[plug] David's ADSL Problem

Daniel Pearson gpearson at iinet.net.au
Tue Dec 27 20:42:31 WST 2005

One can but only try ;-)

Harry McNally wrote:
> Daniel Pearson wrote:
>> Just an update on it for you Harry - I just popped around to his 
>> place to have a look.
>> The modem is all setup and working, going through the modem's webpage 
>> it appears to be in router mode, and doing a ping from the modem 
>> through it's interface it can successfully ping
>> Now, on the PC /sbin/ifconfig brings up (through DHCP) 
>> as the IP address, with the broadcast as what it should be also.
>> /etc/resolv.conf
>> search
>> nameserver
>> I could ping the modem (, however was unable to ping 
>> Typing in "route" only showed the loopback.
>> Firewall in the way?
>> Wasn't too sure on how exactly the distro is setup (even though it's 
>> based on Debian) and didn't want to play around with it in case I get 
>> a slap on the knuckles from you! :-)
> LOL. No you're fine Daniel ;-)
> Thanks for going and having a look. You have now met David. The 
> problem is that David keeps asking the list and we are all trapped in 
> Groundhog Day.
> Here's my Groundhog Day that is similar to yours but with a few more 
> steps and without a house call.
> Feeling bad that David didn't have ADSL for Christmas, on Christmas 
> Eve, when I should have been taking Jacqueline out to dinner, I rang 
> David and proceeded incrementally into what became a 4 hour 
> discussion, including with the support person at Conceptual.
> So I could start from something I knew would work. I had David use a 
> test dialup account that Westnet provides as part of their sponsorahip 
> of CA. David has two landlines so testing could be done while he 
> remained on the phone. We also rearranged his modem wiring so he had 
> both the dial-up and ADSL modem in circuit. I got David to dial-up and 
> start sshd. We don't have a firewall on his version. We do on the 
> latest one. I could then ssh in and have a look at things. I setup 
> eth0 as static so we could talk to the ADSL modem. I 
> grabbed the PDF manual from Netcomm and found that the screen shots 
> are entirely different to the one that he has. Grrr. I had him reset 
> the modem to factory defaults (reset button on the back) and re-enter 
> his user name and password. Setting eth0 back to dhcp and down/up and 
> it correctly obtained the first factory default IP; All 
> good.
> I then brought eth0 down again and had David disconnect from the 
> internet (dial-up), change our Internet Settings utility to Broadband 
> (ADSL) and let the ADSL come up normally. David was able to ifconfig 
> and see the IP as and describe /etc/resolv.conf to me 
> (same as Daniel observed above). All seemed well.
> It was possible to use host to obtain westnet and conceptual IP and 
> also possible to ping them by name. Progress. But according to David 
> firefox and thunderbird would not obtain web pages or email 
> respectively :-(
> I used wget to get a CA web page. 
> http://www.computerangels.org.au/start.html
> David was able to assist me to see that a file called start.html was 
> in his home dir but I never got him to check it's size so I now wonder 
> if wget just created a zero length file. Can anyone comment on wget's 
> behaviour if it can't fetch pages for "undefined reason" ?
> In exasperation I got David to restore his own dial-up connection and 
> email and browsing worked fine. I then explained that I would need to 
> think it through and also have Christmas off and contact him when I 
> had some more ideas.
> Cameron later that evening suggested using w3c to check if it really 
> was a firefox issue but we'd restored the dial-up at that stage and 
> I'd left David to run like that. We also discounted MTU values too but 
> perhaps that is something to check.
> I never got to getting the ADSL IP to see if I could ssh in over that 
> to confirm the things that David was reporting to me. I assumed the 
> modem had some firewall in place and, after 4 hours I had run out of 
> enthusiasm :-/
>> So that's pretty much where its up to, take it as you will as to 
>> where to go to from here.
> Since we have not had any issue with any of the other ADSL setups, my 
> first step is to drop another hard disk with our standard installation 
> onto his system. David assures me he has not made any changes which 
> means the first step is to go back to our standard base (if you see my 
> approach). David has installed software before using Aptitude and 
> various plug-ins for Firefox with some success.
> Failing that, I recommend to any of our participants going onto ADSL 
> for the first time that they purchase the modem from the ISP. David 
> arranged the ADSL under his own steam including wandering into a shop 
> and buying an ADSL modem. Conceptual supply DLink. I think David would 
> have improved his chances somewhat if he had asked us first and 
> obtained the modem from Conceptual but the next step is to try and 
> figure out if there is some issue with the ADSL modem.
> The fact that Daniel was observing less functionality than I'd 
> achieved suggests that David may have done some more work on the 
> problem himself. I'd really want to start again with the modem from 
> factory defaults.
> I really want a break from Computer Angels since it consumes a large 
> part of my life atm (when it needs to consume less). Jonathon 
> (PC-PHIX) suggested he would be able to drop out on the 9th January 
> which is when we are open at CA again too. I'm trying to stay away 
> from CA stuff until then :-)
> If other people have some ideas (particularly if you know the Netcomm
> ADSL modem well) by all means keep going but I'm going to set this 
> aside and have a rest from David's issues for the moment :-)
> It's standard Debian sarge, no firewall (on David's machine) but no 
> services running either.
> One thing to note is that it appears to be important to disconnect the 
> dial-up net connection before using the Internet Settings utility so 
> the routes etc stay sane. When I first started remotely checking the 
> problem, I actually got David to select "No Connection" and then 
> reboot the machine to make sure I had forced everything back to a 
> sensible state. If you want to flip between dial-up and ADSL, you 
> should use Internet Disconnect (off our custom XFCE panel) first.
> All the best
> Harry
> _______________________________________________
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