
easiest thing was to plug in my PowerMac G4-400 and register the
connection. Then used the "lladdr" feature of ifconfig to change the MAC
address of the FreeBSD NIC. Placed it in /etc/start_if.xl0 so as to be
run before dhclient runs:

ifconfig xl0 lladdr 00:12:34:56:78:90

It was easier than trying to convince tech support to unregister one MAC
so that another could be registered. Later went looking and couldn't
figure out how to do the same for my Macintosh. As a result I can't
connect my Mac to that network because the firewall isn't happy to see
somebody else using one of its MAC addresses.

All 3 cases above used DHCP and not PPPoE.

David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly at
The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its
capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.

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