NTL / Virgin Media - Cable Broadband - Some (technical) questions...

Discussion in 'UK VOIP' started by News Reader, May 18, 2007.

  1. News Reader

    News Reader Guest


    I have some questions about (former) NTL / Virgin Media cable broadband

    I understand that they now only supply a single ethernet port cable modem
    (i.e. / e.g. no more USB via a STB [not that that is strictly or at all
    relevant for my query / queries here as no STB would be likely to be in
    place - i.e. cable broadband only service [no TV, etc.]). Their modems /
    service used to bind itself to the first MAC it met - is this still the
    case? Would, and I read more recently that resetting the MAC is no longer
    such an issue, it be possible ignoring anything to do with MACs anyhow, to
    route the modem ethernet connection through a hub or switch before it meets
    its "one PC"? I.e. for cabling reasons (not any long enough cat5 cables so
    would need to have one from cable modem to hub / switch and then one out of
    that to the target PC).

    Where is the best place / where are the best places for cable (more the
    broadband side) discussions? Their used to be many forums for cable
    broadband, cable modems, ntl cable chat generally.

    Any input greatly appreciated and gratefully received.

    Best wishes,

    News Reader
    News Reader, May 18, 2007
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  2. News Reader

    Paul Hayes Guest

    You've always been able to connect a router up to NTL for as long as I
    can remember. The MAC of the router is then registered to the service
    and you connect PCs and other network equipment behind that. It will
    not work with a hub or a switch only, you have to have a router to route
    traffic for multiple devices, you can connect switches behind the router
    if you want more ports. I've changed routers a few times (although not
    in quite a while) and it was just a case of registering the new routers
    MAC with the NTL login page that came up. A pretty big forum for what
    is now Virgin Media is here:


    Paul Hayes, May 18, 2007
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  3. News Reader

    Eeyore Guest

    Yes it is (and it's preferred practice too btw) provided the post is relevant to
    all the groups.

    In fact the alternative multi-posting is to be deprecated since it results in
    multiple disparate threads that not all of the respondents may be aware of.

    Get your ideas up to date !


    <groups restored>
    Eeyore, May 18, 2007
  4. All depends to which groups you're cross-posting.
    Many have a "no cross-post" policy.

    Try cross-posting something to uk.music.guitar and see what happens!

    George Weston, May 18, 2007
  5. News Reader

    News Reader Guest


    Thanks for all your posts and input. Much appreciated.

    Best wishes,

    News Reader
    News Reader, May 18, 2007
  6. News Reader

    News Reader Guest

    News Reader, May 18, 2007
  7. News Reader

    mr deo Guest

    This was never the case, you couldnt manually enter a the MAC address for
    the ethernet ports you wanted to use, you had to connect the pc, reboot the
    modem or tv box, and enter a registration URL that would update the box, and
    the boxes could store a max of 3 units, but you could delete and add more
    (this was just the way the firmware worked and it didnt limit anything)..

    Ideally you would add a pc, remove the pc, add a router with the spoof'd MAC
    of the pc and everything is fine.

    as I said above, the ideal way is to get a router (one with a WAN port),
    they are generally called Broadband Routers.. You dont need a "CAble Modem
    Router" or a "ISDN/ISDN2 Modem router".. It's actually really really easy
    to do and the instructions that ntl used to send out are really enough to do
    what it takes.

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/robin.d.h.walker/ is a good information site
    ntlhellworld.com was taken over by ntl, and since virgions acquistion of ntl
    95% of the support that ntl offer'd has now moved into a black hole
    somewhere :/
    digitalspy.co.uk would be a good place to go
    and possibly cableforum.co.uk
    mr deo, May 18, 2007
  8. [Followups set to uk.telecom.broadband]

    What the OP wants to do should be possible: use a hub or switch to extend an
    ethernet cable. But they can only attach to one machine to it, ie:

    Cable modem ----------- hub/switch ----------- PC/router --- PC 1
    +------ PC 2

    A hub won't care about MAC addresses, a switch will take of them by just
    forwarding frames from one side to the other. What they can't do is:

    Cable modem ------------ hub/switch ------ PC1
    +---------- PC2

    because that'll present two MAC addresses ot the cable modem. NTL used to
    offer an option where you could do this for an extra fiver (advertised as
    being for connecting games consoles) but give it up because everyone has
    routers these days.

    If the hub/switch is in a convenient place, the more efficient method is to
    use the switch that's integrated into a router:

    cable modem ------------ router ----- PC 1
    +=-------- PC 2

    Theo Markettos, May 18, 2007
  9. I think they're trying to phase out the STB with modem model, as most
    STBs won't handle 20Mbps.
    Not been the case for several years. If you reboot the modem, it binds
    to the first mac it finds after the reboot, up to (I think ) a max of
    three different MACs in a 24-hour period.
    Sure, but pointless - you can't connect anything else to the hub.
    You need some cat5 couplers. Cost about a quid each from maplin.
    Mark McIntyre, May 18, 2007
  10. News Reader

    News Reader Guest


    Thanks for your post and that later point is a very good one.

    Not much point having a hub / switch sucking juice when a £1 coupler could
    do the job better :).

    Thanks again.

    Best wishes,

    News Reader

    News Reader, May 19, 2007
  11. News Reader

    News Reader Guest


    Well I think in conclusion - what I proposed would work (although couplers
    may be more sensible and cheaper) as an interim solution - with the
    obviously vastly superior solution of a router being the best path to take
    as and when ready.

    Thanks for all your help.

    Best wishes,

    News Reader
    News Reader, May 19, 2007
  12. News Reader

    stephen Guest

    yes you can - anything that doesnt send packets.....

    i used a sniffer a couple of years back to find out what was really going
    down the wire during a problem.

    amazing just how much background traffic was there - all of which is
    probably going to get counted against the throttling threshold, now that VM
    throttle all users with traffic above a limit between 4pm and midnight.
    stephen, May 19, 2007
  13. good point - you can't put anything /active/ there.
    Mark McIntyre, May 19, 2007
  14. News Reader

    mr deo Guest



    you sound like a virgin virgin (or at least a broadband virgin) and I would
    also be tempted to say that a router offers you a lot of protection as it'll
    block many ports by default (so it closes problems that your os might have

    Anyhow, good luck..
    mr deo, May 19, 2007
  15. News Reader

    News Reader Guest



    I don't know if you saw one my other posts... (I am reasonably competent
    with IT / electronics - but yes would be new to cable broadband)... the
    realy thing for me is about preservation of investment by having a purchase
    that can be used for both ADSL and cable routing (I know some ADSL routers
    allow the internal modem to be disabled and one of its [what are typically
    4 port] switch ports to be used as the WAN interface and so be used with an
    ethernet cable modem (such as Virgin supply) whilst still being able to work
    subsequently with ADSL if switching away from Virgin.

    Copy of a different post...



    I have a couple of questions about Virgin Media cable broadband (ex-NTL

    Specifically, I understand they now only supply new users with standalone
    ethernet cable modems (no problem here as never intended to use USB) (also
    would be broadband only / without a STB anyhow).

    However, as well as wondering about the MAC binding issue (I understand this
    is less of an or no issue now - power cycle modem, etc.), I was hoping
    someone would clarify if the following scenario would work. In the absence
    of sufficient length of cat5 could I insert a hub or switch in the middle of
    a run of cable from the cable modem to the pc? I.e. cable modem --> hub or
    switch --> the one pc that will use the cable modem?

    My instinct / thought is that the answer is probably not - perhaps a bridge
    would be needed. But any input appreciated. (I wonder a little bit because
    if the cable modem is not routing how can it necessarily determine the
    remote machine as being further on down the road through a hub or switch
    rather than being directly connected into a computers ethernet port - but I
    guess maybe it comes down to the "routing" [as in switch routing tables /
    maps {not NAT type router stuff}] / "relaying" function of the hub /

    Best wishes,


    P.s. I understand this is pretty much the best Virgin Media / cable / cable
    broadband site / forum / resource. Is that right, are their others worth
    knowing about? Thanks.


    And another post...


    Thanks for the inputs.

    Consensus seems to be that it should work. I do have an old hub around and I
    hope and envision to be able to use that creatively to swap between
    "attached" PC. I.e. unplug one PC when wishing to use the other with the
    connection (both don't need to be connected at once). I think this should
    work - doesn't sound like their would be any MAC issues and with most modern
    OS's it seems easy enough to set an override MAC address that would match
    the other / original PC if necessary.

    I think it would arguably be substantially suboptimal!

    Focusing on the router alternatives, one interesting dimension, is that I
    understand some ADSL routers will permit usage as a generic router through
    options to disable the internal ADSL modem and enable one of the inbuilt
    (commonly 4 port) switch ports to act as an ethernet WAN interface (for the
    internet input side to the router for it to feed out via the remaining
    switch ports).

    This is quite an attractive option as preserving any router investment
    through future interoperability with ADSL services as well as with an NTL
    ethernet cable modem.

    In particular, their is one rather interesting device I have seen on eBay,
    which is a combined ADSL2, NAT router, VoIP ATA and wireless AP for £20.
    However, I need to identify if this family of products supports these (I
    believe / understand) more rare features of being able to disable the
    internal ADSL modem and opt to use one of the ethernet switch ports as a WAN

    Thanks again for the inputs and any further input or thoughts always
    appreciated and welcomed. I take it that with the current generation of
    Virgin Media cable broadband services (and modems) MAC bonding is not an
    issue (or at least not "really" an issue - i.e. can be easily reset, etc.).

    Best wishes,



    Thanks again for (all) your input.

    Best wishes,

    News Reader
    News Reader, May 19, 2007
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