AT&T DSL setup hell - where did my public IP go?

AT&T DSL setup hell - where did my public IP go?

Summary: One of the things I've noticed in recent years is how a lot of people I know were getting pigeon holed in to non-public IP addresses by their broadband provider.  Oh sure you can do your typical web surfing and you could probably even put up a router to share your Internet connection, but that put you in to a situation where you have to do two address translations which breaks a lot of advanced applications.

SHARE:
34

One of the things I've noticed in recent years is how a lot of people I know were getting pigeon holed in to non-public IP addresses by their broadband provider.  Oh sure you can do your typical web surfing and you could probably even put up a router to share your Internet connection, but that put you in to a situation where you have to do two address translations which breaks a lot of advanced applications.  Luckily I haven't been one of these pigeon-holed users lacking a real Internet address but my luck ran out when my Mother tried to set up her DSL this week.

I've probably wasted 8 hours trying to get the issue resolved and that doesn't count the time my Mother wasted.  Of course much of that time wasted had to deal with other computer issues which I'll cover in subsequent blogs, but I finally got it working and the solution wasn't simple.  AT&T's DSL tech support only made it worse by having my mother delete her PPPoE (Point-to-Point over Ethernet) client setting in Windows Vista and transferred the PPPoE client to the modem itself.  I had to spend almost an hour on the phone to get AT&T's tech support to tell me how to change it back to normal so that the PPPoE client could either reside on the computer or a router and it was anything but obvious.  Of course they'll give me the usual nonsense that "oh but it's working right now" and that's when I had to tell them to stop right there and that I wasn't going to put up with a non public IP address.  Since he thought this meant static IP, he kept trying to say that this was a "dynamic IP" account which has nothing to do with whether an IP address is public or private.

WARNING: The following information is given as is and it has NO explicit or implied warrantee.  It is possible that you will lose your Internet connection if something goes wrong so please use this only if you're comfortable making changes to your Internet broadband settings.  You should be comfortable making any changes with your computer in such a way that you know what you're doing and you know how to reverse what you did in case you run in to any troubles.  Before you make any changes like this, you must know what your PPPoE username and password is and you must know how to configure your router or your Windows XP or Vista computer for a direct PPPoE connection to your modem.  You should also know how to set a static IP address of 192.168.1.10 in case you need to undo the changes to your DSL modem.  If you don't know how to do these things or you have no idea how to set a static IP address, it's probably a good idea that you stop right here and do not use the following guide.  You should also be prepared to contact your DSL provider if you run in to any problems.

Now how do you know if you're set up without a public IP address?  If you're connected directly to the modem from your PC, simply check to see if your IP address starts with a 192.168, a 10, or if it is between 172.16.0.0 through 172.31.255.255.  These IP addresses are not reachable from the Internet without translation and that means some software won't work.  If you have a router plugged in to the modem sharing your Internet connection for wired or wireless users, you will need to log in to the router and check the router status page which should tell you your PPPoE status and the IP address it acquired.  If that IP address is one of the above, then you're a pigeon-holed user and you won't be able to use certain software and do certain things.

To fix the problem, I had to go in to the Motorola model 2210-02 modem's web interface (located at http://192.168.1.254) which forces you to enter in some cryptic modem access code that you have to find on a label on the modem itself and go to the Advanced settings under "PPP Location" and change the setting to "Bridged Mode".  Now one would think it should be set to "PPP is on the computer" which the description explains that this is when you want to run PPPoE on the computer or a personal router/gateway, but it needs to be set to bridge mode.  Then after you hit "save changes", you probably want to wait for it to say it's done and then power cycle the modem just to be safe.  When I say "safe", I mean you need to do that in case the modem has locked itself to your computer's MAC address which prevents your router from working (the cable broadband vendors like to do this).

Only after going through this complex setup, I could finally get the Windows Vista PPPoE client to work which means it will be a simple transfer of PPPoE settings to the wireless router to get the job done.

Topics: AT&T, Hardware, Networking

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

34 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I had ....

    Heard that AT&T had started doing this. Which is WHY from Time to time my HOME DSL stuff fails, never checked it for Private IP address assignment though. Next time I will.

    Thanks George ...
    Linux_4u!
    • Yeah, I've had friend's computers do this

      Yeah, I've had friend's computers do this and I didn't understand why at the time it happened but now I know. It took the ATT tech quite a while to set it up this bad way.
      georgeou
      • The AT&T tech set it?

        I'm curious since I'm about to move and will be getting my DSL moved. If a tech needs to come to the house to set this then it's a non-issue as I'm going to leave my setup the way it is now. If AT&T can do this remotely when they turn on the DSL then I need to worry.
        slopoke
        • You take your existing modem when you move

          You take your existing modem when you move so it shouldn't be a problem. I've had the same modem for 6 years and counting for my service. The problem is with these new installs where these modems are going out like this.
          georgeou
          • RE: You take your existing modem when you move

            That's not always the case. It seems to depend great on AT&T's setup in your current and soon-to-be areas. I've been in situations when I have kept the same modem between moves only to find that I couldn't use my previous modem in my current house.
            JakAttak
          • Ditto Here

            I moved about 1 year ago and immediately moth balled the new modem they gave me and kept the 5-6 year old model I had previously.

            My old modem is simply a modem. No routing, no firewall, no nothing. And I like it that way.

            The newer models they give out are awful. I just want a modem. Let me decide on the routing functions as I'd prefer some choice such as LinkSys, D-Link, Netgear, etc.

            AT&T's new modems are overly complicated, POS's. My answer was to use the old one combined with a LinkSys with WRT loaded on it. AT&T can't touch that in terms of quality and features.
            rkuhn040172@...
  • Advanced Applications?

    'but that put you in to a situation where you have to do two address translations which breaks a lot of advanced applications.'

    Exactly what advanced applications does your Mom need that requires her to have a public ip?

    Not sure what the setup is like in the US, but I know of a few ISP's in the UK that give non public IP's and haven't heard of any problems.

    Timbo
    TheBoyBailey
    • Well, port forwarding, video conferencing

      Well, port forwarding, video conferencing, remote desktop (so I can remote in and help her). You make it sound like if it's "just" my Mom, she doesn't need a public IP address and I say nonsense.
      georgeou
      • Just your term 'Advanced Applications' :)

        Just your term 'advanced applications'. Calling Remote Desktoping and Video Conferencing 'advanced application' made me smile. Its just so George Ou :)

        Timbo
        TheBoyBailey
        • I think if more people knew about it, they would care

          I think if more people knew about it, they would care. Being able to remotely wake my PC and remote desktop in is highly technical, but the functionality is also desired by normal people.
          georgeou
  • why?

    Is AT&T running out of public IP addresses? Otherwise, why would they do this?
    chrome_slinky@...
    • The modem still takes up an address

      The modem still takes up an address. I think they might be doing this because it forces some kind of client side consistency so that this makes tech support easier. I don't know about you, but it just makes me angry though.
      georgeou
  • What, you never heard of a DMZ?

    PPPoE is a PITA. All it does is makes troubleshooting a connection issue harder. Make life a whole lot easier on both yourself and your mom by setting a manually-configured address of 192.168.1.99 on the PC and setting the modem's DMZ settings to the same address. All the benefits of a PPPoE connection, half the headaches.
    Yalius
    • Modems don't have DMZs

      We're talking about an ADSL modem, not a router. It does not have a "DMZ". You need the public IP on the router so you can control it, the modem is very limited.
      georgeou
      • Yes, it does.

        If it's providing a NAT address (192.168.x.x), then it's also a router. It has a DMZ setting. How else do you think it's able to provide the private IP address? Take a look through the config pages of the router's web interface, it will be there under NAT or Advanced settings.

        If it wasn't a router, how did you think it was providing NAT functions?
        Yalius
        • Screenshot of DSL config page

          http://www.molalla.net/~lisse/modem.JPG
          Yalius
        • The User's Guide for that device

          http://www.netopia.com/support/hardware/manuals/SoftwareUserGuideV77-Clsc.pdf

          Netopia / Motorola calls the function IPmaps. Page 97.
          Yalius
        • I don't want that because I can't control the ports with UPnP

          I don't want that because I can't control the ports with UPnP if I have multiple computers. I like to be able to use remote WOL Wake-on-LAN and remote desktop in to my computer just by going to the DDNS name.
          georgeou
  • Verizon is no better

    I had a co-worker go through the same thing but with Verizon. Finally the tech could not figure it all out and blamed it on Microsoft.
    User94327
  • Grammar

    When making reference to your mother, the "m" in mother doesn't need to be capitalized unless you're using "mother" as a name.

    Wrong: "...but my luck ran out when my Mother tried..."

    Right: "...but my luck ran out when Mother tried..." or "...but my luck ran out when my mother tried..."
    ParrotHeadFL