Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

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PrIsMaTiC
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Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by PrIsMaTiC » Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:34 pm

About a year ago I moved into a new home. Comcast is the only cable
provider. DBS (those little microwave dishes) is another option, but you
really don't save any money with a DBS system. Many of my neighbors
dumped Comcast when DBS providers promised a thirty or fourty percent
reduction in their monthly bill. 90% of the people who switched ended
up paying the same or even a little more!

When I signed up with Comcast I immediately setup a small system that would
distribute the signal to almost every room in my house. My attic became the
"front end" of the system. (I'm very familiar with amplifiers, splitters, attenuators,
filters, directionial taps, voltage blockers, surge arrestors, etc.)

I'm a partner in a small business that's about 45 minutes from my home. The
broadband we have at the office is not from Comcast. It cost a whole lot,
but we need it to compete successfully.

I recently had a long and exhausting discussion with one of my partners
about paying an additional $42.95 a month for home broadband with Comcast,
or about $35.00 a month for DSL. Since cable broadband is much faster and
I'm already a Comcast customer it seems logical to stay with Comcast.

My partner says that because the federal government passed something
called the "privacy act" I don't have to worry about Comcast service techs
entering my home. My fear is that when they see the distribution system
I built in my own home they will report back to their bosses and my monthly
bill will go way up! Again, my partner says they must keep private anything
they might accidentally see in my home, because of this "privacy act."

If I want broadband from Comcast I have to let one of their guys into my house.
When the service tech walks into my home office he'll see a jack on the wall
with a length of RG6 cable running to my desk. All he has to do is plug-in
the cable modem. Will this guy start asking me all sorts of questions about
my system, or will he be happy that I made it so easy for him to install the
modem?

I wish I could just go down to the local Comcast office and pickup a cable modem.
I'd feel a lot better if I could do the job myself. Unfortunately, this is not possible
with Comcast.

Newz2000
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by Newz2000 » Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:49 pm

I've had three cable modems in the last few years and all of them entailed an onsite visit. Two were from Time Warner (Road Runner) and one was from MediaCom.

The Media Com guy was actually a contracter and could not have cared less about what was going on in my house. This house had allready been wired for cable and the previous owners had two splitters that sent cable to various areas of the house. He replaced one cable that he didn't feel was of the proper quality but otherwise left the system exactly as it was.

The Road Runner guys each ran a separate cable that was just for the cable modem. No splices, no splitters.

Now, I think there's nothing wrong with having cable available in every room of the house... do you have a TV hooked up to each cable jack? Just because you have a cable jack in each room doesn't (IMHO) mean you have to pay more for cable TV.

However, I probably won't be surprised if the comcast tech gets a little freaked out by your system and wants to bypass it for your modem.

There's a website called DSL Reports that lets you read reviews and discuss the various broad band options available in your area. I'd definately consider looking that site up.

Here's one side benefit to cable... I run my telephone through the cable modem and save quite a bit of money. I use the Vonage service which runs $15 - $25 per month, depending on which plan you want.

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philba
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by philba » Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:07 pm

when comcast installed my cable modem, I pointed the guy to my system closet: "cable feed is here. plug modem output into firewall here, right next to the 24 port 10/100 switch". He asked me about how the system worked, we talked NAT, DHCP and so on. He comments on the fact that I had all 24 ports on the switch in use. He clearly understood what I was doing. The bill never changed.

I, too, use vonage and was able to drop a phone line and use it for long distance. saves me about $40 a month. Except for power outages, its just as clear as the regular line.

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Chris Smith
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by Chris Smith » Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:16 pm

You only get one signal packet.

How many times you divide it up, is up to you.

Each hook up slows the system down by half, then thirds, then quarters etc and all of that is completely legal.

You not stealing anything, you utilizing to your needs the way you want them to be used.

They provide one "packet" [x band width] and how many pieces you divide that packet into is your business.

Our local modems are built for either two or four users and you can still add in more routers to get more hook ups. [at a speed cost]

And, its only as slow as the actual amount of users at any given time, if they too are sending and receiving at the same time. Idle computers dont hog the band width.

Think of it like the dumpster, its yours to fill to the brim by any amount of users you like, but you only get one volume, one unit, one packet at any given time. Divide it up any way you see fit.

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philba
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by philba » Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:55 pm

???

bandwidth is a not a "packet". bandwidth is the potential for the transmission of a given number of bits per second. packet sizes vary.

It's true that if you have multiple concurrent senders/receivers you will be dividing the potential bandwidth. However, if only one sender/receiver is active then they get the full bandwidth. The reality is that people's actual network usage is not continuous and thus a user's performance suffers from little or no apparent degredation. Even with my wife, two kids and myself all on-line at the same time, I don't see any problems. Even when both boys were playing with google earth (cool but bandwidth intensive app). Even streaming video doesn't come close to maxing out out comcast bandwidth. If we were all downloading ripped DVDs, we'd probably see a slow down. You are more likely to suffer degradation from your neighbors all using their connections at peak times since you probably share the same cable with 128-256 homes.

Dean Huster
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by Dean Huster » Sat Mar 04, 2006 3:57 pm

Our local "City Cable" offers broadband, but bandwidth varies. There are plenty of places in town where DSL is much faster, so you might want to research what a neighbor is getting during peak times. Although the local cable system is pretty much all optical fiber now on the distribution end, the links to the end user haven't been upgraded, for the most part. My theory, however rational, is that if your cable reception is screwed up with snow and/or ghosting on some channels, you can bet that the Internet connection may be faulty, too.

Most "have" to come into your house as they install the box and cable, add software and check out configurations on your OS.

Cable companies used to charge by the number of TVs you had and the number of premium channels to which you subscribed because they had to supply a cable box for every set. These days, where everyone has "cable ready" TVs, they can't justify a per-set charge. Besides, any contractor worth his salt makes sure that every room of the house has at least one cable outlet. Of course, they don't bother to run the cables to a jack panel so that you can only have the runs you need live to enhance performance, but that's another issue. They say, "Long live 30 splitters."

Dean
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

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haklesup
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by haklesup » Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:30 am

Your comments about Comcast don't match up with my experience.

I was able to order a self install kit (S/W, a piece of cable, a splitter and a manual) on the website or could pick one up in the store. They wanted extra to install it onsite. I bought my own cable modem on eBay (or was it best buy, I forget) and saved a bundle.

I did need them in the end to remove a filter they had installed at the splitter on the telephone pole but that was a service call not an installation. All I did was put the modem in the window so he could see the lights blink. He cut off all my F fittings and replaced with their own (~?~).

With cable (video or broadband) you can generally distribute the signal to as many access points in the house as you please but not to another detached structure. With internet, your modem S/N (MAC address) is registered and they do charge more for another modem but not for places to connect it to. Once through the modem, your network can distribute it as you please (including sharing it for free and unintentionally with your neighbors via an unsecured wireless network)

Thanks to a combination of competition, govt regulation and improved technology, it's a lot easier for us to use what we buy from our signal providers than it used to be.

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philba
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by philba » Sun Mar 05, 2006 12:13 pm

I got the cable modem and install free otherwise I would have done what you did, hackles... got 5 months free, too. I haven't seen that deal lately, though.

PrIsMaTiC
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by PrIsMaTiC » Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:14 pm

Wow guys! If my head were spinning any faster it would rocket straight off
my shoulders and drill a hole in the ceiling!

I asked several people in my neighborhood about Comcast broadband. I
drove about 20 minutes to one of Comcast's main signal distribution
centers in this area. The place is bristling with huge satellite dishes and
all sorts of exotic looking equipment. I took a friend along who agreed
to walk-in and ask about installing broadband. Everyone told me that their
service people have to make a least one visit to your house. If you're correct
hacklesup, I'll definitely order one of those self install kits!

I'm one of those guys who can do plumbing, electrical, and almost anything
else that needs to be done around my house. I can fix almost any major
appliance. Recently, I diagnosed a complex control problem that was
plaguing my York gas furnace. About five years ago my parents were
ripped off so badly by an HVAC contractor I decided to get certified so I
could legally service central air conditioners. I passed the test with ease
because I had been charging and repairing air conditioners without any
certifications for many years. Why didn't I use these skills to make a lot
of money? Because if I had chosen any of these trades as a profession I
would have gone crazy! I don't mind using these skills to help family or
friends because I don't feel any pressure to get it right or else! If I fail
they can always call a contractor.

The point I'm trying to make is I'm not accustom to having contractors in
my house. I have friends who call a plumber if a five cent washer has to
changed in one of their faucets.

My opinion about Comcast turned sour almost as soon as I became a
customer. There was an old RG6 cable running from the pole in the street
to my house. It was in terrible condition. If I flexed the cable the outer
jacket would crack and pieces would fall to the ground! After several
weeks I got tired of waiting for a contractor to replace it. I did the job
myself. When the guy finally showed up he had a puzzled look on his face
when he saw the new cable. He asked me who did the work. I told him
it was the tooth fairy! He laughed, got back in his truck and drove away.

Anyway, all you guys are the best! I'm definitely going to save all your
replies.

Thanks again!!

<small>[ March 05, 2006, 04:28 PM: Message edited by: PrIsMaTiC ]</small>

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Chris Smith
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by Chris Smith » Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:23 pm

“bandwidth is a not a "packet"”

A packet in terms of “the” signals might be exactly as you say, but a packet, a package, a Deal, etc is described well within my meaning.

<small>[ March 13, 2006, 08:48 AM: Message edited by: Greg ]</small>

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philba
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by philba » Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:42 pm

Chris, you know nothing about me. In fact, I think the period belongs after "nothing".

By the way, a wise man said that when they start calling names, you've won.

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jwax
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by jwax » Mon Mar 13, 2006 3:53 am

Chris, find some other venue to vent your venemous rants. And, grow up.

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philba
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by philba » Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:41 am

By the way people, try reporting the offensive posts. I have and, perhaps, if enough people do too, N&V will do something. Though, I'd not hold my breath. Chris may yet succeed in getting the last word as there are other electronics venues which don't have a troll under the bridge.

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jwax
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by jwax » Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:49 am

Thank you, N & V, for listening and purging!

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Michael Kaudze
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Re: Cable Broadband - Must service techs come into your hous

Post by Michael Kaudze » Mon Mar 13, 2006 4:05 pm

No Problem guys... Keep up the good work! Thanks to Philba for bringing it to my attention...
Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. Stephen William Hawking.

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