[plug] David's ADSL Problem

WolfBite wolfbite_aus at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 28 05:13:47 WST 2005

What about trying a knoppix disk or such
  run from cd
  see how that copes with the modem. 

Daniel Pearson <gpearson at iinet.net.au> wrote:
  Further to that, I only live about 10km from David - maybe I could pop over with my laptop, and plug that into the modem to see if it works - to rule out whether its a software or modem problem. Although like I said, I was able to ping iiNet's DNS server from the modem config page.

Cheers; Dan

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. 


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 

PLUG discussion list: plug at plug.org.au 
Committee e-mail: committee at plug.linux.org.au 

PLUG discussion list: plug at plug.org.au
Committee e-mail: committee at plug.linux.org.au

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