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soadlink

join:2002-11-17
USA

My Installation - Bresnan in Kalispell, MT

Bresnan simply rocks. I set up the appointment online on their website, and it gave me a reply in seconds with an install date (which was today) between 8am and noon.

The cable guy showed up at 9am and told me hed be working outside for a bit then hed come inside. Being a nerd, I wasnt gonna let him work alone without watching so I followed him out to watch him... He just popped off the green box outside and hooked up what looks like a coax cable with a big lead weight in the middle of it... from the ground to a pipe coming out of the ground with a coax connector on it.

He then went to the box on the side of my house and connected the internet to the line that leads into my room with the computer. We then went inside, and I set it up on the computer and ran a few speed tests. The speeds are advertised as 3000/256. I got ABOVE THAT on a fresh install with a speedtest from dslreports (3111/275 was the highest, proof here: »/archive/bresnan.net)

I was amazed. I expected the overhead to cut it down to about 2600-2800, but wow...... it seems like theres no overhead!

Anyways, Bresnan of Kalispell, MT rocks!! If you are on centurytel in this town, switch now! No blocked ports with this isp, pings are great, gaming rocks, no disconnects yet.

But I do have some questions: whats with the coax cable inside of the green cable box on the side of the road? Is that a special coax cable you have to use, or was he just connecting it to my house? What would that big lead weight be on it? I can take a picture if you guys are confused about what I'm saying.

Also, is that where they would go to shut off my service if I didnt pay? If that was the case, might it work if I just plugged it back in!? :P dont mean to be deceitful, just curious about how the cable works. Thanks... and thanks to bresnan too! I LOVE CABLE INTERNET.

(p.s. being in montana, this is like christmas having this speed... so dont laugh)

meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT
Glad you're so lucky... I'm having lotsa problems with Bresnan... but I acknowledge the underlying service is great, the problems are just at my house. Service tech visit #8 will be tomorrow.. plans to replace the amplifier in the box in the street and see what happens.

Regarding the cable he connected - it goes from the tap to your house. The "lead weights" you refer to are traps to block analog HBO and Encore (Starz! and Showtime are enabled by adding traps I think...). Every new install has these traps since they don't give you analog premiums any more even if you sub to premiums.


soadlink

join:2002-11-17
USA
reply to soadlink
After looking in the 'green box' a little better i noticed that you need a special tool to attach and detach the cable plugged in to these 'taps'. What tool is this? Does it have a special name?

meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

1 edit
reply to soadlink
no special tools are required inside the pedestal, unless (unlikely) yours is different from mine. Inside mine, there's a line extender which feeds down the line and up to an 8-way (-20dB) tap. Off the tap come the lines to each house. There's nowhere in that pedestal that any special tools whatsoever are required - it's all just standard connections.


soadlink

join:2002-11-17
USA

1 edit
reply to soadlink
Click for full size
The Whole Tap
Click for full size
Filter of some kind?
Click for full size
Services my house and the neighbors
Click for full size
Connection from my house
Click for full size
Closer view of tap
Click for full size
Hmmm
Heres a few pics of my actual tap. You would need a special tool to add the line that's not connected (thats my neighbor's who just moved out).

I do think you need special tools cause it wont screw on.... and if it were able to screw on, theres no hole for the copper wire to slip in to.

So for the unconnected tap (the one thats my neighbors) you probably needs a special tool to get that metal peice of, then it screws in after that... but im not sure.

Also, you may notice in picture 2 the metal peice I was talking about. Still think this is to block the HBO stuff?

Alright just had to post those. I was a bit scared when opening it... I was afraid someone was gonna come out and yell at me for opening that in broad daylight :P Can you get in big trouble for messing with that stuff?

Thanks!

meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

1 edit
reply to soadlink
Yes, you can get in HUGE trouble for messing with that stuff. The terminator on your neighbor's line is just to keep ingress/egress and reflections under control. It should unscrew from the tap like any other coax cable.

Which channels do you get on a TV without a digital box out of 3, 14, 17, and 21?

Then I'll tell you exactly which trap that is - I bet it's to block 3 (HBO analog). 17 and 21 are positive trapped (a trap is added to descramble them)

PS, out of curiousity - how did you get into the pedestal? They're locked to keep you from stealing cable outright or removing traps... and messing around in them like you are can get you in serious trouble!


soadlink

join:2002-11-17
USA

2 edits
reply to soadlink
Actually it wasnt locked, it just popped right off.

At least mine wasnt locked... maybe the tech forgot to lock it when he put it back on after he installed my services.

Also, I only get the internet serice, not cable tv, so I dont know what channels id get.

I assumed you need the cable receiver, with the access card and all that to get tv.

And I will be sure not to touch it anymore o_o

Edit: I tested the cable without a a digital box, and I didnt get channels 3, 14, 17, or 21 (all were fuzzy) but I did get some channels (still were a bit fuzzy) like 18 was CBS and that was pretty clear, some of the others were choppy and barely noticeable (like 10, 11, and 12), but you would tell there was a show on there.

meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT
reply to soadlink

Re.

Okay, yeah, he didn't lock it... lol, that was smart... some of Bresnan's techs are quite clueless! Jodie is the best of the ones I've met, and boy have I met them all... I won't give out BAD names, I will tell you Jodie and Joe are the ones who have their act together, especially Jodie. that trap must be for blocking TV in it's entirety then (I thought it didn't look like the traps I've seen). The Internet runs below channel 2 and on channel 76.

18 is NOT CBS on the Bresnan Kalispell system. OTA, 18 is CBS... that tells me two things:

1. Your TV is set to "Air" and not "Cable"
2. You've got a major ingress problem if it was clear for you - check your connectors are good and tight and all your cabling is undamaged and all connectors are compression type.

OR, more likely, did you connect a TV to a "hot" cable... the jack by your TV won't have been connected since it wasn't needed, you can only tell what you're getting by connecting to the line going into the modem. Of course, if you get anything it's one thing to look and see - it's illegal to watch it (passive theft) I am curious what you get though - I doubt you actually tried a TV properly setup on a live cable line.

Nah, to get basic cable TV all you'd need is to replace that trap with a plain F81 barrel, hook up a TV to the cable, and set your TV for cable mode This would get you expanded basic cable and HBO and Encore (basically, everything analog except Starz! and Showtime which need a "positive" (descrambling) trap) Of course, this is illegal active theft! I mention this FOR ACADEMIC REASONS ON HOW THE CABLE SYSTEM WORKS. Actually doing this could get you a nice free stay in Deer Lodge

DIGITAL TV (except the Music Choice channels, HDNet, Discovery Kids, and Toon Disney - which are right now unencrypted and should be available on a clear QAM tuner for now though I don't have one to test) requires a box (no card though, the encryption is built in)

meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

1 edit
reply to soadlink

Re: My Installation - Bresnan in Kalispell, MT

PS (and this deserves it's own post):

If you do connect a TV and find you get quite a few channels (wouldn't surprise me if you at least get a chunk of them like maybe the basic tier), and then you decide they couldn't tell if you hooked up a TV with a splitter, THEY CAN. There's two ways:

1. The easy way (not reliable but it'll make them suspicious enough to try the hard way): check you cable modem's signal level remotely - if it's lower than expected, they can suspect a splitter... of course LOTS of line problems and seasonal variation cause excessive loss and I'm not sure how well (not very if at all) Bresnan documents expected levels.

2. Time Domain Reflectometry - if you haven't seen the TDR, THIS is some cool stuff. They used it to track down my problem to a bad barrel burried underground. THIS DEVICE WILL SHOW A SPLITTER, completely with a "signature" that gives a rough idea of what is connected to both sides of it.

Now - how often does Bresnan go around plugging their TDR into random cable lines; or for that matter even checking traps? I get the impression that it's rather uncommon, unlike other systems which check each and every line from each and every tap on a regular basis. But it's just not worth the huge risks nor the lost sleep from your conscience!


soadlink

join:2002-11-17
USA

1 edit
reply to soadlink
All I did was plug my line that usually goes in to the back of my modem, in to the back of my TV. Then I just turned on my tv and flipped through the first 25 channels or so and got those results that I posted in my last post.

Im not sure how to switch from air mode to cable mode... I did go to the TV menu with the remote and I didnt see anything like that.

And thank you for the replies so far!

Edit: The 'terminator' as you called it on my neighbors line doesnt come off. If you twist it, it turns, but it doesnt detach....just turns and squeaks. Any idea about that?

meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

1 edit
reply to soadlink
Regarding the terminator, it does look different from the one on my tap's unused line, which I'm pretty sure they just wrench on and wrench off. Some cable guy could probably tell you more about it, but I imagine it's likely some kind of child-proof cap type deal. Shouldn't be too hard to get off... now stop trying!

How to switch a TV from air mode to cable mode deoends on the TV set. The fact you got CBS on air 18 through a hot cable line concerns me - definitely watch out for problems with the modem, you do have some ingress...

Edit: just making sure - you were trying to actually unscrew the post of the terminator, not the sleeve over the end of it, right?


soadlink

join:2002-11-17
USA
reply to soadlink
Click for full size
What do you mean by watch out for programs through the modem cause I have ingress? What's ingress? Thanks and sorry, but I dont know a lot about that.

And I attached a pic of the thing i was trying to unscrew. Its the part outlined in green, that whole metal part (probably as big as a bit for a socket wrench.. or maybe as long as a mailbox key if that helps.)

It just screws around and around without coming loose, so I dunno. Thanks!

tahuya_rat

join:2005-07-30
Kalispell, MT
reply to soadlink
Well, I realize this is an old post, but I hope that Bresnan has only gotten better in the years since, because I'm moving to Kalispell in a week.

Not that this was a bad review by any means, but better is better, and they've had a few years, so I'm hoping I don't run into any gotchas.

It's kind of a drag giving up this 4mb pipe (Comcast, Spokane, WA, USA) for a 3mb, but I'm sure the skiing will make up for it.

meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

1 edit
reply to soadlink
Ingress is broadcast signal coming in through the line - that CBS on broadcast 18 isn't on the cable line (it isn't meant to be) - it's a broadcast signal.

Yeah, it seems like that termination is tamper resistant. I don't know how it comes off then and wouldn't tell you if I did - it's different from the one on the unused tap around here which they used a normal wrench on.

Still, I REALLY doubt it would be too hard to take off! Think of how a child proof medicine bottle works. Just don't do it nor try again...

"Well, I realize this is an old post, but I hope that Bresnan has only gotten better in the years since, because I'm moving to Kalispell in a week."

I'm responding to you by PM Here's a copy of my response:

Hey, in response to your message in that post - It's not that old - it was from July 12th of this year. And welcome to Kalispell, you'll love it - Bresnan is okay. You won't love them or hate them. If you need for service, ask for Jodie to come out - he's their best tech I've met, nice guy as well.

Anyways, PM me if you need some ideas on what to do around here. Some things to know about Bresnan:

The latency is kinda high and there are some issues - but compared to CenturyTel it's wonderful.

I have it on good authority that we will be getting 5000 down/1000 up hopefully by years end or early next year

Sound on the Disney Channel is off-center and Bresnan insists it's in the source

The local FOX is awful - not Bresnan's fault, and it has got better...


soadlink

join:2002-11-17
USA

4 edits
reply to soadlink
Is that where they shut off/upgrade your service, is from that tap? Or can they shut it down from the cable office in town too?

And lets say I got access to my neighbors tap and had an extra cable modem: would I be able to get another 3mb connection? Or is that connected somewhere else?

I'm not asking because I want to try it, or to be deceitful.....I'm just curious... I like to learn how the system works.

I would never do something like steal someones service, or get extra service that I didnt pay for. I come from a better neighborhood and family than that . Even opening the tap makes me feel bad now

meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT
reply to soadlink
That's where they shut off the signal coming into your house, or add/remove analog channels (like they'd come out and remove that trap if you got cable TV), etc. I believe some cable systems have addressable traps to remotely shut off service to an address - I don't know if ours is among them, I don't know that much about cable.

Digital services are addressable and the lines are shared - you could no more add a second cable modem for free to your neighbor's connection than to your own with a splitter. Cable modems and digital cable boxes must be provisioned for service. I don't know if Bresnan will provision a second cable modem (some cable companies will, some won't) but if they do, you'd just need to attach both to a splitter. Also know that you would be paying full price for both - better to just get a router!


cablegeek01

join:2003-05-13
USA
kudos:1
reply to soadlink
Service is usually turned off at the tap, with a locking terminator (the device in the pictures above). In addition, the cable modem is usually disabled as well, or "un-provisioned". In this mode, when the cable modem is connected, it will either a) give a 10.x.x.x ip address to the users computer or router, and the user will be unable to surf the net, or b) it will be limited to 64K or 128K downstream. Just a heads up though, if you connect a modem that is not registered with Bresnan's system, it will show up on the monitoring equipment with the general location that it was plugged in at. This alone isn't illegal (connecting a modem), but attempting to get free cable modem service could be construed as a crime. As far as opening the Pedestal goes, I wouldn't worry about it, just be careful not to crimp any wires, or knock anything loose. Also, be VERY careful of wasps, hornets, and snakes. They seem to love the shade and protection that a ped offers.
/happy surfing!


soadlink

join:2002-11-17
USA

1 edit
reply to meowmeow
said by meowmeow:

I have it on good authority that we will be getting 5000 down/1000 up hopefully by years end or early next year
O_O The Bresnan in Kalispell? Really!?

meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT
reply to cablegeek01
Question for you - the terminator on the unused line in the ped. serving my house looks quite different (hex shape) and I'm pretty sure when swapping it, the tech just took it off with a normal wrench (my memory may be failing me, but I think so...). It definitely is a hex shape.

Next - just curious, how close can they tell where an unauthorized modem is connected? The node? The closest line extender upstream? The tap? The house?

Thanks,
Mark


soadlink

join:2002-11-17
USA
reply to soadlink
Hey kittie, did i hear you mention a 5/1 connection (in the near future) for bresnan of kalispell a few posts ago? :):):):)

meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT
reply to soadlink
Not sure about here, but I think that's what my source intended - all of Bresnan. Hopefully within the next six months but no guarantees

tahuya_rat

join:2005-07-30
Kalispell, MT

1 edit
reply to tahuya_rat
said by tahuya_rat:

Well, I realize this is an old post,
Well, it was pointed out to me (thanks, kittie), that this is in fact not an old post, and at the risk of looking foolish -- a familiar feeling, I assure you -- I was looking at the join date of the poster, not the post date.

Oops.

I've been in Kalispell for a week and a half now, and the service is great so far. If I think it's necessary, I could write a review about it, but really, anyone who's serious about their broadband in this area is gonna take Bresnan over DSL or Satellite anyway.


cablegeek01

join:2003-05-13
USA
kudos:1
reply to meowmeow
A tech can detect unauthorized service at the house :-(
The cable system has a "bird" at a cirtain frequency that helps technicians find leaks in the cable plant. Whenever you hook up a house to the cable system, it radiates this frequency, and any audit truck driving by can tell that the house is receiving service. (if you look at any cable truck you will see a steel antenna that looks kinda like a cell phone antenna, it's not. It's an antenna for the leakage detector.)


soadlink

join:2002-11-17
USA
reply to soadlink
How do they tell an 'authorized modem' from an 'un-authorized modem' in their system? is it by mac-address?

Also, what is the process of detecting unauthorized access if a town is really big? How do they narrow it down to your house? Would they have to drive around all day, house by house, and then check a list to see if that house is allowed or not?

Or where do they start once they suspect un-authorized access? Thanks!