Thursday, January 07, 2016

Getting a Netgear D7000 Router to work with AT&T DSL (and Google Chrome)

I wanted to replace my Netgear D6200 (AC1200) router with a Netgear D7000 (AC1900 Nighthawk), the latter purchased from Fry's in Palo Alto. The assistant in Fry's said it would work with AT&T, but that I must call AT&T first otherwise it wouldn't work. Note this router does not work with UVerse. This is my fourth Netgear Router - the first one failed after years of use, the 2nd one was too feeble and the 3rd one was barely adequate as in bad weather the signal gave red signals on our repeater.  Furthermore, the new router had 2 USB 3.0 ports whereas the old one only had one USB 2.0 port.
You can manage the user interface from a web browser or Netgear's Genie App. I chose to manage it using Google Chrome by typing the URL (or - which I usually change to

Setup Problems

I set my new router to exactly the same settings as my old router and it didn't connect. The Internet light was orange and the DSL light was unlit. I tried both the new VDSL filter and old ADSL filters that came with the older routers. I could not get it to light up. I even tried putting in a Polarity Reverser for the phone line (the router works on wires 2 and 3) lest the cable was bad.

Calling AT&T

So I called AT&T. First I called a "special number" that had been sent to me by email when I last had DSL problems. This was only Tier 1 support outside of office hours - despite the fact it says it works until midnight Eastern Time. I then called the regular support number  - they said I needed the AT&T service that deals with third party devices - (866) -293-3464. This took me through the same line tests as the regular support number, but finally a friendly technician came on the line.
We went through the settings and discovered:

  • the DSLconnection only worked when there was no filter
  • when it did connect the password was wrong

DSL Connection

To make this work try it without the filter on the line. I replaced the filter with a line splitter.  It seems the D7000 needs to be rebooted if you unplug and reconnect the DSL cable.  The router is also very slow to boot up - the last thing to come on is the DSL light. So be patient when booting it. I will just use a line splitter for the phone and not the VDSL or ADSL filter so I can run a rarely used fax on the same line.

Google Chrome Was Changing The Password

When I typed the email address it came up yellow. I then typed the AT&T assigned password. It had 6 characters but the number of "*"s replacing it was more than 6.  AT&T said this was normal  (in fact it is not, you should get 6 stars for 6 characters). So what was happening?  AT&T Tier 2 support told me that the password was wrong. I suddenly twigged.  Google Chrome was changing the password after I had entered it. That is why the login credentials were colored yellow.  Either that or AT&T had a dynamic password system turned on - that only affected that particular router - seems unlikely.
The remedy was to remove the login ID and password and select Apply, then retype them. AT&T had the right password. I also changed to Microsoft's Edge browser just to check that it too had the right password.

The Parameters

I am in Portola Valley, CA and these are the parameters I need for AT&T DSL.
  • Country - USA
  • Internet Service Provider - Other (seems to work better than AT&T). Note: first time I set it to Other the fields for choosing service provider disappeared to 1 character wide on reboot and I had to reset the D7000 to factory settings using a paper clip (push it in for 5 seconds or more - I think this is OK now though - maybe I hit Next too fast in the Setup Wizard - better not to use the Wizard).
  • Transfer Mode - ADSL (ATM)
  • DSL Mode - Auto (actually ADSL2+ was what the D6200 supports and you could probably select that too)
  • Internet - enable by checking the box - LLC-BASED
  • VPI - 0 (this needs changing from the default)
  • VCI - 35
  • Don't check Use VLANID
  • Does your Internet connection require a login - type Yes and supply credentials
  • Encapsulation - PPPoE
  • Service name - can leave blank
  • Connection Mode - Always On
  • Idle Timeout (minutes) - can leave at 0
  • Internet IP Address and Domain Name Server (DNS) Address - Get Dynamically from ISP - unless you are paying for a static address as you might if you have a website
  • NAT (Network Translation Address) - Enable (you probably need this if you have a bunch of devices using the router)
  • Router MAC Address - Use Default Address
So you may not have to call AT&T after all.

Friday, January 17, 2014

How I got my Netgear N750 (DGND4000) router to backup my MacBook with Time Machine

As many people seem to have had problems backing up by using the USB port on their Netgear router and as the Netgear documentation and knowledge fora are sometimes wrong and totally inadequate I am documenting how I installed my drive.  As well as my thoughts on the router. This review is similar to one I put on Amazon.


I bought this router to replace a Netgear RangeMax WNR834B v2 router and a Speedstream 5100 Ethernet ADSL modem that AT&T supplied for their DSL service. 

We had two Netgear RangeMax routers and were using the 2nd one as a repeater, but it broke. So I thought the Netgear N750 would be a good upgrade. It has similar software - Netgear Genie - to set it up.  


However, a major disadvantage is that to use it as a repeater it must connect with the old-fashioned WEP security protocol, which means devices like iPhones cannot connect to it.  The old RangeMax routers could connect to each other with either WEP or WPS security that is compatible with many other devices. This enabled me to give the same SSID to each router and have one name for people to connect to in our home.

When I spoke with a Netgear support engineer about this  - it seems a silly software restriction to grey out the option for WPS security in this router -  he said that nobody uses a router as a repeater any more - not Cisco, not Netgear, not a whole long list of other companies he rattled off to me. He said I must buy a Range Extender (I did buy a WN2500RP Netgear repeater).  A range extender, boosts the signal. So although the Netgear N750 gives off a pretty feeble signal - the 5 GHz cannot reach the router, the 2.4GHz indicator glows a passable orange - the repeater can pick it up and improve it. 

This is an example of a manufacturer forcing people to buy products unnecessarily. 

Our house is made of concrete bricks with metal bars that hinder wireless signals - so we have to set up the repeater near a window and point the N750 in the right direction. The two old routers worked fine in this configuration. It took some adjustment of the router and repeater to even get an orange signal. I guess I could turn off the 5 GHz option, it suggests doing this to concentrate the 2.4GHz signal, but I didn't try this.


The next bit of fun (a whole day's effort while doing other things) was trying to get the backup drive to work. I had a 750GB Seagate Free Agent drive that could take Firewire or USB. I had used it with NTFS formatting on Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 without difficulty, although a similar drive had crashed while under warranty as I was using it intensively to access pictures (Seagate says the drives are intended to backup use - but they did send a refurbished one to replace the broken one).  I connected the drive directly to my MacBook to ensure compatibility and it worked fine. I plugged it into the router and found it didn't show up.

The Netgear Genie software told me to plug in the drive. I had it plugged in - tried both the front and back ports - tried 2 different cables. Tried a USB thumb drive - didn't show up. Tried a 2nd thumb drive - it showed up on the router. It is very unclear in the router admin what the drive should be called - the router has a name (DGND4000), you give it a name (BlackDen - my name - I gave it Black In Den at first, but not sure whether this was the name it wanted and knowing it couldn't take spaces I renamed my router - this name is NOT what is used in the end - even though the Help file says what you name your router in Windows is the name for the Shared storage space), it has an IP number as a name, and the shared disk area has a name (readyshare).  So still not sure whether readyshare was the right name I settled on that.

I then read something about formatting in a tech support forum. My sector size was 4096bytes. As I wanted the drive to backup my Mac - running the latest Apple operating system (ignore the Netgear info that says it doesn't work on the latest OS) - I disconnected my drive from the router, plugged it into my Mac and went into the Disk Utility on the Mac, deleted my single partition, renamed the drive and formatted in a Mac Extended format - as shown in the Netgear literature. This did not work. I could not see the drive when I connected it to the router. However, the 2nd USB thumb drive had worked, so I knew the USB ports on the router were not dead - my initial suspicion. Note: formatting initially as Mac Extended did not work - I don't know if there was something in the Master Boot Record or if formatting as FAT then Mac Extended reduced the size of the sectors.

So I then suspected the Master Boot Record. On my Mac I formatted the drive for a 2nd time - removing the Master Boot Record and replacing it with GUID partition table (GPT). I formatted it as FAT - lowest common denominator formatting, I felt. Amazingly - on plugging it into the router it showed up on my Mac. 

However, on going into Time Machine it doesn't like FAT drives and said it would reformat in the Mac Extended format. So I let it do that. I disconnected the drive from the Mac. I put it on the router. Lo and behold it showed up on the Mac - furthermore the drive itself had the words Time Machine on it, not in the USB Storage area.  

Now the next challenge. To log in to the drive. Time Machine opened on the Mac I tried to choose the drive - it was there as the only choice - silly Time Machine doesn't like any old network drive - only Mac ones. Nevertheless the router had performed some tricks on the drive and now the Mac saw it as the default backup drive - great!

It asked me for the login to the router. One problem is the router only allows one person to login at once, so I couldn't see its settings on my PC while logged in and log in to it on my Mac. I logged off my PC and prior to this had logged into it on my Mac as, which I put as the address for my browser. This put it in Keyring - where passwords are stored in the Mac. I am not sure this step is essential, but in view of the next step it might be.

So I started the backup. It asked me to log in to the router. I did with its admin login. But the Mac didn't like it, said I didn't have the right permissions, because admin is not a Mac administrator name. So I tried to login with MYNAME - I am an administrator on the Mac. Guess what - the router didn't know me - because it can only support one login name. So my final option was to login as Guest. I thought the guest option wouldn't let me access the drive - not least because the wireless GUEST login for the router had been set not to see my network - but I guess the wireless Guest network for the router has little to do with Mac Guest logins. Amazingly the Guest login had the right permissions and the backup started.

To back up about a million files and 221.63GB it said it would take 2 days! Now having done 39.78 GB in about 4 hours, it says it will take 18 more hours to finish the backup. Not quick - but I just hope it finishes.

I have put this up in detail as many people seem to have had trouble and the documentation from Netgear is totally inadequate.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What To Know About Python: I. Windows Environment

Recently I took a terrific Coursera online course from the University of Melbourne on Discrete Optimization, led by Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck with teaching assistant Carleton Coffrin and team. I highly recommend the course to anyone wanting to learn Discrete Optimization - it presents classical optimization problems with lively videos, many-sized problems and superb graphics.

Professor Van Hentenryck's introductory video to Discrete Optimization

I achieved my goal of upgrading my skills, but sadly failed the course, in part because I needed better Python programming skills. So I'm going to devote some blog pages to what it would have been useful to know before doing the course.
CodeAcademy is a great place to start learning Python. It gamifies learning with short little examples and helps you learn about lists, dictionaries, tuples, as well as for, while and if statements. I did a little each morning.
It's useful to look at the official documentation,  which includes Tutorial, Library Reference and Language Reference.  If you use Google to search for information about Python, chances are it will find the Tutorial, which is useful when you are starting out, but you will quickly outgrow it. So the Language Reference has more detailed information.
I used Windows as my development environment. I started with the IDLE development environment. It provides an editor, a Python Shell and a rudimentary debugger. At the end of the course I found Spyder - the Scientific PYthon Development EnviRonment, which also has these features, but can show you code structure, objects in a more complete Interactive Development Environment (IDE). I wish I'd used Spyder.  Our course recommended Python 2.7, which you can download (different from Python 3). Windows version 2.7.5 came out in May 2013.  You can find Python for many different platforms, including MS-DOS and BeOS too.