Unable to direct connect to same ISP

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Goldstein
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Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Goldstein » Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:40 pm UTC

Hello,

Here's my problem: Lately, I've been using a virtual tabletop called MapTool to run networked tabletop games. There are five of us who play, and we all connect to one person. It works fine this way; we all have the same version of the program and can all connect to this person. However, I am the one creating the tabletop world (The 'GM', if you will) so it'd be convenient if I could be the host. When I initially tried to host, all but one person could connect to me. Likewise, he could host and everyone but me could connect to him. It seems that all combinations of connections between us work, but for the link between him and me.

He and I are with the same ISP, O2, and have connected to one-another before through MapTool, a few months ago. Sadly, we don't have any other direct-connect programs I can think of right now that we can use to verify whether the problem is specific to MapTool. In either case, I almost feel as though it's caused by having the same ISP, given that everyone else can connect to everyone else. Could there be any justification for this? Are there any other possibilities that would specifically preclude us from connecting to one another?

Thanks a lot.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Q8OP » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:15 pm UTC

I'm not sure the environment you're using as I've never used it before, but that shouldn't remove our ability to debug if there's an actual network problem. Having to deal with these problems constantly due to my job, I would suggest the following:


1.) Run a trace route to your IP, see what happens. Does it time out after a specific hop? Can he ping your IP?

2.) Is the client software use a specific board that may be blocked? If that's the case, proxy it through another port +5000 or unblock the port on the client side.

I tend to think it's the latter, rather than the former as intranet connections are generally always stable unless he takes an insanely long route to get to your IP.

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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby hintss » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:18 pm UTC

ask for the friend's IP, and run a tracert on that too.

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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Eseell » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:29 pm UTC

My first instinct is that this is a routing problem with your ISP. A misconfigured static route or interface on their gear could easily cause this problem, and might be overlooked for months if no one complains about not being able to reach their neighbor's network. The easiest way to test it is to try to connect with other peer-to-peer applications. Try calling each other on Skype or pinging and tracerouting to each others' gateways[1]. If it's a routing problem of the kind I'm thinking of, a traceroute in one direction will work but in the other direction will not. Also, Skype would not work, and it's free for both of you to download and test.

If ping/traceroute works in both directions or Skype works then it's something else; perhaps an overzealous firewall or some sort of new content filtering your ISP added. I'd start troubleshooting here though, by verifying that you can make any kind of peer-to-peer connection.

If Skype and traceroute do not work then you need to call your ISP because it's something that only they can fix. ISP tech support always makes you jump through a bunch of hoops and they will assume that the problem is on your end, so be patient with them and keep records or your troubleshooting that prove otherwise.

Q8OP wrote:2.) Is the client software use a specific board that may be blocked? If that's the case, proxy it through another port +5000 or unblock the port on the client side.

Maptool uses port 51234 by default.

[1] I suggest using gateway addresses because if you have routers or firewalls - and you should - they probably will not respond to ICMP. Your ISP's gateways should respond to pings and testing them is almost as good since they're only one logical hop away from your home connection.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Q8OP » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:39 pm UTC

Eseell wrote:My first instinct is that this is a routing problem with your ISP. A misconfigured static route or interface on their gear could easily cause this problem, and might be overlooked for months if no one complains about not being able to reach their neighbor's network. The easiest way to test it is to try to connect with other peer-to-peer applications. Try calling each other on Skype or pinging and tracerouting to each others' gateways[1]. If it's a routing problem of the kind I'm thinking of, a traceroute in one direction will work but in the other direction will not. Also, Skype would not work, and it's free for both of you to download and test. .


That's a great point regarding a static route being deprecated, this does happen far too often and half of the network engineers I know never audit their work. I misread his point about being able to connect previously through the same client-server method. Good catch!

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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Goldstein » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:48 pm UTC

Thanks for the responses guys, I wasn't holding out much hope for any replies to this :) I tried tracert to his IP and got the following:

Code: Select all

Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600]
Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

C:\Users\Goldstein>tracert [My Friend's IP]

Tracing route to [My Friend's IP].zone14.bethere.co.uk [My Friend's IP]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1    80 ms    99 ms    99 ms  O2WirelessBox.lan [My Router's IP]
  2     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  3     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  4     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  5     *        *     ...    [Continued up to 30]

Trace complete.

We did the same in reverse from his machine:

Code: Select all

C:\Users\J&C>tracert [My IP]

Tracing route to [My IP].zone2.bethere.co.uk [My IP]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1    76 ms    99 ms    99 ms  O2WirelessBox.lan [192.168.1.254]
  2     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  3     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  4     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  5     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  6     *     93-96-48-2.zone4.bethere.co.uk [93.96.48.2 (I don't know what this IP is)]  reports: Destination
host unreachable.

Trace complete.

We are at this very moment conversing over Skype, though I'm curious as to whether it's the same 'direct connect' style - Are we definitely not both connecting to a central server here?

To clarify, we have been using the default MapTool port of 51234 (And we tried a couple of others after port-forwarding them). Though other people could connect to both of us, we couldn't connect to one another.

Whilst looking up info on this Trace Route thing, I saw a site suggesting that we try to trace the route only to the default gateway of the other person (rather than the machine itself). I don't understand how to do this as our default gateways are given as an internal address (192.168.1.254).

Is an overzealous firewall still a possibility in spite of our ability to connect to other machines? It's starting to look like it might be MapTool-specific, but I'm all searched out looking for a solution on their support forums so I'd began to assume it was more general.

Thanks.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Yakk » Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:08 pm UTC

IP 101:

For a ISP consumer, there are two kinds of IP addresses.

I'll call them "Private" and "Public".

"Private" IP addresses are used in private networks. If such an address ends up on the internet proper, it is supposed to be rejected as "alien".

Between your Private and the Public network lies what is known as a "network address translation", or NAT, gateway.

The NAT gateway is a hack that allows multiple "Private" addresses to communicate with the same "Public" server without getting confused.

All TCP/IP (which the web mostly runs on -- note web != internet) connections consist of 4 values. If Alice is talking to Bob over TCP/IP, the following numbers uniquely define the communication:
Alice's IP address
A PORT number for Alice
Bob's IP address
A PORT number for Bob

When you start a connection, you connect to a PORT on the targets IP address. On your end, you pick a random high-number port (and you avoid duplication). This lets you open up multiple TCP/IP connections to the same target.

Now, because your private address cannot be seen on the internet (as it won't make any sense out there), what NAT does is fake it.

You send your initial request with the following numbers in it:
Alice's Private IP address
Alice's Port
Bob's Public IP address
Bob's Port

As it passes through the NAT gateway, the NAT gateway doesn't let the private information leak out. Instead, it replaces the Private IP address with its own, public IP address, and also replaces the Port number. It then stores a mapping between the net Port number to your private IP and Port! So once it gets through the NAT gateway, the packet looks like this:
NAT gateway public IP address
NAT gateway port #
Bob's Public IP address
Bob's Port

When Bob responds, he sends the information to the NAT public IP and port. The NAT then translates this back to the private IP and port number of Alice, and forwards the packet into the internal network.

Now, in your private (in-home) network, your computers all have private IP addresses. 192.168.*.* are all "private-only" IP addresses. This lets them talk to each other locally.

The public address of your gateway is handed to it by your ISP. You probably have either a router, or the modem you got from your ISP acts as a router. You can log into your router (hopefully) and look up the public IP address it is assigned.

You cannot, however, open up a connection to a private IP address that isn't on your private network, because nobody will have a clue where to send it.

...

In short, you need to find out what your respective public IP addresses are. Posting them here might actually be a good idea, because some information can be teased out of an IP address (just the first two digits is more than enough -- ie, 192.168.*.* is enough to extract most every bit of information needed, don't post the last 2 octets as they are slightly more personally identifying).

Once you have done that, you'll have better traceroute results.

---

Many things can be going wrong. It is possible that your ISP actually hands your computers private IP addresses, then uses NAT to connect to the public internet, far beyond your router (as there is a shortage of IP addresses, such techniques get more common).

It is also possible that the server prefers to communicate to exactly one port on the clients side. NAT does black magic in some cases (ie, if you are connecting OUT on port Y, and some 3rd party connects IN to port Y, it will let that 3rd party connect to you) that fouls up when you have 2 computers on the private side of the same NAT. This is serious goat-level mojo, and I am insufficiently qualified to debug it.

However, getting that ping and tracert (with the public IP addresses of your gateway) will help. It would also help if we knew the networking model of the game you are using, but that is harder to track down.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Eseell » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:09 pm UTC

Goldstein wrote:Whilst looking up info on this Trace Route thing, I saw a site suggesting that we try to trace the route only to the default gateway of the other person (rather than the machine itself). I don't understand how to do this as our default gateways are given as an internal address (192.168.1.254).

If you log into your home router it should show you your public gateway address. If your home router belongs to your ISP you may not be able to do that.
Goldstein wrote:We did the same in reverse from his machine:

Code: Select all

C:\Users\J&C>tracert [My IP]

Tracing route to [My IP].zone2.bethere.co.uk [My IP]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1    76 ms    99 ms    99 ms  O2WirelessBox.lan [192.168.1.254]
  2     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  3     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  4     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  5     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  6     *     93-96-48-2.zone4.bethere.co.uk [93.96.48.2 (I don't know what this IP is)]  reports: Destination
host unreachable.

Trace complete.

We are at this very moment conversing over Skype, though I'm curious as to whether it's the same 'direct connect' style - Are we definitely not both connecting to a central server here?

VoIP is usually a direct connection between two peers; the central servers only handle call setup and then the actual call takes place over a direct connection. Unfortunately, I was just reading a Skype white paper that explains the way Skype can detect the kind of problem you and your friend are having and facilitate a connection with proxies, so it's not actually the good troubleshooting tool I thought it would be. Great for their service, bad for diagnosis.

Regardless, the traceroute shows the source of the problem. The "Destination Host Unreachable" message indicates a routing problem on the path from him to you. Probably a misconfigured static route or routing protocol has traffic destined for your network from his headed down the wrong path until at some point (93.96.48.2) it just says "I don't know where that is."
Technically it's more like "I know that guy, but he's not here."
Other folks can probably connect to you just fine because the router that has the wrong directions is very close to your friend, so only traffic from him to you gets sent off on this wild socket hunt.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby phillipsjk » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:23 pm UTC

I ran into this problem when my brother wanted to use maptool: The Default port (51234) is in the port range reserved for Network Address Translation.

You have to choose a port below 49152, and tell your friends the new port. My brother decided not to use maptool because that was too much work apparently.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Goldstein » Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:13 am UTC

Thanks phillip, but we tried it on a port ~18000 and had no joy with that either. Frankly, I don't have any understanding of these ports and feel as though I'm just picking numbers out of a hat. That's probably not the right approach.

Eseell, thanks for the help. You've been brilliant. I'll have to look into raising this with my ISP.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Yakk » Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:47 pm UTC

Do you own your own router, or is it your phone/cable companies? Ie, do you have a router you own that you plug into the modem, or did the phone company provide it and/or the modem has multiple network ports?

This is an important question. Please answer it.

(Sorry, I sometimes forget that the response to a large amount of complicated information is "ignore the entire post", so one has to hand out information and questions in bite-sized chunks)

Port numbers are, quite honestly, numbers picked out of a hat in the majority of use cases, either by the computer using it at the time, or by some developer who picked a port at near random.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Goldstein » Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:05 pm UTC

Sorry Yakk, the thing I took away from your post is that we need to find out what our public IP addresses are. If these differ from the IP addresses that we've been using all along, that I handed out for everyone else to connect to, I don't know how to find them and nothing I searched for proved very helpful. It doesn't seem to be available in the config screens for my router either.

The router belongs to the cable company, it's a router and modem in one provided by them.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Yakk » Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:29 pm UTC

Brand of router?

Screenshot?

Words like "DHCP" are things you want to click on. If there is an option for networking logs, that could help. If you can "reconnect", that could give you the information you seek.

Another trick -- know those annoying images that report your IP? Any computer you connect to "in the real world" will have your outermost public IP (assuming you use 1 layer of NAT, which is common, your only public IP),

Hmm. Google to the rescue. Here:
http://www.whatismyip.com/
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Goldstein » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:29 pm UTC

Oh crap, I assumed you meant something much more complicated. The only reason I didn't give them earlier is because I didn't think they'd help.

My IP is 78.86.*.*
My friend's IP is 188.223.*.*

I note that these are wildly different, in spite of our shared ISP.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Eseell » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:39 pm UTC

Goldstein wrote:Oh crap, I assumed you meant something much more complicated. The only reason I didn't give them earlier is because I didn't think they'd help.

My IP is 78.86.*.*
My friend's IP is 188.223.*.*

I note that these are wildly different, in spite of our shared ISP.

That's not unusual. ISPs often get non-contiguous blocks of IP addresses from the RIRs when they apply for new space every year or so.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Yakk » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:54 pm UTC

Ok, traceroute to teach other. Does the connection work? (we are looking for routing problems between your modems)
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Eseell » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:59 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:Ok, traceroute to teach other. Does the connection work? (we are looking for routing problems between your modems)

. . . Have you read the rest of this thread?
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Yakk » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:57 pm UTC

Yep. But I don't know if he's tracerting to his private IP or his router/modems public IP (and the same for his friend).

I hope he's using the public IP of his NAT gateway, but I cannot tell from prior postings. If he was using the public IP of his NAT gateway, then the problem is routing issues within his ISP.

Hmm. He seems to be calling his gateways external/public IP "his IP" in a post. (and not the IP of his computer).

Note that you can also pick up the gateway of your gateway by logging into the router probably. A traceroute to that could help, but at that point, the problem requires technical support from his ISP (I don't know enough router-fu to determine if it is possible to set up a custom route where packets aimed at a particular subnet are routed to an intermediary that isn't network-adjacent to the router you control?)

There is a bit of info: 93.96.48.2 in zone4.bethere.co.uk is what drops the packets from friend->him.

His IP is 78.86.*.*, while the zone4 router his friends tracert died at is 93.96.42.2. That is somewhat interesting.

What happens when you tracert to 93.96.42.2 (from the 188.223 address).

Hmm. I cannot tracert to anything in the 188.223.*.* block. The "gateway" of the router with the IP address 188.223.*.* might be interesting.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Eseell » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:48 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:Yep. But I don't know if he's tracerting to his private IP or his router/modems public IP (and the same for his friend).

I hope he's using the public IP of his NAT gateway, but I cannot tell from prior postings. If he was using the public IP of his NAT gateway, then the problem is routing issues within his ISP.

Ah. The way you can tell that he is using the public IP addresses is from the traceroutes he provided. It says "Tracing route to [My Friend's IP].zone14.bethere.co.uk [My Friend's IP]" and "[My IP].zone2.bethere.co.uk." He obscured the individually identifying part but not the whole domain, which would not have resolved if he were using private IP addresses - assuming that his ISP practices even basic DNS security.
Last edited by Eseell on Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:44 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Goldstein » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:19 am UTC

Yakk wrote:What happens when you tracert to 93.96.42.2 (from the 188.223 address).

Code: Select all

C:\Users\Goldstein>tracert 93.96.42.2

Tracing route to 93-96-42-2.zone4.bethere.co.uk [93.96.42.2]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

   1    48 ms    99 ms    99 ms  O2WirelessBox.lan [192.168.1.254]
   2     *        *        *     Request timed out.
   3     *        *        *     Request timed out.
   4     *        *        *     Request timed out.
   5    30 ms    31 ms    31 ms  10.1.2.221
   6     *        *        *     Request timed out.
   [...]
  30     *        *        *     Request timed out.

Trace complete.

Yakk wrote:The "gateway" of the router with the IP address 188.223.*.* might be interesting.

Is this something I can find? I wouldn't know where to look.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Yakk » Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:22 am UTC

10.1.2.221

That is a "private" IP address.

Oh, and you just tried to reach the public IP address of his gateway, and you failed.

So ya, their routing is seriously screwed up within their own network.
Is this something I can find? I wouldn't know where to look.

Connect to your router/modem. Look, while connected to the router/modem, for anything related to DHCP or the word Gateway.

...

Is there to send a TCP/IP packet with an intermediate destination (or destinations)? I have a vague brain tickle that something like that is possible, but my google-fu fails me.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Eseell » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:39 am UTC

Yakk wrote:Is there to send a TCP/IP packet with an intermediate destination (or destinations)? I have a vague brain tickle that something like that is possible, but my google-fu fails me.

Technically yes, practically no. Source routing is in both the IPv4 and IPv6 specifications, but it is disabled for security reasons on basically every router in the Internet. To accomplish this now-a-days, one would need to have control of an intermediate router and implement policy-based routing or another tunneling method. I can think of several ways this could be done with a simple Linux box (at another friend's house or co-location site, perhaps), but it's all more trouble than it's worth. If all you can influence are the endpoints, there's no special voodoo you can do.
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Re: Unable to direct connect to same ISP

Postby Yakk » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:34 pm UTC

Ah, so that is why I had heard of it yet couldn't find it mentioned anywhere. Thanks!
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.


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