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I wanted to know if Cox can see the Mac addresses in my network. I know they can see IP addresses, but are Mac addresses included? What if I use a VPN?
Cox can "see" the MAC address of your modem because Cox needs this MAC address to assign a public IP address. As far as devices on your private network, no...Cox can't see those private IP or MAC addresses.
I don't think Cox can see the private IP of your router. I once read an ISP can only see something (i.e. router) is connected to the WAN port of the modem. Therefore, I think Cox can only see something is connected and possibly its capability (Fast Ethernet, GigaE, etc).
If you subscribe to a VPN, yes, Cox can see your public IP address but cannot see where you're going or what you're sending. All they see is their assigned-public IP address with bunch of gobbledygook trailing behind it.
Bruce said:Cox can "see" the MAC address of your modem
I think you mean router. Cox needs the WAN MAC address in order for DHCP to work. Together with the IP assigned is known as the Customer Premise Equipment or CPE. Since the IP changes, Cox keeps the CPE on file for many months.
Bruce said:the modem is both a DHCP client and a DHCP server.
The modem acts as a transparent bridge between the router and Cox's DHCP servers. It also acts as a client on a private 10.x.x.x subnet that is used for troubleshooting only. There is no server on the modem itself.
Not a "server" per se as a network service but running a dedicated service to what's connected to its WAN port.
Does Cox approve or update the firmware of my router?
Bruce said:Does Cox approve or update the firmware of my router?
Nope, the firmware is stored locally on the router's flash. The router manufacture updates the router support page with the latest firmware. Some router's have automated systems that check the firmware automatically. You may be confusing router firmware with modem firmware, which Cox does control.
I understand modems and routers each have chipset and firmware but if Cox is to communicate directly with my router and my router allows me to set some huge MTU, will Cox comply with my choice?
I don't think Cox communicates directly with my router. Maybe they do...I obviously don't know. However, I wouldn't want them to. Just as I wouldn't want them communicating with a directly-connected laptop. I always thought the demarc was the modem but now it's extended to the router.
Bruce, Cox communicates with your router. The WAN interface on your router provides a MAC address that your cable modem binds to allowing Cox to give you an IP address (typically static) for a period of time. You can spoof your router WAN MAC address, reboot your cable modem, and your modem will end up with a different IP address from Cox.
I suspect Cox learns a lot of information about a network they provide service to and not just the WAN interface MAC address.
OpenBSD said:Cox to give you an IP address (typically static) for a period of time.
Doesn't Cox Residential give out DHCP IP's?