Monday, January 28, 2008

Weekend networking

Finally I got a dedicated line internet connection installed back home after what felt like extremely tedious and very long three weeks of application, call center talks, complaints and repairs. I had discontinued the same service(You Telecom) some time back due to same problems. But when I felt an urge for it on weekend trips to home, there was no other option available even after a year. I really wanted to give a try to Airtel connection this time. But anyways, the 'broadband' connection is up and giving a 15kbps download speed (out of expected 192kbps).

The cable modem I got with has two ports, one for ethernet cable and other for usb. When I asked their engineer if I can use these two lines to connect two machines at a time, he denied and said it would need a router. That didn't answer my curiosity about two lines and I gave it a try. My Fedora 8 machine picked up an IP which is strangely not belonging to the modem's network. But after setting up the pppoe connection I could ping one of the servers. Still it did not connect to any other site. Looked like a DNS problem. Not sure if it was a problem with my NetworkManager or it was the server side. But I had to configure the DNS manually. Finally both my machines are connected using single modem without router, contradictory to the service provider's engineer.

But the real problem started thereafter. The very reason I tried all the tricks to get my f8 machine connected was to use the vpn configured on it. For no obvious reason than having a bad luck day, my vpnc kept on complaining "no response from target". After getting a helping hand from some of the online sysadmin friends and googling about it I got to a conclusion that it is most likely a problem from ISP side. They have blocked the VPN!

Now why would an ISP block VPN connections? Why don't they want me to work for my office from home? Are they getting any kind of business model out of it? You will have to pay extra if you want to use our network for business work. In fact hotels, cyber cafes etc. can also block such services and release them under a name of VAS to earn some extra pennies.

I am not sure if my ISP has such plans but I certainly have a plan to call them next morning.

Prior to all these, yesterday I learned on slashdot that one of the largest telecom company in India is planning to setup a massive WiMax connectivity over some cities. Now that wimax is all fine and a free Wifi is still a dream, what I really wait for is a 3G service. Last time I heard about it was, it got stuck due to politics over license between government telecom companies and private ones. Whatever it was, I am more curious to use the Video Calling feature on my cell phone.