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

Mike Spencer mspencer at tallships.ca
Fri Dec 12 05:15:05 AST 2014

Oliver Doepner <odoepner at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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?

No apology to me needed.  I realize it's eccentric.  We have a hand
pump at the litchen sink.

The chief justification is backup for business for which some kind of
net access is critical during a power outage.

Otherwise, it's a trade-off and depends on what you want to do on-line.

I don't care too much about the web sites such as Facebook that
require large dollops of js downloaded just to look at a page.

I use an old browser with which I can control (or automatically
ignore) much of the excessive crap that web sites feed you, such as
advertizing images, video, audio etc. So it's not as slow as if I
didn't so that.

With broadband, I might or might not waste a lot of time on U Tube but
dialup guarantees I don't. Once a year, I wish I could see some video
or other.  I now have a laptop that will do wifi well and I can go do
that at the library or a friend's house.

I imagine (possibly wrongly) that security is easier.  Neither computer
nor router is on-line 24/7 so I don't need to worry about persistent
attacks.  On the two or three occasions in 20 years that I've been
attacked, I saw it happening (blinkenlights, tcpdump in an xterm) and
could hit the off switch on the modem. With broadband, I'd feel
insecure without a much better gras pof iptables and that doesn't
address attacks on the router itself. (Hosts in China an UK are
plinking away at me as I write.  iptables is handling it. If I were
broadband, would they be more persistent?)

Where I am, the only broadband is Eastlink Rural Wireless.  It's only
moderately fast.  It's somewhat more expensive.  I'll probably go for
it eventually but there will be a lot of bother.  If they put the
antenna on the studio or a new pole,, they'll want to have an overhead
wire to the house that I probably don't want. If they put it on the
house, I'll have do deal with guys clambering over the house.  I'll
have to have a new interaction with a corporate entity and I nearly
make a religion of not dealing with corporate entities. (Okay, that's
exageration but it's part of the downside of setting up the deal.)  I
have 2 dialup providers.  Both were originally local. NSTN was a bunch
of guys, some of whom I knew, in Halifax. Tallships was a startup in
Lunenburg by a friend.  NSTN has been IPO'd, borged, merged, sold and
resold and is now a corporation with which I would not voluntarily
commence a biz relationship but I'm a longstanding customer.  For
Tallships, the founder died unexpectedly a decade ago but still, I can
get in the car, drive to Kentville and talk to the admin or owner face
to face -- good by my standards.

A broadband provider will say, "We don't support Linux" at some point.
Fine.  My wife's Win-XP box will be "supported" and I can probably
figure out anything I need to figure out -- eventually, possibly with
a long learning curve. But it's a bunch of extra new bother.

Reliability can be a problem.  In the case of a friend, the Eastlink
guys made several visits to his house before they found an antenna
orientation that would work at all.  That was in April.  In June, when
the trees leafed out, it stopped working. Start over. Works now, after
much bother.

A downside, of course, is that such things as I *do* want that demand
bandwidth are slow, hard or require going out to wifi.  Google Maps
has been useful, tedious over dialup. Downloading a new Slackware
distro is out of the question.  An increasing amount of stuff I'd like
to read would require, say 100K of HTML but is presented as a 1.5M

Curiously enough, web sites that want to *sell* you something seem to
have huge dollops of js, slideshows, media, interactive crap etc.  So
finding a manual for some old device can be hard in the face of all
that high-bandwidth "enhanced user experience".  I just want the specs
for my 1955 compressor; I'm *not* going to buy a $100,000 new one, no
matter how many videos of coal mines you show me.  Sites that just
offer useful information suffer less from this syndrome and usually I
can stick to them

> I don't even use any more local email client.  Nowadays I use Gmail
> and many other online services.  A lot more convenient.

If you're on the road a lot; have biz demands that require Facebook
contacts, large data dumps etc.; have a smart phone in constant
contact with lots of people that needs to be sync'd to your home and
work hosts; or other demanding usage that I haven't thought of, I
suppose that's all good.  Personally, I'm horrified by the notion of
having my email go through Gmail, the moreso the notion of leaving all
email archived on remote mega-corporate servers.  Gmail, along with
Facebook and all those other on-line services come under the rubric of
"If you're not paying for it, you're the product, not the customer."
One e-friend was in a panic a couple of years ago.  He travels to
Africa and S. America a lot, uses Gmail.  One day all his mail just
disappeared.  Took him a couple of weeks to get, eventually, to talk
to a human and -- exceptional luck -- got it restored.

I don't travel much, can do webmail at my ISPs if I need to.
Otherwise, I do POP3, SMTP through ISPs' smarthosts.  I discourage
people from sending me multi-megabyte email.

I suppose my plea for dialup/PPP help provoked your question.  Part of
that problem has been solved: Fibernetics screwed up part of the
authentication system when they took over caa.inter.net.  That's been
dealt with. Now my wife's Win-XP box can connect okay.  Linux is still
being a problem.  I'm in contact with a guy on Usenet who seems to be
more knowledgeable than I about PPP.  I'm still working on it with his

- Mike

Michael Spencer                  Nova Scotia, Canada       .~. 
mspencer at tallships.ca                                     /( )\
http://home.tallships.ca/mspencer/                        ^^-^^

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