Frankensteining old Internode router for WiFi on Telstra BigPond

Wrong.

In the end I had to set up two separate IP networks and get the Billion BiPAC 7404VGP to forward packets by setting up an ‘IP Alias‘. Set as DHCP relay agent.

Not as elegant as a single IP network but simple enough once you figure out the design and the funky terminology in the web based user interfaces for each device. However, the path to get there was anything but simple thanks to Telstra device locking, sloppy user interface design and firmware by Billion and an annoyance of half-arsed forum posts. With a bit of luck this blog post will save somebody (probably me) some pain when they try to re-use some old gear to get people on the internet.

  • Telstra have locked the thomson speedtouch 536 configuration to suit their BigPond network. My plan was to change the LAN IP address range from 10.0.0.x to 192.168.1.x to match the factory defaults of the Billion. Could have proceeded down the ‘update and unlock’ path but life is too short. The IP address for this router is 10.0.0.138 – whodathunk!
  • Couldn’t set  Billion LAN IP address range to 10.0.0.x The bipac7404vgp gave error “webserver:Invalid value 10” every time I tried to set it’s LAN IP address to an unused address in this range.
  • Didn’t notice anything in the Billion configuraion User Interface that looked like it would forward packets from a 10.0.0.x network to a 192.168.1.x network until after I upgraded it to the latest firmware. (Doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, I just didn’t find it – and I cant be arsed going back old versions and looking).
  • Updating the bipac7404vgp firmware from a Mac running OSX snowleopard 10.6.8 was a pain in the arse.
    • The .zip files on the billion support downloads site contain another compressed ‘.afw’ configuration file which is what the firmware update interface is looking for
    • Many OSX methods for unzipping the .zip file give varying results.
    • Firmware Upload Failed
      Failed to write to file system.
      Failed to update FLASH chips.
      This may be due to a corrupt FLASH filing system.
      You can attempt to repair this by saving configuration.
      error
    • Use terminal in OSX to unzip the .zip file is the most reliable
    • Restart router using Factory defaults *BEFORE* attempting firmware upgrade
    • Still no joy
    • Out of desperation I grabbed the 7404VGPM firmware (even though every physical marking or configuration page said mine was a 7404VGP), unzipped the .zip using OSX terminal, restarted from factory defaults – this time it worked.
  • After the firmware update, I still couldn’t set the Billion’s IP Address to 10.0.0.x range but I did notice ‘IP Alias’ in the configuration pages for the first time.
  • Set up an IP Alias of 10.0.0.254 for the Billion with subnet mask of 255.0.0.0. Remember the SpeedTouch router address is locked at 10.0.0.138 and it’s DHCP server dishes out client addresses starting at 10.0.0.1.
  • Turn off DHCP server of Billion (set as DHCP relay agent).
  • Took the Billion around to the in-laws, used a spare Cat5 10baseT ethernet cable to connect from LAN port 1 on the Billion to the unused Ethernet Port on the Thomson Speedtouch (checked for the green link status light on each port – you guessed it, the first cable I tried failed!).

After a bit of fiddling around I managed to get an iPhone, iPad and my Android phone to connect to the WiFi from the billion, get an IP Address in the 10.0.0.1-20 range (shows up in the speedtouch status page at 10.0.0.138) and surf the world wide inter-tubes courtesy of a locked BigPond rooter. Yay!

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Fang – Mike Seyfang

TriBeardLesBones

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About mseyfang

Interruptus Digitalis
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