Cable Modems

  Many first-timers may confuse a cable modem with a dial-up analog modem. A cable modem is actually a bridge that hooks up to the same cable line that your local cable TV provider has. From there, a network adapter or USB cable is needed to connect the cable modem to your computer (depending on the model). Most units are now DOCSIS compliant, making for a good selection when purchasing one. Cable modems can usually transfer about 42 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up. But transfer rates vary and are limited by the cable ISP. Pricing for cable modem service runs roughly $100 - 150 for installation and $39 - $50 / month for the connection. Cable modem rental can cost an additional $15 / month. Many ISPs are providing deals on purchasing equipment from them, and some will credit you if you already have the necessary hardware.  
  Part of the DOCSIS standard allows for the cable ISPs to regulate the bandwidth you use. They use the MAC address built into the unit to send a series of commands to program it. Some research has shown that cable modems cannot be programmed to "hack" the settings and set your own bandwidth limits. However, if it is possible, you can implement a Cisco cable modem router, such as the UBR924. This special unit is a cable modem and router in one unit; usually, the cable modem and router are separate units. It is fully programmable using Cisco's IOS. However, the unit has to be changed from bridge mode to router mode. For most people, the sophisticated interface may be too much to deal with. Unless you are going to get a business connection, you should get a normal unit.  
  Cable modems come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Some are easier to read and have more LEDs to indicate various activities. The Linksys cable modems have five LEDs: one for power, one for cable connection, one for ethernet adapter activity, one for the cable modem receiving data, and one for the cable modem sending data. This offers a real-time effective way to monitor its activity.  

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