Okay, so last night, I was completely fed up with the modem (a Zoom X6 5590 ADSL Router, by the way) and I was ready to yank it off the network and put the old modem back on. Not only was that a decision made out of frustration and anger, but it would have completely defeated the purpose of buying the modem in the first place, so I decided to leave it on. Even if port forwarding didn’t work, I should at least check to see if it ever falls offline. Best Buy said I could take it back if it didn’t work, so no big deal.
Lucky for everyone involved, a bit of sleep is what I needed, because I learned what was going wrong with my port forwarding… I wasn’t turning them on. Yep. That was it. At least 8 hours of work because I didn’t see the Enable check box. However, I did explore every inch of the thing and read every word of the very primitive user guide. So what went wrong? I’ll show you:
See that check box on the left? Yeah, the entire time, I thought that was for mass manipulation… Like, if you have 50 things in your list and you want to delete them all, check the boxes and push delete and confirm once. Well, that’s not what it’s for. For some reason, I completely neglected to read “Enable”. I saw everything else but that… No idea why.
One thing I’m still having trouble with? Bridging. It’s a technical term that allows the modem to become absolutely transparent to everyone involved, making it look like a computer behind the modem is the one directly connected to the internet (when, in reality, the computer still passes things through the modem). In a sense, it becomes an invisible translator. Well, that’s how the old modem worked. You’d plug the modem in, it would connect to the internet and sit there idle until you plugged in a computer, and then the modem would say “okay, here’s all the stuff for you to pretend you’re the modem” and the computer itself would handle the connections and sharing. That would be my Linux router! Well… This new modem has wireless, and in bridge mode, the wireless doesn’t get online. It only acts as a sort of LAN access point that can’t get routed to the internet because the modem is supposed to be invisible in Bridge mode. (Or at least I haven’t figured out how to make it work, yet, and the documentation is incredibly lacking.) That, and Bridge mode worked once, right out of the box, but now I can’t get it to work, even after resetting it to the factory defaults. So A) wireless doesn’t work, and B) bridging doesn’t work… However…
When it’s acting as a router, it… Well. Acts as a router. I got myself a crossover cable and linked my NetGear switch to the modem, so now it’s very literally an 18-port router. Everything works just perfectly dandy. I have Static DHCP configured, so every computer gets the same IP, and when I take the computer somewhere else, it’ll get a new IP automatically until I come home. Awesome stuff. Wireless works, and the Wii interfaces with it very nicely, but the DSes don’t for some reason. They don’t acquire an IP address, even though I’ve set up DHCP for them the very same way. So A) wireless works and B) the modem is the router. However…
I don’t know if I want the modem to be a router. I mean, it seems stable enough. I haven’t had any trouble, and theoretically, it shouldn’t have any trouble. I can’t find anything about router problems with a Zoom modem, so I guess that’s good? I’m worried it’s not strong enough to handle a mass of connections and I’ll wind up with the problems I had with the old modem, but… On the other hand, thousands of people (and everyone I know, except TW) uses a little box router like this and they rarely have any trouble like I’ve had… So I’m a little torn. Wireless and box router? Or no wireless and Linux router? I’m opting for wireless at the moment… If I get the DSes working, then that’ll seal the deal.
I’ll be putting it through its paces tonight with Karazhan, and hopefully I’ll find some random stuff to download via Bittorrent to see how it handles that. With luck, it’ll be everything I’ve ever wanted in a box router. Let me be honest… I found a Linux router very cumbersome. Every time you wanted to make a change, you had to write a configuration file so you didn’t have to memorize the IPTables commands, and then you’d have to launch the file to make the changes… All this through SSH that you log in with a username and password. On the one hand? Very strong. On the other? Very lengthy. Now? I just dial into 10.0.0.2, maneuver to Advanced Setup> Virtual Server/DMZ, and add an IP and a port and done. Oh, and did I mention wireless works when the modem’s a router? Wireless is nice when it comes in the package.
I’m very surprised as to how simple it was to interface with the AT&T/SBC/Yahoo! DSL network… Basically? Plug in the modem, navigate to Basic Setup, hit “autoconfigure”, wait 30 seconds, and boom! You’re on the network… All that’s left is to sign in and voila! Online magic. Plus, it sports WPA2 for wireless encryption (if you go for that), PVCs, custom routing tables, advanced rules-based firewall, QoS, UPnP and MAC filtering on the wired LAN, even. Pretty neat stuff. (Plus the Bridge that kinda-sorta does/doesn’t work.) I don’t like QoS, as I’ve said before, so that’s off, as well as most of the other stuff, but it’s neat that they’re there in case I need them. Plus, there’s a telnet command line, but I haven’t figured out how to use it, since it’s nothing close to anything I’ve ever used. Plus, the commands it says are available toss up “invalid command” errors, so… No luck there.