Friday, 20 January 2012

Busy week

Finally - end of the week - get a Chinese and relax in front of TV maybe...

UKNOF was fun this week. Always nice to mingle with geeks, and was not a bad venue so thanks to BT for that. I love the chatting to ex demonites at the social - getting rare to find people that have been there and done that with every conceivable type of networking quirk you can imagine. Oh, and as per everyone that asked me at the social... Them:"We saw your blog"... Me:"Mark all packets as LCP"... Them:"Damn, was hoping it was something I could do on my CISCO"... What can I say? "Should have gone to FireBrick". Thanks BT for letting us get an edge over the competition...

We had a quirk worthy of that crowd this week... As you may know half of BT's 20CN network was broken when using native IPv6. We got the whole "IPv6 is not supported" story on that, lovely. It meant we had to pad PPP packets under 74 bytes to make it work. Mad. FireBricks FTW though, as ever. BT have fixed it (well done BT). But we still had it turned on for 20CN lines on our end.

So we get someone saying they cannot get email, but, and get this, only... (a) IPv6, (b) Technicolor router, and (c) windows. Even loading MacOS on the same hardware was fine, or changing the router to a Billion, worked, and IPv4 was fine!!!!

We turned off IPv6 sub 74 byte packet padding (as BT have fixed it) and it works. Looking at logs, both small and large packets fine, but some in the middle were "lost" somehow. My guess is padding 74 byte PPP created padded Ethernet which is fine under 64 bytes but when over must break something in windows. We have to do some careful testing to find the cause - may be technicolor and may be windows - who knows. I don't know what the rule (RFC) is on PPP to Ethernet if padding should be removed. I bet it is some checksum offloading somwhere. All I know is that (as per RFC) padding on PPP is always valid so not us :-) It is solved by this tweak, but I would love to know the cause. We have to test this in the lab...

The ex-demonites at UKNOF (sorry guys I am shite with names) had similarly bizarre stories from times past and that was fun.

Of course, I missed last train, but even a £145 taxi back home was cheaper than a premier inn in London and a train back next morning, and was my own bed even if it was past 1am.

And the good news - seems Tom's parents have him named on their insurance and he may be able to claim for his camera kit - well done and best of luck.

And then world IPv6 launch - yay! But that really is nothing to us - we are in the tenth year doing this shit, and we have been allocating /48's to all new customers for over a year with free IPv6 pre-configured router since before last year's World IPv6 Day event. My grand plan is a special for existing customers to get a cheap IPv6 router from us and move beyond our current 25% of lines with IPv6. Would be cool to push that to over 50% by June 6th... Lets see.

Have a good weekend all...


  1. Could you make your Grand Plan include a good deal on a Billion 7800n rather than just a "cheap" IPv6 router? An idiots guide to getting IPv6 to work on an existing line would also be useful.

  2. A better guild would be important too, but not sure what. He billion has the the cheaper one does not have.

  3. I bought a Billion for our factory and it runs for weeks on end with superb wireless range and no disconnections. The only problem is that it's the wrong side of a hundred quid. The cheap router (Technicolor?) is an unknown quantity for me and I've had too many problems with routers to want to chance it.

    If "cheap" was all that mattered I wouldn't be using aaisp...

  4. Well, indeed. It matters when we are providing a free router with the service, obviously.

    I don't think the billion offers anything extra to be honest - but there may be differences, and in that case obviously that may be well worth the higher price. We do offer a choice of kit and you can use any kit you like.

    Interestingly billion did say they were planning a "lower end" router, e.g. without wifi, but that it would not have IPv6!

    All I was suggesting here is that a way to encourage people to upgrade to IPv6 would be to try and offer a "good" router as cheaply as we can. The technicolor is not perfect (mainly its web interface leaves a lot to be desired) but it does seem to tick all the boxes for this and is also not to expensive. We are looking to provide an auto-config feature through our control pages too (which solves the problem with its web interface).

    Obviously if people want to use a different router, that is fine. We will happily provide IPv6 on any line for no extra cost.

  5. Looks like the billion has a gigabit switch not 100M, and has 4 port switch plus WAN rather than 4 port switch including WAN port, so subtle differences.

  6. Since you mentioned the Technicolor router, I bought one off A&A last week. It took me three days to sort it out (it had an odd fault) but my job could have been made much easier if A&A do a couple of things. There is very little information about this router on-line so I'd like to suggest the following :

    1. Send the router out with the IPv4 DHCP server /enabled/. There are still IPv4 only devices in use (I have a Logitech Squeezebox Touch which, although new, still does IPv4 only).

    2. Tell your customers that even though the router is set up with an IP address within the customer's public IP network (IPv4 again) it will not serve the administration pages off that address but rather off and not off it's designated IPv6 address.

    Since working out 2 that let me sort 1. As it turns out to fix the original problem I had to do a factory reset but all seems fine now.

  7. I must have missed the tick box for the free router when I signed up. Can you ask for one retrospectively ?

  8. not normally, but speak nicely to sales.