Electronics & Network

Sanctuary Electronics

sections for: Phone, Network diagnosisNetworkingComputers and Peripherals
Radios have their own page.

Telephone

We have two landline phone numbers on Frontier:
Line 1: (541) 866-26 78; this also has our Internet, so use a DSL filter.
Line 2: (541) 866-2608. Used for outgoing calls only. Unlisted. (Note we should block caller-id.)
Both land lines have free unlimited long distance to the US; $3/hr to Canada.

Until late 2013, we had Vonage for the second line (Voice over IP), for outgoing calls only. However, our DSL Internet isn’t fast enough for Vonage to work very well.

Barn: The old buried wire is faulty. If we’re very lucky, we can pull a new wire (cat5e) through the old conduit, for phone and network.

The Polycom speakerphone has her own page!

Network Problems?

Normally: On the silver DSL “Sagecom” box, the Power, DSL, and Internet lights should be lit. (Internet may blink.)

Networking

Summary: Use WiFi networks “Garden” (for Garden House) or “Barn.”
The “Skype” WiFi network, at Garden House, is used only for meetings; keep other computers and cellphones off it!
We have DSL internet over the phone line.

Oct 2013 (Mugwort): We have ongoing network problems which greatly interfere with our ability to use Skype for meetings. The problem could be a poor DSL connection (noise, trouble at their end), flaky DSL modem, or other network gear of ours. What’s known thus far: when it flares up, ping shows good connectivity via WiFi to the Linksys, but very long times or dropped packets to the outside world.
Suggested steps to diagnose:

  • Reset the Sagecom, configure as desired (see below), confirm that its Web interface can show DSL statistics. Update this document accordingly.
  • When the network is acting up: Plug your computer directly into Ethernet on the Sagecom. Confirm that ping to the outside shows poor results. Unplug other Ethernet cables from Sagecom; does the problem persist? (If not, apparently something’s generating too much traffic.) If so: look at the DSL statistics, and make notes: it is showing poor line quality? Keep track of your ping results, confirming that nothing else is hooked to the modem. Cycle power on the modem; how are ping and performance now?

(June 2012: The network diagram below is not accurate. It turns out the Netgear router, and the rest of our computers, may connect directly to the DSL, not through the Vonage.)

Network Diagram: (Note: IP addresses may not be correct, need to be verified)
DSL modem Sagecom SE567, 192.168.254.254 (WAN IP e.g. 173.86.185.59, nomenus@frontier.net / password1) admin/admin
Silver box, on or near Garden House desk. Typical speed 1.3Mb/188Kb/sec.
WiFi: Skype / bandwidth (ch8, WPA)
Ethernet: 4 ports; only 1 is normally used
Note: Firewall security is on High (12/3/13), formerly was Low. DMZ is needed for the Vonage.
For meetings, especially when running Skype, you can plug directly into the Ethernet jacks on the Sagecom.

↓ blue cable

Router Linksys WRT54G v3, 192.168.1.1 (typically 15.3 to parent) root/admin
WiFi: Garden, ch 6 (no password) Note: this sometimes reverts to dd-wrt for some reason.
This is running open-source software. Power 70mW (default 28). This is our main DHCP server.

(cables are unknown)

WiFi repeater Netgear WN3000RP 192.168.1.126 (typically *.3.3 to parent) (mywifiext.net, admin/password, see back of unit)
Above Barn door; sometimes in Winter at front of a Naraya cabin, or on extension cord in The Box.
WiFi: Garden_EXT from Garden

Suggested future network configuration:
One cable from the Sagecom goes to the Linksys WRT54G router, which is upstairs, either by a window or, preferably, on the outside wall protected from rain, with clear sight-lines to cabins and Barn. This hosts WiFi Garden.
The repeater is inside the front of the Barn, and hosts WiFi Barn from Garden.
Another cable from the hub goes to the Netgear (or any) router, near the piano so people can easily plug into it. This hosts WiFi Visitor.
Ideally, as much of this gear as possible would be mounted on the wall or under the desk, so it’s out of the way and won’t be messed with. Only the hub and the Visitor router would need easy access. Residents should be able to plug into the DSL modem fairly easily, to use Skype.
(Eventually I’d like to run Ethernet from the hub, through the empty conduit, into the office. There, another router would provide a firewall for the office computer, and host the WiFi Nomenus.)

Computers and Peripherals

Office PC
2013: Dead; is it the hard drive?
A PC of some type, probably runs Vista. Logins unknown.
Caleb – 2014: Diagnosis still unavailable, but word around the land is that the PC is very old and that it has little use or purpose now that most matters are stored in online facilities like Google Docs.

Printer
Brother DCP-7065DN laser double-sided, with scanner and copier. USB interface. Toner is TN-450.

Formerly, we had an all-in-one inkjet, Color/B-W. Epson Workforce 500. Ink cartridges #69 (std), #68 (hi-capacity), in separate Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow. (Mugwort notes many reviews complain of problems when using non-OEM or remfg ink in these printers; cart’s are ink, not the whole print-head, so clogging is a Bad Thing.)
Its worst feature: if any color ink is out, it won’t print, even in black-and-white.

Visitor PC
None

Obsolete, Removed Equipment

VoIP Vonage VDVZ2, 192.168.15.1 (192.168.254.253 static ip to parent) (Vonage login)
Black/yellow, near Sagecom
This provided “line 2” phone service, on a phone jack; the Uniden cordless plugged in here.
There are two Ethernet jacks: globe icon gets blue to DSL, PC icon gets white to other network gear (downstream).
I believe the Vonage gives priority to its VoIP traffic over the downstream Ethernet.

Router Netgear MR814v2, 192.168.3.1 (admin/password)
This is new Oct ’11 from Free Geek, Portland, via Mugwort.
I tried turning off dhcp, but then wifi clients failed to get addresses, for some reason.

2014 Network Maintenance by Caleb

Network Notes:

The On-Land intranet is made up of two networks, three WiFi SSIDs, and three devices; DSL Modem/Router, Linksys Router, and Netgear Repeater. The Frontier DSL box is the main network and gateway. I have referred to it as the “Private” network as it hosts the “Garden_Skype” secured WiFi and can be isolated from the public network by using the iptables firewall built into DD-WRT v24 on the Linksys Router. The Netgear Repeater mirrors the “Garden” network broadcast from the Linksys Router as “Garden_EXT”.
I have made a number of changes to the devices configuration on the land, they are as follows:

  1. The DNS servers for the routers and gateway have been changed to the following in the order listed:
    – DNS 1: 208.67.222.222 — OpenDNS #1
    – DNS 2: 8.8.8.8 — Google DNS #1
    – DNS 3: 208.67.220.220 — OpenDNS #2
    – DNS 4: 8.8.4.4 — Google DNS #2
    The mix between OpenDNS and Google is intended to provide optimal resolving of domain names and will prevent the wolf creek traffic from dealing with delay and timeouts from the ISP’s default DNS Servers which have a number of issues.
  2. The Linksys Router has been moved up to the top the shelf in the Garden House. It isn’t the best solution, however working with what is here it seems to have improved the signal quality at the barn by a minimal but noticeable amount. Less ping delay on average between Garden and Garden_EXT, without listing the results here.
  3. The WiFi on the Linksys and the DSL Modem/Router have been changed. Details on each device are listed below.

DSL Modem & Router:

– Name: Frontier Model 7550
– Model: Netgear Model B90-755044-15
– Firmware: [Factory Stock] ver: 06.05.02
– LAN IP: 192.168.254.254
– DHCP Range: 192.168.254.15 to 192.168.254.100
– Login: admin/admin
– WiFi SSID: Garden_Skype
– WiFi Mode: 802.11b, g & n (mixed)
– WiFi Chanel: 11
– WiFi Security: Private (WPA2 – PSK)
– WiFi Password: ForTheLoveOfSkype
– Notes:

  1. This device is the network gateway and hosts the Private WiFi and LAN.
  2. I have changed the internal DNS Server IPs on the DSL to use OpenDNS and Google’s DNS services, in hopes it will resolve quicker than the ISP’s DNS. You can change these by following these instructions:
    -1. Open the Admin interface.
    -2. click “My Connected Home” at the top
    -3. click “Network Connections”
    -4. click “Broadband Connection (DSL)”
    -5. In the “VCs” section/table, click the “Edit” button on the first enabled row that has “PPPoE” under the “Protocol” column.
    -6. Scroll down to the PPPoE Settings section where you’ll find the Primary and Secondary DNS server addresses.

    Frontier’s Default DNS Servers are these two: 74.40.74.40 & 74.40.74.41 (For reference and future testing, if needed.)

Cisco Linksys Router:

– Name: Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router
– Model: WRT54G (v.3)
– Firmware: DD-WRT v24 (05/20/08) std
– WAN IP: 192.168.254.253 [static] (Private Network IP)
– LAN IP: 192.168.1.1
– DHCP Range: 192.168.1.15 to 192.168.1.234
– Login: root/admin
– WiFi SSID: Garden
– WiFi Mode: 802.11g
– WiFi Chanel: 1
– WiFi Security: Public
– Notes:

  1. This device hosts the Public “Garden” network & extended “Garden_EXT” repeated network.
  2. I’ve changed the DNS on this router according to the above list of DNS server.
  3. To prevent all Public WiFi connections from accessing Private LAN/WLAN addresses we can use the following command in the “Administration >> Commands” section: iptables -I FORWARD -d 192.168.254.0/24 -j DROP
  4. I attempted to up the Transmit Power from 70mW to 80mW and 75mW, this caused a router lock-up to the point that I had to do a 30/30/30 reset and reconfigure the router. I have instead turned the transmit power down to 65mW to keep the transmitter from heating up as much but maintaining the signal quality to the barn.
  5. The beacon interval is now every 70ms instead of every 100ms. This has improved the connectivity/delays between the repeater but did not seem to impact signal quality at all.

Netgear WiFi Repeater:

– Name: Netgear Genie
– Model: WN3000RP
– Firmware: [Factory Stock] V1.0.1.34_1.1.46
– LAN IP: 192.168.1.2 [static]
– Login: admin/password
– WiFi SSID: Garden_EXT
– WiFi Mode: 802.11g
– WiFi Chanel: 1
– WiFi Security: Public
– Notes:

  1. This device extends the “Garden” WiFi to the Barn as WiFi SSID “Garden_EXT”.
  2. The device mirrors settings; Chanel and Mode, and maybe Security settings are auto-configured by the Repeater when the repeated WiFi changes.
  3. We can change the name of the WiFi/SSID and assign static network addresses. I have statically configured the repeater to avoid using DHCP for network-critical devices. Did not change the WiFi SSID.

Network Diagram:

external image PDJXZ8g.png

Additional Notes:

  1. The network equipment may need firmware updates but with connectivity as it is here I would want to do such things carefully, verifying firmware package integrity manually before attempting a flash and saving important configurations for restoration just in case. The task would suck up time and may not be worth it considering uplink and downlink speeds, however it may address performance issues with devices having longer up-times, like the repeater. With DD-WRT on the Linksys Router there would need to be an investigation into what versions of DD-WRT would work best for our current hardware make and model.
  2. The Repeater at the barn may need to be turned around slightly, so the antenna are facing outward to the land instead of toward the creek. Another issue is that it is in direct sunlight and likely also gets a little moist during big rains or heavy snows. I’d like to propose building a small roof or enclosure that will allow it to ventilate but keep it out of the direct elements. Keeping the repeater in optimal conditions may improve its efficiency but most of all aid its longevity.
  3. Interesting details on the network before I changed settings; the DSL Modem and the Linksys Router both had the same wifi SSID. This configuration may have been causing some connection issues with devices that do not differentiate the SSIDs by their MAC or other unique IDs. I did not do tests to see if the repeater was having this issue itself but I know that Windows PCs (XP and up) only displays one SSID even if multiple APs have the same SSID, and then automatically picks the “best” connection between the two APs.
  4. An optimal placement for the Linksys Router, with the barn repeater where it is now, would probably be inside the ancestor room above the stairs by the forward wall. I think having it in the house will serve it better against the elements. Since it does a bit more work than the repeater, keeping it cooler and dry will help it run better for sure. I didn’t take measurements but from where the DSL Modem is now, I think a 50 foot cat5/cat6 cable would be enough to hard-wire it upstairs to where there is a power outlet on that right wall above the stairs as you face the balcony.

Edited by mugwort on Mar 7, 2016 7:46 pm