[FoRK] Pwnage, brought to you by DirectTV

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Fri Sep 7 22:07:11 PDT 2012

On Fri Sep 7 19:01:58 2012, Reese wrote:
> At 01:10 PM 9/7/2012, Stephen Williams wrote:
>> ...
>> I happened to be examining the system when it reported in a popup "aa has disconnected". At that point, I realized what was
>> happening.
>> The current DirectTV system requires an Internet connection. To easily support multi-room service, child units connect to
>> coax cable that connects all units in the house together to share that Internet connection. The main unit then provides
>> network access over that cable along with antenna signal. The main unit also connects to the incoming satellite cable, which
>> is connected to splitters and amplifiers. Normally, this would be a private connection to a dish serving a house or
>> individual apartment. To avoid the need for multiple dishes, this complex shares a set of dishes on the roof, which are then
>> amplified and distributed to each unit.
>> ...
> So, you are in an apartment complex where the dish array is shared
> betwixt the tenants? I can see how there would be issues.

Correct.  The building's owners don't allow cable.  Either one of the two satellite providers or nothing.  Apparently, the 
owners don't like Comcast.  Or Comcast won't cut them in on the revenue.

This is their response and my response to that:

> I just called.  No one answered, so I left a message as the prompt asked.
> Which part is it that fails?  Can you tell me the manufacturer and model # of the filter?
> ...
> On 9/7/12 3:28 PM, True Digital Satellite wrote:
> - hide quoted text -
> Steven,
> Please call our office to schedule a time to fix your problems with recorded programs.  The issue you are having is most 
> likely  due to a faulty filter on your line that can be easily replaced.  With the multi room viewing available now, we use 
> these filters to prevent your content from being  viewed by others.  Occasionally these parts can malfunction and cause the 
> issues that you are having.   The current DirecTV system only requires an internet connection to the unit that is wanting to 
> access On Demand programming.  It is not required for Multi room viewing.    In the future please call our office when you are 
> having problems with your DirecTV service at 510-713-0569.  If you lose the number you can get it from the office at [the 
> complex].
> Thank you,
> ...
> True Digital Satellite

They're using filters that can malfunction, leaving the "line" open?  If so, that it is one stupid part.
More likely, they didn't do what they should have, so the failure is that I noticed a problem and understood what was going on.

> Meanwhile, I've noticed that sometimes, with no tv sets turned on, the
> house WiFi becomes unusable. It's ultra-slow when laptops are able to
> connect at all and sometimes, they aren't. The issue tends to last
> hours if I don't reboot anything. Rebooting the cable modem and WAP
> tends to resolve ability to connect to the WAP but it doesn't always
> resolve the bandwidth issues or at least, not right away. Those tend
> to disappear about 10-30 minutes after the reboots. But I'll tell you
> what does fix the available, usable bandwidth issue and right away,
> unplugging the DirectTV crap from the router. It makes me wonder just
> exactly what the hell they are doing that uses so much bandwidth and
> for so long, when no tv sets are on and when no programs are being
> recorded.

I have noticed something like that also. Definitely time to start sniffing can capturing. It would be quite ironic if something 
in the network was clamping network activity from the satellite provider. Doubt if anything like that is happening at my ISP, 
Sonic, which is one of the best in that and most ways.  Perhaps it is borking the router.

> I think I might need to do a bit of deep packet inspection myself.
Definitely needed.

> Reese


More information about the FoRK mailing list