Uncapping Cable Modems

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Joined: 2008/05/07

Well, since the site was so dang EMPTY (or the forums at least), I thought "what the hell" and decided to post something. YAY! right?

Anyways, it was long ago that I finally was able to get a cable modem- maybe 6 years ago? Whatever; I had wanted one and been denied for one reason or another since 1995 or whenever it was that Time Warner did their test run of Roadrunner in Akron, OH (where I lived at the time). However, even though my address said Akron, apparently I lived on the very EDGE of the Cleveland cable companies territory. Which is how I ended up with (Sh)adeLphia as my BBISP. When I ordered it I asked them if I could get a static IP, if I had full ul&dl bandwidth, that he was CERTAIN that I would be able to run my own server, and host other's websites and such, etc. etc. He ASSURED me that if I got the business class ($50 more than the "residential"/month) then I would have all that and be able to do everything I had just asked about.
In addition, he told me that the deal they were running where they offered you a free month of service if you agreed to install and setup the cable modem yourself was only for the residential service, and since the business class was apparently SO VERY DIFFERENT, I would not be able to install it myself and I would have to PAY their guy $100 to come and install it. Oh, and no free month either.

Well, whatever. I didn't really mind paying more for what I was getting... I STILL thought the $100 was BS so I had no plans whatsoever to pay the guy- he was just going to have to deal with it, I figured. So install day came, and the MF doesn't show until 4:30PM ("he'll be there sometime between 8AM and 5PM, so try to be home..."). So he has to run some cable, but once he does he apparently gets STUMPED and doesn't know how to get it to start working... (it was after 5:00PM, and he wanted to go home).. so I told him not to worry, I could figure it out myself. He was like, "You don't mind? You sure? Cool- thanks!" and he left without even a mention of the $100. (Damn STRAIGHT!)

So after I figure it out and get it working, first thing I did was fire up my already configured Serv-U, found my one buddy on IRC and told him the good news. So he connects, but for some SHADY reason he was only getting 15k DL, yet he was able to send to me @ 300k or so. I couldn't figure it out either- it wasn't just Serv-U, it was ANYTHING I send... it was like it was being THROTTLED for some stupid reason... so I figured that I really must NOT have been able to set up the "business class" properly myself, and so I started searching around for what I had forgotten/missed that would make the difference.
Now, I used to run a BBS back b4 the internet (with my $400 Hayes 28.8bps Optima which they SWORE was going to be the fastest modem EVER, since 28.8bps was the limit that a phone line could handle); I've been "connecting" somehow to something ever since I called my first BBS on my apple //C using Proterm and my friend's Hayes 300bps external modem. So, being well acquainted with "Telecommunications" (as it was called at the time), specifically the fact that THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UL BANDWIDTH and DL BANDWIDTH- they will always both add up to total bandwidth. With modems, if you had a 28.8kbps, that meant that you could send or recieve at 28.8k- at least if the person you were connected to ALSO had a 28.8k... if they had a 9600bps, then you could only connect to them at 9600bps, and that's the fastest you could ul or dl anything. You could even upload while you downloaded at the SAME TIME if you used the protocol HS-LINK which, thanks to (I think) compression, would upload and download at the same speed one topped out at just downloading. Which meant there was really no excuse for leeches, but whatever. Here, not only is the TOTAL bandwidth (28.8kbps), but thanks to good coders and compression, you were able to essentially DOUBLE that, since both people are uploading at 28.8K and downloading at 28.8k.

What this all boils down to is that there is no conceivable difference to the ISP between UL and DL bandwidth- if you were to take the fastest you DL at- say 500kBPS, (or what like 3.4or so MBps?) you could consider that your connection's total bandwidth. 250kBPS Up and 250Kbps down is the same amount of "traffic" or bandwidth that the connection is using. So when I was wrestling with my new cable modem, I was reading all this talk about people's upload rate being "cappped" as it was called by their ISPs. I knew it as throttling, but that term kinda suggests that the only reason the ULs are going slow is because they've been throttled down from what they COULD be doing... whereas capping sort of implies that that's the highest it goes, since you put caps on the TOPs of things. So I came to the conclusion that the reason my cable modem connection wasn't working correctly was because I had never "provisioned" my modem with Adelphia since I had no idea I even NEEDED to, and the installer guy sure didn't tell me anything about it. Since I DID get limited connectivity (which is just a testament to the lameness of Adelphia, really) and was able to DL, I reasoned that the difference between a static IP, business class connection and a regular residential one was that one needed to provision the modem with the IP to allow UL's at the same rate as DLs, and to assign a static IP.

If you know what I'm talking about, then you know, of course, that I was wrong. After provisioning my modem with Adelphia (which they INSISTED that I had to bring the actual cable modem to them IN PERSON to be able to do, when I knew that was a lie, and that all they need is the MAC address, they just don't trust me... so when I DO bring the modem to their place, 40min from my house, as I'm walking up to the door to open it, the lady inside rushes up to the door and LOCKS IT! When I start to say I just need my modem provisioned, she wags her finger at me and mouths "NO" while shaking her head side-to-side. When I kept trying, she simply turned her back on me and went back inside the other door.
Needless to say, I'm REALLY mad now, and I was even considering trying to sneak in the back way and somehow get on the computers and provision it myself, but I eventually had to go home. I then decided that if they were going to play me like THIS, then I was going to simply call them up and tell them that I know they're lying when they say they can't provision my modem over the phone and that they better DAMN WELL do it. I mean, that bitch straight RAN to the door to manage to lock it before I could open it-
So after 20 minutes of arguing/talking with the guy, I finally get him to provision my modem over the phone as I knew they could... only thing was, he SWORE that that wasn't the problem, and that my upload rate was supposed to be capped where it was (15k!). When I started to explain the "business class", he told me that he didn't know what I was told, but Adephia didn't have different tiers of service and he KNEW it because there was only one configuration file that they used.

I've gotta go, so to rap this up, I found out that there WAS no business class, that I had the SAME CONNECTION as the one that cost $40 less a month, that Adelphia just kept lying to me over and over, that their website where I READ THAT THERE WAS A DIFFERENT CLASS and where it EXPLAINED how you can run your own server just effin' DISAPPEARED, was a broken link for 2 days or so, and was then replaced with one explaining the ONE service available... and to top it all off, Adephia capped their uploads at 15K, which was lower than even time warner, which was at 45K, which was the lowest of ANY provider... and then their "level 2" guy on the phone had the audacity to tell me that they capped it because it was a government regulation that all cable modems be capped at 15k! When I asked him why then Time Warner was at 45k he paused, then simply repeated that it was a government regulation. At which point I then hung up, never to talk to Shadelphia again.
I had absolutely no moral qualms WHATSOEVER about uncapping my modem at this point- in fact, I told myself I would not rest until I had figured out how to do it, because if they wouldn't give me what they promised me repeatedly, then lied to me MANY times about, then I would just do it myself.

Uncapping was considered by most people to be an internet MYTH at the time, so it took a sec, but eventually I did figure it out. Thanks in no small part to Tcniso.com, who are now the KINGS of cable modem hacking. Which leads me to:

The guy from TCNISO just put out a book about cable modem hacking, and I can post it or whatever if anyone's interested in it.


PS - I like the idea and everything behind the whole site- rather, I think I like where you're going with it, so this is my little attempt to support/help. It was just so sad, seeing all the empty forums.