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Date:      Wed, 20 Jan 1999 10:47:14 UTC-0800
From:      Mark McCutcheon <mjmccut@cs.ubc.ca>
To:        freebsd-net@FreeBSD.ORG
Subject:   Re: @Home using FreeBSD
Message-ID:  <"14764*mjmccut@cs.ubc.ca"@MHS>

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<rosteen@elpn.com> says:

> Has anyone setup a FreeBSD system on @Home's cable modem service?
> If so, what are the caveats?

I think the first caveat is that a lot of the operational details
are determined by the local cable provider, rather than by @Home,
so may vary considerably with geographic location.

I've had a Rogers@Home connection in Vancouver, BC, for about a
month.  Getting it running initially under WinNT, one of their
"supported" operating systems, was somewhat painful (the less said
about that, the better!).  However, switching to FreeBSD (v2.2.5)
was straightforward, the only problem was getting the ISAbus
10BaseT card Rogers supplied (SMC8416T EtherEZ) working on an
unused interrupt - this required switching the printer port to
polled mode to free up IRQ7 for the NIC, as it has a limited range
of acceptable interrupts, all of which were already dedicated.  You
also need to use the DOS setup software to put the NIC in
memory-mapped mode, as the I/O mapped default mode isn't supported
by the ed0 driver.

Rogers@Home uses DHCP for host address, gateway, nameservers, etc. 
BUT at present they are administering these effectively statically.
I was able to set the system up using static parameters, which made
it easier to get IPFW/NATD running.  Initially this was for network
support over a single IP address, but the desirability of using the
system as a screening router soon became apparent (more later).  It
looks easy enough to use the WIDE-DHCP client along with the
dynamic capabilities of NATD to enable such a system to work in a
DHCP environment.

The second big caveat is: use a firewall or screening router!  My
previous Internet connection was through a terminal server to my
employer's network, a relatively protected environment.  Within
minutes of bringing up the system with ipfw enabled, it began
logging telnet attempts, accesses to the IRC/NetBus ports, etc. 
Security arrangements are a subject for another note, but be
advised that you're going to need them with a "24x7" connection to
the Internet.

The only other anomaly I've noticed is that Rogers' flashy (Java?)
browsing tool invariably crashes Netscape 4.5 as ported to FreeBSD.
The data rates seem excellent, though I've read reports of slow
service in other @Home areas.  TCP streaming tests using netperf,
between my home machine and a workstation at work run at
250-500kbps uplink and 750-2000kbps downlink (the higher numbers
usually late in the evening).  Using ADSL competitor Sympatico's
network speed test (local to BC:

   http://www.bc.sympatico.ca/bc_local/speedtest/

tends to give higher numbers, downloads running 2.5-3Mbps. 
X-windows (run through ssh tunnels) with client programs at a
remote site is fast and responsive, just like being there.

So in summary, no real problems except security.  If you don't
already do so, you might want to read comp.dcom.modems.cable for
general commentary on the @Home service in different parts of North
America.

Mark


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