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Even though I no longer have a hosted web site, I still needed a means of easily accessing my blogs, Twitter accounts, email, and various network devices. I took my old web home page and adapted it as a local web page. I don’t have an intranet server (possibly a future project) so I keep a local copy on all of my local clients (excluding mobile devices). There aren’t many clients so maintaining it isn’t too much trouble.

Now that the idea of building an intranet server has crossed my mind, I’m giving it some serious thought and contemplating how it might serve a number of useful purposes.

Keeping the number

The journey to keep the land-line phone number we’ve had for over 20 years was arduous and tumultuous. I had changed my Internet provider from AT&T’s Uverse to Spectrum cable and had set up a new number through Google Voice. Everything was working quite well and I was very happy with it.

But there was pressure to maintain the old number and I discovered that it was possible to also have telephone service through my cable provider and port the number over, so I looked into it. My savings over my old provider would not be as great as they could have been with my original set up after converting back to cable but if it would keep peace, I’d do it.

I changed the plan, picked up the provider’s cable modem that supported the telephone, and installed it. I had to reconfigure my network, changing static IP addresses and default gateway settings but I got everything up and running. The new modem/router/gateway had wireless capability but once I had my WAP configured, I turned off the gateway’s wireless to avoid any potential conflicts. Plus, I didn’t really need wireless coverage in my neighbor’s house. The gateway’s wireless didn’t reach to the other end of my own house.

After waiting a few days for the number to be ported to the new provider, I hooked up a phone to the equipment and got nothing. After spending too much time with tech support and rebooting and resetting the gateway a few times, they scheduled a tech to come out the next day. After doing the hard reset, I had to reconfigure the gateway.

It took a while for the tech to get everything working again. He finally got the phone portion working but I had no Internet access. Then I had Internet access again but no phone. Finally, he closed the work order saying that it might tell the system work properly. After a few minutes, both phone and Internet were up and running.

I also spent quite a bit of time tinkering with the wiring in the phone box on the outside to adapt the house wiring. At this time I don’t know if that’s working since I’m using a set of wireless phones. The main unit is connected to the gateway and the satellite units are on her desk and mine. I’m thinking about moving the VoIP box to my room and connecting the corded phone I have there to it, using the Google Voice number.

Was it worth the trouble and effort? Only time will tell.

502 – Bad Gateway

While working on my blogs earlier today, I suddenly couldn’t connect to anything on my domains, not even my cPanel. I tried to connect on another browser and another computer and got a “502 Error Bad Gateway” message. I put in a ticket with my host and a while later got an email from them stating “We have found that your IP xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx was previously blocked by our server firewall, but for now it is unblocked.” There’s something about the wording that has me a little confused. The IP address was my public IP from my new Internet provider. I’m wondering about the “previously blocked” and “but for now it is unblocked”.

Is this something I need to be concerned about in the future?

Changed Provider

The tech arrived an hour ahead of schedule, good thing. I was able to use the old cable that I’d used for my cable modem years ago so there were no new holes in the way. Also a good thing. The tech hooked it up, called in the modem’s MAC address to register it, and we waited for over an hour to get connected. He said he’d never had to wait so long for it. Just a few minutes after he departed for his next job, the Welcome screen we’d been waiting for finally appeared.

I connected the router to the modem and the USFF Linux box and restarted the modem to get a good public address. I was able to connect to the Internet and everything looked good. I’ll switch everything else over later on today at a time when no one needs access. All I need to do is connect the router to the Cisco switch and patch the switch in my office to the router. I only have two devices with static IPs where I need to change the default gateway setting (the WAP and the NAS).

I should have the VoIP box by next weekend and once I have that set up, I can cut the umbilical cord to AT&T Uverse.

WAP Installed

The D-Link DAP-2553 Wireless Access Point arrived today and once I got home I couldn’t wait to open the box and put it together. It wasn’t as easy as I’d anticipated.

The WAP’s default address is 192.168.0.50 and my network is 192.168.1.0 which made it a bit difficult to access directly. What I ended up doing was to set the LAN interface on a laptop to an address in the same subnet and ran a cable between the laptop and the WAP. Then I was able to get into the Web interface to change the IP address and set up my SSID. The documentation didn’t exactly make it clear that there was a tab to save the entire configuration and set it to the new settings. I finally got it connected to the network where I could get into the interface from from a networked computer and see that it was connecting wireless clients. I double checked it with various devices – laptops, iPhones, iPads, etc. It seemed to be working.

I thought I’d install the AP Manager software on my Windows PC. The first thing it told me I needed to do was install PostgreSQL. After installing the latest version of that (the version they asked for is no longer supported), it still nagged me that PostgreSQL wasn’t installed.

I found an AP Manager II manual and it says it’s used to manage a wireless network from a central computer so that there’s no need to configure devices individually. I can see where that would come in handy in an enterprise but I don’t deal with that many devices so I’ll keep on doing it manually.

At some point, I’m thinking about setting up the Linksys WRT54G as a wireless router behind the 2Wire gateway as a guest WiFi access point. It would be on a different network and wouldn’t be able to access the main network. I’m in no hurry to get that done. I think it’s more important that I put up a small shelf to make a home for the access point. Right now I have it balanced on the corner of the china cabinet.

Found another project

Yesterday I was looking into alternatives the the 2Wire 3802HGV that AT&T provide with my U-Verse package. It turns out that I could upgrade to the Pacer 5081NV gateway as long as I don’t have the U-Verse TV package (which I don’t). It’s supposed to be about $100 from AT&T which seems affordable.

Researching the matter a bit further I found a lot of information on setting up a router inside the AT&T Residential Gateway. Looking at the material, it doesn’t look like it would be very difficult. It seems that they actually made it easy to “bridge” the 2Wire gateway to allow a second router and have the inside router handle the DHCP and WiFi for the interior network.

I would have to change my network structure so that the inner network was something other than 192.168.1.0. That shouldn’t be a big deal. I can make it 192.168.0.0 or maybe something in the 172.16.0.0/12 area. I only have two static address – a printer and a NAS.

Now I’m looking for a router that supports 802.11n, preferably in the 2.4 and 5GHz ranges. Now I almost regret giving Ryan my Linksys N-router after I switched to U-Verse. I’ll be looking for something economical. I don’t need a lot of extra features; the basics will probably do just fine.

Here are some links about setting up a router inside a AT&T gateway:

Pseudo Bridge AT&T Uverse 3801HGV Modem (RG) to a Router (video)

Putting the 2Wire 3801HGV (AT&T UVerse) Residential Gateway (RG) into Bridge (Passthrough) Mode

Adding a third party router behind an ATT Uverse 3801HGV

Setting up Cisco Router behind the AT&T 3801HGV Router

The video was well done and showed every step clearly. That’s probably the method I’ll try first.

DNS Woes

Yesterday evening I began noticing that Dropbox on my Windows computers was not updating and today I noticed that was was not able to get to web sites that I’d been able to access before and I was not able to update my anti-virus software or get Windows updates.

I ran the network troubleshooting on my Windows 7 machine and it said that it was unable to connect to the DNS server. Strange, I thought. I’ve had no trouble accessing anything on my Linux machines. I did some research and found that the DNS servers on my Uverse gateway are hardwired and cannot be changed. Those particular servers are necessary for the Uverse TV package which I don’t have.

On my Windows 7 box, I manually set the DNS servers to OpenDNS (208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220), rebooted and my Internet access was back to normal. Since I don’t want to go through the trouble of setting up a network behind the AT&T gateway, I’ll have to do this on all of my computers.

In the process I discovered that my Mint laptop had had the OpenDNS addresses configured in the /etc/resolv.conf during installation. I went ahead and added it to my main Ubuntu PC.

That’s another strike against the Uverse Internet package. There is no alternative to the the 2-Wire gateway they provide and you can’t change things like the DNS addresses. Time-Warner is starting to look better. At least I’m not tied to their modem/router and I can choose my own DNS servers.

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