North American Network Operators Group

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Re: New Computer? Six Steps to Safer Surfing

  • From: Sean Donelan
  • Date: Sat Dec 18 23:49:53 2004

On Sun, 19 Dec 2004, Suresh Ramasubramanian wrote:
> On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 22:07:58 -0500 (EST), Sean Donelan <sean@donelan.com> wrote:
> > On Sun, 19 Dec 2004, Suresh Ramasubramanian wrote:
> > > Just asking .. any idea how many cable / dsl operators around the
> > > world - not just in the USA - provide hardware firewalls along with
> > > their CPE equipment - or perhaps provide CPE equipment that's capable
> > > of firewalling?
> >
> > How many dialup operators around the world provide hardware firewalls? Or
> > is the modem built into your computer or bought as an add-on card?
>
> Not a valid comparison.
>
> At least some manufacturers make hardware firewalls that are also
> PPPoE / PPPoA dsl modems.  Linksys for example.  Several other
> manufacturers don't do this.

Why isn't a valid comparison?  Since Carterphone, you are not required to
buy CPE from a telecommunications company in the USA.  That includes
modems. Cable has different laws, but also has an "open cable equipment"
requirement. A consumer can buy a compatible Dialup/DSL/Cable modem from
any consumer electronic store.

The buzzword you need to look for is "modem" versus "gateway."

Gateways generally have both modems and routers, and now firewalls.
Modems are just modems.

As you point out, you can buy gateways with built-in DSL or Cable modems
as well as routing and firewall capabilities such as Motorola, Linksys,
D-Link, 2wire, Cisco, etc. Some manufactures, such as Apple AirPort
Extreme, also make dialup gateways with dialup modem PPP and firewall
capabilities.

Its a myth that dialup is "safer" than broadband.

Essentially all the major DSL and Cable broadband providers in the USA
sell/lease broadband gateways with built-in DSL or Cable modems and
firewalls.  Looking at the ordering web-sites for several major broadband
providers, it appears the most common preferred equipment package is a
WiFi home gateway with built-in dsl or cable modem and firewall. Its as
simple as calling your favorite broadband provider, placing an order and
giving them your credit card number to pay for the equipment.

Most broadband providers also offer less expensive modem-only CPE. And,
because of Carterphone, people can buy their CPE from other sources.  Even
if providers only sold CPE with firewalls, consumers could choose to save
$50 and buy a modem-only CPE without a firewall from a consumer
electronics store.

Or are you suggesting we should overturn Carterphone in the USA, and
require consumers use only telecommunication carrier provided CPE?  Maybe
Ma Bell was right after all.