SURFBOARD SB2100D EXTERNAL
Last updated: 9/2/01
SB2100D is controlled through a series of Browser (IE, Netscape, etc.) windows. During
normal installation the ISP' s tech usually sets the Home page to the local
network address of the CM dial-up menu: http://192.168.100.1/phone.html on
my system. That is, the CM behaves like a mini-web server when viewed
by the browser. Other menus/web pages (and some meandering) are:
Diagnostic. Available only to ISP techs (I
didn't see it and haven't figured-out how to get at it).
Startup - shows the sequence of steps the MODEM
goes through when starting-up.
Signal - CM cable frequency, max bit rate (mine
is 512K), etc., and MODEM status if your cable system is one-way and the
CM has connected via phone line for data going up stream.
Shows the address network addresses used by the CM and the maximum number
of CPE MAC Addresses. Mine is set to 1. Each and every Ethernet
adapter on this planet is assigned a unique CPE MAC address. Let
me say it again... When you buy an Ethernet adapter it has a CPE MAC
address which uniquely identifies it. The CPE MAC address can be read
over the network. When the CM is installed, it reads the CPE MAC address
from the adapter to which it is connected and marries itself to that adapter. From
then on, it will not work with (send packets to and receive packets from)
any other adapter (unless there is way to forge CPE MAC addresses).
According to the User Manual, the ISP can configure the
MODEM for Multiple users on a LAN connected together with an Ethernet hub. I
presume that would amount to increasing the maximum number of CPE MAC addresses
the CM can learn and marry with (becomes a bigamist). I have operated
the CM through an Ethernet hub, but it still will only talk with the Ethernet
card in my machine.
The CM connects to a PC with a straight-thru cable (I received
one that wasn't made correctly, but works) and has to be connected to a normal
hub port with a crossover cable. The crossover function is performed
in the CM.
All in all this MODEM works well. If you are
on a one-way cable system it connects with it's internal dial-up 33.6 MODEM,
sends data upstream via the phone line, and receives data downstream via
the cable. If you have your computer booted-up to windows, it usually, automatically
dials-up the network when you turn- on the CM power switch and connects
pretty fast for a dial-up. Although I would prefer a 56K MODEM for
the upstream leg (and better yet a two-way cable), 33.6K is ok most of the
time because upstream data is usually nothing more than keystrokes and other
stuff at low data rates. I really miss the 56K connection, however,
when uploading my web site.
Of course, if you are on a two-way cable system, the MODEM
is configured by the ISP to omit the dial-up, goes both ways on the cable,
and, as I understand it, is always available or connects almost instantly.
My only real gripe is that cable system drops the connection
more than I would like to see and there is absolutely no indication from
the CM or its Browser Interface that the connection is no longer there. The
only way to know if the cable is really gone is to browse around and receive
nothing but can't connects. If one tries to redial, the CM says it's
already connected. So, you have to tell it to hang-up MODEM, wait for
it to shut-down the ( dropped) connection, and then tell it to dial MODEM. There
is no dial-up icon on the tool bar which disappears when the connection is
dropped. On the other hand, if you have to reboot your computer or
have computer hiccup, when you are connected to the Internet, you will usually
find your computer is still connected to the Internet when Windows comes
One major advantage with this external CM/dial-up MODEM,
as compared to an internal CM and separate dial-up MODEM combination, used
in a one-way cable system, is that should be possible to share an Internet
connection with other computers on a LAN with a broadband router or software
such as Windows
98 Second Edition ICS.
9/2/01 Update. On 8/21/01 our cable system
was upgraded to 2-way operation. You can read about it here.
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