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Comcast Plans Cable Boxes with Integrated Wi-Fi and Snooping

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the all-in-one dept.

Television 427

Kaa writes "Short version: Comcast's cable modem/802.11g base station that is made by Linksys has capabilities to 'phone home' to Comcast and tell them how many devices are connected to your WiFi base station, how much bandwidth they are using, etc. It also has the capability to 'disable LAN segments' which, I assume, means they can kick your devices off your home network if they choose to do so. Something tells me this particular device won't make it into my house..."

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Smoothwall (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088201)

Simple Solution:
Put a smoothwall box [smoothwall.org] or another router between your home network and the new cable modem (as I'm sure many of us already do). Although the wireless access would be nice to use, 802.11b/g access points are pretty cheap these days.

Re:Smoothwall (2, Informative)

MandoSKippy (708601) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088341)

Will Comcast allow ports coming in to be opened? I could see them not allowing us to SSH and TS into our home boxes. (I suppose that techincally is against their TOS) I LOVE having remote access to home. It's a wonderful way to browse sites that may or may not be work related without leaving gobs of cookie dough all over the work PC :)

Re:Smoothwall (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088395)

I just got Speakeasy [speakeasy.net] . It's awesome, although a little pricey. However, you can get static IP's and NO port blocking! Leaving Comcast behind and never looking back.

Re:Smoothwall (2, Interesting)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088414)

That's a good question. I setup port redirecting on my firewall to access my home systems to avoid problems (people scanning for common open ports and my ISP blocking them). That coupled with dynamic DNS works pretty nice. Of course they could block obscure ports like 39492 (not the one I actually use, wouldn't want to give away my top secret network secrets!), but why would they (other than to be evil)?
Of course... I don't use their service (TimeWarner owns the cable around my house)... but I have friends that do.

Re:Smoothwall (5, Insightful)

justforaday (560408) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088359)

Simple Solution: Put a smoothwall box or another router between your home network and the new cable modem (as I'm sure many of us already do). Although the wireless access would be nice to use, 802.11b/g access points are pretty cheap these days.

even simpler solution: buy one of the many many many available router/wifi AP combos out there and don't pay the extra charges that comcast wants you to pony up...

This is a product for the lusers... (5, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088211)

Sure, the /. user won't want this in their house...

But the user who is too dumb to configure WiFi without Comcast's help needs this. This technology could let Comcast's techs lock down any access point who's not running WEP, and see to it that all the devices the customer has are taking their DHCP assignments properly. Of course, anybody reading this will know how to do these administrative tasks on their own, but those who are clueless can have trust Comcast configure their router and firewall to optimal settings.

If this cuts down the number of worm-vunerable computers on the Internet by letting those who don't know what they're doing hand the controls over to Comcast, I won't complain.

Re:This is a product for the lusers... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088236)

That is crap

Re:This is a product for the lusers... (3, Interesting)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088259)

Yea, you won't complain until Comcast won't give you service unless you have "compliant" hardware. It's a big potential benefit to Comcast's bottom line, and the "lusers" aren't going to know enough to try and kill it. Do you think they'll give a crap if you want it or not?

Re:This is a product for the lusers... (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088298)

Yea, you won't complain until Comcast won't give you service unless you have "compliant" hardware

However, Comcast can't require you use their cable modem to connect to their system. That's simply against FCC rules. The FCC usually hates it when the service provider starts mandating that only their hardware be used.

(Think... If they could, wouldn't they be doing that already?)

Re:This is a product for the lusers... (5, Insightful)

2names (531755) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088358)

The FCC usually hates it when the service provider starts mandating that only their hardware be used.

We _are_ talking about a Government agency, right? And God knows that no Govt agency has EVER changed policy or regulations to appease a corporation...[rolling eyes]

Re:This is a product for the lusers... (4, Interesting)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088370)

I can't use just any old modem I want for Adelphia. It has to provide certain *ahem* "features" that let them do some level of snooping. Of course, this is all in the name of helping me troubleshoot my connection.... yea.. sure... depsite the fact that they've never successfully found a problem remotely...

They can't make you use any specific modem, but they CAN mandate that your modem must have certain "features" and "standards" under the guise of helping you out. Then, they can push that this tech gets standardized and start requiring it for new connections.

Never underestimate the power of a monopoly to get it's way when it comes to raping consumers.

Re:This is a product for the lusers... (2, Interesting)

mrwonton (456172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088363)

I have comcast internet access at my home. It is unfortunately the only broadband available in my town. I'd love to try to tell them what I think of decisions like this by switching, but its just not an option, as without them, I'd be without broadband (God Forbid!).

How can a good slashdot geeks in my position give comcast a piece of their minds in terms they can understand?

Re:This is a product for the lusers... (1)

ParSalian (551093) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088270)

More importantly they could shut down other tvs(satalite) to prevent any use of commpetaters. Althought that is illigal they might beable to hold back a small amount and not be caught.

Re:This is a product for the lusers... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088271)

Of course, anybody reading this will know how to do these administrative tasks on their own, but those who are clueless can have trust Comcast configure their router and firewall to optimal settings.


Bwahahahah.. oh.. wait... stop... my sides hurt...

Re:This is a product for the lusers... (3, Interesting)

gabbarbhai (719706) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088302)

Umm.. If you trust them enough, sure. What's to stop them from analyzing your work habits/surfing habits, and start pumping specific ads to the devices, or worse?
I wouldn't let comcast, of all people, to administer my computers. Nor would anyone else want to, no matter how technically-alternatively-enabled.. And there might be (I don't know) some products specifically designed to keep your computers patched properly (no, NOT M$SFT) that one might want to subscribe to separately, with proper disclosures and agreements signed.

*ATTN MODS* (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088429)

It has become painfully obvious to me that this user, LostCluster, is not really a user. Rather it is some group of people who are collectivly using /. to promote the link in their sig.

Now I really don't care too much about the self promotion but rather the fact that this "users" comments get mod'ed up quickly even if they are clueless/offtopic/painfully obvious. The reason for this is most likely simple, the people in question most likely have a group of other accounts that they post with and use whatever mod points they get with them to all mod up the "LostCluster" account.

As such I, for one, will take it upon myself to mod each "LostCluster" post down every chance I get. I would suggest that others do the same so that we don't have to deal with this type of "advertisement" within /. anymore.

Re:This is a product for the lusers... (5, Funny)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088468)

Maybe I don't want one in MY house, but I'd sure like my neighbor to get one.

2nd Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088212)

NM

So? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088215)

What's the problem, exactly?

Easy fix. (4, Informative)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088222)

Simple, just put another firewall between that snoop box and your LAN.

Re:Easy fix. (1)

danielems (694042) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088251)

I don't think this would work if you are using the cable modem as a wireless base station - unless the firewall you add is also a basestation. But what good would that be?

Re:Easy fix. (1)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088279)


Wireless base stations sell for peanuts. This setup would allow you to have all your info NAT'd before it gets to the ComCast snoop-box. They should then see only a single device on your LAN.

Re:Easy fix. (1)

Roark Meets Dent (650119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088333)

Eventually, they'll probably ban non-"approved" routers.

Re:Easy fix. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088401)

haha yeah, no doubt.

Re:Easy fix. (3, Funny)

Phronesis (175966) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088277)

It would make lots of sense to install an integraded cable modem/wireless base station and then try to put a firewall between it and all your wireless devices!

Re:Easy fix. (1)

3terrabyte (693824) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088280)

My thoughts exactly. And already doing here at home when I switched to DSL. (They provided an integrated router/firewall/modem at this ISP, instead of just the modem)

I didn't like the features of their box, so I just sit behind my router like normal.

Re:Easy fix. (1)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088284)

But, this is a big benefit for Comcast. The instant they find out that you're "circumventing" their neat-o technology, they'll boot your ass right off the network.

They find people that steal cable... if (when) they start requiring that they be allowed to snoop data on your homenet, they'll find people that cut them off from that too.

Re:Easy fix. (2, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088332)


The instant they find out that you're "circumventing" their neat-o technology

Hmm.. I don't think that could be considered circumventing anything, really. You're just adding another gateway device... right in front of theirs. :)

Now, if their EULA says that only their device can act as a NAT device... you never know.

Huh? (5, Insightful)

danielems (694042) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088223)

Why aren't bandwidth quotas sufficient?

Re:Huh? (4, Interesting)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088347)

Well in theory this technology could be good if they only charged you for the bandwidth you actually pulled through your modem, but they could do this without their level of snooping.

My guess is that they just want more control over your modems, making sure that there's no way you can modify the bandwidth you use (uncapping), automatically updating firmware ([[could be good: block certain ports during a virus emergency]]), etc etc etc... but the fact still remains: they could do all of this from their side of the network.

So really, you have to question what they're going to do with this..

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

Chazmati (214538) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088419)

It's more profitable to charge $20/mo for each additional PC.

The same thinking behind charging you $20/mo for additional cable converter boxes. Remember when TV's weren't cable ready and you needed a box for every TV?

WHAT!!! (0, Troll)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088228)

dude, it is a home network!!!

WTF.

it better have the ability to disable the wifi in it so that I can hook up my own access point behind a router.

Re:WHAT!!! (2, Insightful)

jargoone (166102) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088263)

Um. You realize that you can leave the wifi enabled and still use your own access point, right?

Re:WHAT!!! (1)

WordODD (706788) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088276)

but that would take away Comcasts ability to police your network making them unable to charge you for the luxury of sharing YOUR connection. Honestly, how much more time was going to pass before cable companies discovered another revenue stream from these broadband connections.

Security risks? (4, Insightful)

pseudochaotic (548897) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088232)

The "disable LAN segments" thing sounds like it could be a security risk. DOS, anyone?

Re:Security risks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088250)

Assuming the box is secure, it doesn't sound like any more of a risk than someone hacking a router and disabling segments.

Re:Security risks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088442)

The "disable LAN segments" thing sounds like it could be a security risk. DOS, anyone?

Unpossible!

More Devices = More MONEY (3, Informative)

WordODD (706788) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088233)

All this idea does is allow Comcast to suck even more money out of its customers without having to change the amount of money they spend per account.

Re:More Devices = More MONEY (1)

forrestt (267374) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088288)

...without having to change the amount of money they spend per account.

No, I'm sure that will go down.

Re:More Devices = More MONEY (1)

WordODD (706788) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088346)

Of course, what was I thinking. Is it still standard practice for cable companies to charge based on the number of TVs that an account has? This practice will just continue on to the number of computers, the number of phones, DVRs and whatever else the cable company can apply it to.

Beyond the pale..... (4, Informative)

erick99 (743982) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088235)

This is beyond the pale. It's like the RIAA in the sense that there is an arrogance about what they can do while selling you a service. Here is the pertinent part of the docment that is labeled "The goals for the CAbleHome Management Portal include:"

* Enable viewing of LAN IP Device information obtained via the CableHome DHCP Portal (CDP)

* Enable viewing of the results of LAN IP Device performance monitoring done by the CableHome Test Portal (CTP)

* Provide the capability to disable LAN segments

I hope that at some point, we, as users, can vote with our wallets and stop this nonsense. The more we give into this kind of seller-bullying, the more we can expect.

Happy Trails!

Erick

Re:Beyond the pale..... (2, Insightful)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088335)

The solution is not voting with our wallets, it's voting by legislation (another problem in and of itself). Face it whats the alternative to Cable Modems? We could use phone lines (I would rather thank Dale McBride for his fund raising initiatives), We could use Satellite (because I like having my service disrupted when a cloud looms over head), or we could use DSL (yea well, no.) Unfortunately Comcast is the only cable service provider in my area, or I would have gotten rid of them a long time ago!

Re:Beyond the pale..... (3, Insightful)

Roark Meets Dent (650119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088379)

Since Comcast is a government-regulated monopoly (in theory) one of the only avenues of recourse might be to petition the municipal authority where you live to ban Comcast from using this stuff (espectially the "disable LAN segments" when the next contract negotiations come up.

Re:Beyond the pale..... (4, Insightful)

Brightest Light (552357) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088456)

As many other people have pointed out, this is not something that the average slashdotter is going to want to have. But this is will be a great thing for the clueless. The average person who wants to browse the web and get email, who has no clue about setting up and locking down a proper network will love this. Now all they have to do is plug it in and go, Comcast takes care of the rest. I would rather have comcast controlling the routers/waps of the clueless. Ideally, they'll do things like monitor for abuse and worm traffic, and kick offenders offline until its fixed. This is not something Comcast is forcing on its users, its a service that is going to make things better for the customer as well as for the rest of the internet. From what the article says, its entirely optional. Wouldn't you rather have the networks of the people most likely to get infected with the latest worm/spyware/whatever be monitored by somebody who actually has a clue (as much clue as Comcast has, at least..)? Stop fighting new technology just because you wouldn't use it.

This can't be mandatory. (2, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088237)

There's no way that Comcast can require users of their cable Internet services to use cable modems provided by them. The FCC simply doesn't allow that...

So long you buy your own DOCSIS-compatible modem, you can attach whatever hardware to your network you want.

Re:This can't be mandatory. (1)

bear_phillips (165929) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088324)

According to what law? I hope you are correct, but could you give us site to back you claim up?

Re:This can't be mandatory. (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088458)

"There's no way that Comcast can require users of their cable Internet services to use cable modems provided by them. The FCC simply doesn't allow that..."

Even if that were the case, is the FCC going to force Comcast to provide every user with exactly the same quality of service regardless of what kind of modem they use? Somehow I doubt that.

"Oh, you are only getting 64 kilobits of bandwidth and can't connect to any site outside of our domain? And the last eighteen people in our tech support group you complained to had no clue what you were talking about? That's probably because your cable modem doesn't support the 4LOM protocol. You'll need to either buy a supported modem from us or just wait until we have a chance to upgrade the equipment in your area. It shouldn't take more than a few years. Thank you, and don't ever call me again."

So what's the difference? (1)

graveyardduckx (735761) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088238)

Just plug in your existing wireless access point or broadband router to this, put everything behind your firewall and use NAT.

Comcast = Traffic Monitoring (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088239)

Great, now these guys will know each and every time I click on a hidden Goatse.cx link.

Maybe they'll add a feature in so this doesn't keep happening all the time.

So...? (5, Funny)

YanceyAI (192279) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088240)

If I decide to throw a lan-party, they'll disconnect my buddies remotely, then what? A bunch of pissed-off, masked comcast SWAT guys show up?

That's just evil. Count me out.

Won't get through my firewall (3, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088241)

Unless I am a complete idiot.

Re:Won't get through my firewall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088312)

Well, you are. So you should be worried.

Unplesant (2, Interesting)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088242)

But that type of feature could be usefull such as blocking a worm ridded PC from the Internet until it is cleaned and remote assisance and configuration with permision...if your ISP want to spy on you they can if they REALLY want to.this type of stuff has its uses.

Re:Unplesant (1)

Pizentios (772582) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088289)

Heh, reminds me of somthing that just happens to one of my friends customers (he's there IT support). The ISP blocked all incoming and outgoing trafic from there ip because one or several of there computers where infected. This was fine save for the part where they didn't call the office and tell them that. When they called my buddies and got him to come down and he called the ISP about it...they where like "Oh, yeah i guess we should have called you about that". Silly ISP...Businesses are for orginized people....heh

I wonder? (1)

Pizentios (772582) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088243)

I wonder if it can see behind a firewall/router. I doubt that it can, unless everything is wide open...like most companies would like to have it.

Continue BOYCOTT (3, Insightful)

jrwillis (306262) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088248)

Between this and them firing all of TechTV's staff, I see NO REASON why any geek worth his salt should use ANY SERVICE offered by this company.

Re:Continue BOYCOTT (4, Informative)

YanceyAI (192279) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088313)

They just doubled my connection speed. For free.

Re:Continue BOYCOTT (2, Insightful)

Scottaroo (461317) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088331)

Because if my options are a cable modem from Comcast or dial-up, I don't have any real options. Maybe someone will run fiber out here, or put up wireless, but until then, you sometimes have to take what you are given.

Re:Continue BOYCOTT (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088394)

Same here. As much as I want to get away from Comcast, they're my only reasonable high-speed option.

Re:Continue BOYCOTT (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088353)

ummmm....since they bumped up their download speed here in the Bay area, we are getting 3 Mbit/sec for $19.99 per month (a 3 month promotion). Is that a good enough reason? :-) We have our own wireless G WAP so it's not an issue anyway.
And I've never seen TechTV, so I could care less about that.

Re:Continue BOYCOTT (1)

MooseGuy529 (578473) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088413)

...wireless G WAP...

Call it by its real name, 802.11g... it annoys me how much the equipment manufacturers butcher the names of the protocols to make them sound cool.

easy solution -- $19 wifi router, no rebates (4, Informative)

Jaeger- (63372) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088252)

router @ compusa [compusa.com]

cheapest i've seen considering there's no rebates involved...

2.4GHz 11Mbps Wireless Router with 4 Port Switch, 802.11b
Manufacturer: FMI
Mfg Part #: WE711APR
Product Number: 295106
Original Price: $89.99 (79% Off)
Regular Price: $69.88
Internet Special: $18.99

Re:easy solution -- $19 wifi router, no rebates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088307)

Original Price: $89.99 (79% Off)
Regular Price: $69.88
Internet Special: $18.99


Sticking it to the man: priceless.

Re:easy solution -- $19 wifi router, no rebates (1)

Jaeger- (63372) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088441)

or if you don't mind rebates...

linksys wifi router + usb wifi adapter for $20 after rebates [compusa.com]

Bundle: Netgear MR814 Cable/DSL Wireless Router (802.11b) and MA111 Wireless USB Network Adapter
Product Number: 19211
Regular Price: $109.98
Internet Special: $19.98
after:
$15.00 instant rebate(s)
$75.00 mail-in rebate(s)
(Internet Only Savings)

Re:easy solution -- $19 wifi router, no rebates (2, Insightful)

Galuvian (755742) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088457)

It doesn't look like that has a built in firewall, so this new Comcast box will still be able to detect your extra machines and drop your access.

In Soviet Russia (1, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088254)

In Soviet Russia, cable TV watches You!

(what can I say? It is karma-burn friday. May be overrated, but it sure isn't offtopic for once!)

Re:In Soviet Russia (-1, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088393)

> In Soviet Russia, cable TV watches You!
>
>(what can I say? It is karma-burn friday. May be overrated, but it sure isn't offtopic for once!)

Overrated, on topic, but you lose teh funnay because you got it backwards.

In Soviet Russia, you watch Cable TV.

Re:In Soviet Russia (-1, Troll)

pknoll (215959) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088453)

Thanks, I needed a nice laugh this afternoon.

This is one of the very few "Soviet Russia" jokes I've seen on /. that's actually funny. =)

problemo senor (2, Interesting)

unformed (225214) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088260)

This has the capability to 'disable LAN segments'.

Something tells me there's going to be a new worm out once someone finds a hole in this router.

Comcast, evil empire? (1)

CharAznable (702598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088267)

Seems like Comcast is shaping up to be the next Evil Empire. Too bad, I am reasonably happy with their service.

Hold LinkSys Accountable, too. (4, Insightful)

saberworks (267163) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088268)

Don't only blame Comcast. If LinkSys is doing this in one device, what about others?

Re:Hold LinkSys Accountable, too. (1)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088345)

If LinkSys is doing this in one device, what about others?

In their defense, they're a company, and this is going to make them money. So... oh well.

And of course, it was Cisco, not Linksys that recently admitted it had a backdoor in some of its products.

Now, if only I could remember who Linksysis owned by...

They try to do this already (2, Interesting)

siberian (14177) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088273)

Their goal is to sell these expensive "home office" packages.

The way it works now is that they make it difficult to get a device online, you have to use their software to register the service.

I forget the details but I had to do some trickery for each machine on my network to get the cable modem to route traffic to them via my router. Occasionally devices 'unregister' and I have to run the comcast software again and pretend like I am a one system home.

I'm ditching comcast, my local ISP has fixed wireless now and I'm gonna go with the little guy and I've already picked up DirectTV AND I'll save $30 a month. Seeya comcast.

Re:They try to do this already (1)

cbelt3 (741637) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088430)

Agreed. Just got one of their love letters "You have more than one IP address from our gateway". They want to sell me "Home Networking" or charge me an additional $4.99 per IP address. Now I've gotta reconfigure the network. (Damn). And what makes you think they will allow us to use firewalls and routers after their modems ? I can see the letter now: "Dear Comcast Luser, We have determined that you are using a ______ router to redistribute your internet connection to other users, in direct contravention of our agreement with the Department of Homeland Security. This has had the effect of making it impossible for us to allow anyone with a badge to spy into your home computer, per the agreement that you signed. (Note that the agreement has been changed, and the confidential elements of the agreement are above your current security clearance. If you wish to see them, please petition the Supreme Court.) Your bandwidth has been restricted to 1 byte/hr for any sites not ending in a .gov. You will still be paying $19.95 for the first two seconds of your agreement, and $499.95 for each month afterwards. Government 'controlled' Monopolies - don't they have that backwards ?

I like it but I don't (2, Interesting)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088275)

While this could have beneficial effects, (i.e. Comcast offering better tech support...though from past experience I HIGHLY doubt this.. "Yes we need you to unplug your computer 10 times, do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around."), I can also see the major disadvantages (monitoring my computer, having access to my computer, etc.) While I could prevent this with a firewall (and frankly I hate installing a firewall when I have my nice router firewall) most people just do not know what the deal is with computers and protections. Eh, while I use comcast (not really a better choice in my area) I can't say that I like them.

Tell Comcast what you think of this BS (2, Interesting)

Roark Meets Dent (650119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088294)

Call 1-800-Comcast and tell them that you won't be buying this garbage and are less happy with Comcast for even thinking of using this kind of big-brotherish technology on their own paying customers. If a lot of people call in to complain, they may think twice about rolling this out. For awhile, at least.

COMCAST: I don't know.... (4, Informative)

dnahelix (598670) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088296)

When I signed up for COMCAST broadband I was told I could have up to 5 computers connected (using a server assigned DHCP address on each machine)
Well, last week I got a letter from COMCAST telling me that they have determined I have more than on machine connected to my cable modem and that if I don't respond by June-something they will terminate any other IP addresses beyond one. Although, for and extra $9.99 a month, I can have up to 4 extra (5 total) IP address.
I think those sons-of-bitches are pulling a scam and have bait-and-switched me. I was very up-front with the rep when I signed up and told him I needed to have 5 computers connected and would that be a problem... "No, of course not," I was told, "You can connect up to 5 computers, we just don't support and LAN/ethernet-hub problems you might have."
FUCKING LIARS

Re:COMCAST: I don't know.... (2, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088342)

Nah, it's just a case that something that was a free service is about to become a $9.99 a month service. Either pay the fee for real IP space, or set yourself up a NAT server. An off-the-shelf $50 consumer router will do the job as a DHCP and NAT server just fine...

Re:COMCAST: I don't know.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088399)

they have never allowed for more than 1 IP connected to the cable modem at any one time.

You can have a router with NAT and how many ever computers you want. That does not mean that you can have an individual IP for all of them.

You always had the option of purchasing additional dynamic IPs from them.

Re:COMCAST: I don't know.... (2, Informative)

whodunnit (238223) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088402)

Umm, It's pretty clear on their website that if you want more than one external IP then you have to pay more money. Just buy a firewall/router with NAT and poof... you can have as many computers on your home network as you want. And if you get a deacent router it will have port forwrding in case you are running any servers on your boxes.

Re:COMCAST: I don't know.... (2, Informative)

donovangn (728687) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088405)

I think there may have been miscommunication there. They probably don't care (also, can't and won't know) if you have your own broadband router eating only one of their IP's and using NAT to serve numerous computers. But from what you say above it seems that you're eating 5 of their ips and they want you to pay for each one. It sounds like their sales people should have made the clear instead of using the simple answer of "sure, that's fine."

Re:COMCAST: I don't know.... (2, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088427)

Man, I wish my comcast was that nice. Last time I checked, my local Comcast office was still charging $10 per additional IP. Naturally all of my boxes are behind a NAT box since there is no way I want to pay Comcast an additional $10 a month for a fileserver that is only available on the LAN anyway.

Neighborhood network (1)

johkir (716957) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088308)

I bet Comcast is thinking of the user that sets it up w/o changing default settings, and then calls Comcast to ask why email is loading so slowly. Comcast then sees that half the building is using his WiFi for free.

Can they break my Pix? (1)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088310)

I'd not use this sort of thing... I own my own cable modem (Surfboard 5100), and sitting behind that is a Cisco Pix 501 firewall.

One thing I can say for Adelphia, is that I've seen no evidence of them using "secret" caps, etc, disconnecting users, etc, except for serious abuse (uncapping, running servers that degrade the network, etc).

That, and they give us 3000/256 for $40 a month ;)

comcast can lick my (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9088318)

hairy ballbag.

I'm out. (5, Interesting)

Schezar (249629) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088319)

I'm done with consumer/residential broadband. Blocked ports, slow connections, poor customer service, arbitrary limitations on use... It's just not worth it anymore. I've dealt with dead lines and clueless techs for too long.

Instead, I'm springing for commercial/business class service. The support is better, the speeds are higher, and the service is usually excellent (since businesses won't put up with the same garbage residential users will).

Consider this: a cable modem usually costs about $40-$50 a month for residential service including a single IP address and bandwidth caps. I can get 1536k x 256k commercial DSL for about $80 a month that includes web hosting, DNS, and 5 IP addresses. The extra $40 is not much, and you can offset that by selling access to your neighbor if you're so inclined (perfectly ok with most providers).

The above costs about as much as most people pay for a cable modem and cable TV, and quite frankly, I've found that lots of bandwidth is far more entertaining than lots of TV stations.

I'd list some companies that offer comparable service plans, but I don't want to look like an astroturfer. Hit Google and you'll find lots of nice options (as long as you live somewhere civilized ^_~)

Same as it ever was... (2, Interesting)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088323)

If you are a user like an old grandma this prevents the neighbor kids from hacking into her network and using her connection to invoke the wrath of the RIAA against nanna. Now if you are a power user you go out and buy your own danged cable modem, it is as easy as that!

This must explain their version of "Big Brother" (4, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088327)

This must explain the Comcast version of the "Big Brother" show. I was wondering why it always showed my own living room.

Spin (1)

ekephart (256467) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088371)

On Yahoo there is a Press Release:
here [yahoo.com]

"Press Release Source: Linksys

Comcast and Linksys Make Sharing a High-Speed
Internet Connection Easier

Monday May 3, 12:37 pm ET

New Comcast Home Networking Package Includes Linksys Cable Gateway For Connecting the Entire Household to the Internet

IRVINE, Calif., May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Linksys®, a division of Cisco Systems Inc., today announced the deployment... "

Now think of all the things you may not fully understand: insurance, pharmaceuticals, medical practice, cars, mortgages, banking, world trade, unions, etc.

I actually find a Zen-like peace in accepting that those who control the MONEY, are truly those who control.

Henry Ford once said: "It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."

Well enough, indeed. Oooommmm...

Buy this, and they'll raise your speed cap... (3, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088383)

From the press release...
Users who sign up for the service can receive a Linksys wireless gateway, along with network adapters for connecting up to five computers, professional installation, multiple levels of security, and increased downstream speed of up to 4Mbps.

Comcast's current peak downstream bandwidth for most customers is 3 Mbps. So, so far Comcast is actually offering to tweak upwards the bandwidth of people who pay for this service.

Of course, I've rarely found a website (other than my own) that actually feeds me data at a speed that's anywhere near 3 Mbps, so that extra space within 3 to 4 Mbps is rarely going to be used. Still, if you are somebody who frequenly maxes out the downstream on a Comcast modem, this might be of interest to you.

Re:Buy this, and they'll raise your speed cap... (1)

whodunnit (238223) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088463)

You do remember that 3Mbs = roughly 300k/s right? Because Mbs is MegaBITS per second.

Personally I know of a ton of websites that I can get over 300k/s on my cable conneciton.

Why? (1)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088391)

Why does technology have to be driven by the lowest common denominator?

People don't want to learn, read, or do. I get emails asking 'Why does this happen?' when the answer is *one click* away, marked by a big button named, of all things, "HELP". Let's see. You went to the trouble of clicking on my email address, filling in a subject (sometimes), and asking a question that is answered already?

sigh. That said, for the 'I need handholding while you wipe my ass for me' crowd will certainly form no opinion about this, as they won't take the time to learn about it, read a manual, or configure it beyond the defaults, which are apparently set by Comcast, who only has everyone's best interests in mind.

This product will be a smashing sucksess.

Some features of New Comcast Cable (4, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088398)

US Robitics cable modems burst into flame upon connection.

Local FBI agents walking down the street now greet you by first name.

"they can kick your devices off your home network" means that your toaster, radio, blanket, and vacuum [einhorn-film.at] have left home never to return.

Reality TV shows feature different rooms in your house.

Local monopolies must be destroyed (2, Interesting)

frankie (91710) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088408)

Comcast gets away with huge amounts of anti-consumer crap because they're the only game in town for most of the USA. And they got that status by openly paying bribes (euphemistically called fees) to state & local telecom regulators. In return, Comcast (or TCI or whoever in your area) gets a guaranteed monopoly on each region's cable service.

This has got to stop.

I'm sure someone here will post about one of the lucky few localities with cable competition. The prices are lower, the house calls are faster, etc. And I seriously doubt they would get away with spying on their customers' home networks.

Here's how to get from point A to point B with DRM (1)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088423)

Make the access wireless ONLY. No RJ45 jack on the box at ALL. Cable goes into the unit - put in by the installer, and you are DONE.

Make users use a certificate to associate to the wireless SSID. The installer issues them a machine certificate, perhaps through some sort of software they install. Now, you have the user by the balls. We've already read about DRM in hardware, and how some music won't play without the hardware. How about Linux users not being welcome on cable providers networks AT ALL? Even if you have windows, THEY will control what services you can run, what ports can be opened, and log and audit what ports you request to be open.

Tin foil hat? Maybe. But it's such an easy jump to get there, I can't see why they WOULDN'T do it. What are you going to do? Comcast is slowly pushing Time-Warner out across North America. DSL companies are being reduced as well, Covad looks like the winner there. Once they go to 802.11 end user access, that's it. Check and mate.

The Will Be in your house (1)

Kefaa (76147) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088426)

This is only the first step. Once it is complete, they can easily integrate the modem and Rot13 "encryption" so the DMCA can prevent you illegals from stealing the signal by "breaking" their security.

At that point they control the entire access node. Want to get streaming audio? Sure, just $1.99/month and we will open that port for you...Gaming ports? Sure, $2.99 and they are yours...

Your choice will be that or DSL. The question them becomes when will DSL make the same "offer?"

Most families will think the are getting a bargain. Then when you neighbor decides to do "Video on demand" for LOTRs, suddenly only one computer in you home can get through.

I may not like it, but it is going to be an easy sell to 99% of Americans.

Don't let Comcast freak you out (5, Insightful)

kardar (636122) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088428)

If there is one thing to be learned from Comcast, it's that they have an IMMENSE subscriber base. Outrage is commonplace. But it's also important to not let it consume you. It seems like over at Comcast, there are like "too many chefs in the kitchen" sometimes. Every now and then, one of these chefs will do something that is extremely unpopular. It takes a little while, and then things fall back into place the way they should.

In any case, Comcast does eventually get the message, but you may have to speak somewhat louder or go down to the office yourself, or write the "right person" a letter, describing your problem.

So while you, as an individual, may have to, at some point, stand up and assert your rights in the face of an immense company such as Comcast, the important thing is to do it with conviction, to not panic, and to maintain a level-headed approach to the whole situation.

There is nothing worse than being constantly dragged into these massive online bitching sessions that explore every possible worst-case scenario from every possible angle.

The most important thing to do with Comcast is to remain calm, and chill out, while trying to stay informed. This, unfortunately, is a serious challenge, because the information that you need to know is usually buried in a veritable hastack of hatred and negative emotions. It's unfortunate, really.

Eventually, when there are options, other options, for those folks who don't live within the necessary distance from the CO, or, when Comcast learns that many very technically knowledgable users don't have a choice when it comes to broadband access (whichever comes first), then these problems are going to go away, for good. The sooner the better.

I think Comcast has come a long way towards making things more friendly for alternative OS's and do-it-yourself home networking, and I have a feeling that these two things will be around to stay. That's just my feeling.

Pretty shady (1)

Otto (17870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088451)

But I've noticed that all the shady cable modem stuff I've seen has been through ComCast. I recently signed up with RoadRunner and haven't have any problems other than them forcing me to use their Cable Modem instead of my own. But they don't charge extra or give a discount for customer owned modem like my old company did, so I'm not upset too much.

Around here, they offer a "hook up your whole LAN and get a firewall too!" deal for an extra $5-10 a month, where they simply rent you a Linksys Cable/DSL Router box. I hooked up my own box instead. Still, they don't seem to mind multiple hookups using a router, is what I'm saying. They might mind me not paying them for a device which I already have, but hey, they sell the things in stores, you know?

It's a deal from Micro$loth (1)

tom581 (217146) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088460)

Hmm, wonder if ole Billy Bob Gates is piggybacking the network sniffing; trolling for pirate copies of winblowz?

Is anyone at all surprised by this? Not I (1)

koa (95614) | more than 10 years ago | (#9088471)

This seems to me to be a natural progression toward at least one aspect the generic wireless network ideoligy that the basic home user has.

At this point, the steps for getting a wireless network for the average joe is as follows:

1) Purchase cable/dsl
2) Purchase wireless device / laptop / wifi nic
3) Purchase router
4) Read directions, tho skimming only to find info on plug here, turn on here.. yakka-de-schmakity
5) ... Surf internet wireless .. WOHOO!

I know this becuase I've seen it happen to people I know.. And no matter how many times I tell them to secure their access point. They dont do it- and I'm forced to go over to their driveay (heh) and log in and fix it for them.

Poeple like "turn-key" solutions.. And if the turn-key solution is wide-open and insecure (i could go off on a whole different tanget about MS but...) they wont secure it.

This instance it is bitter-sweet. You get the numbskulls to secure their networks by allowing the cable company to do if for them, on the other hand you get the big brother effect by allowing the cable company to snoop on your activities and slap you on the wrist if they want to.

Not surprised at all. call me crazy.
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