Vonage and Wireless Router Setup

Tonight, I just setup Vonage on my home broadband connection. Vonage sent a RT31P2 broadband router with two phone ports. I already had an existing Linksys Wireless BEFW11S4 router. Here’s how I set it up:

Existing Router: 192.168.1.1

New Router: 192.168.1.11

IP Space: 192.168.1.2-192.168.1.100

DHCP Scope: 192.168.1.200-192.168.1.254

0. Plug in the cable from the cable modem into the Internet port of the RT31P2. Power cycle cable modem.

1. Plug in a PC into Linksys RT31P2 broadband router. Set the IP of the PC to 192.168.15.2 so you can get to the IP of the router which is 192.168.15.1. Switch the IP of the PC back to 192.168.1.2 when done.

2. Change IP of router from 192.168.15.1 to 192.168.1.11.

3. Take a “straight through” (not crossover) patch cable and plug it into the uplink port (port 4) on the BEFW11S4. Make sure nothing is plugged into port 3 of the BEFW11S4 because the uplink port is shutdown when port 3 is in use. Connect the cable to any of the 3 LAN ports (not the Internet port!) This will create a “bridge” between the two routers. Also, make sure the routers are on the same subnets (both are sitting on 192.168.1.x, 192.168.2.x, etc).

4. Switch the BEFW11S4 from Gateway to Router model under the “Dymanic Routing” section so the BEFW11S4 acts like a switch. Disable DHCP on the BEFW11S4 if you have it enabled.

5. On the BEFW11S4, set the WAN connection to 192.168.1.11 and set gateway and DNS to 192.168.1.11. On the RT31P2, set it to “Obtain an IP address automatically”.

If you did everything correctly, you should see your Vonage phone number under “Line1 Status” under the Status page on the RT31P2.

– Soli Deo Gloria

The Joy of Outlook PST Files

Outlook PST files are the nastiest things around. In the past two days I had two users with 1.9GB PST files. According to Microsoft, Outlook XP and below use ANSI encoding which limits the size of the PST file to 2GB. Outlook 2003 and greater uses Unicode encoding which allows PST files to be up to 20 GB. What happens if you go over the 2GB limit in Outlook XP and below? All the data written after the 2GB mark is gone. You have to use a utility called PST2GB to truncate the file. How swell! The funny part about it is that PST files seem to corrupt a lot around here and not even at the 2GB mark. When a PST file corrupts and you are using POP3 as your mail setup, watch out. All the files it downloads during the corruption go into never-never land (because POP3 downloads the messages locally and deletes them from the server. Of course, the files have no where to go). I’ve never seen such a bone headed e-mail program do that. If the PST file is corrupt (trust me, Outlook KNOWS it is corrupt, it will even tell you: “errors detected in PST”), then STOP DOWNLOADING THE USER’S E-MAIL!

The user will call you with messages stuck in the Outbox folder and of course, Outlook not working. You cannot delete the messages in the Outlook folder as Outlook will tell you that MAPI32 has begun transmitting the messages. It seems that Outlook sets a flag in the message that it is being transmitted and that flag cannot be reset easily. The only way to reset the flag is to export the whole 1.9GB PST to a new file (yes, all 1.9GB of it!). First, however, you have to run SCANPST on this monolithic file as it is corrupt. That takes a good 45 minutes. Then you have to export it. Another 20 minutes goes by. Now you can delete those nasty messages from the Outbox folder! The fun has just begun, because you have to start deleting a bunch of messages to get the file size back down.

But wait….you keep deleting files and the size of the PST doesn’t go down. Why? Because you have compact the file! You see, when you delete a message in Outlook, it just creates a blank space or record where the message was. Therefore, the size of the PST file says the same until you run a manual compaction which takes those spaces out of the file. Brillant! The compaction alone took 3 1/2 hours!

Factor in the time of copying the PST file from the user’s workstation to mine, running scanpst, running an export, deleting files from the PST file, running a compaction and copying the file back to the user’s workstation, you will easily spend 6 hours or more fixing the problem!

Corporate America: PLEASE DO NOT USE PST FILES. PLEASE USE MICROSOFT EXCHANGE.

Thank you 🙂

– Soli Deo Gloria

I Finally Got a DVD Burner!

I finally broke down and bought a DVD burner, realizing that the war between HD-DVD and Blueray will go on for years on end. I think people will be sticking to their trusty DVDs for a long time. After reading a few reviews, I settled on the LiteOn SOHW-1693S DVD drive. I got it for $39.99 from NewEgg.com. That is dirt cheap for a DVD burner! I also ordered two 50 pack spindles of Ridata DVD-R media at $17.99 a spindle. The drive came bare, no box or manual, but who needs those any how? It did come with a copy of Nero Express 6 and PowerDVD 5. Installation was no brainer, I was up and running in 15 minutes. I proceeded to burn a few DVDs. I got a couple of coasters the first few times. Although Nero didn’t specifically tell me the reason why, it seems that if I was doing anything with the computer the DVD would coaster. I am use to burning CDs at 600KB/sec, but this DVD burner at its middle setting does 8,000KB/sec! I also tried to burn some files with “Chinese” characters in the file names. This caused the DVD burner to go into never-never land. It was only after I renamed the files, taking out the “Chinese” characters, would it burn the DVD. I wanted a DVD burner so I could back up my files. I went in search of a file manager that would sort folders and files by size in ascending order. You think this would be a common feature, but it’s very hard to find a program that has it! I found a file manager called ExplorerXP that does this very beautifully and it’s also freeware. I can sort by size and then drill down to the biggest folders and files. I can also “eye ball” what I want to burn using the file manager without using a separate program. It appears that I have get the folder below 4.6 GB for it to fit on the DVD.

– Soli Deo Gloria