Saturday, September 24, 2005

Out with the old, In with the new

I was very bandwidth challenged for a while. Our direcway connection died a horrible death by wasps. IMG_1349

This is what the dish used to look like a while ago:


That pole sticking out of it with the transmitter/receiver on the end - full of wasps and their mud/paper nest and everything. The guy who does the satellite for me:

Peter M. H. Spaulding
VSAT Systems  Sales Rep. | Installer
Wk: 540 364 0375
Fax: 703 995 4800
said words to the effect "normally you can hear them buzzing, but this time I didn't". Meaning, he was taking a look at why it wasn't working - and opened up a "can of wasps". Needless to say - that was the end of that - and the end of a can of wasp and hornet killer once he could get close enough again. By the way, if you live in Northern Virginia in the US and want a system installed - he is the guy to contact. He is all about customer service.
Well, while the dish was "down", we lived off of this card:
That is my two and a half year old Verizon Aircard 555 - it has a couple hundred thousand minutes on it by now I'm sure, from travel.  In the beginning, I would use it a good 10,000 minutes a month.  My use was dwindling now - due to wireless hotspots and most hotels having internet, but still used it.  Well, for 3 weeks it was our connection to the outside world. Where I am, it delivers almost ISDN speed. I just "shared" that connection via my wireless connection - in effect being the router for the house for a while. It worked great as a backup, but "speedy" was not a word we used to describe it.  "Functional" was more like it with 5 people hitting the network.
Anyway, rather than just replace direcway system with a new one, I upgraded to a more business level of service from Skycasters. Instead of a puny 36" parabolic dish, I now have a four footer:


That is an eight foot ladder behind it to give some scale. The design of this dish is much simpler in nature, the direcway had too many moving/plastic pieces - this one is all "basic metal, no moving pieces"



It is very simple in design - and has a lot more power than the direcway dish had. Once it got installed (which took a while, due to a software version issue, the satellite I point at does not work with version 6 of their software - only the technicians on the other end of the phone forgot to mention that) - I had only one major stumbling block.  It wasn't due to the satellite, but rather due to the Belkin Pre-N Wireless router we got. That router puts out a good signal but unfortunately it won't work with my Cisco VPN software! It took quite the process of elimination to figure this out. It was sort of like determining a database performance issue - you have to rule out lots of stuff.

I plugged into the wireless network and tried to VPN, no joy. So, I plugged directly into the satellite modem (suspecting it was the satellite - and that would have been a big bummer). Plugged directly into the satellite - it worked perfectly, so that was not it.

Next tried being cabled into the wireless router.  That is, use the router like a hub and just be wired into it. Surprisingly - this too worked. But it wasn't relevant that it worked - for the router is too far from my office to run a cable (that was the point of the wireless router after all).

So, unplug the cable and try wireless - no joy, VPN connects but I cannot hit any machine inside of Oracle at all. That confirmed for me that it was the wireless part of the wireless router.  Hit google - search and search and the only thing I can find is "I can VPN in when cabled into the router, but not wireless" type messages (usually followed up by "and support at Belkin is less than useful". So, I see others have had this issue with the Cisco VPN client - but no resolution.

I happened to have had a cheap $40 netgear wireless router (mr814v2) in my drawer, so I plugged that in, configured it - and hey, VPN works. The signal strength is not as good as it was before (down to "good" from "excellent" in my office) but - it works.

So, let me ask you a question - do you use a wireless router with a Cisco VPN client.  And if you do, and it is a good powerful one and you would recommend it - what is it?  Model number and all...



Blogger Pete_S said....

I use a Linksys befw11s4 with my cisco vpn client software - OK it's old and only wirleless-b but that's fast enough for me. I can sit out in the garden and connect back to my company network

Sat Sep 24, 04:02:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Alberto Dell'Era said....

Remember to close any opening, even microscopic ones, with duct tape or whatever - an Antenna Techician told me that insects (mostly spiders, even the nearly invisible ones) account for more than 80% of antenna failures He repairs. Their bodies or webs are conductive, especially when wet.

They seem to like the warmth produced by electronic circuits, excellent to grow up their offsprings ... even if I suspect that your wasps were a tad sterile, and suffered a lot of headache, since they built their home in a microwave field ;)

Sat Sep 24, 04:55:00 PM EDT  

Blogger nishantvyas said....

I am using D-Link DI-624, (Airplus Xtreme G 2.4GHz) Wireless Router and it is working fine for me, so far no problems with Company VPN.


Sat Sep 24, 07:20:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Rich K said....


I have the DLINK DI-624 Wireless Router and use the Cisco 4.6 VPN and get into Oracle fine. The range is really good. You can also get a Dlink range extender expand your wireless signal.

Sat Sep 24, 08:20:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Robert said....

woa looking at that first pic and this line "Our direcway connection died a horrible death by wasps."
I thought to myself "man ! you got some tough wasps !" I thought they chewed thru the wood and destroyed the dish. lol


Sat Sep 24, 09:47:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Tom Best said....

I use an SMC wireless router: Model SMC7004AWBR with Cisco VPN version - and get to Oracle network fine.
I had no idea there could be an incompatability like that. Maybe it's the WEP? That doesn't make sense either - because all encryption is done decrypted by the time it gets to the VPN server.

Sat Sep 24, 10:14:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Pete_S said....

I had a look at and found a couple of entries on one of the support fora - probably not relevant to you, but you could check that you have the latest router firmware

Sun Sep 25, 03:45:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Pete_S said....

I had a look at and found a couple of entries on one of the support fora - probably not relevant to you, but you could check that you have the latest router firmware

Sun Sep 25, 03:46:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Mo said....

Dlink wireless router DI 614+ (its an old model 'b' I think) and use a 'g' extender (Dlink) DWLG710 - seems to work with CISCO VPN 4.6 - no problem getting into company network

Sun Sep 25, 04:12:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous MM said....

I am using a LinkSys W1154 router as the access point only (uses WEP, no DHCP, router handles it for both wired and wireless).

Laptop has a Hawking HWC54G card and Cisco Systems VPN client version

I believe you need to have v4.1 or higher of the VPN client for it to work over wireless. Also, I had to drop the MTU to 1300 to keep my connections stable.

Since then, I have not had any Wireless/VPN related issues.

Sun Sep 25, 08:18:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I thought they chewed thru the wood

That isn't too far from the truth though (although the damage you see to the pole was done via chain saw)...

The pole was fractured right down the middle and splitting in two, which was another problem. Had to repoint the dish as the pole kept shifting position.

Hence the nice heavy metal pole on the new setup. It is not going anywhere soon. Well, unless it becomes a nifty lightening rod in the field of course.

Maybe it's the WEP?
I turned off everything - back to factory defaults, no joy. Wireless on the belkin and no VPN. I could ping the remote server I was connected to but that was *it*, nothing else.

the latest router firmware
Checked that as I was working the issue - firmware was as new as you can get (netgears isn't but I'm not touching it now, it works :)

I believe you need to have v4.1

I'm at 4.6 and tried the MTU down at below 1300. I'm back at 1500 now with the netgear box and all is well.

Just rather have something "stronger", the belkin put out a really good signal - but the VPN issue is ruling it out right now.

Sun Sep 25, 09:51:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Niall said....

I have a Belkin 54g and that works just fine with cisco 4.6 client software. signal isn't goodenough to sit at the bottom of the garden and "work" though

Sun Sep 25, 03:16:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Scott P said....

I have had great luck with several Linksys WRT54GS wireless routers. They run linux internally and have great support in the open source community. I use the OpenWRT firmware instead of the Linksys firmware as it allows a lot more flexibility.

I haven't had to do this but the OpenWRT firmware allows you to increase the transmit power to get greater range.

I can't vouch for the Cisco VPN client as I have never had a need to use it. However, several other VPN clients function seamlessly.

Mon Sep 26, 02:27:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Jeff Hunter said....

I use a Linksys BEFSR41 router , Linksys WAP11 access point, and Cisco 4.0.3(f) vpn client. At's all 802.11b, but works fine for what I need.

Mon Sep 26, 06:51:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Del said....

I encountered the exact same problem with my Pre-N Belkin. I replaced a D-Link 624 that died on me. To my surprise when I tried to access my company VPN (Cisco Client) I wasn't able to access Oracle Applications. I would get the loging screen but nothing else. I could login to SQL Plus, but when I ran a query I couldn't get anything else. It looks like it won't return any complex screen. For example if I run a query in SQL Plus to retrieve just one record it will work fine. But if the query will result in multiple records it won't display. I haven't been able to figure out what the problem is. I had to resort to connecting by cable to my router. That's the only way that it would work.

Mon Sep 26, 12:40:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Robert said....

If I lived in that area and had some similar work to do, I would definitley call that guy.

Virtue is its own reward... but you never know what the ramifications of a good job might be (e.g.: getting a favorable advertisement for your services posted on the internet for all the world to see!).

Mon Sep 26, 02:09:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

router is too far from my office to run a cable

Maximum Ethernet length is 100 meters. Is your issue the length or trouble running the cable? There is always a way to run a cable from one location to another.

Tue Sep 27, 09:44:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Holger Schweichler said....

Hello Tom,

I'm using a (quite old) D-Link 514, and Cisco VPN works just fine over it. However, the signal could be stronger (works fine in most rooms of my house, but not everywhere).
Besides that I'm quite happy with that thing - it's been working for approx. 2 years without any problems...

Holger ;-)

Wed Sep 28, 08:05:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Barry Cooper said....

I use a Netgear DG834GT SuperG router. Works a treat, even through some of the solid brickwork at the center of the house. I have 2 laptops and 2 workstations all running Netgear cards, so the traffic fairly flies through the home network.

Re: Alerto's comment on spiders, i can only agree. Last week my aging 32" CRT TV went fizz-bang! On opening up the back we were treated to a mass of fried spiders and web's covering most of the major circuitry

Wed Sep 28, 08:14:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I work for Oracle (in "Tom's building" in Reston, but I've never seen Tom there ;), and I'm using the Cisco VPN client version

I had a Linksys WRT54G wireless router that worked just fine with the VPN, but only after I configured it for IPSec pass-through.

My current wireless router is a Netgear WGT624 I picked up at Costco a couple of months ago. The VPN works fine with this router, as well, and I also seem to have faster connections and stronger signals with this router. I also like the configuration utility better than Linksys'.

Tue Oct 04, 09:03:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I'm just wondering how you get the Cisco VPN client to work as I'm trying to get mine to work with Netgear FVS318. It's so frustrating....

Thu Dec 08, 11:34:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

The problem (I am pretty certain) is pre-N. I have the dlink pre-n, and it just does not pass the packets through unless im cabled. Obviously the Belkin has the problem (although I thought I remembered reading somewhere the latest firmware fixed it?) and I think the Linksys at one point in time did too.

Fri Dec 09, 03:48:00 AM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

It very well could be the pre-n, that is the main difference between the belkin I had and the current linksys I now have (my netgear ceased working...)

Especially if you can hardwire into the router and get the vpn going - but only not over wireless - then it would seem to be the same issue.

Fri Dec 09, 06:27:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Just installed the Pre-N and use Cisco VPN for work- ran into the same issue- resolved it once I upgraded the firmware to 2.01.02

Sun Jan 01, 08:06:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I am having a weird problem.
I am using DLink 624 with cable internet.
The problem is connecting to a VPN when someone else is already connected to the VPN using the same router. The existing connection get disconnected. So its only one VPN connection that can be active at a time.
Does anyone hav any adivce?

Fri Jun 01, 03:22:00 AM EDT  


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