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HOWTO hook up a QWest 2wire gateway on Linux, and other annoyances

Date/Time Permalink: 08/16/06 02:58:38 pm
Category: HOWTOs and Guides

Things have improved over here at the igloo. The aftermath of this story continued to be an adventure. QWest got the new upgraded modem to us, which is the 2wire. Of course, being QWest, they insist still that they don't support Linux. But that's OK, if I wasn't up to solving my own problems, I wouldn't have gotten into Linux in the first place.

In short, all I had to do was ignore every direction and CD sent in the kit, connect the modem via ethernet, open the modem's web interface in the web browser, and follow the steps. If you can sign up for email, you can activate a QWest modem on Linux. After that, to hook up the second computer was a simple matter of plugging in it's ethernet cable and rebooting the modem.

Details: 2wire 2700 HG-D. Has USB, four ethernet jacks, and a wireless unit. Now, the part where you open the web interface is tricky; you use a home IP address in the address bar. I surfed here and there:

and tried every suggested IP address until I hit it with Bingo, I zipped through the dialogs, enterred my login, and was connected in minutes. IMPORTANT: The IP of your home modem portal may vary; you'll just have to collect all the default IP addresses and try them one at a time. Hooking up the second machine was trickier:

The same address wouldn't connect from the other box. The modem lit green on the port where it plugged in, so it knew about the computer. "Ifconfig eth0" on the computer showed the ethernet link as active. I prowled and searched all over hell from machine #1 looking for the button that said "Add another computer" The worthless docs told me the only way was to run the worthless CD on the machine I needed to connect, so it could talk to worthless Windows. I was whining with frustration at midnight when a miracle happened: the house power blinked off. Just enough to reboot everything. Then the power was on again, and I did my usual rain dance to bring all the PCs back up.

When I returned to the modem's web interface, it showed both computers connected. I raced downstairs and brought up Firefox on the second box, and it loaded Google. Ta-da! I'm not even mildly surprised. I notice that the $DIETIES tend to be on your side when you use Linux.

So, to re-iterate, to add a second computer to an already functioning home network on a 2wire 2700 HG-D, you simply plug the ethernet in, then reboot either the gateway or the computer or both. And pardon me for being vague, but I use "modem" and "gateway" interchangably here, since it's a combination of both.

And now for my usual closing rant: At one point, I mounted the two CDs sent with the kit and browsed them in Konqueror, looking for clues. The paper documentation and everything QWest tech will tell you is 100% worthless, since it amounts to "run the CDs, stupid". The magic CDs are encrusted with tons of Windows executables and Windows DLL crap and .INI files and .INF files and warning by 2wire through the .BAT scripts that I am looking at forbidden code that is licensed to no-one but them. Who knows what exploits waiting in the background. If this is the only way to get the Internet working on Windows, then God help the Windows users.

What a mystery it is that QWest says that Linux is supposedly not supported, when even 2wire's site admits in a page buried in the depths of the site that their product would work on "any operating system". The instructions for making it work on Linux would have been shorter than their EULA. For that matter, why the insane contortions to even make it work on Windows? Could it be because there's an MSN signup option bundled with it?

I'm not pointing any fingers. But for a de facto Internet monopoly in most of it's service area, for QWest to push such a blatantly Microsoft-biased agenda makes one think of anti-trust laws. I'm sure QWest wouldn't be happy with my blogging about it, but since my only option is tin cans and string I'm sticking with them. And they may want to think twice about this post, since should the government come after them for monopolistic practices, the evidence of posts like this one could be the only thing to save their ass, because it alone is evidence that it IS POSSIBLE to use their "service" on Linux. Not to mention that I'm acting here as their unpaid tech support.

So, to QWest: You're welcome. Assholes.

UPDATE 3/22/08: Another fist-shaking at another ISP. I wonder what getting Comcast on Linux is like?

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