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Larry's One-Way Cable Goes Two-Way
Last updated: 9/5/01

8/22/01 Yesterday was a big day here...  Metrocast Cablevision, our cable Internet and TV provider upgraded our connection to the Internet.  In the picture to the left, William Gonzalez of Dinsmore Communications Corporation, which is doing the cable installation for Metrocast, is perched way up in the tree canopy on a ladder beside a telephone pole, near a corner of our property, switching our cable service from the one-way coaxial cable service to the new two-way fiber optic service.

A one-way cable Internet connection is hybrid service that uses a 33.6 dial-up MODEM to send stuff to the Internet and the cable to receive it.  This concoction works fairly well considering the complexity of the beast; however, we experienced several service drop-outs on most days and that required dialing-up and reconnecting to the Internet--an annoyance to say the least.  The new service is pure cable and stays on all of the time.  There is no waiting for the analog dial-up MODEM to sing to the MODEM at the other end or the connection, etc.

Once the outside cable work was done, the technicians tested the line, called Metrocast and had them reprogram the existing Surfboard SB2110D cable MODEM from their end for two-way operation, made some local configuration changes to the MODEM, unplugged the phone line, and tested the system.  The SMC Barricade (SMC7004BR) Router/Ethernet Switch used for our local network, to share the Internet connection, and protect everything with a hardware firewall was back on-line with little effort.  I did notice a couple of problems last night (I might have caused them by "playing" with the MODEM interface) which required power-cycling the router, but downloading and installing the latest firmware, version R1.93e, appears to have fixed them.  When I got up this morning and turned on my computer, the Internet was still there and available immediately!  It has been on all day without a problem.  Although, I have not had time to run benchmarks, everything, including browsing seems much faster.  TV reception appears better as well, even though we have not yet subscribed to the digital TV service also available from Metrocast.  The two-way connection so far is absolutely wonderful!  Many thanks to the professionals who made this transition as smooth as possible and with minimal down-time.  Larry

9/2/01 Update.  In a thread in our Networking and Internet Sharing forum (http://duxcw.com/dcforum/index.html) dated Apr-17-01, 03:48 PM, which has been archived and cannot be modified or posted to (it can be read in the archive), I stated:

My dial-up will drop overnight and drops a 2-3 times each day, but I think that is the phone line/provider. It also happens when the cable MODEM is connected directly to my PC; so it isn’t the router. I still think it is rather close to a miracle that the darn thing works at all, considering all of the players, communications, and equipment involved in a one-way system. They are presently installing fiber optics for two-way service in my little town in Maine, which I can hardly wait for.

Although I had a couple of problems the day cable system was converted to 2-way service and a MODEM error two days later, which has not repeated and was corrected by power cycling the MODEM and router, both the Surfboard MODEM and SMC Barricade router have been up 24-hours-a-day ever since. That is, our local area network and the Internet connection have been up solid and operational without a problem or requiring any kind intervention for the last nine days.  Larry

9/4/01 Update: The whole system has remained up solid until this afternoon (13 days in all) when we had a thunderstorm. There was momentarily loss of power—longer than a flicker. When I went back out to my office and powered-up my computer, the network was working and the cable was up. Both the cable MODEM and router must have lost power and both apparently came back up and reconnected, etc. on their own.  Larry

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