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Router compatibility issues
Friday 12 September 2003 10:32:00 by Andrew Ferguson

For a few weeks there has been some issues with a variety of ADSL modems that use the Globespan Virata chipset. The issues are not linked to recent firmware upgrades issued by router suppliers, since some devices exhibiting lock-ups or just failing to connect have not had any new firmware for almost a year.

The devices affected appear to be Asus EV/Bi/Vi models, Solwise SAR703, SAR705/715, SAR715PV, Netgear DG814 and D-Link DSL-604. It is believed that some other Netgear and D-Link models may be affected as well.

The ISP that this issue initially appeared with was Nildram, but recently Eclipse users are starting see problems. The issue appears to resolve around the release of the 622Mbps BT Central product, Nildram support has details of the problem. The two resolved issues revolve around the differences in the implementation of the LCP options between the Virata chipset and the Cisco gateway routers at the ISP end, and that when the chipset is shutting down a session it does not send a terminate request. This second problem fits in with previous recommendations to users of various hardware to disconnect their ADSL for 15 minutes or more to ensure that things are reset, often called a stall session.

Since Solwise who are doing a lot of the liaison between Nildram/Eclipse and BT are still seeing problems, this suggests that maybe the issue is not fully resolved. As is often the case no-one party wants to take the blame for the problem, and in IT circles it is often the case that no one supplier is at fault, but rather just a combination of things. What we would say is most worrying is that popular models of customer kit do not appear to have being thoroughly tested prior to the release of the 622Mbps BT Central product with this combination of Cisco gateway routers. With ADSL take-up poised to enter the massed market, compatibility issues need to be resolved before the public is let loose on hardware.

One interesting issue, is that while Eclipse users who are affected are seeing similar symptons, due to the different set-up compared to Nildram the precise fault and resolution are very likely to not be the same. Therefore it looks like this issue is going to run for a while yet, we will endeavour to keep people informed.

If you have one of the modems listed and are experiencing lock-ups or problems connecting then we suggest you visit the Solwise forums, where details on how to contact Solwise and what information they require are listed.


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