The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Network anomalies at the Facility in the Middle of Nowhere

It's always a fun time when Gregory tries to get his laptop on the network here. In the past he's made comment that I should run a DHCP server as that makes it easier for him (being a Windows user where changing the IP address is inconvenient at best) but given the relatively small number of machines it's not really needed; unlike where Gregory works where he has to support hundreds of workstations.

But I've been wanting to play around more with DHCP and make it just a tad bit easier around here for various friends, now that most of them now have wireless cards. It proved to be an interesting problem getting DHCP working here in the Facility in the Middle of Nowhere.

I tested out the DHCP server setup for the Ethernet on my main development machine and got it working, but I wanted to move it to the central network computer, janet, an old 486 I use for a firewall and NAT. janet has three NICs, one for the cable modem, one for the LAN and one for the WAP; all being in one machine makes it easier to administrate. So it was a matter of moving the configuration over to janet, adding a similar setup for the wireless side and everything should work.

But there's that word again: “should.”

Need I say it didn't?

The first problem was Gregory, who couldn't get his wireless network card to sync up to the WAP here. Going into wardriving mode on my laptop, I could see my WAP sending out beacon packets, and I could see his card sending out request packets, but for some reason, his card and my WAP just couldn't see each other. So I told him he could connect directly with Ethernet (which he had on his laptop as well).

He then couldn't get an IP address via DHCP.

Given a static IP address and he was able to get onto the network with no problem. But DHCP wasn't working. The next major problem he was having was establishing a VPN connection to his work machine, presumedly because of the firewall I had set up. Unfortunately, he did not know which network ports were required to use the VPN connection, and checking the log files (since I log all traffic to closed ports) didn't tell us anything.

So I opened up the firewall; more specifically, I disabled the firewall and let everything through so that shouldn't be a problem.

No dice. He couldn't establish a VPN.

Gregory's computer must not like my network at all.

And I have no idea why DHCP doesn't run on janet.

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