We’re visiting family this week, and staying with my parents. Much to my delight, they recently got DSL service from AT&T. Being a good son, I gave my Dad a router for Christmas (he has some spare PCs he wants to network, plus a work laptop). Being me, I made it a 802.11g wireless router.

Last night, we hooked it all up. Of course, I managed to make it much more difficult than it needed to be. I have a cable modem at home, which creates a direct connection to the web, and then acts as a DHCP server to my PC (well, to my router). The DSL modem also acts as a DHCP server, but does not make a direct internet connection. Instead, it connects over PPPoE, which requires a user name and password. The username was visible in a dialog box, but (of course) not the password. I asked Dad for the password. He didn’t know it. Didn’t remember having one. Didn’t even recognize the user name. It seems that the AT&T software automatically logs in upon startup.

So, we looked through all of his documentation. Tried guessing the password. Searched the support website. Uninstalled and reinstalled the software. All to no avail. And then I tried something I should have tried an hour before… In the AT&T software setup is a checkbox “I am using a router to connect to AT&T“. I checked it. And Lo, a textbox appeared with the username and password I would need to feed my router to enable a PPPoE connection from the router. It worked, and my Powerbook was once again online.

All was now right in the world. Yeah, right. I could get my mail, but I could not send it. Via either of the SMTP servers I normally use. Upon further investigation, it seems that AT&T blocks port 25 (they use an alternate port for their servers), and that you must request to have the port unblocked. After you’ve been a customer for 30 days. What a crock.

We requested the port be unblocked via the WebChat interface (PhoneDrone? We’ve got Webdrones!), and after a brief but unpleasant Spanish Inquisition (Bloodtype?), I was promised the port would be unblocked, within 15 minutes.

That was an hour ago. I’m still gagged.

Update: After trying again (and failing) several hours later, I had inspiration to try having the router log out and log back in to the PPPoE connection. Now, everything is working.

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