Round and Around Rant (Linksys sucks, and so does Mississippi, and so do motherboards with no pci slots.)

Date: Fri Mar 02 2001 - 01:32:00 PST

A client of mine has a little network in his home from which he offers
free email ( on fast cable. The cable has been
crashing over and over, and there is variance in the line, which will be
fixed soon (hah), but the client noticed that if he took the linux server
offline, the network didn't crash. Hmm. Must be the linux box? Nah,
I've supported linux long enough to look for something else to blame
first. Must be a chattery nic. I have an extra, so I grab it and go
over. Damn. No PCI slots on the motherboard. (no, really, none.) So,
since we don't even have a Best Buy here, we go to WalMart and Office
Depot to get an ISA nic. Not only do they sell motherboards with no PCI
slots, but the stores here have no ISA nics. Some people might think that
is a conspiracy, but there just aren't enough smart geeks around here for
that kind of conspiracy. Anyhow, -think think- Okay, I have an ISA nic at
home somewhere. I drive home, rummage around, and finally raid one from
my mom's linux box. Get there, wrestle with the case (the case was the
good kind, with the sides that flip down, so I was confused for a moment),
get the card in, get excited, ping around, check the website, and blam,
down it goes. I feel a headache coming on. Shut everything off on the
linux box, httpd, mail, everything, and we're fine. I turn
on httpd. He gets a friend online to check the webserver, and all's well.
Okay, so it's the mail server (DMail, btw. Proprietary, but their tech
support rocks.). Hmm... bam, the whole thing goes down again, wtf? I
hadn't started the mail server. Okay, logs, logs, netstat, route,
tcpdump, watching lights, checking router config, and every other kind of
network config, etc, etc, etc, for about 4 hours, and fiiiiiiiinally, we
realize that this is ONLY happening when he's hitting the web browser from
his win box. WTF, so more config config, watch logs, scratch heads, cuss
a little bit, and we finally sit down and have some tea and try to
brainstorm. It's the router, it has to be something with this stupid
little router. He decides to call LinkSys. Okay, fine. He rings them
for about 20 minutes, and I am surfing for info on the web and finding
mostly complaints about their support. ug. I decide that I'm going home,
and he can ring me tomorrow and let me know what support said, and try
again. Tech support answers. Client hands me phone, and I tell the chick
(YAY) the details (of course, I leave out the part about linux. That'll
get ya hung up on in some cases.). She says "Okay," like she's waiting
for me to tell her the problem. I said "Okay, that is the problem. The
network crashes." She says "Of course it does, there is no loopback
support." Oh. -shrug- Trying to shake off some of the speechlessness
that invoked, I ask if there might someday be some kind of firmware
upgrade that might have that nice little feature. She says, sure, one day
someone might do that. I just realized that none of you probably give a
shit, but, DAMN. How can they call that a router? Not only does it not
ALLOW you to surf your own little internet, but it crashes like a mallard
in duck season! I think I am going to take that job teaching in public
schools a little more seriously. It's a different kind of masochism, I
think. At least my student loan will be paid off.

"Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases, think for yourself." --Doris Lessing,
British writer

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