Caution

Just as with DSL, you should read up on Linux security issues if you connect a Linux system to a cable network. Maximum Linux Security, from Sams, is a good resource with which to start.

One-Way and Two-Way Systems

I said earlier that cable networks typically devote one channel's bandwidth to Internet traffic. This isn't always entirely true. Most cable modem systems today devote either two channels to this traffic, or devote one full channel and some spare bandwidth that can't otherwise be used for TV signals. The second channel or spare bandwidth is dedicated to upstream traffic. (This same bandwidth segment is often used for cable TV services that require upstream data transmission, such as pay-per-view movie ordering.) The main channel is used only for downstream traffic. Such systems are two-way cable networks. They provide full Internet connectivity through the cable TV system.

A few cable networks don't provide full connectivity. On these systems, one channel is devoted to downstream traffic, but there's no provision made for the return signal. Instead, you

Chapter 18

must use a conventional telephone modem to send your return traffic. This is referred to as a one-way cable network. This sort of hybrid cable modem/telephone modem system lacks many of the advantages of the better cable networks, and Linux software to support these networks is rare in early 2000. Fortunately, these systems are quite unusual. You should ensure that your cable company provides full two-way service before signing up.

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