Update: 05/04/95 06:10 PM

ISDN Progress Report

Here's a status report on where I stand on my efforts to get my ISDN hookup to work. (By the way, I don't want to discourage anyone by making this sound more difficult or time-consuming than it really is. True, I've been working on it for two days; but that really represents just a few hours of work spread out over those two days.)

In our last episode, our hero (Hey! That's me!) was trying to figure out why the WAN light on the router was flashing. The installation manual said that one possible cause might be that "there is an error with the BRI interface (such as no physical or logical link)." So I'm wondering: Did SW Bell mess me up and give me a bad phone line? Is the router programmed incorrectly? Did my ISP do something wrong on his end and not do whatever was necessary to make this a dedicated line?

Or, could it just be a bad cable?

Since bad cabling was the easiest thing to check out, I swapped the cable that connected the router to the ISDN jack with the cable the connected the router to the network card in the PC. Voila! The WAN light went out. According to the book, that means that "there is an active BRI line and no connection." I take that to mean that the router recognizes the ISDN line, but that I don't have a valid connection. A small step in the right direction. Progress is measured in small steps.

So, I bought a new cable to replace the bad one, which now connected the router to the PC. Still didn't work. I looked over my TCP/IP configuration, and decided that I needed to tell it that I was using DNS (Domain Name Service) and to enter the IP address of my ISP's domain name server. No luck.

Next, I tried to ping my ISP. Nada. Then, just for the hell of it, I tried to ping myself. (Sounds kinda masochistic, doesn't it?) Success! So that tells me (I think) that my TCP/IP is configured correctly. So, why isn't the PC talking to the router?

Just as I'm starting to check out the network card to see if its configured correctly, I get a visit from Dan York, who called me after reading some of these notes. While we're talking, Dan suggests that I might have an interrupt conflict. I haven't had time to check that out yet, but that's where I'll start when I resume my investigation.

I'd like to figure this out by myself (well, sort of by myself; I've already been offered -- and gratefully accepted -- promising suggestions from several helpful people), but I guess I'll break down and call my ISP tomorrow (Friday) and ask for help. And if that doesn't work, I'll enlist the aid of a friend this weekend; he's a network consultant with no specific NT or TCP/IP experience -- but hey, he volunteered to help, and two heads are better than one.

Wish me luck!


Costs

I've been asked to review the costs involved in doing what I'm doing. I'll confine myself to the financial (rather than psychological or emotional) costs. And I'm going to do this from memory, because I'm much too lazy to dig up the actual receipts. So, here are the damages, in no apparent order:

I think that's everything. And I'm not going to total it up for you, because that would be too depressing. (Ignorance is bliss.)

Major expenses that I expect to incur within the next month or two include:

And then all I'll need to do is get some customers so I actually pay for all this stuff, and I'll be in business! Piece of cake.

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Hank Mishkoff (hank@webfeats.com)
Voice: (972)931-5421
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