I first became interested in modem uncapping 4 years ago. Like some of you I was curious about how much bandwidth is really provided by the pipe. At the time I had no idea what Docsis was. I wanted to know if the modem controlled the bandwidth allocated to customers or was it done at the office. I soon learned that the pipe can supply an area with 42Mbps but the most you will ever see is 36Mbps-38Mbps (due to IP headers and trailers).
The entire infrastructure is built to rely on the modems to prevent individual subscribers from using up all the available bandwidth. That and this very concept is an example of oversubscribing. The very theory that not all customers will be online at the same time. So they allocate a certain portion of customers on a UBR or card as they are called to be able to somewhat guarantee that customers with the higher offered tier will get or at least close to what they are paying for.
Again, thats all in theory. What ends up happening is the cards are not regularly balanced or new cards need to be added because it can't be balanced anymore. This costs money. So what ends up happening is during prime time the neighborhood or area that the card serves is over saturated and has little to no reserve of spare bandwidth.
With uncapping your modem you really aren't going to get anymore bandwidth on poorly maintained UBRs. Its only during off-peak hours 1am onward will you start to see numbers climbing into the high 20Mbps and 30Mbps.
The smart guideline to follow with uncapping a modem is to be considerate of your neighbors. Heavy downloading should be utilized during non-peak hours when everyone has gone to sleep. If you download during the day regulate your speed so as not to place a large burden on the network and your neighbors.
Be cautious when the modem is plugged in. Don't leave it plugged in 24/7. Areas will vary and some are too large to start pulling cables to search for a modem on the network. Others are real small and you can see cable trucks inside 10 minutes or so.
Now to address the area of stealing. Two wrongs don't make a right but the telecommunications industry isn't completely honest or forth coming either. Compared to other countries that have had 30Mbps internet or higher for years we are really behind the times in some areas.
Instead of upgrading the areas the cable companies have made excuses and set caps and fees etc.. Not only to protect the network capacity but also their precious tv content from being over taken by online video sources.
It really is no secret but the telecommunication providers don't seem to care much what people know (most internet users don't even know the difference between a megabyte and a gigabyte). They do what they want with little regulation or paying money under the table. Its a real dirty business. Where is the punishment here? Where is the regulation?
Another point here are the cell phone providers. They took away unlimited data and gave you a set low gigabyte cap for the same price. Huh?
In my defense I am by no means a bandwidth hog. I don't even come close to using 40-50GB a month. One advantage to using a uncapped modem is stealth. There are no traces to the IP address that is issued to the modem since its all done via DHCP through the UBR (on registered modems the dynamic IP address is linked to the account holder). I can see this giving you some ideas of what you could use it for.
To answer questions on if the modem still contains a configuration file that has preset values in it such as speed, frequency, blocked ports, number of CPEs. Thats a big yes. It depends on the area and if they still are allowing legacy equipment.
If they have figured out a way to control all that with QoS than its news to me. The water pipe that supplies your house supplies everyone else. Business are going to need ports open etc.. The modems control all that.
I don't know off hand why 42Mbps was the magical number for the standard. Now with Docsis 3.0 I see it only as a band aid for a poor network infrastructure of shared bandwidth.
Over the years they have made improvements with Docsis. First it was 1.0 then 1.1 then 2.0 and now 3.0. Those improvements included upgrades in equipment to allow for return paths and security. The security is known as BPI (Baseline Protection interface) and SEC (Security).
These security standards have gotten more sophisticated through the years with basically providing privacy for MAC layer service on the network and to prevent unauthorized users on the network. This is done with certificates issued to each modem.
Some cable providers didn't even bother to enable BPI which means your modem and traffic can be visible to other users on the network and can be sniffed with the right equipment.
Thanks a lot cable company! Looking out for my privacy eh?
The Docsis standard is an aged technology that continues to be patched and reworked. But to date, no one has been able to hack or break through on any DSL or FIOS network to get uncapped speeds. They must be doing something right with that standard.
And what need would you want to uncap FIOS anyway? The speed is incredibly fast. Hacking DSL is just plain dumb as those two little wires couldn't give you very fast speeds anyway depending on how far you are from the CO.
To use the analogy of Electric, water, gas etc.. You pay for what you use. The water pressure will usually be the same month after month and your lights won't dim because your neighbor turned on their air conditioner.
What gives with the telecommunications providers? Fact is there is a lot of political propaganda and someone or a group of someones need to come out on top to satisfy some investors.
Thought this was America...The best of the best. Not really likely.