Tip: Never upgrade anything

I bought a new ADSL/Modem/Router today, mainly for the speedier wireless but also so that I could wireless-enable my parents’ place using the sacred power of the hand-me-down.

What could go wrong, I thought to myself, by buying the newer, smaller, faster version of the thing I’ve already got: upgrading from a Netgear DG824 to a Netgear DG834. I had a few initial problems with the earlier product, but hey, they might even have fixed those. (I never learn.)

The new router is, indeed, smaller and faster. It has sweet little plastic feet so you can stand it on end. It reboots after config changes in just a few seconds. Its logging is much better (read: fewer unwanted lines).

However, it seems that a pretty fundamental feature, from my perspective, is no longer present. Previously I could go to http://www.avaragado.org from my LAN and it would resolve correctly via DNS to my public IP, get routed into my Netgear box, and port-forwarded to the web server on my LAN. (Among other things, it meant I could take the Powerbook from my LAN onto other people’s LANs without changing any config as it would all end up at the same place.)

But you can’t do that any more. At first I thought that port forwarding was broken, since my first hit to http://www.avaragado.org from the LAN took me to the web config page for the router, which was just, well, deranged as far as I could tell. And I couldn’t SSH in either. But just to check I asked babelfish to translate my home page (to see if I could get a hit in my logs from outside my LAN); sure enough, it worked. So the port forwarding was working fine, just not from my own LAN.

Netgear’s web site is silent on the issue, of course, but their forums aren’t. Lots of people asking suspiciously similar questions, with responses along the lines of “these routers don’t do loopback” from other punters. But.. but.. it used to work, I mumbled to myself at ever-increasing volumes.

Since when did anyone take useful features out of products? (At least without deliberately crippling them and calling them “Express”.) It was hard enough at TTA to get useless features dropped.

I refused to go down the reconfigure-Powerbook-every-damn-time route. I was tempted to take the thing back, but I’m just too English. My solution was, of course, to bite the bullet and get DNS working on my LAN.

Luckily I found a reasonably straightforward guide to doing what I needed to do without having to inhale 700 pages of BIND esoterica. Had to navigate a few of the usual cryptic “I’ve failed but I’m not going to explain why or where” error messages of course but I got it going reasonably quickly. SSH is currently giving me dire warnings about “reverse mapping checking getaddrinfo for blah failed – POSSIBLE BREAKIN ATTEMPT!” but I’m just going bah! to that one, at least until I can parse it.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Tip: Never upgrade anything

  1. Anonymous

    Been there, done that

    I strongly recommend using webmin. It actually works particularly well, even on those occassions where *you* have no clue where the config file is.

    And you are lucky you aren’t hosting your own DNS server. I do for several domains, and had to create “views” so that queries from outside got the external IP and queries from inside get the internal IP. That was hours of eye gouging fun to configure. webmin even unsderstands views!

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