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Connecting to F9 with Cisco 800

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Connecting to F9 with Cisco 800

Hi

Having got tired of consumer products that crash all the time, I bought a Cisco 877 DSL router.

Even out of the box with no firewall configured it doesn't seem to connect. The ADSL interface can't get an address, saying the DHCP server didn't respond.

I am supposed to have static IP though it turns out F9 does that by leaving it dynamic and just always assigning the same address. But I get no address.

The Cisco config software suggests this may be due to mismatched encapsulation. I know I need PPoA but the 877 offers two flavours and F9 will only say I need PPoA - something I already know!

Cananyone help, or suggest how I might pinpoint the problem?

Thanks in advance!

Nick
10 REPLIES
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Cisco Router Replying on Ivan

Hi Nick,

Sadly, Cisco routers are almost in a class of their own as they are designed for professional IT use in a business context. Thats why NOT many home users buy them, also Cisco routers differ from others in the command set which they use as far as I understand, its even a different chip set used from many of the more popular ADSL routers like netgear,etc.

Basically, a cisco router will require manual configuration, NOP! diefinately should 100% work with F9. You will have to set the router up bye connecting to it and entering the admin config page. You will have to assign the WAN interface with your F9 static IP (cisco is unlikley unless they have changed them alot, unlikley to have an auto-detect line or network settings). The WAN IP address such as 212.156.77.03 for example is also the default gateway IP too.

I would'nt bother with a DHCP server if the router has one built in, unless you fully understand what it actually does and require numerous PC's on a home LAN to have IP's assigned dynamically to them. If you one have one or two machines I wouldnt bother with a DHCP server.

**Yes! you do need the firewall features enabled if it has those (which I would expect it to have!!).

**The encapsulation type or mode would depend upon HOW you intend to connect to F9, are you going to use Ethernet & CAT5 cables, if this is the case then you would need PPPoE otherwise if your going to connect just with a normal BT phone line PPPoA but either method should work fine.

**Have you got a Cisco manual (paper or PDF file) which explains how to setup the device? Some Cisco routers used to be abit tricky to set up and it wasnt for the faint hearted talking from past experience. Though I have to say once correctly setup they are extremely good and very reliable.

Ivan
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David_W
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Connecting to F9 with Cisco 800

Hi. First things to check are if your settings are correct for the UK (might be set for US, never know) so set VPI to 0 and VCI to 38. It should then synch in, if its already synched, ignore that part.

Your encapsulation should read PPPoA VC-Mux, service category (if applicable) UBR, if you can disable DCHP client in a WAN interface (not LAN) then do so.

Static IP settings (if you need them)

IP Address 0.0.0.0
Subnet 255.0.0.0
Gateway 0.0.0.0

That "should" work, in theory.

Other things you could try is Annex Mode A, trellis Enabled, Handshake G.dmt, wiring tip/ring, bit swapping, on or off, up to you. Hopefully set up like that you should be able to connect, hopefully.
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Connecting to F9 with Cisco 800

Ivan - thanks.
Of course, the reason I went to Cisco after so much trouble with other routers (DLink, LinkSys, Netgear) is precisely because they are professional quality and I would expect it not to crash.
The 800 series claims to have an easy-to-use interface, though - or I wouldn't have bought it. But it just doesn't work.


Using the Security Device Manager software from Cisco, I tried assigning the static address but it just claimed I needed to put in a valid IP address (which I had).

The only way it would accept was to choose IP Assigned (basically negotiates the IP address over PPP).
then I appeared to get a connection but the software shows the interface as having "No IP address"

The DHCP server I have disabled as I have DHCP from my Small Business Server - but I only have my laptop set to DHCP and that's because I connect to another wireless network in the office and it's on a different subnet. All my home machines are static.

I am connecting with a DSL cable to a splitter on a BT line. PPoA using MUX appears to train and the router shows connected on hte front panel. The SDM software shows the line is UP but even with the router set to "out-of-the-box" defaults (apart from LAN IP address and connection details obviously) it doesn't route to the internet. That's with no firewall and with NAT enabled. (I have reverted to my Netgear for the moment as I'm only going to connect without a firewall for the minimum time necessary to get it running.)

The manuals are sketchy because you'd need a whole lot of manual commands to set it up, and you'd have to know the sequence and meaning of all of them - hence why Cisco run certified courses presumably - and also why they claim an easy end-user interface!

dgwebb - thanks also.

I do have 0,38 and it does appear to be synched.
Encapsulation is currently PPPoA using AAL5MUX (if I remember correctly - the router's at home at the moment).
DCHP client in the WAN interface is disabled as well as DHCP server in the LAN interface.

Interesting that you have 0.0.0.0 as suggested IP, whereas Ivan suggests the f9 static IP (which is what my Netgear uses). My Netgear, and f9 documents, suggest a mask of 255.255.255.255

Don't think I can set the other things in the SDM (though presumably could from the CLI). It does look as if I'm connected, but just not routing traffic in or out now.

Nick
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Replying on Cisco Router Ivan

Hi Nick,

**How are you connecting to the Cisco router in order to try to configure it? normally you would use a laptop or desktop, a network card and networking cable such as a CAT5 patch lead or patch cable or Xover cable. Use either a telenet session or hyperterminal (can never remember which it is), next you normally have to login as the administrator and password, once into the admin page, there are a whole bunch of menues with settings to enable or disable the config is then saved to a file or used to be before you reboot the device.

**No the router wont have an IP address yet if you havent inputted one, it seems clear that its not allowing you to configure the device.

**Some routers use old fashioned menus whilst other require IE6 and a web page style interface for configuration.

**IMO if you havent got the Cisco 800 working by now! & I cannot see that your doing anything wrong, your obvously reasonably knowledgable about routers.

Then sadly I would have to conclude that in this case perhaps you just have a DUFF router and there's NOT much point in fannying around with it now. Send it back to the supplier? ask them to replace it with a new one. Or ask them to test it for you & see if they can set it up and having it working & routing correctly for you? (ie.prove too you its working as it should) is it still new enough to have a valid warrenty? have it sent back under warrenty? Or just ask for your money back? which ever you feel is the most approprate response.

**Told you Cisco Routers are NOT easy to configure I remember the pain & frustration well myself but I managed it in the end. With good results.

Ivan
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Connecting to F9 with Cisco 800

Hi Ivan

To configure I have connected to ta LAN port with CAT5 from my laptop, initially set to DHCP client - the router defaults to a DHCP server.
I changed the IP of the router LAN interface to suit the network I'll be connecting to, turned off the DHCP server and exited, then set a static IP on my laptop and reconnected.
But I'm not using telnet or hyperterm (or any other terminal emulatioon) - I'm trying to use the Cisco Security Device Manager. Essentially that's a Java applet that connects via HTTP (or HTTPS) on the LAN interface.

The Router has a LAN address (from above) but isn't showing a WAN address. I have set the ATM interface to PPoA on 0,38, with AAL5MUX as the encapsulation. The built-in DSL modem appears to synch to the exchange properly and the Security Device Manager software reports the interface is up.
However I have to choose how the WAN interface gets its IP address and this is where I don't know what's happening. On theconsumer routers I could just choose Static or DHCP. F9 tells me that even though I am paying for static I should leave the method as DHCP and tthey will always serve me the same address.
If I do this the SDM software always tells me I have no IP adress - in fact it says "No IP address (DHCP)"

If I try setting a staic one, (the one I have from F9) it says "Enter a valid IP address and subnet mask". It says this whatever mask I put in (255.255.255.255 or 255.255.255.0). The IP address is correct.

I have already asked for an RMA as thr router is only 3 days old now. So I may well send it back and ask them to configure it.
I had hoped the Security Device manager, billed by Cisco as easy to use, would allow someone with a little knowledge and previous consumer router experience, to set up port forwarding, NAT etc. Irt seems not.
I've just downloaded a 200-page Cisco manual on configuring this thing. Though it's detailed, the examples do sometimes throw in apparently random settings (such as loopback interfaces and IP addresses) that just confuse. (What does "a loopback interface is a placeholder for the ststic IP address" mean??)

I've also posted a similar question on a couple of forums - the Cisco experts one hasn't been answered at all! It can't be that difficult to set up such a simple network requirement if you know Cisco routers and commands!

But maybe it's back to the supplier Sad
Shame, I wanted the reliability and robustness of Cisco.

Nick
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Replying on Cisco Ivan

Hi Nick,

well Ah Hemm!! Humm!! I dont understand why you have to have the DHCP server enabled just to setup a simple static IP address, that just doesnt make any sense to me at all. I'm wondering if this is a part of the problem.

On the Cisco routers I've come across admittedly this was a few years back now, (so it could well be that Cisco have changed the designes alot since my time as an IT professional).

You should be able to connect directly into the router from your laptop with the cat5 Xover cable (laptop should have one static IP even if it's just for example 192.168.05.2) then you should be able to connect directly to the set-up page which should then enable you to set the WAN IP address (all you need to do is to set the F9 static IP this should be possible and it should work fine!!).

You should be able to test this works by inputting it saving the new IP and rebooting the router, connect it up to the web and get a friend to see if they can ping it (if you cannot get hold of a friend in time, let me know and I'll run a ping test for you or even F9 support could do this for you).

What is the Cisco security device manager software? is this something you have to install on your laptop or is this Cisco software within the router. I dont think we had this in my day? I dont remember this at all.

**The F9 comments about a static IP make no sense either, frankly you either do or not have a static IP. You cannot have it both ways, its either a fixed static IP or its DHCP asigned and also this could be part of your problems. If your router is working as a DHCP server and F9 is also assigning your router via another DHCP server this could be very very problematic. IMO get rid of all DHCP servers jsut keep it as simple as possible by manually assigning ALL your IP's.

**Could also be a problem with SDM software? is there any other option for setup config of the Cisco router or is the SDM the only method you get given?

**127.000.000.000 is normally the default loop back IP this is used as a reference point for the machine and the TCP/IP stack. I have to confess I cannot remember in detail why its used. But all machines have 127.0.0.0 even if you have a normal IP address assigned.

**Why not give them all your settings IP etc and get them to do all the hard pain in the behined hard work of setting it up for you and get them to prove to you its working. Other wise Just get rid of it and send it back you might have to think again if its going to be that hard to config. It shouldnt be THAT difficult, unless you ARE missing something very very simple & so fundamental that you just have missed it? whilst possible doesnt sound very likley to me?

**Look if you cannot get it working after say 5 serious attempts then take it back
lifes far to short for that kind of pain.

Ivan
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Connecting to F9 with Cisco 800

Ivan

It doesn't make sense to me to have to use DHCP on the WAN interface to get an F9 "static" address - but that's what they told me I should do. I can post the exact text of their response to my query if you like.

I can connect to the router from my laptop, using a cat5 cable, either using a static IP or (when the router has DHCP enabled on the LAN, after a reset to factory default) using DHCP client settings. None of that makes any difference. However, as I said, the Cisco software won't allow me to set a static IP on the WAN interface. It tells me to "Enter a valid IP address and mask". It doesn't actually matter what IP and subnet mask I choose, it simply repeats taht error dialog. I have used the "static" IP that F9 gave me and that always gets assigned to my Netgear router when I use that, and is always resolved by DNS on the internet if I use my domain name from an external PC.
I tired 255.255.255.255 and 255.255.255.0 and 255.0.0.0 as subnet mask values but I always get the same error (it doesn't specify whether it thinmks the IP address or the subnet mask is invalid, just tells me to check both).
It's only by setting DHCP client on the WAN interface that I can get past this screen. And that should work, because F9 tell me they'll always assign the same IP address to me and that's their way of delivering static IP.

I can't ping the router from outside (I can test this by connecting my laptop to the internet via dial-up and pinging the WAN address. That doesn't surprise me as I suspect the router would drop ICMP packets anyway as a default security setting, to make the router invisible to scanning attempts.

SDM is a java-based applet supplied by Cisco to give a GUI interface to set up the router as I mentioned above - "Essentially that's a Java applet that connects via HTTP (or HTTPS) on the LAN interface. " It runs on the PC, but is also available as "SDM Express" (a slightly cut-down version) resident on the router and accessed by http(s)://<router LAN IP address>

My router is NOT set as a DHCP server - that's the first thing I turned off, and the first thing I turn off again every time I reset to factory defaults to make sure I'm starting the next configuration attempt from a clean base.
My only DHCP server is the one I run on Small Business Server 2003, and as all my PCs, IP printer, and other devices are set to static except for the laptop, only the laptop is affected by having the SBS DHCP server active.
I can see this by checking the ipconfig of any of my PCs, or examining other devices via their own interfaces (my 3Com switch for example).

The CLI is still available for the Cisco router - SDM isn't the only way to access the configuration. But as I say, I don't know enough about command line configuration to do it all manually.

I am well aware that PCs have a loopback address (actually at 127.0.0.1 to be precise). That wasn't the question I was asking about loopback. I was simply giving an example of the Cisco configuration manual and how it isn't clear about some things. It is talking about a "loopback interface" within the router and how "a loopback interface is a placeholder for the ststic IP address", not about PC or server loopback IP addresses.

I like the idea of getting the supplier to configure it to prove it works. But in practice all they are going to do is refund my money. That gets me nowhere except for buying again from another source and seeing if the new one works - which it may. It's possible this one is faulty, though I think it unlikely. Of course, if the new one doesn't work, all I've done is delay myself (and prove that the configuration is at fault).

The only response I've had on the Cisco forums is to advise downloading the configuration manual - which I've done, but the question was how to set it up without having to spend weeks deciphering the arcane commands in the manual, trying to work out which ones apply to me and where I need to modify them to my needs and then probably getting it wrong anyway!

All in all a frustrating experience. It's clear that Cisco is far more reliable than anything else I know of - all the corporates I've worked in use Cisco and it's the core of the internet after all - but getting it working is nightmarish.

Nick
David_W
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Posts: 2,293
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Registered: 19-07-2007

Connecting to F9 with Cisco 800

Hi again, I think what cyteck was trying to point out is that a Cisco Router isnt for the normal everyday user. Its rather like someone who has used for instance Zonealarm firewall software, and then decides they want a better firewall which is more configurable, so goes off and gets a Checkpoint Firewall (trust me, Checkpoint is a nightmare).

Cisco products, like routers etc.. have their own qualified users who spend a long time learning how to use the products, because they are so advanced, for the normal home user, turning on a Router and having it connect to the Internet is exactly what they want.

However, you have purchased a professional system, designed probably for a company network with several routers, hubs, DCHP servers, IIS, SQL, VPN etc.. all designed to talk to each other through the router, so just turning the router on, will never be enough (its too advanced).

To put it into an easier comparison, a person has been using Windows XP for a year and then decides "lets try Linux" and gets to the first bit where it doesnt boot into X, and they are left with a command prompt, they have never used a CLI before, so have no idea they need to type startx, let alone the rm -r -f * or tar -zxvf file.tar.bz etc.. Your normal router is Windows XP, your Cisco is Linux From Scratch.

So what do I recommend? Send your Cisco Professional product back, and get a Cisco consumer product, Linksys is Cisco's consumer division, although people swear by Netgear, using a Professional product for home or small business use, is overkill to be honest.
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Replying again Re: Cisco Router config Ivan.

Hello Nick,

Huuuuu!!! nightmare as you say!! TRUE!! (been there done that got the Tshirt to prove it along with the emotional scare's like you!! :roll: ). Well to conclude I think you still really have three choices now IMO 1) take the Cisco router & all your settings and get them to configure it for you & prove its working as required 2) return it get your funds back & go else where? 3) Give up on your Cisco dreams and buy different branded router?

**Yes! I still think your best bet to config this router is by hand i.e.manually but as you say this requires a good understanding of the complex arckain Cisco command set. (that is NOT using the SDM software from PC or Laptop but to use the cut down version built into the router itself).

**Sorry! dont know what more I can advise on this situation, obviously I'd have more chance of helping you if I was on site, its considerably harder via forum, phone or emails. On site support is much better.

**Now you can see why NOT very many users buy and run Cisco routers from home or SOHO.

Ivan
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Connecting to F9 with Cisco 800

Nick,

I have a Cisco 837 and all works fine, email me a copy of your config and I`ll take a look and send you one that should work...if your still having issues.

Sean