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VPN for TG585 v7?

« on 27/01/2010, 11:43 »
When I couldn't get VPN to work, PlusNet technical support told me that the Thomson TG585 v7 doesn't currently support this. My current firmware version is 8.2.23.0. There appears to be a version 8.2.3.7 on the net.

PlusNet technical support advised me to try downgrading to a previous version of the firmware. I tried the versions supplied (tg585v7_branded.bin, tg585v7_generic.bin, Plusnet Branded TG585v7 R7447 DEMO.bin). However, all of them fail 18% of the way through transferring the firmware. The message is "An error occurred: The upgrade process failed".

Apart from the VPN issue, the modem is working fine so it's not as if my Ethernet connection to it is doubtful.

Does anyone have VPN working with this modem? Any idea when a corrected/upgraded version of the firmware will support VPN?

Thanks!
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  • Mand
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« Reply #1 on 27/01/2010, 14:47 »
Hi there,

Have you tried the version linked to in the support library article here?
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« Reply #2 on 27/01/2010, 15:33 »
Thomson removed support for one of the very common forms of VPN - wow
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  • Mark
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« Reply #3 on 27/01/2010, 21:55 »
Is it still that common though? The decision by Thomson to remove it was based on greatly declining use and indeed analysis of our network traffic indicated that the number of customers using PPTP was quite low and based on further analysis, the number using the 585v7 and PPTP was tiny.

I was slightly disappointed that this was removed, but based on the usage evidence, the impact wasn't what I expected.Tthe other protocols are much more widely used now so I think the risk is somewhat mitigated. For those who do want to use PPTP then the alternative firmware exists.

Mark Kelly
Plusnet Business & Consumer Customer since 2001
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« Reply #4 on 28/01/2010, 13:05 »
I have an issue, in that I need to connect to a VPN, but am unable to downgrade the firmwarein the router to v7 in order to do so. I only have accessible a Windows 7 Home (i.e. no XP mode) machine, yet the software to flash the machine won't run on this version of Windows. Any suggestions? At the moment it seems my only option is to find/borrow a machine running a copy of XP.
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« Reply #5 on 31/01/2010, 14:29 »
PlusNet technical support had advised me to try:

  http://bobpullen.net/585v7_setup.zip

  http://bobpullen.net/Firmware%207447v3.zip

and this is what failed.

I have now tried the flashing utility and binaries from the web page suggested:

  http://community.plus.net...are-on-the-thomson-585v7/

I then tried tg585v7_branded.bin from this web page. The firmware transfer fails in exactly the same way.

My conclusion is that it's not possible to downgrade recent TG585s to version 7 of the firmware. As a result, it's not possible to have VPN with this modem.

Actually, it's not clear in what sense the modem needs to support VPN. I would have thought that the modem just needed to let the VPN traffic through the firewall. Perhaps the issue is the NAT?

I find this rather sad. VPN/PPTP is a well-established protocol. I suspect that many people need it for the reason I do: to connect to their workplace from offsite. If I had made a free choice of modem, I would have lived with the consequences. However, this is the modem that PlusNet supplies to customers so it's unfortunate that what they supply doesn't support VPN. I would have bought my own modem if I'd known this.

Many thanks for the various pieces of advice. Too bad this isn't viable.
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« Reply #6 on 02/02/2010, 08:04 »
Can't you create the VPN connection from your computer rather than your router. - All your router has to do then is port-forward. :/
OK - the out-of-sync-guy-falling-on-floor-thingy has gone now.

I shall think of something else to fill this void with at some stage.
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« Reply #7 on 02/02/2010, 09:48 »
James, I suspect that the router needs to do something special to handle the traffic for this sort of VPN traffic.

kjt - I'd offer to swap my V7 router for your, but mine seems to suddenly decided that running for more than a couple of days without random reboots is much too hsrd for it.

I have to say that I'm becoming less and less impressed with the Thomson router.
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« Reply #8 on 02/02/2010, 14:52 »
As I understand it, all that has been removed/omitted is a PPTP *client*, but if you use your PC as the tunnel endpoint, the router has nothing to do (it doesn't care about protocol, it simply allows traffic through on the basis that it is solicited.

If you require connecting to an endpoint behind a router, you just need to setup port forwarding on that router to get the traffic through to the endpoint/listener.

The router is only required to do exactly as it does for web traffic, except its using a different port.

I accept it isn't necessarily as useful in some circumstances as an infrastructure VPN, but for most home users its more flexible.
OK - the out-of-sync-guy-falling-on-floor-thingy has gone now.

I shall think of something else to fill this void with at some stage.
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« Reply #9 on 02/02/2010, 15:00 »
Quote
As I understand it, all that has been removed/omitted is a PPTP *client*, but if you use your PC as the tunnel endpoint, the router has nothing to do (it doesn't care about protocol, it simply allows traffic through on the basis that it is solicited.
No, its worse than that James. PPTP uses GRE (Generic Routing Encapsulation) protocol  and the router needs to allow that through. On the earlier TG585 f/w there was a firewall 'helper' function which handled this. It looks like they removed it from the later f/w.
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« Reply #10 on 05/02/2010, 07:56 »
Actually, it's not clear in what sense the modem needs to support VPN. I would have thought that the modem just needed to let the VPN traffic through the firewall. Perhaps the issue is the NAT?

It's the PPTP ALG that was removed.

Quote
I find this rather sad. VPN/PPTP is a well-established protocol.

Perhaps, but as Matt has alluded to, it's not widely used. Analysis of our network suggested that at any one time there were less than 1,500 or so PPTP flows across the network, only a fraction of which will have been using 585v7's. We would have been more proactive about this from the offset but unfortunately the removal of the PPTP ALG was overlooked and therefore ill-prepared for.

I have an issue, in that I need to connect to a VPN, but am unable to downgrade the firmware in the router to v7 in order to do so. I only have accessible a Windows 7 Home (i.e. no XP mode) machine, yet the software to flash the machine won't run on this version of Windows. Any suggestions? At the moment it seems my only option is to find/borrow a machine running a copy of XP.

Try the firmware upgrade utility here and let me know how you get on. Would also appreciate somebody on a non-Windows 7 OS to try it and let me know if it works. Assuming it does, I'll update the download link in the Community Support article.

FWIW, the next version of the firmware we'll be shipping will have this functionality restored.
« Reply #11 on 06/02/2010, 12:04 »
Thanks for the various clarifications. Actually I had to give up on this modem as I need VPN now. I'm about to try another modem that explicitly states it supports VPN.
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« Reply #12 on 05/03/2010, 12:07 »
Not sure if you had same issue with downgrade as mine. ie no access to router.
give yourself a fixed ip address then go in and run wizard with  username etc.
Then remove fixed address. Vpn now works with standard firewall.
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« Reply #13 on 30/11/2010, 18:26 »
I have the exact same issue - need to use PPTP for a work VPN, it used to work, but the upgrade has borked this and I cannot downgrade for the same reasons as the OP.

Is there a fix or a workaround, please? This is pretty crucial for me.

Ta,

Sean
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« Reply #14 on 30/11/2010, 20:58 »
I've been through this.

I managed to downgrade, but VPN still didn't work. It wasted a hell of a lot of time.

I've no idea why plus.net though PPTP VPNs weren't that common, they're one of the mostly widely supported and easy to setup VPNs around. Even the iphone supports it, and Apple aren't fans of implementing obsolete protocols!

I'd suggest getting a better router, the thomson is pretty poor all round - we're using vigor 2820's now.
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