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

Oliver Doepner odoepner at gmail.com
Thu Dec 11 20:43:10 AST 2014

Hi guys,

Sorry if this sounds non-constructive, but I wonder what the benefits are
of using dial-up in 2014.
Can you list a few points? Is it effectively cheaper than the typical
"highspeed internet" deals from Bell Aliant or Eastlink?

I remember using dial-up via ISDN in the late 90s in Germany, using PPP.
I think I had a fetchmai+postfix smtp-after-pop3 setup then .

But I can't say I miss any of that. I don't even use any more local email
Nowadays I use Gmail and many other online services.
A lot more convenient.


On Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 11:03 AM, Dop Ganger <nslug at fop.ns.ca> wrote:
> 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
> is?
>  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 wristwatch).
>  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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Oliver Doepner
Software Engineer
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