|PPPoE and You|
|Great for service providers, not so good for the home network|
PPPoE and Connection SharingPerhaps the single most important drawback of PPPoE for the home networker is the difficulty of sharing PPPoE-based Internet connections. One important technical detail in PPPoE involves the Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) for packets.
PPPoE supports a maximum MTU of 1492 bytes. Ethernet, however, typically supports a maximum of 1500 bytes, and many operating systems such as Windows set their default MTU to the larger value. 1500-byte packets sent over a PPPoE connection typically get lost. For the customer, this means their applications won't work and often their connection to the Internet will get dropped.
On older versions of Windows, you may need to adjust your network settings and lower its MTU. Its also possible to get ICS working with PPPoE with some additional effort . Alternatively, several third-party "proxy" technologies have been developed that solve this and other technical problems with PPPoE. Many network professionals recommend replacing the connection software that service providers include with their broadband modems with either RASPPPOE or WinPoET and MacPoET
Finally, most types of broadband routers now support PPPoE. Many network professionals recommend purchasing a broadband router to solve Internet connection sharing as well as security concerns pertaining to broadband access.
PPPoE is a technology that, ideally, a home networker would not need to know much about. However, a little knowledge of PPPoE goes a long way in avoiding some common pitfalls in home networking with broadband. If your service provider uses PPPoE, take extra care in setting up Internet connection sharing. Install one of the recommended software proxy packages for PPPoE, or consider purchasing a broadband router with PPPoE support -- just be aware that some models, particularly older models, do not support it.
Highly technical folks, those looking for maximum performance or to set up servers at home, may wish to avoid a PPPoE-based service. However, PPPoE services continue to grow in popularity and don't appear to be "going away" anytime soon.