Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Charter, Linksys, IP, Nefarious Plot?

Is Charter Telling Customers Their Router Is Broken Just To Rent Them One? – Consumerist:

We have been having a lot of storms, so a couple power outages resulted. After one of them I had to do a router re-boot. Not THAT unusual, maybe "monthly" -- programs have memory leaks, intermittent wild pointers, loops, that sort of thing. I never did of course, but I know other programmers are not perfect ;-)

So yesterday PM, the internet is down, couple re-boots, nothing, figure "sleep on it, it often fixes itself overnight" ... which it does, probably Charter net resets or something cure the problem.

No dice this AM, so I get more serious. Hard reset the cable modem ( 30 sec reset button down, pull the power for 30 sec), take the  router off and plug in a PC. No dice, so do ipconfig /release then ipconfig /renew from a DOS prompt. Wala ... back in action! Whew!

So I unplug the PC, confidently plug the router back in and ... and .... nada, go to router admin status, no IPV4 WAN connection ... for some reason, the modem is not giving my router an address. Fiddlesticks! Couple more re-boots, no joy.

So I hook up a cell phone based tether connection and find the linked note among a number of different forums with ticked people. AND, I find the following solution.

DISCONNECT THE CABLE FROM THE MODEM, then do disconnect the power, wait "45 seconds" (it varied, I gave it 5 min, what the hell, I'm retired). Power off the modem and the router, disconnect router from modem.

  • reconnect the cable to the cable modem
  • reconnect the power to the modem
  • reconnect the power to the router
  • make sure all the internet connect lights on the modem are up
  • connect the cable modem to the router
WALA! It worked ...

I'm not ready to jump to the nefarious conclusion of Charter plot YET.

It may be that they changed some policy on "one MAC address ONLY" ... or inserted more MAC address checks in some code somewhere so that I just "got lucky" with the PC I used. There is also the factor that I ALWAYS use that PC when I need to do this, the last time having been like 6months or more ago, so that was the MAC they had stored when they went to "one MAC only" or just stated actually checking something they long planned on.

Anyway, I'm like "95% certain" that something changed on the Charter network, based on both my experience and the posts, so others MAY be going to experience the same thing if/when you change a router, or potentially just "out of the blue". Again, this is assuming that it is NOT a nefarious plot.

If it IS actually a plot ... or just a weird MAC corruption / checking issue at Charter, then I'm likely to have this problem again and I will set my router to the MAC address of my favorite troubleshooting computer using the MAC address clone feature of the router and will re-report. I'm pretty doubtful that it is a plot -- "never postulate malfeasance when standard incompetence can explain the situation".

It seems unlikely to me that the MAC address solution could fix it if it is anything other than a plot directed against MAC address ranges used by router manufacturers though. If I'm forced to do the cable out reset again and go to a PC MAC and have no problems that seems pretty damning relative to Charter.

A weak point in my mind is that I have no idea why the cable disconnect should work. Hardware out at the post where my cable runs to that detects an "open cable" and then does something? I'm pretty sure it is the modem that hands out the IP to my router, not something higher in Charters network, but I may of course be wrong. Maybe they did some sort of upgrade to prevent some sort of piracy of their internet connect service?

Well, it is working now ... that is all the thought I'm giving it unless it craps out again.

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