March 18, 2009
Circumventing Cox's Retardation
Cox Communications doesn't like it if you use your own equipment to get on the internet. If for some reason their proxy servers decide they don't like your router you have, you can't finish the "self-install" page and start using the service you're paying out the nose for.
This happened to me. They set up the modem, and could see it just fine, and my computer could get through, but traceroute dropped off the face of the earth at the fifth hop, right before it left Cox's network. Apparently my 802.11n router ain't good enough for them. And since I didn't buy it from them they won't troubleshoot -- meaning they won't tell me the magic words to let me get by their electronic bouncers.
You could buy your router from Cox, and I'm sure you'd only pay double or triple the going rate for a piece of outdated equipment. Or you could connect straight to the modem, which is only a problem if you have a laptop and want to use that whole "portability" thing. I'm guessing you'd like to use your blacklisted router, just like I did.
So here's what you do. (And by "you" I really mean "me" since I have the long-term memory of a goldfish and I'll be needing this later on.) Plug your laptop directly into the cable modem. While you're setting it to use DHCP over the ethernet connection, write down its hardware address, also known as the MAC address. If you're on a PC, for the love of God make sure the firewall is running.
Power-cycle your cable modem. If you still can't get online directly call tech support and ask them to "reprovision" the modem. You may need to read off the modem's model number, serial number and MAC address (not the computer's; the modem has its own). When their servers see a "good" MAC address they'll let you connect. Thank the tech support guy and hang up.
Unplug your laptop from the modem, and turn your wireless connection back on. Connect to the router and change its MAC address to the one you wrote down from your computer. This is called "spoofing" the MAC address and I'm sure someone out there considers it the eighth deadly sin. I consider it using the equipment I paid for. Anyway, once the MAC address is changed power-cycle the router and wait for it to come back up.
Now plug the router back into the modem, and you should be able to get on the internet. If anyone at Cox goes poking around they'll just think your machine is wired straight to the 'net. And as long as they're happy, you can be happy.