Wednesday, January 20, 2016

IPv6: Light my Fire!

Our IPv6 story continues.  We removed our Asus RT-N66U router and showed that the problem (long periods of dropped IPv6 connectivity) was not in the Asus device.   The problem continued when we went back to the Comcast/Cisco DPC 3941T router, alone.   The Comcast device has very poor facilities for diagnosing network problems or anything that might confuse the general Comcast users.  It gives a log that says there were some problems seen by the firewall and that's about it.

So we put the Asus device back in operation, switching the Cisco to bridge mode.  The Asus demonstrated the same IPv6 problems as before, but now it was time to scrutinize the log a little better.

We noticed a lot of ICMPv6 checksum errors like the following:

Jan 20 10:20:35 kernel: nf_ct_icmpv6: ICMPv6 checksum failed
Jan 20 10:20:35 kernel:  <0>nf_ct_icmpv6: ICMPv6 checksum failed
Jan 20 10:20:35 kernel: IN= OUT= <1>SRC=ff02:0000:0000:0000:0000:0001:ff6e:d2d3 DST=2601:0183:4002:0987:0000:0000:0000:0001 <1>LEN=64 TC=0 HOPLIMIT=255 FLOWLBL=0 PROTO=ICMPv6 TYPE=136 CODE=0

They repeat up to once a second, when they start coming. All the erroneous packets originated from the ...d2d3 address.  With a little work, we found...

The Guilty Party

The Amazon Fire tablet seemed like a good value at its ~$50 price.  Unfortunately, it appears to be sending the malformed IPv6 packets.  Powering off the Fire (or using airplane mode) cuts the errors, and seems to have stabilized the network.

Kindle's version of Android gives you very little to adjust, and you can't shut off v6.  We tried unloading most of the non-Amazon apps just in case one of them was causing the problem, but that had no effect.

Maybe $50 is just too cheap? That would be one moral of this story.

Another moral: Don't expect a Comcast router to help you fix your network if something goes wrong.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

ARRL President's Award

Lots of comings and goings at the ARRL. Dave Sumner is retiring this year as CEO, and has just received the ARRL President's Award for his many years of service to the League, presented by outgoing President Kay Craigie.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Still slogging on Internet Issues

While trying to understand why IPv6 is (still) not reliable on my Comcast / Xfinity service, I rediscovered DSL Reports.  This is a great place to go to get your technical / support questions answered for DSL or Cable connections.

I have a post in for Comcast's attention.  Meanwhile, I ran the nice speed test tool, which gave me the highest-ever speed report.

Monday, January 11, 2016

More Network Fun: Asus, HP, and Xfinity

Asus RT-N66U (l), Cisco/Xfinity DPC3941T (r) which we demote the Asus RT-N66U.

Faithful readers know about my efforts get reliable networking here at home (last post).  I want IPv6 to work well, and I'd like all my devices to freely work together, with good Internet access.

We took 2 steps forward, and then 1 back.  IPv6 worked, but not reliably when I set up the Cisco DPC3941T for "bridging mode" and gave the routing function to the Asus RT-N66U.  ICMPv6 packets were displaying lots of errors.

We ran the house that way for about a month.  Everybody was happy (in an IPv4 way), but there was one significant problem. Our HP LaserJet Pro MFP M127fw printer was not working reliably.

HP LaserJet Pro MFP M127fw

This is an "all in one" B&W laser printer / scanner / fax system offering lots of capability for a reasonable price.  It offers WiFi, Ethernet, or USB interfacing.

Everything works fine on Windows.  After a detour through HP's website, it works on Linux, too.  It works with Google's Cloud Print service, and HP's ePrint.

It worked for a while, but then would go catatonic and refuse new jobs after a period of minutes or hours.  You could always get it back by cycling the AC power.  We lived with this for some time, but it's pretty annoying to start a print job from the other end of the house, only to find out later that it did not go through.

So we tried a lot of tricks, adjusting the printer's setup, the router's setup, and even the Linux driver installation.  (The problem showed up with either Linux or Windows.)  We updated the printer's firmware. We tried both WiFi and Ethernet connections. 

Cut to the chase.  Eventually we cut out the Asus router, and there was progress.  Using the Cisco/Xfinity/Comcast router by itself, the printer worked -- and IPv6 worked, too!  It is clear that the Asus/Cisco combination (if not the Asus alone) is problematic for HP and IPv6.

So we retreat another half step.  We still use the Asus box as our main WiFi access point.  The Cisco 2.4 GHz WiFi transmitter is much weaker (nearly 20 dB weaker) that Asus, and it's built-in antenna system is doubtful.  (The Cisco box may actually be defective.)

For the moment, printing works, IPv6 works, and we will stop there.  The problems we had originally with Xfinity's DHCP and other issues of that sort are still there, but overall it's time to relax.