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Phil512

join:2013-02-07

In search of that "secret weapon" by mlord (29 Nov. 20

Hi folks,
Having trawled several forums regarding my Speedtouch 546, I stumbled across something very interesting in a post dating from 29 Nov. 2009, in this forum.
The secret weapon is actually a custom built line monitor consisting of a two line LCD display mounted in an old tobacco tin!
It appears to show the SNR up/down readings for two lines.
So, if mlord is reading this - good work!!
Please tell me more about it, with sufficient detail, so I can make one for my own monitoring purposes.


mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
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Re: In search of that "secret weapon" by mlord (29 Nov

You mean this thing?

»/speak/print/d···23533029

»/r0/download/1···/dsl.jpg


mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
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2 edits

That rig is no longer in service -- we switched to cable a couple of years ago, and that was the end of line quality issues. Highly recommended (cable internet), when/where possible.

The display was a serial LCD display, hooked to an FTDI USB/serial converter, plugged into USB on my 24/7 home server. The home server ran a script every few seconds to grab the line stats from our two DSL modems, and output the info you see on the display based on that.

One line was in "F"ast mode, the other was "I"nterleaved.

The script was even more clever though. When it saw a failure on one line, it would reset the appropriate modem and/or trigger a swap of lines between the two modems using a second piece of custom hardware.

»/r0/download/1···7218.jpg

All of that effort gave us an MLPPP total of 5.5mbits downlink and 1.6mbit uplink, except when it was raining or when the outside temperature was changing quickly (eg. sunshine on the wires in winter mornings).

I have the scripts to scrape info from the modems here somewhere, but they're probably too integrated with the rest of it all to be useful by themselves.

Cheers
Mark


mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
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2 edits

Mmm.. now that I'm somewhat "into" Arduino stuff, it ought to be possible to assemble a similar standalone line-monitoring rig without need of a PC to run it. Just needs a $3.50 Atmel ATMega328p chip (the "arduino"), a $5.00 ethernet module off of eBay, and a sub-$10 LCD display off eBay. Plus a 3.3V power supply. Total cost for parts would be around $20, I think.

Since the Thompson modems are at a known IP address (10.0.0.138), it could just plug in and work without configuration in many situations.

If you want to assemble something like that, then we can talk!
I have everything needed here to prototype it.

Cheers
-ml



Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23
reply to mlord

said by mlord:

That rig is no longer in service -- we switched to cable a couple of years ago, and that was the end of line quality issues. Highly recommended (cable internet), when/where possible.

As soon as that cable line can replace my current 10 megs of upstream on a single line at a reasonable price, let me know

On a more serious note, it'll probably get here eventually, but Videotron still only seems to do bonded upstream in Quebec City.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org

Phil512

join:2013-02-07
reply to mlord

Re: In search of that secret weapon by mlord (29 Nov. 2009)

Hi Mark, thanks for your quick response! Yes, that's the device I'm talking about. It's great to 'meet' someone who's into electronic experimentation with router/line performance.
I've recently has problems with DSL dropout at random times and been through the fault report procedure with the ISP and the phone line provider a couple of times already this year.
The phone line provider reckoned they found and cleared a fault but although the line is more stable I'm still getting DSL dropout. Not sure where to go from here other than move house!
At the moment I'm almost resigned to having to live with this condition unless I can provide enough proof that something is wrong at the exchange or in the cabling to my house.
Okay, so the line length is about 4 km from house to exchange and highly attenuated at 57 dB downstream, 36 dB upstream at the moment. The downstream bandwidth varies from 3.9 to 4.3 Mbps and I'm getting used to the idea that this is about the best I can expect, but I could really do without those annoying DSL drops.
The ST546 is running r6.2.H firmware. I recently bought an ST585 for comparison and the first time it connected it sync'ed at 4.355 Mbps downstream and 951 kbps upstream. That was on 30th Jan.
My main monitoring tool is RouterStats software which is very good but I'm into hardware too, hence my interest in your secret weapon!
Btw, I once repaired an MSI motherboard which had leaking caps so it might be worth opening up the ST546 to check the condition of those caps that can rot.
If your "Navy Cut" secret weapon is redundant you could always consider offering it for sale - to me!
I would like to know how you implemented your scripts. I used to program so it shouldn't be too hard to get into that aspect.
Arduino looks fun, it reminds me of the PIC chip projects I used to make and program in PIC code using the MPLAB IDE (2007-10).
You have good ideas, do you ever publish your designs in electronics magazines?
I've noticed the ST546 can take some time to recover from a DSL dropout. When it has resync'ed I run a "Repair" from the support tab in the local area connection window in WinXP to get the connection back.
It might be quicker to initiate a warm restart.
What would be the best way to achieve that? - telnet command(s)?

All for now, Phil


mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
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Yeah, telnet commands for status and resets etc.
At one time, my scripts were working for several models of Thompson and TP-Link modems. I probably still have them around.

But like I said, that setup depended upon having a 24/7 Linux server to run them on -- not everybody has something like that, thus the Arduino thought.

If you're in the Ottawa area, then perhaps I can help further.
Otherwise maybe not.

Cheers


Phil512

join:2013-02-07

Well, actually my location is in the UK and, sadly, at this time I don't have any plans to visit Canada.
I missed the Linux part earlier but appreciate what you say about the 24/7 server. I first used an early distribution (Slackware) in 1995 but not much since the 90s, except one instance in the 2007-10 period (Debian/RedHat) when I used a utility to sniff the I2C bus on a CD player as part of a PIC project. I do recall being very impressed by X Windows when I first configured it to run on one of my home built machines in the late 90s.

Anyway, I'm still very interested in those scripts you used to interrogate the Speedtouch routers. I'm guessing they were some flavour of unix shell script. I used to use the Korn shell before I gave up full-time computing so I should be able to understand most of them. Of course, any documentation would be helpful.
Any time you decide to dig out those scripts would be fine by me, and I would be very grateful!
Don't want to publish my e-mail address to the world on here but if you surf into »www.uncrowned-kings.co.uk/ and click on the left-hand button "E-mail" it should pop-up your client and your attachment will reach me. If you like the look of that book on the website I have stock and could send one as a 'thank you' for your help.

All the best, Phil


mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
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downloaddsl_info.sh.zip 5,076 bytes
The massive modem monitoring mess!
Well, here's the BIG script. I think this did almost everything, including
controlling the MLPPP state on my "Tomato" based router, monitoring line quality on the two modems, and rebooting them, swapping lines between them, or whatever else it deemed necessary to recover from a service outage.

All of that logic is probably not useful or interesting to you. But the parts that could be useful, are the "getinfo" pieces, which scrape DSL line info from the modems. There are several of those functions, for different modems and different methods (some modems have bugs whereby one method stops working after a while.. quite the flaky universe, DSL):

td8xxx_getinfo_www: for some TP-Link modems (eg. td8840, td8841).
td8xxx_getinfo_telnet: for some TP-Link modems.
td8xxx_getinfo: calls one of the above, depending..
td8616_getinfo: for the TP-Link td8616 modem.
speedtouch_getinfo: for Thomson Speedtouch modems.
speedstream_getinfo: for some Efficient Networks Speedstream modems.

Those parts can likely be ripped out and used separately with a bit of work.
The IP addresses, user-names, and passwords will need updating in the script to match whatever the modems are set up with.

There are similar functions within the master script for reset/reboot etc.. too.

Cheers
Mark

Phil512

join:2013-02-07

Wow! That's great
Thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to find those scripts and zip them for the forum.
Now I have a good reason to find that Linux box, update it, configure comms and tinker with the Speedtouch script.
That will all take time but at least it will make me use something other than WinXP for a change!

Thanks again, Phil