[nSLUG] Troubleshooting LCP & PAP on a Telus dialup NAS

Dop Ganger nslug at fop.ns.ca
Tue Dec 9 11:03:26 AST 2014

On Tue, 9 Dec 2014, Mike Spencer wrote:

> Well, thanks, Dop, for your thoughtful reply.

No problem. It's been a long time since I worked on modem code but I can 
just about recall enough odds and ends to hopefully be of some use.

> I finally got both "escalation specialists" on the phone at once. [1]
> They said that they (or someone) had installed the dialup software
> "out of the box" -- exactly what I had suspected -- and that it
> "worked for everyone else".  But they were unable to tell me exactly
> what the "OOtBox" configuration was.

Was there any mention of what the name of what the software they installed 

> That inability notwithstanding, they were firm that I had to
> authenticate using the prompted ASCII interface before starting
> LCP/PPP.  That doesn't work, either manually in Minicom or in a script
> called by pppd.

That should be enough to create a log entry on their end detailing what 
the problem is. Do they have access to the logfiles on the back end? The 
script based authentication requirement jibes with the log files from your 
end - although I have a sneaking suspicion once (if) you manage to auth 
with a script you will have to do auth again with PPP.

> They both opined that I knew more about this stuff than they did.
> There were adamant that I couldn't talk to the "engineer" with
> relevant responsibility.

I am starting to wonder why you don't change ISP!

> It gets worse. Originally, we had:

[Password shenanigans]

> But now the "escalation specialists" tell me that the login password
> is once again (or, according to them and erroneously, has always has
> been) the original foo.  Moreover, they say that my wife has been
> typing a '=' in foo where a '-' is correct.  Only she never types
> anything, just uses a Win-XP "thing" that hasn't changed in years.

Are they able to reset your password(s) to something completely new across 
the board?

Are you able to authenticate for any services using a different internet 
connection - eg using webmail or similar?

>   + The "escalation specialists" don't actually know how *anything*
>     actually *works*.  They can query their RADIUS server and other
>     databases or logs but have no clue what any of it means.

I would agree with that.

>   + Their relevant engineer is so busy rolling out cool new user
>     experiences, digital telephony, colo, cloud, big data, SaaS
>     etc. etc.  that he doesn't have time to troubleshoot old tech for
>     a customer of 20 years standing.

Cool new user experiences are more likely to bring in higher paying 
customers. It sounds like they consider dialup to be legacy and not worth 
spending time on.

>   + Their authentication data is probably fragmented and has never
>     been correctly ported from Uniserve (previous owners of
>     ca.inter.net) servers to Fibernetics servers.

I think they have multiple back-end sources and may have ca.inter.net 
customers (or at least, some group thereof) pointing off to la-la land.

> I think it may be time for a registered letter to their CEO asking to
> be employed to work from home at $300/hr as their dialup technology
> specialist, requiring I be sent all manuals for all relevant software
> and hardware.  I don't really want such a job but I could do it better
> than it's being done now and a few weeks at $6000/wk would be nice.

I wouldn't expect you to get very far with that. A better bet would be to 
document all the failings and send it to the CEO asking him to look at 
ways of doing it differently, since that appears to be his speciality (I 
think - I was a little distracted by his use of mascara and flashy 

> Thanks, again, for your thoughtful reply.  If you have any suggestions
> for social engineering, short of applying for a job, suitable for
> provoking meaningful support from Fibernetics, I'm all ears.

All I can suggest is bundling up records of everything going on and 
escalating it up the chain, since it seems like there's a fairly integral 
failure of the Fibernetics infrastructure. The technology officer and 
operations officer should probably be aware as well. Present it as "I 
don't know if you're aware of how your operation is failing but I thought 
you should know how bad the service is" rather than "pay me to figure out 
what's wrong" and you would probably get further.

> [1] http://www.fibernetics.ca/team/
>    Scroll down to Neil Clarke and Dave Majury.  I don't know which,
>    if any, of the folks pictured there is the relevant "engineer".

Sorry, still distracted by the excess of pocket squares. Good luck!

Cheers... Dop.

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