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daveinpoway
Premium
join:2006-07-03
Poway, CA
kudos:2

National Consumer Panel scanner data transmission problems

I have one of these things, and it has a baffling problem. The support guy I spoke with said that he "had never heard of this happening", so, if there is a solution, I may have to find it.

Research has told me that this is actually a pretty sophisticated portable computer (CipherLab 8001 plus the 8000 Ethernet Cradle): »us.cipherlab.com/catalog.asp?Cat···ProdID=3 which has been specially-programmed for NCP.

The problem: Sunday, at midnight, the unit automatically attempted to communicate with the mother ship, but it wasn't able to establish a link. I removed the AC power from the base for about 10 seconds, re-applied power and did a manual data transmission- it now worked OK.

Yesterday, I received notice that a new store list was available, and it would be sent to me after the next data transmission. So, I attempted to transmit manually- again, no link was established. Again, removing and re-applying AC power to the scanner base enabled transmission to take place.

The instructions they provide for this are very primitive- they say to plug an Ethernet cable into the base and an open port on your router and connect the power supply. They then say a red LED should be lit on the base. The base has 3 LED's- they don't even tell you which one should be lit!

Any ideas on how to troubleshoot this? At first, I thought that perhaps the right ports aren't open on my firewall, but cycling the power to the scanner base wouldn't open any ports, so this idea doesn't seem to be the answer.

daveinpoway
Premium
join:2006-07-03
Poway, CA
kudos:2
Update- yesterday, I spoke with someone who seemed to know something. She felt that my router was perhaps "too sophisticated" and thus was preventing their equipment from maintaining a consistent IP address on my network. I asked if there was a way to set their equipment to have a static IP address on the network, but she said that this isn't possible.

So, my plan is to take an old Netgear router I have lying around (the type of consumer-grade router that the scanner equipment is probably designed to work with), set the WAN port to have a static IP address on the network, then set the LAN to have a DHCP address pool of only one IP address. I will plug the Netgear's WAN port into the network and connect the scanner base to one of the LAN ports. This way, the scanner will have to get a consistent IP address, since the Netgear router will only be able to assign one address.

I will have double-NAT, but it is probably not a problem for this type of application.


beck
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-29
On The Road
kudos:1
Reviews:
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reply to daveinpoway
Can't you just set the static IP to the scanner's mac address? That way everytime the router sees the scanner's mac address it will assign the same IP to it. 2 routers is always a pain in the butt.

Now the big question. Did you just install this router and the scanner stopped updating? If not, I would point the problem to the scanner. Perhaps the ethernet module or cables.
--
Some people are like slinkies - not really good for much.
But they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.


Jahntassa
What, I can have feathers
Premium
join:2006-04-14
Conway, SC
kudos:4
reply to daveinpoway
said by daveinpoway:

Update- yesterday, I spoke with someone who seemed to know something. She felt that my router was perhaps "too sophisticated" and thus was preventing their equipment from maintaining a consistent IP address on my network.
These two sentences seem to disprove each other. I don't know if i've run into a situation where a router was 'too sophisticated' for a device to maintain an IP address.

Are there any diagnostics on the device? Can you confirm that it isn't pulling an IP address when you dock it?

Can you look in your router log and see if it's pulling an IP address when you dock it?

Can you ping the device at any point? See if it is an IP address problem or some other issue?

daveinpoway
Premium
join:2006-07-03
Poway, CA
kudos:2
reply to beck
I don't want to assign an IP address via MAC address in the router, since I will have to remember to do that again if I substitute another router in the future.

I have been using the router for awhile, but I just received the scanner at the end of march.

daveinpoway
Premium
join:2006-07-03
Poway, CA
kudos:2
reply to Jahntassa
She seemed to feel that my router had too much security and needed some authentication that their equipment didn't provide.

She told me how to have the unit tell me what IP address it had acquired. At the time that I checked it yesterday, the address seemed valid, but, since I had not checked it before, I can't say that it has been consistent.

Anyway, I have the Netgear router configured and installed. Let's see what happens over the next few weeks. If the scanner continues to not transmit properly, at least I have ruled out the IP address as a cause.

Eventually, I want to move the scanner to the kitchen (it is in my bedroom now, since that is where the router is). To do this, however, I need a wireless link to the kitchen. I don't want to attempt this until the scanner works properly where it is now, so that I am not adding something extra to a setup that may still have some problems.


McSummation
Mmmm, Zeebas Are Tastee.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-08-13
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:2
reply to daveinpoway
What "lease time" do you have set in your main router? The reason I ask is: to me it seems that the scanner is not maintaining the IP address. It's not the router's job to do that, it's the client IP device. When you recycle the scanner, that would trigger another "get IP address" request and it would be OK for the "lease time".

daveinpoway
Premium
join:2006-07-03
Poway, CA
kudos:2
The lease time is 3 days.

I have not done any experiments to determine how long it takes after the scanner is reset before the transmissions fail again. So, I don't know if the failure time is 3 days or not.

She did say that any routers which require a password to establish a connection will not work with their equipment. Nothing that I have hooked to my network has ever required a password to acquire an IP address, so I wouldn't think this restriction applies to me. Then again, if their programming for this scanner is not thoroughly debugged, anything is possible, I suppose.

Anyway, the Netgear WGR614 v6 router that I have added should be the sort of equipment that the scanner was designed to work with, so hopefully this will solve the problem. I won't know for a few days, since the next transmission is scheduled for Sunday at midnight.


McSummation
Mmmm, Zeebas Are Tastee.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-08-13
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:2
To see if they are neglecting to renew their lease, set the lease time short, less than a day. The "normal" renew point is when the lease is half expired (if I remember correctly).

daveinpoway
Premium
join:2006-07-03
Poway, CA
kudos:2
Thanks for the suggestion; hopefully I won't need to use it.

I can only change the lease time on the main router; the Netgear router has no place to do this (at least not that I can see). Given that the DHCP address pool of the Netgear only has one address, it would seem that the scanner base will have to obtain the same IP address each time.

If there is some programming problem with the scanner equipment, I don't hold out much hope that they are going to fix it just for me, so the best course of action is to try and work around the issue(s).


McSummation
Mmmm, Zeebas Are Tastee.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-08-13
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:2
Normally, the lease time is set in the same area as the DHCP pool characteristics.

Yes, it will always get the same IP address. But, that's also what is supposed to happen when the DHCP client goes to the server to renew its lease, regardless of the size of the pool.

daveinpoway
Premium
join:2006-07-03
Poway, CA
kudos:2
In the Netgear WGR614 v6 configuration pages, under "LAN IP Setup", you can set the:

-IP Address

-IP Subnet Mask

-RIP Direction

-RIP Version

-whether you want to use the router as a DHCP Server; if "yes", you can set the starting and ending IP Addresses

-there is also a place to reserve IP Addresses by MAC Address

Nothing that I can see to set the lease time, nor do the help notes tell you what the default lease time is.

Even if the scanner base is supposed to keep the same IP Address (regardless of the pool size), in the real (imperfect) world, it may not be doing this. Restricting the pool to one address will insure that the address cannot change.

Then again, it is also possible that the IP Address of the scanner base has nothing to do with the problem that I am having; the cause could be something else entirely. If the base fails to transmit consistently with the Netgear router connected, other possible causes will have to be looked into.

daveinpoway
Premium
join:2006-07-03
Poway, CA
kudos:2
Well, I grew impatient this morning and decided to do a manual data transmission- it won't work, even after 5 attempts. I hooked my Mac to the Netgear router in place of the scanner base- the Mac acquired the designated IP Address and I was able to go on-line, so there are communications between the Netgear router and the main router.

No time to do anything more on this today- perhaps I'll have some time to look into it over the weekend.

daveinpoway
Premium
join:2006-07-03
Poway, CA
kudos:2
Sunday morning, between midnight and around 2 AM, it seems like it tried to transmit about 6 times, beeping while doing so (memo to myself- MUST get this noisy thing out of my bedroom). After all of this, it did say that the transmit was successful.