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Guest SD Sim

The plot thickens

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Thanks to the many who offered help and sympathy with my earlier post this weekend (titled very O/T). After extensive fiddling, I have a better idea of what is happening. I was able to bring the iMac back online by flushing the router settings (adjustment #1) and starting over with fresh settings. Then, almost as soon I told the wife that she could get back on, I toasted her connection again. How did I do this you ask? Well, for the last two weeks I have been flying on the BFU Bush Net. This requires not only Squawk Box, but Roger Wilco is necessary for full entertainment. As soon as I had SB, RW, MSFS2K2, and WidevieW up and running, my server crashed, and at the same time, the iMac connection to the router failed.So here is where it gets weird. Once I rebooted my machine and got RW back up and running, I was able to converse with some of the players, but there were others (who had just joined the session) I could not hear (although I was told they could hear me). So once I discovered that I could not hear some of them, I restored (adjustment #2) my original settings (yes, this grasshopper has learned from previous blunders and now knows to backup settings when making drastic changes). This allowed me to hear everyone, and they could hear me.Now for the last two weeks, I have had problems with RW, whereby I would lose my reception of transmissions, but could maintain reception if I keyed the mic at regular intervals. When I start puting all of this together, it has me convinced that all of these problems can be traced to the router. Could the router be terminating RW packet reception when there is no outgoing activity? And could RW somehow be interfering with the function of the iMac connection?It is clear to me that I am still quite clueless when it comes to router function. Another perplexing observation for me is that when I first set up the router, I had only the server running, and after completing installation of the router, it showed only one client with a single IP address. However when I restored the router to it's earlier settings today (adj. 2), I had all three computers on, and now it shows three clients, each with their own IP address and MAC setting. If your not confused already, congratulations, because I am.And one final observation. After I flushed the router the first time (adj. 1), the FS2K2 blurries that I have been encountering for ages were dramatically improved. Once I restored the router to it's earlier settings (adj. 2), the blurries were back.I'm sorry for the extremely long post, but I'm truly baffled here. Any help that you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Not only would I like to figure out how to keep the iMac online, but I would like to get RW up and running properly. Perhaps I need to open a specific port for RW to use? I do apologize for two off topic posts, but I know this is where some of the brightest computer gurus hang out.

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Have you tried putting your computer in the DMZ of the router. This will expose you to the interenet, but using a program like Zone Alarm will protect it.I don't know why the router would affect the MAC when using programs on the PC. I have several PC's and Mac's sharing wired and wireless on the same router and have had no problems.Paulhttp://www.advdigitalmedia.com/sig.jpg

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David,Does your router act as a packet-filtering firewall?If so, is it possible that it is set to only allow inbound connections in reply to an outbound connection request?(Example: on our firewall at work, we have it set so that outbound HTTP (TCP/IP port 80) requests go out, and the server can respond. However, inbound HTTP requests get bounced. I don't know the specifics of how your router/firewall is set up, or how RW really interacts with it, but it sounds at least plausible that, upon keying your mic, your router thinks "Ok, he's just sent an outbound request" so it listens for "replies" from that specific server (the AVSim RW server) on the RW port. When it doesn't ever hear a response (in its "mind") it closes the port down again for inbound connections.Like I said, I can't be sure this is what's going on, but it would certainly be something to check out. If so, consider (carefully!) opening up that port in BOTH directions, specifying the AVSim RW server as the host that is allowed to send in such traffic un-asked.--Tony

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Thanks for the advice Tony. Unfortunately, I'm too thick-brained to figure out whether my router has a packet-filtering firewall. What I can tell you is that I do have the firewall enabled. I do have a number of choices for configuring the router for internet traffic, but alas I must shamefully admit that I don't fully understand how to use all these options. As usual, I am embarking on another education process, this time regarding routers, but I suspect that it will take me some time to get up to speed.

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Which router are you using David? I'll assume its a broadband router/switch/hub combo thats so popular... Probably the LinkSys Broadband Router?Once we know that, it'll be easier to help.Take care,Elrondhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/Boycott-RIAA.gif]"A musician without the RIAA, is like a fish without a bicycle."[/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font

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Sheepishly, SD sim hangs his head in shame for forgetting to add this one important detail. His first grade teacher would have rapped him on the knuckles with a ruler for this slip up. :-lol Thanks Elrond for the kindly worded nudge. I am using an SMC broadband router, model 7004ABR. It is a 4-port hub with built-in 10/100 Mbps switch.I'm beginning to wonder whether the router has simply suffered a serious failure. Is it possible that the firmware may have been corrupted? I plan to update the firware tonight and see what happens. However, I'm at the point where I'm seriously considering purchasing another manufacturer's router. Any suggestions? I wouldn't be thinking along these lines save for the fact that I once bought a Belkin KVM switch that wreaked havoc on my system. I returned it and purchased a Linksys equivalent, and it worked flawlessly. So in my mind, not all hardware is created equal.

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Updated the firmware (it was definitely out of date). This fixed some other problems, but alas, no Mac on the net. Don't know about RW, as the server is currently down.

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Actually, it is I with a sheepish grin... You indeed stated you had the SMC in your previous post - Sorry David!Down to brass tacks then. No, I absolutely would not consider changing your router hardware - I highly recommend the SMC router to my customers over LinkSys and DLink products because they are so versatile. I'm sure you simply have a configuration problem. So, the first thing I would do is:Setup your LAN (Note: NOT your WAN, we're talking about your internal LAN here) to use static IP addresses instead of the Baricades built-in DHCP server. The reason to do this is so you know what every machine's IP address will be at all times. With the built-in DHCP server, each machine is given a different IP address every time they boot up (within a set range of course). While this can be a *great* thing on large networks, there is no reason to setup a small home network like this - indeed, it can cause more confusion and configuration problems on a small network than it solves.Your router has the ability to disable its built in DHCP server. You set this in Setup-LAN page in your browser (http://192.168.2.1:88). Change the DHCP Server option to Disabled. Make sure before you change anything in your router, to make a backup of its existing settings. You can do so on the SMC by viewing the Tools page and clicking the Backup Settings button.You then want to setup each of your four machines to have a static, instead of a dynamic IP address. The individual machines could be setup thus:Win PC 1 : 192.168.2.2Win PC 2 : 192.168.2.3Win PC 3 : 192.168.2.4Macintosh: 192.168.2.5The subnet mask should be 255.255.255.0 for every one of them. The Default Gateway (on the Mac it may be listed as Router Address) should be 192.168.2.1 (the address of your SMC) for every one of them.Once you are setup statically, you can then open a specific port or port range for specific machines (such as the Roger Wilco ports on the Win PC's) or add one of your machines to the DMZ (this basically disables the built-in firewall for that machine - use for testing only as its not a great idea unless nothing else works) as required. If your systems weren't setup with static IP addresses, this could cause havoc as one of the opened or blocked port ranges for a specific IP address would possibly point to the wrong machine or none at all, depending upon the order you booted each of those boxes.Once you have static IP's, configuring your machines should become a lot easier. For instance, to open up your Mac on the DMZ to verify it can access the external internet in all applications, you would add its IP address to the DMZ through your SMC... You'd do so on the Setup-Advanced Settings-Miscellaneous page under the "IP Address of Virtual DMZ Host" field.If you've got any questions, don't hesitate to ask as always.By the way, once setup statically, you'll need to open up some ports on the firewall for Roger Wilco for those Win machines that run it. By default (you can change what ports you want to use within Roger Wilco - not recommended however), those ports are:TCP 3782 (in and out)UDP 3782, 3783 (in and out)UDP 27900, 28900 (in and out)You can do this on the SMC by viewing the Setup-Advanced Settings-Special Application page. If you end up needing to open more ports for many network applications than spaces are available in the SMC (a paltry 10 unfortunately), it may be better to completely disable the SMC firewall or add the one problem machine to the DMZ on a permanent basis - you'd then want to use software firewalls on those machines instead. This is a last resort of course (although I recommend running software firewalls in addition to hardware firewalls in all cases - it protects you from outbound trojans and the like whereas a hardware firewall alone may not).Good luck,Elrondhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/Boycott-RIAA.gif]"A musician without the RIAA, is like a fish without a bicycle."[/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font

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Elrond, thank you so much. As usual, your advice is extensive and succinct. And as usual, it will take me a day or two just to fully digest all of this information. I must say, however, that I'm very concerned about the health of my router. As stated above I updated the firmware last night. Tonight when I arrived home, the PC could not connect to the router. I had to manually reset the router before I could even access it via my browser to adjust the settings again. Furthermore, the manual reset did not clear my password, and I had to reset to factory settings through the browser interface. Does this behavior sound normal to you? I will read over what you suggest above and begin implementing changes. I suspect that I will have questions, and I will address them to you via e-mail.Thanks again for your help.

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And so SD sim scratches his head and wonders to himself, "will you ever learn?"So a visionary you must be Elrond, a modern day Nostradamus. As I said, I started up the computer earlier this evening, but had no internet connection. I reset the router to post my response above, then shut down again for dinner. Upon startup, again no internet. So based on your timely advice, I thought to myself, well, I shut down with client two last night, so lets try launching the browser on that computer. Sure enough, I'm on without a problem. So I clearly have configuration problems, and quite a bit to learn. So now the fun begins. Hopefully I can figure this all out in a couple of days (or maybe even a couple of hours). Wish me skill, I'll need it. Bye for now.

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Ok, ok... Enough of the honey - "you had me at hello!"... :-lolIt might make things easier if we setup a time to chat through the AVSIM IRC chat server. Despite the rambling mess I made of the above, it as usual boils down to a simple process... Its all the caveots and such that I never can seem to avoid stating when I write that make it look much more complicated than it really is :-(.If you can get out on one machine with net access (as its clear you can), we can configure the other three in real-time. Then, once you are on one of those other three, we can configure the last. Might make things much easier. If you've got some free time in the early evening on of these nights and wish to do this, let me know.Skill to you, as you requested :-),Elrondhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/Boycott-RIAA.gif]"A musician without the RIAA, is like a fish without a bicycle."[/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font

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:-) :-) :-)Your instructions were spot on. I'm just not as knowledgeable as you might think. But the great news is that I successfully got all three computers (plus router) reconfigured, and for the first time ever, I was able to use Roger Wilco without having reception disappear every minute :-yellow1. Add to that the bonus that the problems I had with blurred textures has completely vanished, and you have one very happy camper. Of course, I still can't get the bloody Mac connected. I set it up with it's own IP address, and assigned a DMZ to that IP address, but no luck. I suspect that there is a more deeply rooted problem that I still have to solve, because the 10/100 lights for the port that the Mac is on are not lit when the cable is plugged in. I know that this port functions properly, however, because I can plug in one of the PCs without a problem.A couple more questions came up for me while setting up the static IPs. First, in the 192.168.2.1:88 setup page you can perform DHCP address mapping. I went ahead and mapped the four computers MAC addresses to their respective IP addresses, but I suspect this was unecessary. Nonetheless, now that I know of it's existence, I would like to know what it does. The second question involves the special application page, where I opened up ports for RW. I have selections for trigger ports, and public ports, but I don't understand what the two are for. What I did that appears to have worked was to enter three ports, TCP on 3782, and UDP on both 3782 and 3783. In each case, I added the port number to both the trigger and public ports (i.e. 3782 TCP for both trigger and public in slot 1), so I have now used up three of my port assignments. Was the idea to add 3782 to the trigger port and 3783 to the public port, or is it configured correctly the way I described it?I'm storing my bucket-o-honey now, but really, thank you.BTW - I don't know how to use the AVSIM IRC chat server. But I would like to figure it out at some point.

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Hey David,Knowledge isn't something you have, its something you gain (as my mother used to say - over and over and over and... :-)). As usual, you're doing a more than competent job in that department.For the Mac: when you power down the Mac and turn it back on, does the green Link/Act light come on for the port its connected to? Is it just the yellow 10/100 light that doesn't come on (or does it flash during boot up of the Mac as well)? If the Link/Act light comes on, the connection is being recognized... If the 10/100 light stays off, that indicates a configuration problem.On the Special Applications page, you did things exactly right. Since the ports are opened based upon a "trigger", you could have used just two slots for the two ports you actually need. You'd do so like this:Slot 1Trigger Port: 3782Trigger Type: TCPPublic Port: 3782Public Type: TCPEnabled: CheckedSlot 2Trigger Port: 3782Trigger Type: UDPPublic Port: 3782Public Type: UDPEnabled: CheckedA bit of background on what you are doing when you add slots to the Special Applications page. You can always skip doing this *if* your internet application only wants to *send* information out over a port. Its when an app wants to open a port to *recieve* data so that other internet apps can connect to it that you need to add the ports to this page.In Roger Wilco's case, TCP port 3782 can be used simply as outgoing without adding it to this page - but this limits your ability to *create* channels. If all you ever wish to do is join existing channels, you can skip adding TCP 3782 to this page. If you want or need to create your own channels, you must add it to the page.With RW, UDP port 3782 is the port used for audio, both *incomming* and outgoing. If you didn't add this port to your Special Applications page, you'd have problems getting voice *in* to your system, but not sending it out. When you add the port to this page, it allows others to send their voice to you over this port.The only reason you'd ever need to open up port UDP 3783 is if you were running the Base Station version of RW (RWBS). With the BS, UDP 3783 is the port used for voice instead of UDP 3782. If you don't run the BS, you don't need to open this port, you'd open UDP 3782 instead.Port 27900 is used to talk to the GameSpy Master Servers for RW. This is *outbound* only, so you don't need to open up its port on the Special Apps page.Finally, port 28900 is the GameSpy Master Server List Request port. This is used to request the channel listings. If you ever have a problem doing this (or a need), you can open up this port as well.How port triggering works:Since the Special Applications page isn't mapped directly to specific IP address behind your SMC (such as 192.168.2.4, etc), this allows *any* of the computers hooked up to the router to use these ports. Lets take Roger Wilco as our example: one of your computers begins running RW throught TCP port 3782 and you also connect with voice to that RW user on the internet using UDP port 3782. Your SMC router takes note of the IP address that *transmitted* through those ports (the trigger ports). When the outside RW user connects back to you and starts sending his/er voice(s), it is sent on UDP port 3782. Because the SMC knows the IP address that started the connection, it looks in its Special Apps page and sees if that port is mapped to allow *incomming* data (as stated, it never interferes with outgoing data). Since you added those ports to the page, it allows the communication and maps that open port to the internal LAN IP address it noted to begin with. Hence, Roger Wilco will now work on *any* of the computers hooked up to the router.The only reason you mapped static IP addresses instead of kept DHCP enabled is so you can add the iMac to the DMZ... The DMZ doesn't work with port triggering, instead it wants to know the exact address of the machine to keep fully open to the internet (for security reasons).Jeez, there I went again rambling my head off about things you didn't even ask. Sigh... :-) Regardless, hope that makes things a bit clearer. Once you get back with info on the status lights on the iMac port, we'll see if we can track that problem down.To finish, using the AVSIM IRC server is extremely simple thanks to their setting up a web based front-end for it. You can access it here:http://www.avsim.com/irc/launch.htmlLook forward to hearing back from you.Take care,Elrondhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/Boycott-RIAA.gif]"A musician without the RIAA, is like a fish without a bicycle."[/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font

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Does the green Link/Act light come on for the port its connected to?.Unfortunately, none of the lights for this port come on at any time. Not during boot, not when I connect the cable, simply never. There was a brief interlude a few days ago where I had it working for about 5 minutes (and the lights were on), but then I lost the connection again. So I'm convinced, as you correctly surmised, that I do have a configuration problem. In case your wondering, the Mac does work fine if I connect it directly to the cable modem. So once I get the Mac up and running, I will be finished with this round. Thanks for all your help so far.And thank you for the wonderful explanation of port operation, I really appreciate the fact that you make it clear enough for my simple mind to follow.

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So I have finally closed the book on this saga. The iMac is now up and running, and the wife is happy again. The solution I found, however, does not sit well with me. After countless days of struggle, here is how I slayed this dragon:Every time I plugged the Mac in, there were no lights lit on the port that the Mac was using. Then something possessed me, and I decided to connect the Mac to the router while the Mac itself was running. I discovered, much to my surprise, that if I inserted the ethernet connection (RJ45 plug, I believe) 3/4 of the way into the router, the lights would come on for that port, and the internet was my playground. However, insert the connector all the way in until it locks in place, and the lights go off, and no internet connection.As I stated above, there is no problem with the router per se, because I can plug one of the PCs into that port and it works just fine. So I'm left with what I consider to be a work-around. But at least it does work. Does anybody have any explanation they can offer for this unusual (in my eyes) behavior?

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