I recently had a problem connecting to the internet via a cable modem & Mandrake 9.1. The problem was that even though I ran the internet config wizard , I kept getting network unreachable messages and simply could not connect to the internet for over two months.
Why am I telling you this? well the solution to my problem was simple and unrelated to the Mandrake configuration programs or my hardware set-up.!!
If you are going to use your new machine (with a new network interface card) with Mandrake 9.1, you must first register the MAC address of the network interface card with your cable ISP. My ISP allows me to register as many MAC addresses as i like which enables me to plug the modem directly into a registered interface without the need for setting up a LAN.
Once i did register my MAC address, I ran the network configuration program, specifiying the option to automatically discover ip address at boot time and had no problems at all.
I guess that If you simply switch from windows to Mandrake Linux on the same machine, with the same network interface card, there would be no need to do this.
I hope this helps someone.