Some cable modems have both an ethernet socket and a USB socket. Examples include:
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USB networking imposes a heavier load on the system processor than ethernet does, so there might be a performance impact in using USB for networking: this is unlikely to affect your network speeds, but might affect the percentage of processor time available to applications. The USB experience is influenced greatly by the quality of the USB device drivers: ethernet drivers are more mature than USB ones. Some PCs have USB hardware that needs driver updates, see below. Some PCs have USB hardware that is not good enough for the high demands of a cable modem: you might get less trouble from an ethernet card. But an ethernet card involves extra expense, whereas USB connections are built in to most modern PCs. USB cable modem drivers do not work with Windows 95, even 95 with USB Additions.
If your PC already has an ethernet card, there is no contest: use ethernet.
USB drivers for cable modems are not available for Apple Macs: this is not too great a loss, as every Apple Mac has an ethernet socket built-in.
Unless you are able to lease more than one IP address from your ISP, you cannot use both the ethernet and the USB port simultaneously, as you are still limited to one network device per cable modem: this restriction definitely applies to both ntl:world and blueyonder.
If you switch between using the ethernet and the USB sockets or vice versa, you must power cycle the cable modem: this is the same problem as described in Swapping computers on the cable modem.
A typical procedure for swapping from USB to ethernet would therefore be as follows:
The default network settings arising from a new installation of an ethernet card will usually work.
No cable modem drivers are required for ethernet connections, but the ethernet card might require a driver installation if the operating system does not automatically recognise it.
Do not re-run any broadband installation software provided by your ISP. There is no need to re-register your cable modem account. However, for those ISPs which require the MAC address of the user's PC to be registered, this will be a necessary step, as the PC's MAC address will have changed.
Rather than using the USB drivers that came on the CD-ROM with your cable modem, you should download the latest versions from the vendor's support site:
For the Surfboard/Terayon, you will need to un-zip the downloaded file into an empty folder to obtain the driver files. (If you are using Windows ME or XP, you can do this by right-clicking the ZIP file and selecting Extract all. For older Windows versions, use a utility such as WinZip or the free Stuffit Expander for Windows). If the un-zipped files include a readme file, read it now.
If the supplied files include an Uninstall program (for instance, the Terayon files include tbnt-usbscrub.exe), then:
If there was not an Uninstall program with the driver files, and old drivers are already installed, then you can update them as follows:
Then, in the Hardware Wizard:
If Windows 9x/ME does not correctly install the USB drivers for the 4100, it might be necessary to do the following:
If use of cable modem through USB causes problems such as Windows crashes or freezes, you might need to update the drivers for the USB support chipset. To do this, you should visit the support site of the USB chipset manufacturer. http://www.usbman.com/ has specific pointers for ALi, SiS, and VIA chipsets: scroll down the left-hand column looking for the heading Host Type.
If your PC provides USB support with a VIA chipset (used on many Athlon motherboards), you might need to download updated 4-in-1 USB chipset drivers from http://www.viaarena.com/, and you might also need the USB Filter Patch from the same site. See also a VIA support site at http://www.viahardware.com/.
Another option to consider is updating the BIOS on the motherboard: visit the support site of your PC manufacturer.
For further extensive advice on USB problems see http://www.usbman.com/.
If you have applied all the updates and patches referred to the article on USB chipset driver updates, and you still get occasional USB disconnections, it is possible that your USB cable modem driver is not smart enough to recover after XP has put the USB root hub into standby to save power. (VIA users note that the USB Filter Patch appears to address similar issues).
If drivers and patches don't fix this, you can prevent XP putting USB to sleep as follows:
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