[ubuntu-uk] Leaflets

James Tait james.tait at wyrddreams.org
Fri May 4 13:17:21 BST 2007

Jim Kissel wrote:
> Please educate me as to what software NTL/cable broadband supplies that 
> is Windows only.  While I will agree, you need to be a little bit more 
> independent/knowledgeable, I cannot envisage needing and ISP supplied 
> software.

I'm not sure what the current situation is, but when I signed up to
NTL:Home broadband a few years ago I almost had my connection cancelled
when I phoned to tell the support people not to send an engineer
expecting to find a Windows PC or a Mac.  Since my broadband connection
was via the cable modem in the set-top box, all the engineer would have
done was fit an ethernet cable from the back of the set-top box to my PC
and inserted the "Gearbox Connection Kit" CD, then followed the prompts.

When I switched to NTL Business broadband, I got taken off the cable
modem in the set-top box and given a standalone cable modem, but the
method was exactly the same -- stick the CD in and follow the prompts.
As it happened, the CD was duff anyway.

In actual fact, at least if you're connecting via ethernet rather than
USB, the CD is completely unnecessary and in my experience installs more
flaky, unstable crap on your computer than leaving it on the 'net
overnight with no firewall.

I've documented the required process for both on LiveJournal (I can find
links if anyone's interested), but it boils down to this: when you first
connect your computer to the cable modem, you should get a private IP
address via DHCP.  You need to register your MAC address (along with
your account number and PIN I think), which is done via a web interface.
 Then you'll be told to reboot your computer, after which you get a
public IP address via DHCP.

I offered NTL permission, via the feedback form, to use the process I'd
outlined on their help site or documentation pack, but I got no response.

So yes, they do supply Windows software and yes you probably do need to
be a little more knowledgeable, but it's not such a complex process that
the engineers themselves couldn't learn it and it would probably take
less time and be less invasive on people's PCs.

My tuppence worth.

James Tait, BSc                        |    xmpp:jayteeuk at wyrddreams.org
Programmer and Free Software advocate  |       VoIP: +44 (0)870 490 2407

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