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If you are connecting directly to the cable modem, you have to turn the cable modem off to make the connection. If the cable modem is also a phone adapter, push the reset button on the back instead of turning it off. To use both computers at the same time you need a router.
your Modem will memorize the MAC address of the first device it sees on power up and will ignore other devices
You need to power the modem down or depress the reset switch if it is a telephony modem before you attach the new compute
A better solution would be to buy a Wireless router or get one from comcast. They will loan you one if you pay handling charg
If you attach the router to the modem and power cycle the modem to recognize the router, then both computers can be connected to the router and will pull a private IP address from the router.