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Frequently Asked Questions About cable, modems

General Cable Modem Questions

What is a cable modem?
How does a cable modem work?
What are the advantages of using a cable modem to access the Internet?
How does a cable modem connect to a computer?
Can I watch television and browse the Internet at the same time?
How fast will a cable modem download and upload data?
Is a telephone line still required when using a cable modem to access the Internet?
How does a cable modem compare to a dialup modem?
How does a cable modem compare to xDSL?

General Service Questions

If I become a subscriber, will I still need an Internet Service Provider?
Will my browse time be monitored or restricted?
What type of computer hardware and software do I need to use this service?
How many e-mail accounts can I have with my cable modem service?
Sounds great! What do I need to do to subscribe to this service?

Installation Questions

A network interface card is already installed on my computer. Can it be used for this service?
Should I backup my files before the cable modem is installed?

Security and Speed Related Questions

Which is faster---a PCI network interface card or an ISA network interface card?
What can I do to increase security and prevent hackers from accessing information on my computer?
Will my IP address change when I start using a cable modem to access the Internet?

Home Networking Questions

What is a home network?
Do you support home networking?

Online Gaming Questions

How does a cable modem connection compare to a dialup connection when playing online games?

Miscellaneous Questions

Can I fax through a cable modem?
Can I host a server with this service?
Does Internet filtering software (i.e. NetNanny) work when using a cable modem?

Macintosh Questions

What type of Macintosh hardware and software do I need to use this service?
What browsers can I use?
What e-mail programs can I use?
I use MacOS 9. Can I perform File Sharing using TCP/IP?
What can I do to increase security and prevent hackers from accessing information on my Macintosh?
I have two (or more) Macintosh computers. Can they all use the same cable modem?
What is IPNetRouter and why do I have to use it?
Are there any alternatives to IPNetRouter?



General Cable Modem Questions

What is a cable modem?
A cable modem is a small box that connects your computer to the Internet via your local cable television provider. A cable modem has two connections, one that leads to the cable lines outside your home and an Ethernet connection to your computer. A one-way cable modem will also have a telephone line connection.
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How does a cable modem work?
Cable modems modulate and demodulate RF signals. The cable modem receives data in what is known as the downstream signal. This signal is modulated on television channels that are six MHz wide at frequencies between 88 to 750 MHz. Using QAM 64 technology, downstream speeds can reach up to 27 MBs on the six MHz channel through which the data is transferred. This signal usually runs adjacent to other television signals. 5-1000MHz are required to use this service along with RG6 100% shielded.
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What are the advantages of using a cable modem to access the Internet?
A cable modem will provide you with rapid download transmission speeds. Downloading a file that would take one-half hour using a telephone modem connection will take only a few minutes with a cable modem connection.

A cable modem provides a continual connection to the Internet. Two-way cable modems do not require the use of a telephone line.

Your service will not be interrupted or receive external static since the outer layer of the cable line will not allow any noise to enter the transmission line.

As a high-speed medium, you will be able to view many different multimedia presentations---"live" or streamed---such as concerts, movies, etc.
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How does a cable modem connect to a computer?
There are three main components that connect a cable modem to a computer: a coaxial cable, a Category 5 twisted pair line, and a 10Base-T Ethernet network interface card (also called a NIC card). The coaxial cable line from the outside of the building connects to the cable modem. The Category 5 twisted pair line connects the computer to the cable modem. The network interface card inside the computer enables the cable modem to "talk" to the computer.
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Can I watch television and browse the Internet at the same time?
Yes, you can. Since television and the cable modem operate on separate frequencies of the available cable bandwidth, you will be able to watch television and browse the Internet at the same time.
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How fast will a cable modem download and upload data?
Cable modem speeds vary depending on network architecture, your system configuration, and the number of users accessing the network at the same time. Network speeds can reach up to 45 Mbps, but speeds will also depend on the service level to which you subscribe. The asymmetric cable modem scheme is the most common type of cable network setup, and will allow for a faster data transmission rate (higher bandwidth) on the downstream data path than the upstream data path. This network setup works well since most cable modem users download more information than they send. For example, downloading web pages and multimedia files and participating in newsgroups requires much more bandwidth than sending web page requests or e-mail.
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Is a telephone line still required when using a cable modem to access the Internet?
You will not need a telephone line when using a two-way cable modem. The cable line carries both upstream and downstream signals. However, you will need a telephone line if you are using a one-way cable modem. The upstream signal travels via the telephone line to the cable office and then to the Internet. Information that you request is sent back to you via the cable line.
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How does a cable modem compare to a dialup modem?
Cable modems can connect to the Internet and download information much faster than a dialup modem. For example, it will take a cable modem user milliseconds to connect to the Internet while it will take a dialup modem user about a minute. Cable modems can also download information at speeds up to 500 Kbps while a dialup modem will only download information at 53 Kbps or less.
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How does a cable modem compare to xDSL?
Cable modems use a RF signal to carry data through your television cable wire. Since cable modem users share a single network connection to the Internet, speeds will fluctuate depending on the number of customers online at the same time. But we have designed our system so that our users will not be affected and see a slow down.

xDSL uses the same copper wire as your copper wire telephone line to carry data, but the data is carried on a higher frequency than voice. In order for the xDSL signal to work, the copper wire must be less than 18,000 feet away from the Telephone Company's central office.

Cable modem speeds and xDSL speeds are similar, but xDSL is more expensive in most markets.
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General Service Questions

If I become a subscriber, will I still need an Internet Service Provider?
No, we will become your service provider. Your service includes an Internet Service Provider as part of the cable modem service package. Your service package also includes an e-mail account(s), news, World Wide Web access and web space.
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Will my browse time be monitored or restricted?
No, your browse time will not be monitored or restricted.
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What type of computer hardware and software do I need to use this service?
If you have a PC, you will need a minimum of a Windows 95 operating system, 50 megabytes of hard disk space, and 16 megabytes of RAM (although we recommend at least 32 megabytes of RAM). A processor of 133mhz or higher is also recommended.

If you have a Macintosh, you will need a minimum of a System 8.0, 50 megabytes of hard disk space, and 32 megabytes of RAM (although we recommend at least 64 megabytes of RAM). However, if you are using a one-way Com21 cable modem, you will need System 8.5 to 9.0 and IPNetRouter software.
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How many e-mail accounts can I have with my cable modem service?
The number of e-mail accounts included in your service package will vary by market. Contact your local cable office for more information.
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Sounds great! What do I need to do to subscribe to this service?
Contact your local cable office for subscriber information.
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Installation Questions

A network interface card is already installed on my computer. Can it be used for this service?
Yes, if the network interface card is not already being used for other purposes, such as supporting a home network. If your network interface card is already being used, You will have to provide another network interface card when we install your cable modem.
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Should I backup my files before the cable modem is installed?
Yes, you should copy and store all of the information on your hard disk in a different location before the cable modem is installed. We cannot guarantee the integrity of the data on your hard disk during the cable modem installation process
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Security and Speed Related Questions

Which is faster---a PCI network interface card or an ISA network interface card?
Both the PCI network interface card and the ISA network interface card provide users with the same Ethernet line speed---10 megabits per second. However, a PCI card will communicate with the PC's local bus at at faster speeds, thereby providing faster through-pt to the user. USB is an option to use only when no other option is present.
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What can I do to increase security and prevent hackers from accessing information on my computer?
The possibility of your computer being "hacked" is slim to none. Although illegal entry into computer systems happens every day, it generally occurs in large corporations. Hackers commonly "sweep" a range of IP addresses looking for possible "holes" to exploit. These "holes" are generally provided by oversights in software development, such as telnet servers, mail servers, ftp servers, chat servers, etc. Most of our customers have no need to run these types of services, and are therefore not vulnerable to such exploits.

However, for your added security, we recommend you disable "File & Print Sharing" on your TCP/IP connection. If sharing on your home network is necessary, we recommend File & Print sharing be enabled on another protocol that is not accessible via the Internet, such as NetBEUI. If File & Print Sharing from the Internet is needed, we recommend you password protect your shared resources. Other hardware and/or software solutions exist to protect your computer and home network from possible Internet attack. It is at your discretion to use such devices, but they are not supported by our Customer Care Center.
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Will my IP address change when I start using a cable modem to access the Internet?
Your IP address may change, but it depends on how the network is setup.
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Home Networking Questions

What is a home network?
A home network connects two or more computers together with network interface cards and network line, and enables the computers to have file and print sharing capabilities.
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Do you support home networking?
No, we currently support one computer per cable modem
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Miscellaneous Questions

Can I fax through a cable modem?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to fax through a cable modem because a fax requires an analog fax/modem to operate. However, with the correct software, much of which is freely available, it is possible to send and receive faxes through an Internet connection without the need of an analog phone line and fax/modem device.
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Can I host a server with this service?
Unfortunately, hosting servers is not allowed with our residential cable modem service. This includes, but is not limited to, web servers, ftp servers, and mail servers. If you want to run a server, contact your local cable provider for information about obtaining a commercial subscription.
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Does Internet filtering software (i.e. NetNanny) work when using a cable modem?
Filtering software that is running locally on your own system will filter out undesired content. For additional information about this type of product, contact the vendor.
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Macintosh Questions

What type of Macintosh hardware and software do I need to use this service?
You will need a minimum of a System 8.0 to 8.5, 50 megabytes of hard disk space, and 32 megabytes of RAM (although we recommend 64 megabytes of RAM). If you are using a one-way Com21 cable modem, you will need System 8.5 to 9.0 and IPNetRouter software.

This cable modem service utilizes Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) to assign the IP address to your Macintosh computer. DHCP in versions of MacOS prior to System 8.0 do not work properly with our cable modem service.
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What browsers can I use?
All versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer work well with our cable modem service.
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What e-mail programs can I use?
Netscape Communicator, Microsoft Outlook Express, and Eudora are the most common e-mail programs on Macintosh and work well with our cable modem service. Other mail programs that support POP3 e-mail will work, but are not officially supported.
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I use MacOS 9. Can I perform File Sharing using TCP/IP?
Yes, however for security purposes, we recommend that you disable the guest access feature when you are not using it.
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What can I do to increase security and prevent hackers from accessing information on my Macintosh?
Although the chances of a hacker accessing information on a PC are slim, the chances of a hacker accessing information on a Macintosh are even more unlikely. Besides the fact that we have safeguards in place on our headend equipment to prevent this type of activity, most hackers try to access information on PCs simply because there are more of them. However, to increase security, you can disable the file sharing over TCP/IP feature when you are not using it and install security hardware and/or software to make your system more secure.
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I have two (or more) Macintosh computers. Can they all use the same cable modem?
Although it is possible to network Macintosh computers and connect a single cable modem to your existing LAN, we do not support this type of configuration
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What is IPNetRouter and why do I have to use it?
IPNetRouter is a software package that you will need to install if you are using a one-way Com21 cable modem. MacOS is not able to simultaneously handle network connections from a telephone modem and the Ethernet port without the IPNetRouter software.
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Are there any alternatives to IPNetRouter?
Vicomsoft's SoftRouter Plus will perform the same functions as IPNetRouter but is more expensive.
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What is a cable modem?
A cable modem is a small box that connects your PC to the Internet via your local cable TV provider. A cable modem will typically have three connections, one to the coaxial cable wall outlet coming in from your local Cable TV provider and the other two to connect to your PC and your TV.

What is cable telephony?
Cable telephony is transmitting anything other than TV pictures over a cable TV system. That "anything' might be anything from a data connection to the internet to simple, standard, analog voice phone calls local, long distance and international. Typically, transmitting anything other than TV over the standard coaxial cable installed at your house requires a cable modem.

What is Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS)?
Direct Broadcast Satellite is a digital satellite system transmitting TV programs, which can be received by small dish antennas typically mounted on either roofs or side of houses. The receiving dish is stationary, being locked in on the position of the DBS service provider.

What is DSL?
DSL is a term for Digital Subscriber Line. DSL technologies provide extremely high bandwidth over the twisted-pair (telephone wire) that runs from your phone company's central office to your office or home. DSL technology is being installed by local phone companies in order to provide faster access for their subscribers to the Internet and also to counter the competition from the cable TV industry with its cable modem.

What is bandwidth?
Simply, bandwidth is the capacity to move information.