In the early days of US home broadband you had a static IP address and a live real TCP/IP connection. Because of the demands of security and customer support that's been whittled away. Now we have the hassle of dynamic IP addresses and abominations like PPPoE.
I just upgraded my home connection to sonic.net, a small California ISP where the person who answers the support line actually knows what they're doing and respects you might, too. So far so good, except sadly I find they're blocking all traffic on port 25. So much for running a mail server at home. I can't exactly blame them, but it's a nuisance.
I'm on my fourth home router in twelve months; the junky Buffalo router didn't turn back on after I unplugged it today. No blinky lights = no internet. This time I'm trying a Belkin router. At $40 they're essentially disposable, but I'd still gladly pay more for one that actually worked.