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Cable Co's Want More Control Over Your Network 726

Moonshine Coward writes: "'The CAT and the NAT' in latest issue of discusses Cable labs and their efforts to come up with a 'better' protocol than NAT that allows them more control over devices behind your cable modem. Their upside on this...$4.95 per IP per mth. Their #1 concern...people putting in 802.11b hubs and sharing with their neighbors. Fine in principle and if it gets them drooling enough to speed up the deployment of fiber to the home it might be a good thing. However I can see way too many downsides...not least of which is being nickled and dimed to webcam, cable ready microwave, refrigerator, pictureframe that shows revolving jif's ... each costing me $4.95 p.m. -- all on top of regular $39.95 cost." Note: the article is written from an interesting point of view -- it's aimed at the people who want to collect the additional per-IP charges.
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Cable Co's Want More Control Over Your Network

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  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @04:45PM (#2620917) Homepage Journal
    Spinning containers of peanut butter?

    - A.P.
  • by Chundra ( 189402 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @04:45PM (#2620925)
    Jif files: The image file format with sticky bits and a creamy, nutty flavor.
  • by WD_40 ( 156877 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @04:47PM (#2620937) Homepage
    Is getting infected with a script kiddie's DDoS backdoor 'illegal bandwidth sharing?'
  • by prator ( 71051 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @04:59PM (#2621041)
    I do not want it in my box.
    Not on my hard drive's precious blocks.
    I do not need it in my house.
    I will not click it with my mouse.
    My packets fly throughout the air,
    I use my laptop anywhere.

    I will not switch my NAT with CAT.
    I will not switch, and that is THAT!


  • Re:Jif? (Score:2, Funny)

    by well_jung ( 462688 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @05:00PM (#2621057) Homepage
    The best part is it works with legacy networks. I use mine for my BNC Token Ring segment at home. It bridges to Localtalk, too.

    We have a BFJ (Family-Size) serving as a patch panel for our NOC at work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @05:01PM (#2621067)
    Half the the article was written by Theodore Geisel; I hope his estate gets a cut of the action.

    The best part about having NAT is having a single bullet-proof firewall.

    I'm amazed at the statement that CAT will make "troubleshooting and customer care somewhat easier". When I had cable, I didn't get any customer care.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @05:05PM (#2621114)
    > What right do they have to charge for my toaster? Do they have a contract with *me*, or with *my device*?

    Depends on who you ask.

    If you ask a /.er, they have a contract with you.

    If you ask a pigfscking marketroid who believes (in the words of the article), that "[a] crucial part of the success or failure of broadband home networks will be the set-up and ongoing care processes used to link PCs and consumer-electronics gear", then no, they have a contract with your devices.

    ...or rather, that "If we can find a way to charge you $4.95/month for your TiVO and another $4.95 for your toaster, we will."

    Personally, I have no problem with saying "thou shalt not 802.11 thy neighbors onto thy cablemodem" -- cablemodem subscriptions really aren't priced with a full pipe in mind. If you need a full pipe 24/7, buy a T1 or T3.

    But the solution to that problem is monitoring of bandwidth and peak usage. (And yes, the article even acknowledges this -- "until then [when we have the brave new world of us charging for your toaster], all indicators point to DOCSIS 1.1, which includes methods to monitor bandwidth consumption [...] and speed [...]".

    Meantime, if CAT asks my firewall "Pardon, NAT, but what's that behind you?", I'll tell my firewall to tell the CAT to go stick itself in a sealed box with a poison bottle and a hammer hooked up to an intrusion detection system, and as far as they're concerned, my network can remain in a superposition of states until observed.

    (Of course, that's redundant. Any BOFH knows that every computer network remains in a superposition of states between "up" and "down" until they actually try to accomplish something on one. ;-)

  • by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @05:06PM (#2621118)
    Right, then they should charge you for the amount of bandwidth you actually use, regardless of how many different machines are connected. This article takes the bizarre attitude that a user who surfs CNN from three computers is more of a problem than a user who downloads hundreds of megs from Gnutella every day on one computer.
  • by J.C.B. ( 141141 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @05:20PM (#2621248) Homepage
    That's right a "Technology Analyst" with an AOL address. Fuck, I wonder how much this person gets paid, an easy job, easy money, and you don't have to know shit about what you're talking about.

    Someone needs to smack this person with a cluestick. Has this person heard of cable companies that encourage you to use NAT? What does this person think that a gateway running NAT would look like to this fancy new computer counting technology? Has this person actually neworked two computers together, or did (s)he just read "Wired's history of the Internet and NAT, for dummies?"
  • by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) <mister,sketch&gmail,com> on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @05:25PM (#2621284)
    I can see me in a few years:

    Me: So what are you in for?
    Him: Armed robbery, assult and battery, rape, and first degree murder. I'm almost done with my 5 year sentence. You?
    Me: I hooked up two computers to my cable modem. I still have 19 years left.
    Him: Ouch. Even *I* am not that stupid, I'm surprised you didn't get life.
  • by Pituritus Ani ( 247728 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @05:40PM (#2621386) Homepage
    Hell, I never even thought of it. They can't even detect that I'm sharing the connection? I'll get with the neighbors now! Thanks, CED Magazine!
  • by Rand Race ( 110288 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @05:51PM (#2621464) Homepage
    With NAT-based hubs, cable providers won't be able to see into all connected devices-making remote troubleshooting difficult-because, again, the NAT is speaking for all connected devices. It's the data communications equivalent of, "You wanna talk to her, you go through me"-except you don't even know she's there to talk.

    Uhm, Cable droids, that's what my firewall IS THERE FOR!!! Damn skippy you ain't gonna see what's behind my NAT device, you and every NetBus packing, snot-nosed, loser script kiddie out there. My provider has this little numeric string that can be used to gain access to my machines if need be: My phone number.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @06:00PM (#2621514)
    You can have my router when you pry it from my cold dead hands!!!
  • by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @06:51PM (#2621812) Homepage Journal
    If the Cable Companies want to charge for each computer, they should at least be consistant.

    If have 2 televisions, but they charge me for one, does that make me a dirty thief?

    What about my VCR? It has a TV reciever, so that's another conection they should charge seperately.

    If I run sound out to my sterio, that's another connection. I have Dolby 5.1. Better charge extra for each speaker.

    Sometime people watch TV with me. Better shake them down.
  • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @07:29PM (#2622057)
    Forget the porn clause... Look at this!

    You agree not to use the Power Link Service or any Equipment or Software provided by Adelphia ... to send e-mail of a personal, bulk or commercial nature, including, without limitation, bulk mailings of commercial advertising, informational announcements, charity requests, political or religious messages, and petitions for signatures, other than to those who have requested such e-mails via a double opt-in subscription process

    You're not alowed to send personal e-mail unless the recipient has gone through a double opt-in process! I hope you don't want to initiate any conversations.
  • by altadel ( 89002 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @08:56PM (#2622438)
    I read the whole thing, and I fail to see her point. Carol and Ted aren't stealing anything from GreedyCable. Bob paid for the bandwidth you provided him. Carol and Ted and Bob are using what you sold to Bob. They're not using excess IPs from GreedyCable, either. They're sharing about 4 Mb/s of internal network bandwidth (if any security at all is turned on in the 802.11b access point). Bob may or may not get 4 Mb/s from GreedyCable in a download. My experience is that after-dinner bandwidth is about 800-1200 kb/s on cable, far less than the internal NAT'd network provides.

    Cable companies, DSL providers, and even dial-up providers all sell bandwidth. Not content. AOL (the author's putative ISP) doesn't sell content. They sell bandwidth and filtering (i.e., they filter what's on the Internet, and spoonfeed it to their customers).

    Nothing prevents someone with a dialup analogue modem from setting up an 802.11b wireless access point on their dialup connection (Apple's AirPort even has a modem built-in).

    If Bob buys a gallon of milk, and gives Carol one quart and gives Ted one quart, the retailer still has been paid for a gallon. You're implying that Carol and Ted have stolen milk, which is obviously not the case. Water companies sell water by volume, not per-faucet hydronics fees. Cable companies generally have volume restrictions for monthly use, with fees for overlimit consumption.

    NOW, if Carol or Ted go back to the dairy or retailer to complain about spoilt milk, THEN she has a point. However, in the bandwidth scenario, they'll call Bob (who's adept enough to help them configure their 802.11b NICs to access his AP).

    Gee, now that I think of it, cable companies buy bandwidth from backbone providers like WorldCom, and resell it! WorldCom should be angry: some of their customers are reselling (not sharing) what bandwidth they purchased from WorldCom! The nerve!
  • by dbrower ( 114953 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2001 @02:04AM (#2623426) Journal
    Dear Honorable AC,

    I have read your thoughtful and lengthy reply considering the merits of my arguments, and will strongly consider altering my rhetorical style in appreciation of your stunning insights.

    Most sincerely and respectfully,


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