Thursday, October 24, 2013

Eircom eFibre and Your Mac: How to Get Them to Work Together

Apple Mac OS X and eircom eFibre

Some older Apple Mac computers, particularly those running OS X 10.6.8 or earlier, will not work with eircom's new eFibre router. If your iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro or even PowerBook hangs or freezes when you try to connect it to your eFibre network, then you'll need to adjust some settings to get it to connect.

[UPDATE: Some newer eircom eFibre routers are reportedly being supplied with updated firmware, so this fix may not be necessary.]

The eFibre router is a Zyxel F1000, an rebranding of the Zyxel P-2812HNU-Fx series. It can use a new internet system called IPv6. The details don't matter too much, but the problem is a clash between how eircom's router uses that system and how Apple implemented it in older versions of Mac OS X.

To fix the problem, you need to disable the new system and let the router revert to the older IPv4, which will play nicely with your older Mac. to start, switch the old Mac off so that it isn't frozen. Leave it off for now.

Configuring the eFibre Modem/Router

The first step is to access the control panel for the eFibre router. You do this through a web browser like Safari, Firefox or Chrome. Of course, your older Mac won't be able to get on the network to do this, but you can use a newer Mac, a PC or even an iPad or similar device. Anything that can run a browser will do. Borrow a machine if you need to - it'll only take a few minutes.

1 Login to Configuration

Launch the browser and enter the address into the browser's address bar. You should see something like this:

Leave the Username as admin and enter your wireless security key as the password. This key is, as the form says, printed on the back of the eFibre modem.

Once you've logged in, you might see a couple of screens asking you about settings, but you can click the Skip button and move on until you see a page of configuration options. It should look somehting like this:

(I've blurred out some details, but you get the idea.)

2 Network Settings > QoS

Point your mouse at Network Settings and select the QoS in the menu that appears. When you click QoS you get a new screen. Select the option labelled Class Setup. In the list shown, select the edit option for RTSP by clicking the icon:
In the QoS Classifier Edit window that opens, set From Interface to Local. Click Apply.

Back in the list, this time click the icon to edit Defualt (yes, they got the spelling wrong). In the editing window, change the Class Name to Default (to correct the error) and change this From Interface to Local, too. Click Apply.

3 Network Settings >  Home Networking

Now, again point your mouse at the main menu at the bottom of the screen. This time point it at Network Settings but click on the Home Networking option in the list that appears.

Scroll down to find the entry called LAN IPv6 Mode Setup. Select Disabled. Click Apply.

4 Network Settings >  Broadband

Once again, point your mouse at the entry for Network Settings in main menu. This time select the menu item Broadband. Click the edit button for ETHWAN. Set the IPv6/IPv4 Mode option to IPv4 Only. Click Apply.

Then do the same for the VDSL option. Click the edit button, set IPv6/IPv4 Mode option to IPv4 Only, and click Apply.

Now you can click Log Out (at the top right of the screen) and Yes to confirm.

Switch off the eFibre router. This will prevent your older Mac from hanging or crashing when you switch it on.

Configuring Mac OS X for eircom eFibre

Next you configure your Mac. Switch it on and let it start up. Because the eFibre router is switched off, your Mac shouldn't hang when it tries to connect to the network. It should start up normally, but it won't be online.

Open System Preferences (if you can't find it, click the Apple icon in the top left of the screen then click the option in that list). In System Preferences, select the option for Network.

Select the AirPort or Wi-Fi option (different versions of Mac OS X use different names, but it's basically the same thing). You'll then click either Configure… or Advanced… (again, different name, same thing).

(On some older Macs, you may need to use the Show menu to select AirPort or, later, Ethernet.)

Select the TCP/IP option. You'll see a Configure IPv6 option. Set it to Off.

Then select the DNS option. Enter for DNS Server, and for DNS Search. Click OK and Apply.

(On some older machines DNS settings are under the TCP/IP option. You'll see fields for DNS Servers and Search Domains. Enter the numbers there, then click Apply Now.)

Next, select Ethernet in the list on the left of the Network panel in System Preferences (or on some older machines, use Show to select Built-in Ethernet).

Repeat the same settings as you used for AirPort. Select the TCP/IP option and set  Configure IPv6 to Off. Select DNS, enter for DNS Server and for DNS Search. Click OK and Apply.

If you have more than one Ethernet port then you need to repeat this for each one.

Once you have done this for Wi-Fi (or AirPort) and Ethernet, you can restart your eFibre router. Once it has started up, your Mac should be able to connect to the network.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Citizens should not be penalised for using private police forces, by NOT Mary Mitchell O'Connor

A playful response to Mary Mitchell O'Connor's defence of taxpayer subsidies for private schools.

As we head into the budget next week, all eyes are on the possible changes that may be made to allow for an adjustment of somewhere in the region of €2.5 billion.

As a former Garda in a State-funded Garda Station, and as the chairwoman of the internal Fine Gael committee on Justice, I am fully aware of the importance of quality justice, quality policing and the impact the civilian/Garda ratio has on our citizens’ behaviour. A further increase in the citizen Garda ratio in next week’s budget would have a serious impact on our streets.

Some argue against the State contributing towards the policing of citizens who (having of course paid their income tax) can afford to employ private security firms that charge exorbitant fees. However, the reality is much more complex.

In some constituencies, such as the one I represent (Dún Laoghaire), historical policing decisions mean that citizens do not have much in the way of choice when it comes to referring their law and order issues to Department of Justice courts and Garda Stations.

Due to the fact that many of the private security firms in and around Dún Laoghaire did not go into the voluntary system in the 1960s, we now have a large number of fee-paying security firms and very few State-funded ones, which means that for many citizens, referring their law and order concerns to a fee-paying security firm is a matter of necessity rather than choice. Because of this historical overhang, and through no fault of their own, many customers of fee-charging security firms have been forced to stump up for their personal policing in order to refer their issues to a local security provider.

All citizens make choices regarding their personal policing based on a number of factors; whether or not the security provider is a local one, whether it is a single-sex or a co-ed Garda Station or has a particular religious ethos. I strongly believe that citizens should have that choice and that they should not be unnecessarily financially penalised for it.

Citizens of a minority faith have particularly little choice because most security providers of their ethos are fee-charging services, most do not exercise sexual discrimination, have penitentiary facilities and provide a wide service for a diverse population of citizens. Moreover, these security firms are few in number and often small and situated in rural areas such as Cavan, Monaghan, Offaly, Louth and Donegal. Any suggestion that these personal bodyguard firms should be penalised for catering for their minority community, irrespective of wealth and conduct, is totally at odds with the principles and values for which Irish society should stand for [sic].

During the course of the debate about fee-paying security firms, a realistic view of our financial circumstances has been lacking. Some suggest that reducing or withdrawing the State subvention to private security will save the State money, the slack for which will be taken up by citizens. The reality is, however, that if the State ceased or reduced funding to private security guards, many citizens who refer their personal security to private firms, and who were once able to afford fee-paying vigilantism but are now struggling, would be forced to take their personal protection needs out of private security and instead send them into the public system. This will increase demand for public policing services, which are already seriously limited in some areas, heaping additional costs on the State in the process.

The spotlight being placed by the Department of Justice on fee-paying security will cost jobs, hurt citizens, and, in many cases, force private policing firms to join the State sector, where they will cost the taxpayer more than they do now.

Many citizens in constituencies that do not have a sufficient number of Gardaí, like Dun Laoghaire, are paying colossal mortgages for modest 3/4 bedroom semi-detached homes. Many of these people have lost their jobs due to the recession or have taken serious cuts in their salaries, making providing for a private, and locally based, police force a struggle.

Now is not the time to have an ideological debate that would result in exorbitant additional costs to the State while putting serious pressure on and doing damage to our public policing system in the process.