Archive for June, 2011

IPv6 Fun at Home

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

I’ve been using‘s TunnelBroker service to ensure the various sites/services I host  are available via IPv6.   When we moved up to San Francisco, I decided to finally setup our home network with its own tunnel as well.  (SCALE’s services hosted over at ActUSA have long IPv6 enabled since 2009~).    Currently we tunnel traffic using our trusty old Linksys WRT54G running OpenWRT through, routes are advertised to the local network using RADVD.

So far things have worked surprisingly well, with a few exceptions for older devices.   Here is a quick review of what we have working, and what is still in progress.

IPv6 Certification Badge for Ilan Rabinovitch

Devices supporting IPv6:

  • Linksys WRT54G w/ OpenWRT
    Required some futzing with modules and configuration but work if you follow instructions.   I’m a bit surprised ipv6 kernel modules are not load out of the box on current builds.
  • Nexus One (Android 2.3.x)
    Works out of the box on wifi, pickups route advertisement and passes on
  • Maru’s iPhone 3GS
    Had to upgrade to latest iOS release (4.2.3) as it was running ancient jail-broken 3.1 build.  It looks like you need to be running at least iOS 4.x for  IPv6 support.  The anyone part is I cannot seem to find is a GUI that allows you to display the IPv6 address.  The usual dialogs only display an IPv4 address.  Accessing a test site though, I’m able to see what the address is and confirm traffic routes as expected.
  • Operating Systems
    Centos 5.5, Ubuntu 10.10, Ubuntu 11.04, and OSX all seemed to work out of the box. No configuration was required,  as soon as I turned the systems on they had an IPv6 address.
  • Brother HL-3040CN Color Laser Printer
    Network color laser printer.  No issues with IPv6 so far.  It is not enabled by default, you need to login via the web interface and check a box.

Devices not yet working with IPv6:

  • Panasonic DMP-BD65 Blu-Ray Player
    Do any Blu-ay devices support IPv6 yet?  ( Update: Panasonic has indicated none of their current Blu-Ray players support ipv6.)
  • Linksys WIP 300 SIP phone.
    I believe it runs a uCLinux for its operating system, but  Linksys stopped providing OS / firmware updates long ago.
  • Nintendo Wii
    No dice so far. I  did send an email inquiry to technical support who implied it was possible and asked me to call in for details.  Phone support seemed unable help unless I could provide an error code, which I cannot since one is not displayed.   There are a number of misinformed forum posts claiming the Wii will use IPv6 out of the box, but this does not appear to be true.  Further research indicates its DNS resolver will attempt to lookup AAAA records before querying for A records, but the Wii itself will not pickup a v6 address.   If someone knows of a way to make this work drop me a line.

Helpful IPv6 Resources:

AT&T Microcell

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Update 2: Woke up this morning to find things still not working for either phone, along with about automated 35 text messages AND emails telling me to call support.  Anyways, spoke with someone new, they once again reactivated the device.  After 90+ minutes of waiting, now both phones seem to work.  We’ll see how things go over the next few days/weeks.  In the mean time Anandtech has an extremely in-depth tear down of the AT&T Microcell device.

Update: 90 minutes became a few hours.  Apparently during the activation process if you have a device AT&T has deemed invalid, the Microcell will NEVER complete activation. The lights will blink indefinitely.  Upon calling AT&T they informed me their systems have determined my phone was not purchased through them, and therefore they can’t activate the microcell for it.  Still waiting to see if Maru’s iPhone 3GS has the same issues, now that I’ve removed my phone from the ACL list.

Since signing up for service with AT&T in November 2010, I have continuously had call quality and service issues. Prior to AT&T the same NexusOne device had worked reliably on TMobile’s network (albeit slow due to only 2G being supported).  While not desirable I found ways to make it bearable while living in LA/Santa Monica. However since we moved to San Francisco in April 2011 the service quality has been unusable, especially at home.

For the first two months here AT&T was insistant that all of the world’s problems end, including my coverage issues would end if I 1) Purchased a phone from them that had an AT&T logo on the back and 2) Signed up for contract.

Finally late last week they gave up on trying to up-sell me, and I got a call from someone in customer service department offering me a femtocell (or as AT&T calls it “AT&T 3G Microcell“).  These are basically rebranded Cisco devices that provide a small 3G antenna in your home or office, and then route your calls via voice over IP.AT&T MicroCell

The device arrived today and is now online.  There are a few limitations that leave a bit to be desired:

  • It only solves coverage issues at one location (home, office, etc).   So it does not solve my issues with poor AT&T coverage or congestion  while I am away from home.
  • It only works with 3G phones, so if you are on an older 2G phone and have poor service you are out of luck.
  • The device will refuse to work if it cannot get a GPS signal, so hopefully you have wired network drops near a window (Wifi doesn’t appear to be supported).  They claim to use this validate your E911 address for emergency calls, but I imagine AT&T does not want you using it to avoid roaming charges while traveling either.  GPS antenna extenders are available if you are unable to lock in on a GPS signal, but I imagine that isn’t really an option in most office building.
  • You still pay for airtime/minutes at your standard rate even though all your calls are being routed over your OWN bandwidth.
  • Calls will not hand off from a tower to your Microcell or between Microcells, but they will hand off from the Microcell to a tower if the tower signal is stronger.

All of that being said I’ll still be a slightly happier customer if this works, and I can actually make and receive calls while in my apartment.   I still think all devices/carriers should just come with UMA support out of the box so that you can just use wifi to complete calls and relieve the burden on their cel towers. Tmobile supported that on most of the phones I had over the years; but I haven’t seen many Android based phones offer it and as far as I can tell AT&T doesn’t support UMA period.

Anyways, I just went through the setup which was relatively straightforward.  Now I  have to wait 90~ minutes before I can use it.

  1. Unbox the device and place it near a window where it has visibility to the sky.
  2. Plug it in to power and a ethernet port on your switch / router.
  3. Login to the AT&T 3G Microcell Portal (does not appear to work well with Chrome) and add authorized numbers to your device.   You’ll need a magnifying glass or good eyes to read the serial number off the back of activation as well.
  4. Wait about 90 minutes for service to activate.

Right now I’m still on the 90 minutes of waiting step.  I’ll try to remember do a post in a few weeks once its actually online and I have had some experience with it.

In the mean time here are some links to other coverage: