It was a dark and stormy...late afternoon...yesterday, and....
I had started out almost 7 years ago with a Siemens 4100 DSL Modem, which worked the way I needed it to for my home network. And, wasn't sure how easy it would be to find another like it. I was running it in the cross between router and bridge mode...so that my router could maintain my dyndns info (though it wasn't too long after that I moved that to ddclient on box, which has been more reliable...but I was having ddclient scrape from the router, though the ddclient for the router on my Cox connection wasn't supported so that uses checkip.dyndns.org. So, now both do.
Would probably be too much work to make ddclient go out on the right IP so that ip route will send it to the DSL router, so it can query the DSL modem for what the real external IP is. Though the new cbox/dbox setup would simplify things....but the migration has stalled as I've been working on getting cacti moved from box...and it hasn't been going well. Lots of old templates and such don't work on the new, so I've been reworking what I feel I can't live without....
That includes the graphs of my DSL modem stats....
Anyways....when the Siemens 4100 started dropping the connection a lot (around the 3 year mark) and changing the filter didn't help, I had heard that these things wear out... So, I tracked down a new Siemens 4100 on eBay...and switched to that....and that got things working again.... Then a couple years ago, things go bad consistently....though I could see from my cacti graphs that SNR drops in the evening. Though I wasn't able to get local service to restore/fix things. I tried the AT&T forum on dslreports.com, and they changed me to Interleaved, which helped....
But, I had started shopping around for a new DSL modem.... somewhere in my journey's I acquired a Zoom ADSL X3 5760 Modem. But, since things were working...I put it aside as my spare for when things stop. Seems I've had it so long that its no longer available....got it July 9, 2012 according to Amazon.com
For a while now, it would drop the connection now and then during the week (between its weekly self-reboot)...at first I suspected the router, since its twin had gone away in much the same way several months earlier. Though the router do also have failsafe configured, so if it can't talk (ping) to box or the WAN gateway...it reboots. Though at some point AT&T made their gateways unpingable. So, it was pinging google.
But, on April 6 it got really bad....my IRC connection was resetting practically constantly. Though since I had swapped the router before, and swapped it again. Though maybe now I wonder if its watchdog was too aggressive. Things were usable, but the line drops would be annoying. Also the IP staying the same through drops didn't make me question the DSL modem.
But, then on April 13, things start getting really bad....and I was getting 50+ messages a day from ddclient that my IP changed. It seemed to stablize a bit on Monday....though it was still dropping regular enough that I switched to using Cox for my IRC screen session. Was going to defer to the weekend to make the swap.
Well, yesterday the weather was bad...lots of lightning, rain....and I first display I looked at when I got home said "NO INTERNET". Though it was probably a temporary outage, because it did appear to eventually come back while I was working on unboxing my 'new' DSL modem. And, try to figure out how to set it up without the Windows wizard it provides or the lack of documentation with it...there was a small CD, which didn't really provide much depth....but I found what IP it would be and that it has web interface....it also has a telnet interface and an FTP interface.
Anyways...it turned out to be pretty straight forward getting it working...the hard part was figuring out what the non-default options meant, and whether I would want them.... the main one I turned on was "fullcone NAT". And, I set my router in with a reserved IP and made it DMZ host, so I can keep all my forwards there...plus the Zoom is limited to 16, which isn't enough .... though this may change when I make use of its DMZ feature as well (doing reverse proxy on cbox/dbox to everywhere else on my home network...running firewall on these boxes already, to implement policy based routing.) And, enabling ICMP on the WAN interface (its also possible to enable http, ftp and telnet on the WAN interface as well.)
Getting it working in Cacti again, turned out to be much harder.
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For quite some time, I've been running WRT54GS routers....that I had hacked to run Sveasoft Alchemy...eventually reaching 1.0 release and then pretty much doing very little to.
Originally, I had gotten a WRT54GS v1.1 that I upgraded, and used with my Roadrunner Cablemodem service. Later word came out that newer WRT54GS had less memory than before, and were switching to non-replaceable OSs. So, I started keeping an eye out for older WRT54GS routers...to get as a spare. One day in a Wal-Mart, I was going through the WRT54GS's on a shelf...when way at the back behind the newer v5 stock, was a v2.0. Well, I had to buy it right then and there.
Later when I moved to Manhattan, KS...I was presented with the opportunity to go dual WAN. Well, wasn't my intent, but I was forced into it. So, not wanting to mess up my 'cable' configs. I set up the backup WRT54GS for DSL use.
And, things have been humming along pretty well, with the two WRT54GS routers and the running of both Cox and AT&T broadband.
That was until last September....I was trying transparent proxy and ended up bricking the WRT54GS for DSL. So, I started looking online for a new router to replace the WRT54GS that would be better than what I had now. One of the key features of Sveasoft is the better QoS...which was important since I was doing a lot of VoIP (having at the time both Lingo and Vonage, since neither had Manhattan, KS numbers...they have since gone away...and its just Broadvoice now. But, I've been thinking of getting another....) But, I had turned of QoS on the cable one, because I found that it was affecting my ability to see the speed improvements that Cox had been making to it. So, I had already started looking at what next after WRT54GS....but now with a bricked router, things were more urgent.
So, what I did was order a pair of Buffalo WHR-HP-GN (with dd-wrt) routers from Amazon, using Amazon Prime...on September 9, 2010.
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This afternoon's tale starts on Tuesday, November 8th.
At about 9:30am, I get an email from Cox about Wednesday's EAS test for 2pm EST....shouldn't be a problem, won't be home and nothing should be recording then...
Then at about 11:30am, I start getting pages that my Cox connection (among other things) has gone away. Well, the other things were because without Cox...there's no DNS or NTP...so things that tested or depend on that also failed. Though monitoring from work just showed Cox down.... At least I still have DSL....tweak some stuff back to being DSL centric, and bounce my cable modem a few times.... I had switched away from being DSL centric after a recent significant DSL outage.
Eventually cable service comes back, and I think all is good. Though I don't notice that not everything in nagios has cleared. And, when I come home...I find that I still have no Cox internet service.
I turn on the TV to see if I'm at least getting a signal....but I only checked the channel that was default...didn't check further. I then get on with Cox to find out why my service is down.
Strange that I often have trouble right around bill due time. But, I use EasyPay, so they automatically get paid. And, this month the auto-pay date is November 9th. New bill came out around October 27th (in fact later when I got confirmation that they had processed the payment, that's what it said). Always interesting that they allow so little time between sending the bill to when it needs to get paid. Its probably to keep us from dropping services between getting the bill and paying it. Like dropping Movie Pak....a while back they moved BBC America to the Movie Pak, so I had to add that to my service quickly....but sometime later they moved it back to the Variety Pak...so I should probably drop the Movie Pak...but I never seem to get around to it. I don't watch anything else in the Movie Pak (but at least I do from the Variety Pak.)
But, I check and account is current. I also got alert from bank of the pending charge too.
So, I get on with Cox support to find out what's up or not....and after they get my account information, come back saying a technician call is needed and say the earliest is Thursday between 1-3pm. Ok...then I'm asked if there's anything else, and I'm disconnected.
Seems like that's one way to avoid the National EAS test....
I had turned the cable modem on and off a few times, with longer off times, and checked connections and such...to no luck, but couldn't recall if I left it on or off overnight. When I get up...there's still no Cox Internet service. I restart the cable modem, and presto...I have service.
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....another day that justifies also having DSL service.
Of course, on top of much more downstream and upstream, Cox also has lower latency. However, the thing that would benefit most...I have using DSL, my home telephone service...because I need the availability.
And they keep trying to sell Digital Phone....they do claim that I can keep my Broadvoice number, which would be a requirement. And, the current bundling savings me a ton of money....at least for the promo period. Hmmm, though its only the Essential bundle of digital phone...which is less services than I get now, including services I want...and normally for much more than what I pay Broadvoice. Though with bundling, it would only only cause my current service plan to go up by a couple of dollars. And, long distance would cost me more....
Wonder when U-Verse is going to get here. Annoying that some units in some buildings can get U-Verse, other units in some buildings have U-Verse. But, it says my unit in my building doesn't exist....yet I have DSL and they send me bills for it, so I surely exist somewhere....
Not sure if I'd go Internet only, or Internet + Phone. Phone seems to be missing one feature.... simul-ring.
Yesterday, I was at home....staycation....when I heard my cellphone ring, and while it was ringing I heard a text message come in. But my home phone, which I was sitting next to, remained quiet.
I have my Broadvoice VoIP service set to simulring my cellphone, so that I'll have the option of answering calls to my home number when I'm not at home. But, name display doesn't carry to the cellphone, so I also have call notification send an SMS with that information. Actually, its more interesting in that I have the SMS go to my iPhone, and the simulring is of my regular cell phone (during a work day, the iPhone is usually dead around 5pm...but I need to be available 24x7). The future of having a smartphone is up in the air, but I'm considering an IPX7 phone to replace my current regular cellphone....
Anyways....I didn't recognize the number (and there was no name for it), so I ignored the call...and it didn't leave me a voicemail. I then picked up my home phone...and got fast busy. Hmmm, wonder when it stopped working?
I tried the usual troubleshooting, reboot ATA, reboot router, modem, disconnect/reconnect, switch from using DSL to Cox, etc. No dice. Checked my account portal, no service outages reported. Tried emailing support to make sure. But, got no response (until after I had resolved the issue on my own).
I'm using BYOD service....when I had originally signed up, I had a D-Link DPH-540...but it wouldn't switch between work wireless and home wireless...at all. No WiFi between home and work, so no expectation of that kind of roaming. But, it didn't just work when I went between the two networks. And, there were other issues.
Since I neglected to get either of the ATAs from my previous VoIP providers unlocked (ATA-186 from Vonage and something else from Lingo.) I went looking for an unlocked ATA on eBay. I originally got a Linksys PAP2, but what I really wanted was the Sipura SPA-3000.... Anyways, I initially set up the Broadvoice service on the Linksys PAP2 and all was good then.
Later I scored a Sipura SPA-3000, and switched to that. The Sipura SPA-3000 has the capability of using a landline either via dial code, as a gateway to VoIP or as backup. The latter two reasons were why I got it. In the event of an Internet outage (or power outage), I wanted to still have phone service...and I was paying an arm and a leg for landline service, but not using it for any other reason...except that naked DSL wasn't available when I moved here. And, I wanted DSL.
I had toyed with the gateway option....being able to call from work, and then relay out to VoIP, in case the urge to call my parents or something when I'm working late ever strikes. It never did, though I've played around with options over the years. I had tried Skype, Fring, Packet8 services....but never actually made the real call.
Anyways..the Sipura SPA-3000 worked well the few times that having it fall back to landline was needed....
Though later, I did switch to naked DSL. So, no more fallback. But, I left the SPA-3000 in place, unchanged...because it was working....
Well, this morning I got up....and I still have no phone service. So, I decided that it might be time to dig out the 'old' Linksys PAP2 and see if that would work.
I did. Didn't even have to remember how to get to the admin interface...forgot that it has a user and an admin, and that default URL is for the user interface. So trying to login as admin wouldn't work. I knew what admin password I had set on it, but I couldn't remember what the user password was (once I realized that was what it was prompting for). Anyways...plugged it in, and it just started working immediately.
Later I verified that all the settings were still right.
Now I'll be able to make (and receive?) phonecalls from my home phone...
Wonder if I need to shop around for another backup ATA.
In the morning, I will open like 50 tabs in firefox...for the sites I check out every morning. And, going through my caching proxy helps. But, there are things that I can't get to using the proxy, so I will toggle off the use of proxy in firefox.
But, then I don't remember to switch it back on later....
Additionally, there are devices on my home network that I think could benefit from going through squid, but they don't offer easy ways to make that go.
So, the answer was to investigate transparent proxy. Which I finally got around to doing this weekend.
I added two new ports to my squid.conf
http_port coxtport transparent
http_port dsltport transparent
went with new ports for transparent separate from the existing ones, and two so that one squid cache handling either gateway....
I did a lot of googling around to figure out the iptables to add to my Sveasoft Alchemy running WRT54GS routers.
This is what I've settled on (for cox gateway):
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i br0 -s ! box.lhaven.homeip.net -p tcp --dport 80 -j DNAT \ --to box.lhaven.homeip.net:coxtport iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o br0 -s lhaven.homeip.net/24 -d box.lhaven.homeip.net -j SNAT \ --to coxgateway iptables -A FORWARD -s lhaven.homeip.net/24 -d box.lhaven.homeip.net -i br0 -o br0 -m state \ --state NEW,ESTABLISHED,RELATED -p tcp --dport coxtport -j ACCEPT iptables -A FORWARD -d lhaven.homeip.net/24 -s box.lhaven.homeip.net -i br0 -o br0 -m state \ --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -p tcp --sport coxtport -j ACCEPT
In the aftermath of the summer storm of August 13th, (hmmm, totally missed that it was a Friday the 13th), I made a tweak to my ddclient config for updating dyndns for my DSL line. Because I found that it wasn't able to update the IP change while Cox was down.
Couldn't find a way to make ddclient to bind to the local IP that routes out by DSL (or use non-default gateway). But, since I have squid proxy on the same box...and depending on what port I come in on, it can use either of my connections.
I set proxy=box.lhaven.homeip.net:3128
Couldn't use localhost, because ddclient does some kind of validation to require an fqdn+port, and localhost isn't an fqdn. And, yes, I use my dyndns domain as my home domain. So I can have bookmarks that'll work whether I'm at home or on the road
But, this change wasn't tested...as it has been less than 28 days for a refresh, and no IP change.
That was until this morning, when my IP did change.
The updates weren't working....seems that ddclient wants to do SSL all the way or not at all. No using an http proxy to connect out on SSL. But, I didn't feel like sending my dyndns password out non-SSL.... So, after some thought, I decided I would figure out how to set up SSL on squid.
I made the necessary configuration change, but no go. Seems that ubuntu doesn't distribute squid with SSL, because squid and openssl have incompatible open source licenses. So, I did a quick search to find the ubuntu way of rebuilding it from source.
apt-get source squid apt-get build-dep squid apt-get install devscripts build-essential fakeroot cd squid-2.7.STABLE7 vi debian/rules Add --enable-ssl \ to “# Configure the package” section debuild -us -uc -b cd .. dpkg -i squid??? squid-common???
Change to proxy=box.lhaven.homeip.net:3218, and it worked.
So, yesterday afternoon...there was quite the thunderstorm.
I could see that the power was flickering at home, VNC'd to 'gumby'. After a while...it was steady on battery. I went over to 'tardis', and watched the UPS run down and cause it to hibernate. Didn't stay to watch 'gumby', headed in to the hallway to visit with evacuees and then go up to watch the storm....and then see about going home.
As I was leaving I saw that my connection to home had gone away. I couldn't remember if I was going into my home network via DSL or Cox. Though based on available data, looks like it was DSL. Will confirm on Monday.
I had been thinking of getting one of these units for a while, though wondering if I could use just as an AP.
Meanwhile, Cox has been improving its speed...but I wasn't seeing the improvement. Could see the upstream improvement, but not so much with the downstream. Well, its an old WRT54GS v1.1....and I guess I've hit the ceiling on it. Though turning off wondershaper (QoS) made an improvement in speed, though still not the full advertised speed of Cox Preferred. Not sure if that's the local competition or the next ceiling.
So, got to thinking that I needed a new router....after some quick searching around, it seemed too much trouble track down a modifiable router so that I could still have wondershaper... and one that offered improved WiFi (since pretty much can't get them without WiFi). When it occurred to me that maybe I'd just jump and get the Airport Extreme.
Without wondershaper on this gateway, I moved the main upstream hogs to go through the other WRT54GS and Internet connection....the DSL service, where things aren't getting me down....
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Today, I finally pulled the trigger again....and canceled my home phone service. But, I'm keeping DSL.
Originally, when I first moved to Manhattan, KS there were issues on whether or not I could get a local number from a VoIP provider. And, I was interested in the possibility of getting DSL. Plus as it turned out, I had trouble getting Cox Internet. So, I had to use expensive dialup Internet to feed my habit.
Later I went ahead and ordered DSL, after giving up on ever getting Cox. Of course, once I did that, Cox moved mountains, and got me connected. But, I kept DSL because it had been on my list of things to try....to try being dually connected. Which has been fun, so I'm going to continue to do this.
But, since I got Internet service at home...I haven't used the phone part of my home service.
So, I was sitting around this morning, because I didn't have to go into work, looking for little things to pass the time with....so I decided this was a good time as any to finally make that call.
Getting past the automated phone system to a real person was kind of a pain, but once I got a real people the process went surprisingly well.
So, this Friday my home phone service will be no more. It was kind of useless...at over $27 a month for just basic local service, when pretty much all I do are long distance calls (to Canada...to my mom)...hence the value of VoIP. I had rationalized keeping it for when nothing else is available....but having survived a couple significant power outages recently...I decided that it wasn't as essential.
Yes, I expect my DSL cost to go up....by $10....but it is still a savings....that I can apply to other crazy things.
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