cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

RunningSites
Dabbler
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎10-11-2010

DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

Hello,
since end June this year we've been trying to stabilise and make useable a Business Broadband 1 line here in the Hebrides.  We are on NSLBD, a Market 1 exchange, with the ADSL Max IPStream product. Downlink/uplink are 12/5dB attenuation and SNR is 14/26dB with a perfect quiet line test. The exchange is clearly visible about 700m to the south.
The situation has not been helped by Scottish & Southern Energy, who seem to regard constancy of mains supply as 'nice to have' rather than part of their public service obligation. As a result there are frequent power outages of up to 30 seconds as our islands are taken on and off the national grid.
Added to constant fighting with dynamic line management (a.k.a. BT's secret weapon to reduce their backbone costs) due to the power situation, the major service outages of the last few weeks were the last straw and we're now looking to move away to the local wireless ISP. This is only 1 MB SDSL for the package that we can afford, but at least we won't be getting up in the morning and wondering what the download speed will be today, or whether there'll be any PPP connectivity at all.
As part of the (now largely academic) investigations into the recent PPP drops we picked up a second-user DG834GT to investigate whether the problems might be down to our venerable and previously trusty USR SureConnect 9106.
Programming in the username/password/VPI/VCI/VC-mux etc etc and plonking it on the line resulted in nothing happening. The wireless and wired LAN aspects of the router seemed fine, and a load of the latest good DGTeam firmware (1020 was the recommended one) confirmed that the main functions were ok. However the unit did not sync, and the status panel simply indicated 'Connecting...'.
In keeping with our general experience over the months since June, this toing and froing of modems and lack of sync on the DG834GT of course didn't stop the DLM in the DSLAM from thinking "Ahh, what you **actually** wanted was an IP Profile of 750k".  Deep joy.
For completeness, we have a static IP but left the DG834GT in DHCP mode for both WAN IP address and DNS servers, as the SureConnect seems to pick these up from Plusnet without their having to be programmed in. We've also tried out a version of the official Netgear firmware (1.2.13) with the same lack of sync being the result.
The question is, has PlusNet locked the line to the WAN MAC address of the SureConnect and would this have resulted in the DG834GT not even attempting to sync?  We've read elsewhere that some ISPs require the MAC address of the previous router to be cloned when placing a new router on the line.  With the 1020 version of the DGTeam firmware this seems to involve editing a backed-up config file, the MAC spoofing function having been removed from this version of the firmware. Either that or switch off the old router for a half hour or so to clear its lease with the DSLAM.
Having unsuccessfully scoured this and other fora for comments on any similar situations, we would appreciate input from anyone who has had experience of having to go back and forward between more than one ADSL modem on a Plusnet IPStream line.
29 REPLIES
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,803
Thanks: 1,168
Fixes: 67
Registered: ‎06-04-2007

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

Have you tried running your router and computer from a UPS (uninterruptible power supply)? It sounds like installing one would be worthwhile investment.
Plusnet don't lock lines to particular hardware MAC addresses; I've used several different routers ones on my line, including a DG834v4. I believe that uses the same chipset as the GT.
I would think the problem with your DG834GT is most likely that is locked to a particular ISP and would need unlocking to use it with a different one. Is there any indication on the case or box that might suggest such locking?
David
RunningSites
Dabbler
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎10-11-2010

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

Thanks for your reply, spraxyt. Running from a UPS might solve the hard reset problems due to S&SE's taking us off grid and onto the Loch Carnan generators but we suspect wouldn't do anything for other random resets we've experienced since June.
For reasons that are too long to go into here we would need a pure sinewave unit, as part of the benefit of being up here is a very quiet radio environment that we don't want to trash with a square or stepped sine wave unit.  The ticket price for pure sinewave units starts at just south of £200.
No UPS would do anything to mitigate the latest spate of unexplained PPP dropouts.  These have been the last straw in deciding whether to stay or leave.  Prior to moving the business up here, we had several years (literally - uptime 1142 days at time of powerdown) faultless service from a Telewest -> Virgin Media cable modem, so to come to the Nightmare that is the DLM on the local IPStream DSL has resulted in sleepless nights and short fingernails.
Coming back to the subject of the original post, it would seem that there is indeed no MAC restriction (Plusnet have just answered the same question as posted here in a ticket that stretches back to mid-October) and the DG834GT should be blinking away trying to synchronise from the moment it is switched on.  So it is simply a case of our modem having ceased to mode.
This was bought from a well-known online auction site, and was specifically sought out as it was a 'Netgear' and not 'Sky' branded unit and therefore ISP-agnostic.  It has also been factory reset to remove all of the previous user's personalisation and accounts etc.  Said lady vendor swore blind that it was "working fine a few days before she sent it to us".  So that would have been just before the nearby lightning strike then...
In the absence of very remote possibilities, like the DG834GT coming supplied with some kind of crossover ADSL connecting cable, it'll be a case of just initiating a dispute to recover the princely £6 we paid.  There's therefore some satisfaction that it cost her more than the 'think of a number' £5 postage to get it all the way out here to us  Cool
stallan
Grafter
Posts: 282
Registered: ‎02-11-2007

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

Could it be the DGTeam Firmware Huh  I didn't think there was a version 1020. Last one I recall was 1018 and that had it's fair share of users with issues.  I have version 1014 and 1007 if you want it (DGTeam firmware site now dead).
Who applied the firmware ? Could it be a duff firmware flash ?
Perhaps put the router into recovery mode and put on the Netgear firmware (remember to 'reset' the router afterwards).
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
Thanks: 12
Registered: ‎02-02-2008

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

Quote from: RunningSites
For completeness, we have a static IP but left the DG834GT in DHCP mode for both WAN IP address and DNS servers,

Hmm, not sure about doing that, I'd configure it properly as static if that's what PN are supplying.
I'd also go back to the latest Netgear firmware and start all over.
(I use DGTeam 1014 on my GT but it's whole future seems to be in doubt and there are no downloads available)
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,803
Thanks: 1,168
Fixes: 67
Registered: ‎06-04-2007

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

Picking up the WAN and DNS server IPs automatically from Plusnet is the setting recommended. For users with a static IP Plusnet just supply the same WAN IP every time. In any case that shouldn't stop the router syncing with the exchange, the correct IP is supplied only after user authentication with Plusnet. In fact I'm not sure sync will be successful if a static WAN IP is set on the router. I think BTw assign their own dynamic IP until routing to Plusnet has been completed.
David
puddy
Grafter
Posts: 1,571
Registered: ‎10-06-2007

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

OP said they have moved
How long will it be before estate agents start to put the distance you are from your BT exchange plus line speeds you will get in your new house?
I moved from the Norwich area to a very small village in Lincolnshire and didn’t give it a thought at the time lucky for me our new house is across the road from our BT exchange.
We did have to live here for 6 months without a phone service because the houses had not been wired up via underground cables, we were also told that our exchange would have a 2mg service.
I was on the phone complaining to BT  for months about the limit and 3 months later BT called me to say the exchange will be upgrade to 8mg by the end of the week and it was!
Puddy
Ps I often wonder if it could affect the price on a house
RunningSites
Dabbler
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎10-11-2010

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

Thanks for your replies, one and all, much appreciated.
Quote from: stallan
Could it be the DGTeam Firmware Huh  I didn't think there was a version 1020. Last one I recall was 1018 and that had it's fair share of users with issues.

Apologies for the earlier finger trouble, you are correct, the firmware was in fact 1012.  We have another DG834GT, an ex-Sky unit, at a site down south that has been chugging away pretty much untouched for over two years with the 0848 flavour of DGTeam firmware.  It was a bit of a surprise, therefore, to go back to the DGTeam site and find that this had been unbuilt and that all the firmwares were unavailable. Sort of like going into a pub just after a fight has been cleared out and everyone is too shellshocked to tell you what's happened.
In the course of trawling around for someone who had uploaded and made available any of the previously mirrored firmwares, we picked up on the fact that there had been some issues reported with 1018 in particular. We therefore followed the advice of one forum post that touted the virtues of 1012 as the "latest and greatest" incarnation.  From memory, it was something to do with the implementation of the ADSL routines on the later firmwares.
Quote from: stallan
Perhaps put the router into recovery mode and put on the Netgear firmware (remember to 'reset' the router afterwards).

Will this achieve a different effect from loading any of the firmwares from the web GUI?  If it will then we'll give it a try.  Given that the complaints about the later firmwares seemed to centre on their approaching the limit of the DG834GT's onboard flash we would doubt that a recovery mode update would result in a flash image different from that achieved via the GUI, but perhaps you can put us right on this.
Quote from: spraxyt
Picking up the WAN and DNS server IPs automatically from Plusnet is the setting recommended. For users with a static IP Plusnet just supply the same WAN IP every time. In any case that shouldn't stop the router syncing with the exchange, the correct IP is supplied only after user authentication with Plusnet.

...is what we were also thinking, and what our trusty old SureConnect does.  Getting to the higher level diddledum of IP assignment etc assumes that the PHY stage hasn't barfed, which it seems to be doing in our case here for reasons, as yet, unexplained.  Or maybe even inexplicable, if we have a dead modem.
stallan
Grafter
Posts: 282
Registered: ‎02-11-2007

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

Quote from: RunningSites

Quote from: stallan
Perhaps put the router into recovery mode and put on the Netgear firmware (remember to 'reset' the router afterwards).

Will this achieve a different effect from loading any of the firmwares from the web GUI?  If it will then we'll give it a try.  Given that the complaints about the later firmwares seemed to centre on their approaching the limit of the DG834GT's onboard flash we would doubt that a recovery mode update would result in a flash image different from that achieved via the GUI, but perhaps you can put us right on this.

I think it is deemed as best practice to use recovery mode when going from DGTeam to Netgear firmware (and vice-versa). The last time I used the GUI to flash firmware I 'bricked' the router. I also now perform a hard reset of the router as opposed to 'soft' reset
Could it be the modem in the router that is not performing ? Does it work as a router. i.e. distributing DHCP addresses or linking 2 pcs ?Huh
RunningSites
Dabbler
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎10-11-2010

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

Sorry only just seen this
Quote from: stallan
I think it is deemed as best practice to use recovery mode when going from DGTeam to Netgear firmware (and vice-versa).

Ah, that could be the vital information. A recovery-mode firmware update worked for our other DG834GT, indeed as an ex-Sky router it was the only means of updating.  As Scottish & Southern tend to play around with the local mains in early/mid evening, we'll give the RM method a spin tomorrow and report the results.
Quote from: stallan
The last time I used the GUI to flash firmware I 'bricked' the router. I also now perform a hard reset of the router as opposed to 'soft' reset

Ulp Shocked so we've been juggling with hand-grenades in merrily going back and forth between Netgear official and DGTeam flavours of firmware via the GUI 'Router Upgrade' link.  As if the perils of a random mains interruption are not enough...
In terms of the "hard" reset, how would you define this? We have been factory resetting by holding in the switch on the back for 30 seconds or so both before and after each firmware change - is there an even harder method to torch the settings back to original?
Quote from: stallan
Could it be the modem in the router that is not performing ? Does it work as a router. i.e. distributing DHCP addresses or linking 2 pcs ?Huh

The unit works both as DHCP server and wireless AP.  We've not tested two PCs communicating via the LAN ports, mostly as this involves a modicum of faffing around with ZoneAlarm settings and pinging things until all eventually works.  If this might offer a clue as to the failure mode we'll have a go tomorrow, when we do the recovery mode update.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,803
Thanks: 1,168
Fixes: 67
Registered: ‎06-04-2007

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

Quote from: RunningSites
In terms of the "hard" reset, how would you define this? We have been factory resetting by holding in the switch on the back for 30 seconds or so both before and after each firmware change - is there an even harder method to torch the settings back to original?

That's my understanding of a "hard reset" (i.e. using the pinhole reset button on the back). A software reset can be carried out from the GUI interface, but there are suspicions that might not clear out all information stored in memory.
David
stallan
Grafter
Posts: 282
Registered: ‎02-11-2007

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

Hard reset - yep the little pinhole at the back.
If the router is providing DHCP to the PC's then it's probably fine. I ask the question as I've had a couple of DG834GTs with duff modems - router works fine, just won't connect (at all ) to the internet - no dial tone I think is the error it gives.
How about changing the modem cable ?
RunningSites
Dabbler
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎10-11-2010

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

Router reflashed using recovery mode tool, repersonalised with username, password, VPI, VCI and all the other good stuff, result still the same, i.e. no sync.
The resident Unix beardie thought he'd spotted the problem when, at the Setup Wizard stage, he pointed out that you might have to click to 'Apply' the 'UK' and 'English' settings to the ADSL modem, as otherwise it wouldn't know how to go off hunting for the DSL signal.  This, however, was a red herring and still resulted in not a hint of the 'Internet' light blinking.  It looks like we indeed have a paper-weight.
Quote from: stallan
I've had a couple of DG834GTs with duff modems - router works fine, just won't connect (at all ) to the internet - no dial tone I think is the error it gives.

Interesting point.  Won't bore you with the long and sorry story of trying to get this line working properly but one stopoff along the way was establishing that the DSL faceplate supplied by BT was duff - this has been removed and both modem and phone are attached directly into the test socket via a microfilter.
Looking at the removed faceplate, it contains the master socket balancing capacitor, a 1.8 microfarad jobbie.  No or interrupted dial tone was a perennial bugbear back in the analogue modem era, but is there perhaps an equivalent at the DSL frequencies, i.e. the Netgear is fussy about something not looking like it's generating whatever is the ADSL 'on hook' condition whereas the SureConnect merrily ignores this and connects anyway?
Just clutching at straws here really.
Quote from: stallan
How about changing the modem cable?

We're switching back and forwards using the SureConnect's own modem cable.  Unless there's something quirky about the Netgear-supplied cable, i.e. 2 and 5 crossed over with 3 and 4 or something similar, then the same cable should work fine for both modems.  Maybe a public-spirited owner of a Netgear wouldn't mind losing sync for a minute or two just to confirm that the Netgear indeed uses a 'straight through' cable...
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
Thanks: 12
Registered: ‎02-02-2008

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

Nothing unusual about the cables for Netgear.
Some (dial-up) modem cables do have different pinouts, so if you accidentally pick up a US-style one with RJ11's each end you can get "failure to connect" on ADSL (or phone for that matter) as they superficially look the same.
stallan
Grafter
Posts: 282
Registered: ‎02-11-2007

Re: DG834GT cannot sync - is line locked to old modem MAC address?

I'd say there is something wrong with the modem in the router.
Any relevant information in the 'log' of the router ?
Does is just sit there at 'connecting' ? or are there any other messages?