Actiontec modem/Qwest



  • Well, in keeping with yesterday's post: http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/WHO-WROTE-THIS-JUNK.aspx I present my take.

    It started with the same problem as the submitter of the article - slow internet or pages that load only partially. Now I'll note that I think I have the same modem (Actiontec M1000), along with a somewhat decent router (D-Link), that, at the time, was setup with the router as a switch and wireless access point. For the longest time, this thing did actually work (about a year). But one day it started acting just like in the article. So, after the usual troubleshooting (reboot modem and router, reconfigure both, reset from factory settings, etc) I guessed that the problem had to be on the ISP side (Qwest in this case) - after all, they have had downtime before.

    This is where the fun began, because Qwest's technical support 1) is in India (no offense intended to those from India) and 2) starts by running through a script instead of actually listening to the problem description. After I explained my problem AND that it affected every one of the computers on the network (including Windows and Linux) the tech support person immediately asked which OS I am running. I told her that I was currently using Linux, and she responded that that is not a supported OS. No surprise there - of course it didn't really matter since the problem affected every computer on the network.

    Then, after I asked to speak with a technical person, she started trying to do "the script". This includes 1) "Browser optimization" (clearing cache and cookies) and 2) cleaning the hard drive. After shooting both of them down as obviously ridiculous (I explained that one of my computers had Windows reinstalled from retail disks (not OEM or recovery) about a month ago), she finally got the idea that the problem wasn't on my computer. What a surprise!

    At this point, all I really wanted was to talk to somebody who knew something. So, after a long hold, the tech support person finally told me that all such people were busy, but that she could serve as an intermediary with one. Great, just what I needed</sarcasm>. After a few more worthless questions and them calling me back, they finally came to the solution of hard rebooting the modem (hold the reset down for 15 seconds) and "resetting their system". It actually worked.

    For a little while anyway. The next day, the problem showed up again. So instead of taking a trip back to India, I decided that the modem was garbage and that the best thing to do was make the modem what it already was: as stupid as possible. So, I turned off the modem's "features" by setting it to "RFC 1483 Transparent bridged mode" and letting my router do the PPPoE authentication. Problem solved - hasn't come back since. Of course, good luck ever getting tech support from India...


    As a final note, this modem has telnet available, and, during my explorations, it would often either freeze part way before giving me a prompt or immediately after giving me a prompt. With code like what was in the article, its no wonder.



  •  first & indeed.



  • I recently tried to set up a new DSL service with AT&T. Rather than pay $$$ for their DSL modem, I bought a cheap little guy (SpeedStream 5100) off eBay. This was all well and good until I tried to get information on how to register my account / what credentials to use / etc.



    Summary:

    Lady: "Go to the address bar and type in one nine two dot one six eight dot ...."

    Me: "Ma'am, that's not going to work because I have a SpeedStream 5100 and not a SpeedStream 5100B since the 5100B works as a router and the 5100 is just a dumb bridge which does not function as a router and although it has a web UI you can't get to it unless you play some games with your ARP cache and even then you don't actually get to set any meaningful settings and it really should just be working as just a PPPoE connection honestly I do know what's going on here."

    Lady: "Umm, according to what I have here it should work for a 5100."

    Me: "Lies."



    After an hour or so of mostly-mindless-waiting while I surfed the InterWebz (via my laptop's cellular connection) while she suggested hardware resets, reboots of the computer, et cetera... I finally got a few bytes of credentials (attreg@att.net / attreg) and slogged through the magical IE-only registration process (and strategically aborted it right when it was saying "okay we now will run scary activex to configure your cable modem now don't abort it in the middle!!!" ... yeah, riight, you do that now poof)



  • TRWTF is you guys paying minimal fees for home grade ISP and even not buying their "$$ modem/router" and still expecting help over the phone with any of your own equipment attach to the DSL line.  Hell you might as well ask for help with installing linux.

    If you try to tell the lady about ARP caches, thinking YOU are smart, then what's the point of even calling them.  The customer support people must have finished those calls thinking 'WTF!'




  • I discovered the my ISP actually has some competent technical support, if you know how to get to them.

    I was having all sorts of connection problems, and had spent hours with their "technical support" rebooting routers, reconnecting cables, moving things to other phone sockets... They even replaced my modem twice. Some things seemed to help for a while, then everything would disconnect for hours at a time.

    I eventually called their cancellation line and threatened to cancel my contract, they offered to put me through to a "special" technical support for a final try at resolving the problem. I was a bit reluctant, but I actually got to speak to someone who knew what they were talking about. He told me to open up the telephone socket, there was an old extension line connected, going who-knows-where in the house, I disconnected it, and everything works fine.

    So next time something stops working, I know to call their cancellation number, and skip their first level "technical support".



  • @fennec said:

    and although it has a web UI you can't get to it unless you play some games with your ARP cache

    WTFF?



  • @fennec said:

    Me: "Ma'am, that's not going to work because I have a SpeedStream 5100 and not a SpeedStream 5100B since the 5100B works as a router and the 5100 is just a dumb bridge which does not function as a router and although it has a web UI you can't get to it unless you play some games with your ARP cache and even then you don't actually get to set any meaningful settings and it really should just be working as just a PPPoE connection honestly I do know what's going on here."
     

    And with a long, drawn out run-on sentence like that (spoken like a true overamped California Valley Girl), is it any wonder she tuned you out after the first few words? Seriously, if you actually talk like that you need help.



  • @fennec said:

    I recently tried to set up a new DSL service with AT&T. Rather than
    pay $$$ for their DSL modem, I bought a cheap little guy (SpeedStream

    1. off eBay. This was all well and good until I tried to get
      information on how to register my account / what credentials to use /
      etc.

    I can understand tech support being a bit confused when somebody is not using their modem. After all that's not in their script. But it almost sounds like a fiirmware change could have turned the one modem into the other. 

    @Helix said:

    TRWTF is you guys paying minimal fees for home grade ISP and even not
    buying their "$$ modem/router" and still expecting help over the phone
    with any of your own equipment attach to the DSL line.  Hell you might
    as well ask for help with installing linux.

    What was really frustrating was that this modem was THEIR modem. The one Qwest provided. Setup as close as possible to the way their setup utility "Quckconnect" (not so quick) set it up. In fact, I think it was unchanged from their setup. The router was acting as just a switch - pretty robust stuff.  And yes a direct connection did the exact same thing - no surprise there.

     @gremlin said:

    So next time something stops working, I know to call their cancellation number, and skip their first level "technical support".

    Now there's an idea! I tried getting better tech support through the tech support line, but they wanted the script anyway. So threats work better than questions. Nice!

     

    Of course getting the credentials for the PPPoE was ... interesting. Their setup utility entered all the information autamatically - and failed to give it to the user. The modem told me what the login was, but not the password. Getting the password meant a trip to India and going through a gauntlet of rather personal questions.



  • @Spectre said:

    @fennec said:
    and although it has a web UI you can't get to it unless you play some games with your ARP cache

    WTFF?

    It's supposed to be a dumb device. It doesn't do DHCP and it doesn't have an IP (at least that I know of) but if you ARP-cache up an IP to point at its MAC address, you can see what (very little) there is to see (some boring low-level diagnostics about its tone buckets or something). Actually, if you do go there, it's got a WTFy JavaScript menu with a bunch of secret hidden configuration pages (meant for the router-enabled version) that don't actually work.


    If you have a normal dialup 56k modem I bet it doesn't normally have a web interface either. A dumb DSL modem isn't that different; this one just has a few leftover tricks because it shares firmware with something that has a real web UI.



  •  @fennec said:

    @Spectre said:
    @fennec said:
    and although it has a web UI you can't get to it unless you play some games with your ARP cache

    WTFF?

    It's supposed to be a dumb device. It doesn't do DHCP and it doesn't have an IP (at least that I know of) but if you ARP-cache up an IP to point at its MAC address, you can see what (very little) there is to see (some boring low-level diagnostics about its tone buckets or something). Actually, if you do go there, it's got a WTFy JavaScript menu with a bunch of secret hidden configuration pages (meant for the router-enabled version) that don't actually work.


    If you have a normal dialup 56k modem I bet it doesn't normally have a web interface either. A dumb DSL modem isn't that different; this one just has a few leftover tricks because it shares firmware with something that has a real web UI.

    WTF are tone buckets? Extra large toner cartridges for your modem?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @immibis said:

     @fennec said:

    It's supposed to be a dumb device. It doesn't do DHCP and it doesn't have an IP (at least that I know of) but if you ARP-cache up an IP to point at its MAC address, you can see what (very little) there is to see (some boring low-level diagnostics about its tone buckets or something).

    WTF are tone buckets? Extra large toner cartridges for your modem?

     

    They are the 4 repositories for the  1070 Hz, 1270 Hz, 2025 Hz and 2225 Hz[1] noises it makes.



  • @PJH said:

    They are the 4 repositories for the  1070 Hz, 1270 Hz, 2025 Hz and 2225 Hz[1] noises it makes.
    FTFY. And DSL doesn't use that system. In fact, no modem except maybe mine would use that system; we're a very long way past three hundred baud. Try this article instead.



  • @TwelveBaud said:

    @PJH said:
    They are the 4 repositories for the  1070 Hz, 1270 Hz, 2025 Hz and 2225 Hz[1] noises it makes.
    FTFY. And DSL doesn't use that system. In fact, no modem except maybe mine would use that system; we're a very long way past three hundred baud. Try this article instead.

    That should have been obvious from the fact that those frequencies are all within the normal "audible" range for POTS... 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    That should have been obvious from the fact that those frequencies are all within the normal "audible" range for POTS... 
    Quit being retarded.  Pots can't hear anything, they're inanimate pieces of metal!



  • @bstorer said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    That should have been obvious from the fact that those frequencies are all within the normal "audible" range for POTS... 
    Quit being retarded.  Pots can't hear anything, they're inanimate pieces of metal!

    Your mom's an inanimate bag of STDs, but she can hear me jangle a few coins from several street corners away. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Your mom's an inanimate bag of STDs, but she can hear me jangle a few coins from several street corners away.
    @pstorer's mom said:
    Alms! Alms!

    For a miserable woman

    On a miserable chilly morning

    Thank yer, sir, thank yer

    ’Ow would you like a little muff, dear

    A little jig jig

    A little bounce around the bush?

    Wouldn’t you like to push me parsley?

    It looks to me, dear

    Like you got plenty there to push!




  • Yeah, that's from the way olden days of 300 baud modems.  Those were simple frequency shift keying modulations. Modern stuff is alot more complicated: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modem (interesting article by the way). DSL modems are even more sophisticated. One common modulation (there are several) is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrete_multitone_modulation. Plus the ADSL standards: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asymmetric_Digital_Subscriber_Line.

    Oh and what you had to begin with is very much like what I ended up turning mine into. It has a web interface and it can do (but doesn't do) DHCP, NAT, etc. It just does the functionality necessary to modulate the traffic from the lan to the phone line. But mine, at least, does have an IP address - no ARP tricks necesssary. If it didn't, it would be alot harder to get out of dumb mode.

    Oh and you should try investigating the acronyms surrounding phone systems / VoIP: FXS, FXO, PBX, PSTN, POTS, ATA, etc, etc

     


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