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Cable Co's Want More Control Over Your Network

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the but-of-course dept.

Privacy 726

Moonshine Coward writes: "'The CAT and the NAT' in latest issue of www.cedmagazine.com 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 death..my 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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BUTTSEX (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620905)

first?

Here's the part I don't get (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620914)

"Illegal bandwidth sharing." I pay a certain amount for bandwidth and a single IP from a provider. What I do with that connection and single IP is my own business as long as I'm not using my connection in a detrimental way to others, as stated in their Acceptable Use Policy. How is sharing my bandwidth, which appears to them to be all the same source, and technically is, illegal?

It's because it's shared bandwidth... (0)

Drakula (222725) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620942)

Since it is shared bandwidth you can only use what is available in the pipe and there is not limiting factor besides how many people share the pipe with you. So, if you set up a wireless netwoek and a whole bunch of people are suck up the bandwidth of the pipe through your, the other customers and the cable co. lose out.

I can see their side but as usual the wrong people will get punished.

Re:It's because it's shared bandwidth... (1)

FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621033)

Maybe, but that's a problem with shared bandwith. Anyway, the cable company has no business behind my router! I'm already paying $50 a month for their service, if they want to start this BS I'm leaving for DSL immediately.

What's with the Dr Suess thing anyway?

Fuzzy

Re:Here's the part I don't get (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620959)

There is nothing to "get". These cable operators are money grubbing kikes.

Re:Here's the part I don't get (3, Insightful)

pryan (169593) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620995)

That's what lept to my mind. Unlike cable TV, where service is, for all purposes, unlimited for sharing, internet service is very limited. In other words, if I buy a certain amount of bandwidth and choose to share it with my neighbors, I am depriving myself of that bandwidth.

I am not "stealing" anything from the ISP by sharing bandwidth. I am taking no more than my allotted amount of bandwidth when sharing with my neighbors.

What they are doing here is changing the rules. They are no longer providing 2.5 Mb/s down and 128 Kb/s up, they are providing connections to individuals. They are doing this for the sole purposes of increasing their profits. Now this might be acceptable, if they rewrote their contract, but right now, at least for my ISP, they are selling bandwidth.

And as long as they are selling bandwidth, and I abide by the AUP, I can do whatever I flipping well please with my bandwidth, including sharing it with my neighbors.

Re:Here's the part I don't get (1)

aonaran (15651) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621003)

That depends on if your contract says you are not to resell or share the services they provided to you. If you are lucky enough to have a contract that missed that, then no you aren't doing anything illegal, but I'd put money on there being a clause like that, and if there is you are in breech of your contract with the provider and therefore yes, it is illegal.

Breech of Contract illegal? (1)

PBCODER (513561) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621050)

Last I head breech of contract was not illegal, it was just a breech of the contract, IE you won't automatically be arrested for breeching, they have to sue you for damages, or more likey cut you off and try less expensive measures like ruining your cridit.

Re:Here's the part I don't get (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621077)

The idea of a cable modem and the pricing of the service, though, is not "you have 1.5Mbps and can use it at 100% 24/7", but rather "Here's 1.5Mbps to speed the times that you do use your PC" : There is no way that they reasonably anticipate you passing 13GB/day of traffic a day. To put it another way: it's nice to have 1.5Mbps so that when I do browse to Slashdot, or grab a file, it happens quickly, however I can't reasonably assume that therefore I can grab files at 1.5Mbps 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Check out the prices of a unmetered full-T1 line versus a cable modem.

100 mb/s (-1, Offtopic)

K0R$ h4x0r ru1z (533828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620915)

ENLIST THE POWER OF PRAYER!
When the temptation to masturbate is strong, yell, "Stop!" to those thoughts as loudly as you can in your mind. Then recite a portion of the Bible or sing a hymn.

SET GOALS!
If you masturbate, color that day black. Your goal will be to have no black days. The calendar becomes a strong visual reminder, and should be looked at when you are tempted to add another black day. * Set up a reward system. Each time you reach a goal, award yourself with a quarter. Spend it on something that delights you.

USE PHYSICAL RESTRAINTS!
* Put on several layers of clothing that would be difficult to remove while half-asleep.
* Hold an object -- for example, a Bible -- even in bed at night.
* In severe cases, tie a hand to the bed frame.

BE ALERT TO EMOTIONS!
* Employ aversion therapy. To cancel out the pleasureableness of masturbation, associate something very distasteful with the act. For example, imagine bathing in a tub of worms and eating some of them.
* Be outgoing and friendly. Force yourself to be with others and learn to enjoy working and talking with them.

Revolving jifs? (2, Funny)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620917)

Spinning containers of peanut butter?

- A.P.

Long Live... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2621061)

...Linksys!!

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004SB9 2

Almost better than boobies!

I think they'll have little trouble with sharing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620919)

The cable and dsl companies manage to keep their service poor enough that I doubt an entire neighborhood would want to get taken out cause Mr. smith's cable modem went down :)

Is that (1)

nll8802 (536577) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620923)

Is that 4.95 to the consumer. If that is the cost to consumer think how this could wipe out DSL, Dial Up and anything else access wise. Most Semi Small cities are still charging 17.95 a month for dial up. And Dsl is upwards of 49.95 a month in these same cities.

Re:Is that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620941)

You shouldn't have to pay per IP address, we should all be using ipv6 by now, and then we wouldn't have a shortage.

Re:Is that (3, Interesting)

Mondrames (242558) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620977)

NAT is good for what it does. I don't recommend forcing another protocol - that will be circumvented anyway.

I would prefer a bandwith/$$ model if they are going to start nickel and diming us. Kinda like cell phones.

You get so many Megs or Gigs for $X. After that you get a message sent to either your phone or email saying that you have used up your data "minutes". You can then a)explicitly enable your connection again at $X/meg, or b) wait until next month.

Will it stop "unauthorized use" - no. Will it make it more expensive? yes. Which in turn means the cable company gets compensated and Ted has to charge his neighbors to make up the difference.

Best all around solution? No. But it works for cell phones, and would be reasonable compromise for most parties involved.

Revolving jif? (2, Funny)

Chundra (189402) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620925)

Jif files: The image file format with sticky bits and a creamy, nutty flavor.

Re:Revolving jif? (2)

benedict (9959) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620993)

Just about every image format has been used to display sticky bits.

http://www.asciipr0n.com/

Jif? (2, Redundant)

Lxy (80823) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620928)

pictureframe that shows revolving jif's

Revolving peanut butter? Cool. Mine doesn't have ethernet, is there an upgrade I can get?

Re:Jif? (2)

don_carnage (145494) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620961)

No need to upgrade, just remove the cap from the jar and shove a RJ45 plug into it; Works like a charm!

Re:Jif? (2, Funny)

well_jung (462688) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621057)

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.

Re:Jif? (2)

sharkey (16670) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621009)

pictureframe that shows revolving jif's

You should probably work with Peter Pan Peanut Butter. It won't age the way JIF will.

NJIT IN DA HOUZE! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620932)

woooooo! njit in the houze!!!

greetings from scenic downtown Newark, NJ
Welcome to The Bricks; where we break your backs mofos! :D

Heh. (1)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620933)

Funny I just got an email from my provider saying (Adelphia.net) that my area (Vermont) won't be involved in a recent price hike because service around here has sucked lately... (Which they apologized profusely for, and thanked us for our patience...)

Wrong way to meter usage (5, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620935)

What relevance does the number of devices behind the cable modem have? The reality is that the real load on their system is gross throughput, and if there really is a problem of abusers then the natural solution will be in the realm of additional bandwidth costs: Joe will be a lot less likely to set up a 802.11 network if it costs him $5 / GB past 5GB or whatever.

As a bit of perspective here: I hope they didn't have to do any of this, but the reality is that the "honest" among us end up paying when people abuse these sort of commercial services : i.e. they price based upon the requirements to support the average Joe's bandwidth, so when BillyBob opens up his cable modem to 10Mbps with SNMP and then sets up a warez FTP site and shares his connection with his apartment complex, then that ends up cost ME more in the long run (or alternately, and worse, the service is withdrawn entirely because it isn't economically viable).

Re:Wrong way to meter usage (3, Insightful)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621025)

I think the cable companies love flat rate charging, because then they don't have to provide you the bandwidth they promise.

If they charged by the megabyte, then their revenues would drop when they had a blackout, or when they didn't put enough bandwidth into your neigbhourhood, or whatever.

It was the same with dialup service. Last time I tried a couple of years ago, it was impossible to buy a fixed number of minutes of connection time, I could only buy flat rate monthly service. I got a lot of busy signals on that flat rate service, which cost *me* money, not the ISP.

Re:Wrong way to meter usage (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621094)

I don't think this is what the companies want; it's what people want. As you may recall, nearly all internet providers used to charge on the per-minute (or per-hour) basis you mention. But people clamored for flat-rate pricing, so they gave it to them. A few held out both options - AOL offered both plans for a while - but the per-hour-pricing plan was so unpopular they eventually scrapped it.

Illegal bandwidth sharing (2, Funny)

WD_40 (156877) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620937)

Is getting infected with a script kiddie's DDoS backdoor 'illegal bandwidth sharing?'

Why get more than one IP? (2, Interesting)

Myko (11551) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620938)

Why not set up a gateway/proxy that dolls out IPs internal to your network? I can't imagine them actually being able to talk their way past personally installed firewalls.

Re:Why get more than one IP? (2)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620966)

I have AT&T Broadband and I pay extra for their "Home Networking" option. Basically you hook your cablemodem into a hub and it will give out up to 3 IPs. The reason I did this was because I have my linux server for web and email, a test linux box that I learn on and break often, but it runs alot of the same stuff as my primary, and then my local network that includes wireless. For me, the extra IP is worth it since I can't access the same port on 2 machines behind a proxy, at least not easily.

Re:Why get more than one IP? (1)

zeno_2 (518291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621035)

This is what everyone does right now anyway, well anyone who has more then one machine and a cable modem.

You can go buy a linksys dsl/cable router and it will do all this for you. It even has a way to spoof a mac address (some cable modems will get the mac address from the machine they set it up on, and it will only let that mac address connect to the cable modem. You can take your mac address from the machine they set it up on, and just plug the numbers into the router. The cable modem will still think its connected to the original machine, and you can get more then one machine on the cable modem).

The thing is, how can they really tell that I have a router behind my cable modem? Can they analyze my packets going out and see that there might be some NAT going on? (im really not too sure if packets that are going out look different coming from a nat server). I can understand they are not happy with people setting up wireless access points, but why should I have to pay for another IP address just so they can collect more money from me? What if I only want one ip address, maybe my other machine only connects to the net to get cddb info, is that worth 5 bucks a month?

No thanks, ill just keep on using my router.

Re:Why get more than one IP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2621043)

the point of the article seems to me to be Network Address Translation, which -does- "doll out IP's internal to your network". Their point is that these additional devices use bandwidth that you aren't (they alledge) paying for when you pay for one IP 'connection'.
Why they can't charge bandwidth or why anyone would see NAT as "stealing" is beyond me. But I think you missed the point of the referenced article. BK425

I'm not sure I see the real argument (5, Interesting)

kaisyain (15013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620940)

(Well, okay, the real argument is probably that the providers see a way to make more money but....)

I pay for a certain amount of bandwidth. Why do they care how it gets used? If I spend my 10 MB/s downloading porn or if I only use half of it and then let my neighbor use the other half...seems like the problem is not people "stealing" bandwidth but the providers not provisioning correctly.

Re:I'm not sure I see the real argument (1)

13013dobbs (113910) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620971)

They care because they are not getting paid for it. For every neighbor that gets to use your connection, that is one less person paying them. They don't care as much about the bandwidth as they do the money.

Re:I'm not sure I see the real argument (2)

rknop (240417) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620973)

I pay for a certain amount of bandwidth. Why do they care how it gets used? If I spend my 10 MB/s downloading porn or if I only use half of it and then let my neighbor use the other half...seems like the problem is not people "stealing" bandwidth but the providers not provisioning correctly.

Fairness and reasonableness is irrelevant. The real reason is that they think it's easiest to charge more by charging more per device (it "seems fair" to the casual user who hasn't thought about it as you have), so therefore they are going to try to do it that way.

-Rob

Re:I'm not sure I see the real argument (1)

UCRowerG (523510) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620992)

(Well, okay, the real argument is probably that the providers see a way to make more money but....)

I pay for a certain amount of bandwidth. Why do they care how it gets used?

I think you've got it, and I agree. What's the difference between setting up a home network versus a network between you and two neighbors? The pipe is the same width. And I distinctly remember my RoadRunner representatives telling me that it was perfectly fine to set up multiple computers for the one cable modem they gave me!

Re:I'm not sure I see the real argument (2)

garcia (6573) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621042)

exactly. They offer this amt of bandwith, I don't see why we can't have a bunch of computers connected behind it.

@Home allows you to network and do whatever you want w/your connection but also does offer IPs at 4.95/mo.

They are losing money by people not using the extra IP option but I don't see how the lack of IPs would be an even larger problem.

People roguing IPs is the biggest problem. They feel that they should be allowed to have a static IP even though policy says no. I say put up w/the dynamic or pony up the dough.

Re:I'm not sure I see the real argument (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621051)

Well the problem is that you don't really pay for that amount of bandwidth. They are banking on the fact that most people won't max out the connection all the time, so you're paying for a certain maximum amount of bandwidth. If everyone does max out their bandwidth all the time, then they'd be forced to actually charge you for the full bandwidth - likely it'd be significantly more than you currently pay. Then your arguments would hold up, but not with the current $40/month or whatever you pay.

The economics (1)

Hell O'World (88678) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621062)

The economics behind home broadband assume that you will not use all of the bandwidth you could potentially use. In fact, if everyone on your neighborhood's cable loop were to open their digital faucets full blast all the time, they wouldn't be able to support the load. ISDN or T1 type connections, where you are guaranteed bandwidth, cost proportionally more.

The problem is their revenue model (3)

Srin Tuar (147269) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621088)


Is based upon having lots of customers with under-used accounts. Its called over-subscription. They sell more bandwidth than they actually have- and if most users are only using 50% of what they are paying for, then the ISP can charge less to its customers (being competitive) and have more customers than they can really support.


The thing they want to do is prevent people from sharing or reselling portions of their bandwidth with their neighbors, because then every customer will be alot closer to 100% utilization.


To simplify: What they want is to have 2 paying customers at 50% utilization rather than 1 paying customer at 100% utilization.

How effective can this really be? (1)

lkaos (187507) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620950)

Can't one always be able to set up a hub to forward traffic from a LAN to the outside world with detection being almost impossible no matter what protocols the cable company use?

It doesn't seem to make any sense to me... Why doesn't the cable company just limit bandwidth? That seems like the fare thing to do...

Re:How effective can this really be? (1)

ioexcptn (190408) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621055)

Well...not to be a troll, but hubs do not forward traffic from LANs to the Internet. Those would be routers/firewalls/etc. And, you want your bandwidth limited? I dont think that is a FAIR thing to do.

How would they get past the NAT router? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620951)

The article talks about going through the NAT router to "count" the devices hooked up behind it... How could they manage that without a client software install? Sounds like vaporware to me.

Is that really illegal? (2, Insightful)

Alpha_Geek (154209) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620952)

They claim that sharing your cable-modem connection with your neighbors via 802.11b is illegal. Aren't you paying for bandwidth at a fixed rate? Why should they be able to mandate what you have on the other end of the line. Business providers certainly don't care how many machines (or what type) you have at the other end of their T1 or T3. I suppose the real question is what is in the service agreement you have with them. It seems really slimy to me to restrict how you use your bandwidth. Why can't the ISPs just treat bandwith as a commodity instead of being restrictive on their customers?

Re:Is that really illegal? (2)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621013)

No, I don't think it's illegal other than the fact that it may breach your contract (Terms of Service), in which case they could sue you. If you never agreed to that term than they can't do anything to you (although most ISPs have clauses that let them change their terms of service with you at will - though I question the legality of that, unless they go ahead and send a physical copy of updated terms to all their users).


If you don't like their terms, find another provider. Get a business DSL line - I think those can usually be shared without any legal problems (my company split the cost of one with the company we sublet from until we could get our T1s run into our office when we moved).

Re:Is that really illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2621036)

If they treated bandwidth as a commodity, you would be charged significantly more for it. There's a reason why most DSL is 1/30th the monthly charge of a T1 while providing the same bandwidth: an individual isn't likely to use all the bandwidth, so they can give you more without raising the price. Sharing connections increases the amount of bandwidth one "individual" uses up. If they allowed you to do bandwidth reselling, would you be willing to pay $1000/month for your broadband?

Warning: no technical content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620953)

The article is a cable modem provider rant against NAT. It mentions CAT two or three times, and glosses over any technical details.

This won't solve any problems (3, Insightful)

n8ur (230546) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620956)

The proposed CAT doesn't sound like it breaks NAT but simply replaces it (or works with some sort of enhanced NAT). As long as folks have a way to run a NAT service (i.e., running a Linux router behind the cable modem), the "nightmare scenario" of bandwidth sharing won't be stopped other than through bandwidth usage monitoring, which can be done now.

CAT might be helpful to manage sanctioned home-networking schemes, but it won't solve the problem the article addresses.

What would the FCC say? (2, Insightful)

minyard (101989) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620957)

Cable companies currently cannot charge per TV. How could charging per IP be any different? Also, should I have to pay for my iron's IP address if it never browses the web? Heck, why do they need to know ANYTHING about my home's network.

Sigs are for naught.

The FCC can't do anything (2)

xyzzy (10685) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621078)

Sorry, but internet technology is NOT regulated by the FCC.

But the funny thing is: I don't see why this guy's got his undies in a bundle. AT&T was SELLING Linksys NAT boxes in a promotion this summer in my area (Cambridge, MA -- ex-Mediaone). Big flyers! Network your entire house! Share your connection! Granted, they didn't mean with your neighbors, but there you go. I doubt anyone has shelled out the extra money for their vastly overpriced extra IP service.

Re:The FCC can't do anything (1)

aozilla (133143) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621096)

Sorry, but internet technology is NOT regulated by the FCC.

802.11 networks are, though.

What is the TRUE value of an IP Address? (3, Insightful)

guru_steve (205501) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620964)

from the article:

"What's the value of the stolen goods? Revenues associated with additional IP addresses, for one. Let's say one in 10 of the 5 million U.S. cable modem subscribers are usurping IP addresses without paying the $4.95 per month fee that's typically charged (beyond a pre-specified limit, which varies MSO to MSO.) Right off that bat, that's just shy of $30 million lost, annually."

I've never ran an ISP, so i'm not familiar with how IP addresses are doled out to the "big" guys. Interesting that they calculate the "losses" at $5.00 a month.

A long time ago, weren't different classes of IP addresses handed out for free? How does one put a price on these things?

Furthermore, i thought there was a shortage of IP addresses now. If they're going to implement some funky $5.00/month additional IP charge, i actually wonder if these IPs are going to be routable ones, or an IP on some cheezy intranet, unaddressable to the outside world (as if the cable companies were themselves NATting the connection for you from your private $5.00/month address.)

Re:What is the TRUE value of an IP Address? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2621092)

They're talking about opportunity cost: They sell additional IP numbers to their customers (who presumably don't know about NAT or need a public and static number or something) at that rate. It's phony IMO, there isn't really any cost to them for the number, if ISPs are now paying by IP number it certainly couldnt be a tenth of $5 pre month, there are billions of potential IPs in the 4 octets...

Two computers makes me a thief? (5, Interesting)

eison (56778) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620967)

This article is a misleading justification of price gouging. "The good news is, the dishonest people who know how to do it are already doing it..."; clearly anyone with two computers must be a dishonest thief.

They discuss sharing amongst neighbors, but what they are really upset about is not being able to charge for every device I own or sharing amongst roommates. Nowhere is the fact that even toasters are getting IP addresses mentioned, and none of the technology they are looking forward to will allow the provider to differentiate between my toaster and my neighbor's computer.

So the interesting question to me is, why does my service provider deserve more $$$s because I own three computers, a net-connected TiVo, and an internet enabled toaster or stoplight? Aren't they still just providing me a single connection and some bandwidth? What right do they have to charge for my toaster? Do they have a contract with *me*, or with *my device*? They seem to think they are providing my computer with a service; I happen to believe my computer can't sign a contract, so the service is provided to me, and this price gouging shouldn't be allowed.

Remember: when you use NAT, you're using Communism (1)

Monte (48723) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621034)

I agree with you 100% - I've got multiple computers (all mine, all in my house) and a PDA that connect to the internet via 802.11. Evidently I'm a dirty-rotten scum-sucking rat bastard too, even though I rarely have more than one device on line at a time.

Although I don't understand exactly how NAT works, I thought part of the idea was the net on the other end couldn't tell you were doing it...?

Re:Two computers makes me a thief? (1)

sllort (442574) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621080)

Even better, what if you only have one computer, but run a DHCP server that will configure any computer attached to your LAN with a routable connection and a NAT'd IP address? This way, you or your friends could bring their notebook computers over on the weekends to plug in.

Of course, "CAT" would "detect" this thievery and put a stop to it, destroying the idea of "single-plug" network connectivity.

What a sham.

one day... (1)

silicon1 (324608) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620968)

the cable companies will take over the world with microsoft being the leader....

Text of the article (1, Redundant)

mosch (204) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620969)

Since the article seems to be rejecting /. referrers, here's the full text. Send your comments to the author, (who thankfully will get paid a little less for this steaming pile of crap due to this post).
The good news is, the dishonest people who know how to do it are already doing it, but they?re a slender fraction of today?s installed cable modem base.

The bad news is, there?s nothing you can do about it. At least, not anytime soon.

Such is the case with some wireless home networking hubs, which use a form of over-the-counter routing known as ?network address translation,? or NAT.

Just as, to some, ?take one? always means ?take three,? and ?contribution appreciated? always means ?free,? so can the bandwidth of a legal cable modem subscription become wirelessly shared among neighbors. It can be shared omnidirectionally, as it turns out, for about 300 feet?the range of wireless hubs based on the 802.11b home networking specification.

?So all we could do was to Sit! Sit! Sit! And we did not like it. Not one little bit.? ?Dr. Seuss, The Cat In The Hat

This probably doesn?t come as a big surprise to CED?s readers. The NAT conundrum is reminiscent of the early days of pay television?when descrambler boxes presumed for use on additional TVs within a subscribing household mysteriously found their way into someone else?s house? someone who wasn?t paying for HBO or Showtime or a similar premium service.

What?s different between the two types of thievery, technologists say, is that descrambler boxes of yore, and particularly those sold for additional outlets, could be (and were, once the debauchery was discovered) provided at an additional, and undiscounted, rental fee.

But NAT, because it is invisible to the cable modem, can theoretically continue its stealth stride into cable networks, undetected. The only remedy?at least until CableLabs? ?CableHome? effort releases its antidote, known as Cable Address Translator, or CAT?is to trust in humanity?s application of right and wrong: ??Tis a sin, to steal a pin, as we, all of us, used to be informed in the nursery,? as the 1875 proverb goes. Or, in this case, ?tis a sin, to steal bandwidth, as we, all of us, learned in the workplace.

What?s the value of the stolen goods? Revenues associated with additional IP addresses, for one. Let?s say one in 10 of the 5 million U.S. cable modem subscribers are usurping IP addresses without paying the $4.95 per month fee that?s typically charged (beyond a pre-specified limit, which varies MSO to MSO.) Right off that bat, that?s just shy of $30 million lost, annually.

Under NAT?s hat Network address translation started out innocently enough. Back in 1993, the World Wide Web consisted of just a handful of graphically-oriented destinations?what we now call ?Web sites??and a group of data-minded, engineering members of the Internet Engineering Task Force got worried.

There was no question that the Internet, and its TCP/IP-based underpinnings, would get big, the engineers mused. And when it did, how on earth would the distribution of zillions of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses be managed, let alone scaled?

At its inception, NAT was viewed as a way to ward off a looming shortage of IP addresses.

The only answer, the engineers decided, was some form of hierarchical distribution, handled transparently at drop-off points. Something that could partition IP addresses for multiple, simultaneous use by devices ?lower? in the hierarchy. The drop-off point, though, was imagined more as a standard LAN than a home network.

NAT was also meant to simplify matters. Specifically, it was intended to simplify small business networks, so that the technologically-challenged small business owner could install and run IP address-sharing on a run-of-the-mill local area network, without having to go to night school to acquire a data communications doctorate.

Who knew?

At the time, eight or so years ago, no one had fully imagined that regular, everyday consumers would someday own multiple PCs, and would want a way to hook them together. Nor had anyone fully imagined that a cable or DSL modem could be hooked into a residential network, and its IP address resource shared. (The Internet, mostly a bulletin board at the time, topped out at 9600 baud back then.) And certainly, no one had fully imagined that the resources shared by a single, wirelessly-networked residence would also be shared among other devices, at other residences, within 300 feet.

What happened is the inverse of the old Ivory soap story: Upon going to lunch one day, somebody forgot to turn off the mixer. An ordinary accident. The result was soap that floated: A good, marketable, accidental discovery. NAT turns out to accidentally be a bad, unmarketable discovery. Its intentions were good; but one portion of its reality is clearly not so good.

Reality, right now, is walking into a computer store and buying a $100-ish wireless home networking hub, with built-in NAT. These days, NAT is a feature differentiator for home networking hub vendors. Suppliers describe the benefits of NAT in terms of modifying IP and transport headers to provide transparent routing to end hosts, which are trying to communicate from disparate address realms.

That means the NAT-based home networking hubs can create secret domains, behind and invisible to the cable or DSL modem. The IP address intended for the cable modem is partitioned into re-usable addresses, transparently, through software routing mechanisms. The result is a sort of private, sub-network running datagrams to and from invisible end devices (the PCs in neighboring homes).

How it works A home-networking hub is a fairly unglamorous, rectangular box with lights on the front that correspond to what?s connected. On the back there are eight or so receptacles for telephone wires, or thicker ?category-5? wires, for the items being linked?laptops, PCs, printers, the cable or DSL modem. Ditto for wireless hubs, except they use an antenna to send and receive datagrams from other antennas; those antennas are attached to the things to be connected.

Put simply, NAT works by securing an IP address via the cable modem and the IP-address server (the ?DHCP,? or Dynamic Host Control Protocol server). NAT software resident inside the wireless hub handles the parsing of the IP address, as well as back-and-forth conversations with all connected devices. Notably, not all home networking hubs include NAT; in general, less-expensive $50-ish hubs don?t have it.

Tactically, it works like this: Anyone with a networkable computer, an 802.11b antenna and receiver, and approval from the master PC connected to a wireless hub, can sit, invisibly, ?behind? the NAT, and share the throughput of the cable modem attached ?ahead of? the NAT.

?The Cat in the hat came back in with a box. A big, red wood box. It was shut with a hook. ?Now look at this trick,? said the cat. ?Take a look! ?? ?Dr. Seuss, The Cat In The Hat

For example: Neighbor Bob buys cable modem service and a wireless home network. Neighbors Carol, Ted and Alice don?t buy cable modem service, but they go out and buy antennas compatible with Neighbor Bob?s wireless network. Everybody agrees to share Neighbor Bob?s connection. So what if it?s not quite as zippy? It?s free. Neighbor Bob?s cable modem, and Neighbor Bob?s broadband service provider, never know its throughput is being shared. They, sadly, can?t see a thing past the NAT.

NAT also raises issues for forthcoming cable-delivered home-networking services. 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.

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.

Cable?s CAT in the Hat MSO technologists involved with home networking are already sorely aware of NAT?s blemishes. In addition to what?s already been noted, technologists grumble that NAT hubs vary in operation from one supplier to the next, making uniform maintenance a nightmare.

Gladly, there?s a remedy in the works. It?s coming from CableHome, the CableLabs project specifically focused on specifications for cable home networks.

Mercifully, MSO and CableLabs technologists involved in the project are hard at work on a cable-friendly form of IP-address distribution to connected devices. They?re unofficially calling it ?CAT,? for ?Cable Address Translator.? In future CableHome-based networks, CAT software could go one step further, essentially saying, ?Pardon, NAT, but what?s that behind you?? Or, CAT could replace NAT altogether, at least in equipment hand-picked by MSOs for home-network service packages.

At the very least, cable MSOs involved in CableHome want a counting mechanism, with parameters set by them, that specifies a maximum number of connected devices. Until then, all indicators point to DOCSIS 1.1, which includes methods to monitor bandwidth consumption (how much is used per customer) and speed (who?s bursting at what rates).

Unquestionably, the ability to ?see? connected devices makes troubleshooting and customer care somewhat easier. It will also put some enforceability into what, today, is an unintentional honor system, in terms of IP address and resultant bandwidth sharing.

Perhaps Theodore Geisel, Dr. Seuss? inventor, had the best advice, albeit not from The Cat in the Hat: ?You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.?

E-mail: Ellis299@aol.com [mailto]

lies, damnlies and stats. (2, Insightful)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620972)

"Let's say one in 10 of the 5 million U.S. cable modem subscribers are usurping IP addresses without paying the $4.95 per month fee that's typically charged (beyond a pre-specified limit, which varies MSO to MSO.) Right off that bat, that's just shy of $30 million lost, annually"

I'd like a little more concrete numbers there. ANYBODY can pick a number and make a horrific sounding cost analysys out of it. It's a lot like saying 'A CD costs $17, and a DVD costs $19, therefore, all that video and extra features only costs two bucks!'

IP Masq'ing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620975)

Would they be targeting those of us IP Masquerading our boxes behind firewalls? I am running 3 machines behind my firewall using IP Masq and IP forwarding to avoid the additional IP address per machine that ATT Broadband already charges on top of the 50 bucks a month.

Bandwidth. (1)

Crusty Oldman (249835) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620982)

Bandwidth. It's "business" when they restrict its features and sell it to you. It's "theft" when you use it for your own purposes.

Dumb move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620986)

I don't see how they will make more money at 4.95/user than charging one user 40 bucks a month. For this to make sense, the average subscriber would have to let 10 people bleed off his connection. ( well maybe 5 or 7 since the single user wouldn't use as much bandwidth as 10 people would if they were sharing ) but I'm willing to bet that 90% of people don't share their connection outside their household, and that the ones that do usually share with one or two neighbors tops.

First Gripe! (3, Insightful)

webword (82711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620989)

The other day I went to my brother's house with my laptop. I couldn't remember a few commands to release and renew my IP address for some reason so I decided to call Road Runner tech support. For those that don't know, Road Runner is a cable modem service provided on a franchise basis by companies such as Time Warner.

In any event, they were slow but helpful. I noticed during the help call they asked a million silly questions that had nothing to do with my issue. The call should have taken about 2 minutes but it actually took about 8-10 minutes because of these questions (e.g., What is the brand of your cable modem?, What is the serial number on your cable modem?, When is the last time you called us?, and so forth). These questions were asked after I got the command that I needed. It was actually painful to get the guy off the phone. He wanted to check and verify basically the entire setup of my brother's computer and cable connection.

Now, I don't know about you, but this kind of thing really rubs me the wrong way. It isn't support. And, despite what many companies think, it is not Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It is 100% hassle. I am pretty sure this kind of "support" is used to control users and ultimately squeeze more money out of them.

On the one hand, I am not happy about this kind of user support. On the other hand, I am glad that I can even get a good high speed connection. It does cost more than dial up, but it is worth it to me given my career. In any event, I really wish there was more competition. I don't have a choice but to suck it up and quietly complain on Slashdot.

More Slashdot Sensationalism at Work (-1)

Faulty Dreamer (259659) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620991)

This slant of the writeup on Slashdot is very misleading. Before you guys get all worked up about how your "right" are going to be taken away, please read the article.

They are not really concerned with people who subscribe to cable modem service and then setup their own home lan. They are concerned that one person who subscribes could share this subscription with non-paying households over a wireless connection. This would be like somebody splitting cable tv service with your neighbor, with only one household paying the bill. Personally I would think this is wrong too.

So it's not really about the 5 buck extra ip charge, it's more about the 40 dollar service.

Re:More Slashdot Sensationalism at Work (1)

UCRowerG (523510) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621056)

This would be like somebody splitting cable tv service with your neighbor, with only one household paying the bill.

Almost. If I split cable service with my neighbor, we can both watch TV at the same time, even different channels: I don't lose anything for doing so, and end up cheating the company. But if I share my bandwith with someone, I have to split the bandwith. That's the difference. Splitting bandwith doesn't double it; splitting CATV service does.

Re:More Slashdot Sensationalism at Work (1)

pryan (169593) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621060)

You're missing the underlying point. If I share my cable internet connection with my neighbors, they may be getting service for free, but at the cost of my bandwidth. Every time they view a page, or play a game, I suffer and lose some of my bandwidth. Therefore, I'm paying for them to use my connection. It's not stealing from the cable company, even if you share with your neighbor. I'm paying for bandwidth and I can do whatever I want with it.

That's not wrong! (2)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621063)

What about if I ask the neighbor to give me $20 a month to share the bandwidth. Is that wrong?

Re:More Slashdot Sensationalism at Work (1)

webword (82711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621086)

Stop making sense. You can no longer post anything. Your Slashdot account will be closed momentarily.

Thank you for playing,

The Management

"take one always means take three" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2621001)

From the article:

Just as, to some, "take one" always means "take three," and "contribution appreciated" always means "free," so can the bandwidth of a legal cable modem subscription become wirelessly shared among neighbors.

Just like, to some corporations, "free market" means "unfair dominance" and "fair price" means "whatever the market will bear"

This is a good time to be a cable provider. Eventually, wireless networks will be extensive enough to render the wire services redundant. The threat isn't using a wireless hub to *extend* a cable/DSL connection. It's using multiple transcievers to *replace* the hardwired connection.

Another variation of pay per use (1)

0WaitState (231806) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621005)

The cable companies are just looking for a juicier revenue model. Instead of just charging for a throttled piple of bandwidth, they want to add a fixed monthly cost per device behind the cable modem. And good luck convincing them that your house-guest's laptop is no longer hooked up.

What's next? An IR sensor on the settop box that counts the number of people in the living room and adjusts your bill accordingly ("Billy! Get Rover out of the living room before the cable company charges us!")

Pay by bandwidth, NOT IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2621007)

That is such fucking bull shit, NAT is NOT stealing, if the user is consuming too much bandwidth, charge them for it. We should have IPV6 by now.

Adelphia Powerlink (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621010)

Anybody have any experience with this service? I've had it for a couple weeks now and have violated a couple major points in their TOS so far.

They say 2.5 GB per month, I managed to reach that in the first 3 days. They say no running of servers of any kind, I'm running Apache (only allowing specific IP addresses though), VNC, and SQL Server which I've since modified to only listen on the loopback, for security purposes, not adelphia.

So has anybody gotten their wrist slapped by these guys, or worse, had their service shut off for similar violations?

Charging for IP's might help IPV6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2621011)

IPV6 needs a boost. The IP 'real estate' they are talking about selling is artificially small, and IMHO overpriced.


If someone is going to charge for an IP, I expect it to be static and to be able to specify a reverse DNS lookup. Think they'll go for that? Bet not!

ISPs should be ISPs! (5, Insightful)

The G (7787) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621016)

How long is it going to take before ISPs start realizing that Internet Service Provider means Internet Service Provider? I just want a pipe with some bandwidth, to use as I want. This seems a simple enough notion, but the ISPs are all into "we'll sell you a piece of a pipe, as long as you don't use it much, and not for things we don't like."

Clue to ISPs: Sell the pipe. Don't worry about what goes through it unless you're sitting on a subpoena or something. Everything else is silly optional garbage.
--G

a bigger problem than you realize (5, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621018)

I used to work for a cable modem ISP (until they went out of business last January). People sucking up an inordinate amount of bandwidth on "consumer" accounts were a huge drain on our resources. Usually it was spammers or people running high volume websites at home, but we also had a few folks with as many as 30 computers on one cable modem. We were only charging them $50 a month, but they were eating up almost an entire T1 all by themselves. Losing $1000 a month to one customer is not a good way to stay in business.

It got so bad in one area we actually started putting together a database of MAC addresses, trying to map them to individual customers (even with NAT, the MAC address of the original computer is in the packet). Unfortunately, that project was just starting when the company filed for bankruptcy.

That said, an easier and more effective solution would be to put QOS restraints on people. Who cares how many devices are hanging off one network connection? It's the bandwidth they're using that's important. And if bandwidth were limited to cable modem customers they wouldn't be so eager to share what they have with all their neighbors.

Cory

So, if I read this correctly.... (2)

Lxy (80823) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621019)

NAT hides all the extra computers on your network. The cable company has no way of knowing if you're using NAT or not. They try to sell this service that they support. They claim it stops bootlegging of bandwidth.

Fact: those who are bootlegging will never buy it
Fact: those who are bootlegging will never be found, unless a physical inspection is made.
Fact: Most cable providers permit the use of NAT, they just don't offer support.

So really, they've invented a useless technology which only serves to make money off those who are dumb enough to buy it.

I paid for a service, I should get to use it (1)

mshomphe (106567) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621021)

As long as I'm not violating their Acceptable Use Policy, and I'm not overly burdening the network, what goes on behind my cable modem should not concern them.

There are legitimate reasons for sharing over 802.11.

Unbelievable... (2)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621024)

This is just unbelievable. The whole idea of NAT is to hide the actual number of IP addresses behind the NAT box. There is no way the cable company can detect that I am running NAT from their side of things - the most they might be able to do is require me to run a program on my PC that they can talk to in order to interrogate what my PC thinks its IP address is. And since I don't run Windows, I wouldn't be their customer.

It's all about bandwidth - if you sell me 10MB/sec and you don't put any other limits on it, then more fool you! If you throttle me, either by limiting my peak bandwidth or by limiting my max transfers per month, then you don't care how many devices I have behind the firewall.

Gods and Daemons, am I glad I have a sensible ISP that doesn't care what I do with my 384Kb/sec.

This is to be expected. (1)

ByTor-2112 (313205) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621026)

From the same people who thought you should pay a per-tv fee for cable. Duh, what else would they want? Cable-ready TVs ate into their box rental revenues. Ever wonder why they want you to move to digital cable so badly? That 4.95/month box rental of course! It's all a scam. "We'll rent you the cable modem for $4.95/month, or sell it to you for $300". Bleh. I'm so sick of monthly fees. The holy grail of all software companies is the same thing - that big $19.95 monthly fee in the sky. Sick sick sick. Everyone should use free software.

Guess I better cut the wire (1)

t0qer (230538) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621029)

to all my neighbors houses. I have 4 neighbors all splitting my one DSL line, blue wire running along all the fences.

My main argument here is from the wire hookup on the outside of my house to the wire running to my neighbor house is all my property. I paid for it, I maintain it, I own it. Sure they're using bandwidth, BANDWIDTH I PAID FOR!!! So it comes to reason that if I pay $39.95@mo for 384 down and 128 up that i'm paying for bandwidth.

Also to note, my ISP does not handle the squid proxy, they do not do the DNS cache, or any of the other network services I provide, they don't even provide support for my neighbors. You know what? This has me so pissed if I don't stop now i'm itching to turn this into a -1 flamebait post of mighty vulgarities. It's wrong, it's bullshit and I think they're just trying to find yet another way to screw us.

This is useless... (1)

Daniel Wood (531906) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621032)

It may stop some broadband sharing devices but it cannot stop people who use physical computers as gateways. For instance, I use Win2k in the main internet computer, it has two NIC's. I simply tell win2k to share the Net NIC with the LAN NIC. Any NT5/*nix system can do this with ease, how are they going to stop it?

sell unused bandwidth (1)

gnudot (79462) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621038)

The point that cable providers seem to miss, is that I am paying for 10 MB/s, and 90% of the time I'm using 1/100th of that(when I'm idle). I should be refunded for that, or because I seriously doubt Adelphia is going to give me a refund, I should take the bandwidth that is allocated me. We all should resell our unused bandwidth to our neighbors, this way, we get are truly using what we pay for.
Not to mention, Adelphia claims they don't have a 'level of service' that is required to be met. I have had many 8 or 12 hour outages, and when I complain, they say that I am not entitled to 100% uninterrupted service. I say bull. I'm paying a monthly fee, if the service is only there for 98% of the time, what makes them think I don't deserve to be compensated?

What's with the Dr. Seuss quotes? (3, Funny)

prator (71051) | more than 12 years ago | (#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!

:)

-prator

Refreshing change...... (1)

MrWinkey (454317) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621044)

It's good to know my ISP is working hard at nights finding new ways to work that extra dollar out of my pocket. The whole reason I pay for that faster than dialup connection is FOR MY OTHER COMPUTERS! My biggest fear is that stupid new laws/protocols/EULA's will be easier to pass now with the Anti-Terrorism bill in effect for the next 4 years. I can just see the cable/DSL companies labling this sort of thing as "hacking" or "Internet Terrorism"

electric company (1)

bradley4681 (222784) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621045)

next my eletric company will start charging me for each light buld on the chain of lights i leave up for the rest of the year after christmas...

already got a solution (2, Informative)

VEGETA_GT (255721) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621046)

I am already splitting a cable line in my house to 5 different computers. I use a old p120 as a dhcp/firewall to split off to the other 4 main computers. If they do come up with a better protocol than NAT that allows them more "control" over devices behind my cable modem" they are going to come smack into my firewall. This would stop their protocol cold.

So what dose this mean, not much if you put in a fire wall on a old computer worth 50$ which in the long run would cost less then paying for a few extra ip's.

My 2 cents plus 2 more

routers firewalls etc (1)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621047)

How does their solution stop you from putting a firewall/router/proxy on the clients end which is the only system to talk directly to the net. Most people don't need to NAT a address to use the web. It seems to me that the people that are likely to set up a wireless network for their friends and neighbors could set up the above devices to mask what's going on.

As usual, the $$$ is all that matters to them.. (1)

intensity (118733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621048)

I've had DSL and cable for about 4 years now, and I'll be damned if they make me pay for more than one IP. Thanks to Linux and FreeBSD, I can share my connection with several machines. Its not their business what I run behind my router, I still pay for the line, I pay for my bandwidth... If anyone wants to entertain the idea of a startup company that runs fiber to the home and lights it up, count me in, I'll jump on the bandwagon ;)

The inevitable is happening (1)

eAndroid (71215) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621052)

These are just the sort of problems that the proprietary connections AOL uses don't have. We all see it coming - soon we'll all be using AOL.

bandwidth (1)

treellama (526694) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621054)

The article mentions something about being able to monitor bandwidth. If this new method is going to be doing a version of NAT itself, then wouldn't the fairest way be just to charge people for bandwidth (or like cell phones, a certain amount per month and then charge for anything in excess of that). I mean, that's where the cost (or at least the problem with people sharing broadband) is...right? An extra node for a device by itself costs nothing, just a few rules in the router's memory. If it was an actual IP address I could see paying the $4.95, those are getting scarce.

Don't see a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2621058)

I run a Linux/FreeBSD server on a cheap old box that IP Masquerades. As far as ANY protocol would be concerned its one machine and they WOULD not be able to get past this server machine and therefore have no idea what I am running behind it.

That article is complete and utter bull shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2621064)

They mention 802.11b hubs for $100, yeah right not fucking likely, more like $200 - $300. The cable companys are fucking greedy pigs. Where the fuck is IPV6?

Theft from Theodore Geisel (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#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.

Will this really solve anything? (1)

WD_40 (156877) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621069)

This article is rather lacking in technical information, but if CAT is going to be similar to a NAT device couldn't you just park a NAT router behind the CAT device? Back to square one. :)

Such Weak Arguments (1)

guru_steve (205501) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621070)

again from the article:

"NAT also raises issues for forthcoming cable-delivered home-networking services. 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."

They are assuming that any additional devices MUST be behind the NAT gateway. This is simply false. I can run 10 computers behind NAT, and if i bought a "digital cable IP addressable shopping device" to hook up to my TV, i don't have to hook that up to address the internet through the NAT gateway. I could just hook that up directly to the net, so its directly addressable. In short, some devices can be put behind NAT, and some other ones that need to be addressable can be given real IP addresses.

Hold on... (2)

Master Of Ninja (521917) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621076)

I really don't see how you could achieve this. First the connection (in my area anyway) is promoted as unlimited (ntl in the UK). This applies to the data transfer (up to a reasonable point i suppose). Only the bandwidth (upload/download rates)is restricted. And once you have the connection you can clearly use it for more than one computer - you have that right.

I also don't why they want to talk to all cable devices in the system. I'm unsure of their aim as i only have one which is their cable tv box (which has the modem packaged inside it). This "troubleshooting" point seems fairly suspicious (maybe a power grab) unless the USA has a different cable system from here in the UK.

I can't see why after you have your router they should complain. If you want to share it between different computers in your house you should be allowed to do so. This CAT system seems to be making a mockery of home network security. The involvement of the cable company should stop at the cable modem. They have no right to access your own internal network.

I do agree sharing the system between your neighbours is wrong. But maybe this is an indication of high cost wherever the system is being deployed (like i said, i don't know the costs in the US). Instead of trying to screw around with home networks, they should lower prices instead - make it a bit more affordable. Maybe then people won't share it's bandwidth and they can make a profit.

Good thing I was warned (1)

chriso11 (254041) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621084)

It is good that there was a warning on the bias of the article. It goes to show that there are too many accountants in the world - there are enough to calculate how much money isn't being spent on their products!

Really, I look at the problem as bandwidth only. I pay so much a month to have a DSL connection. I use a NAT, because it is very convienent. In fact, if my ISP institutes something such as CAT, I will purposely use up as much BW as possible as payback.

To summarize - they'll pry my NAT router from my cold, dead hands.

They're calling US dishonest? (1)

nicedream (4923) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621087)

The article calls us NAT users "dishonest" and compares us to people getting free HBO with descramblers. What a crock! We're not taking something we didn't pay for, just using what bandwidth we have creatively.

Just about every broadband provider caps its bandwidth, so if 2 (or more) neighbors want to go halves on the monthly cost, what is the real problem? Where is the dishonesty in that? The article even says:

Tactically, it works like this: Anyone with a networkable computer, an 802.11b antenna and receiver, and approval from the master PC connected to a wireless hub, can sit, invisibly, "behind" the NAT, and share the throughput of the cable modem attached "ahead of" the NAT.
Notice the words share the throughput. Remember when Lars Ulrich was on MTV saying that Napster wasn't sharing in the sense that if you share a sandwich with someone you are left with only 1/2 a sandwich. (Thus you are not as inclined to share when it means less for you). That is what is going on in this scenario, and I see nothing wrong with it.

Hey guess what? I have a friend who just moved, and another friend's mother who just moved. They rented a Uhaul truck for a day, and split the cost. Once I shared a plate of french fries with someone at the local diner. Yeah it was half the cost, but each person got 1/2 the fries/uhaul/bandwidth too.

Good thing it can't work. (2)

bluGill (862) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621090)

There are already NAT boxes out there. I don't know what thair CAT thing will do, but essenailly my comptuer connects to it, and... oh, guess what, I have the old NAT program installed, and my old program claims just one computers.

sharing 802.11b with neighbors who don't pay for their own service is immoral, but the proper way to charge is by bandwidth. Sharing wireless hubs is nice though, joggers can (in theory, I don't think anyone has done it) connect to various neighbor's wireless hubs as they walk down the street for continious music from the net. When in the backyard you can connect to the net from your laptop and compare those directions on pruning with what your trees look like, and who cares if it is your hub or the neighbor's?

Not a very well researched article... (1)

GuyZero (303599) | more than 12 years ago | (#2621095)

The article seems to be written from the point of view that anything that the cable companies could charge you should be charged for.

The truth of that matter is that you're paying for bandwidth, not the number of PCs connected. Bandwidth is easily controlled by existing head-end routing hardware. The incremental costs in providing service are running the connection to a house and then providing the bandwidth. Extra PCs all sharing the same amount of bandwidth have zero additional cost. Does the author understand the difference between packet switching and circuit switching?

I think the comparison with early cable "theft" is spurious. What exactly is being stolen when using a gateway router? Nothing.

Besides, saying stuff like:

(The Internet, mostly a bulletin board at the time, topped out at 9600 baud back then.)

doesn't exactly give you a lot of credibility. Packet versus circuit switching is probably a bit beyond this person.

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