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.

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