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Doing Right By Doing No Wrong

September 16, 2021

I’m a computer IT expert. I’m not bragging. I wrote my first computer program on a TRS-80 and saved it on a cassette tape. Today’s kids might not ever seen a cassette tape except in a Super Hero movie.

I worked with the first computer networks. It was IPX/SPX back then. TCP/IP was new. I saw a meme today that said,

I told my kids I was older than Google. They think I’m kidding.

I spent half a decade at WordPerfect, a decade at Microsoft. I’ve written books and articles on computers, programs, networks and the industry in general. I’ve taken numerous computer courses and taught a few. I’ve even written numerous product certification tests.

I’m the guy who other people call to help them figure stuff out when it comes to computers.

And that’s why I’ve been so cranky over the past six months.

I have a home network. It’s a moderately complex network. Without giving too many details, I have two DMZs, a dual homed hardware firewall. I also have two software firewalls at the network level. In addition my computers have antivirus and local firewalls.

Could a professional hacker break into my home network? In a heartbeat. But I’m not protecting my home network from a professional hacker. I’m protecting it from amateur hackers, neighborhood kids or script kiddies on the internet. I’m not interesting enough to attract a professional hacker.

So, yep, I R a professional!

My home network was horrible. Truly. It was slow. And not “I only have one bar” slow. Literally it would take a couple of minutes to get to a web page. Half the time you’d have to refresh the page.

The issue was with DNS, Domain Name Service. See, when you ask to go someplace like http://www.google.com, the internet first has to find the address. The IP address. And it’s DNS that knows the IP address that google.com lives at.

And my DNS queries were horrible. I tried everything. (I AM an expert, after all.) I happen to know that Google owns some fast DNS servers at 8.8.8.8. I set that as my DNS servers. It didn’t help. I played around with my DNS service settings on my firewalls. I disabled and re enabled my wifi router. I tweaked my DHCP server settings.

Every couple of weeks I’d decide I had enough and I’d jump in again and try to fix it. Without success.

Remember how I said I’m the guy people call when they have computer issues? Well, who does the computer guy call? There isn’t anyone.

Finally, last week I was looking through my firewall settings and realized what the issue was. My firewall is setup to allow for IPv4 or IPv6. The difference are pretty significant, but more than you want to hear about here. But, I realized I had set my firewall to use the IPv6 gateway as the default gateway. Since, my firewall is also my DHCP server, my network points at the firewall as it’s default gateway and the firewall’s default server points at the DMZ. The problem was that I was using IPv6 for the default gateway protocol.

That’s like speaking a totally different language. Like if the taxi driver only speaks Spanish and you only speak English. He would REALLY like to get you where you need to go, but doesn’t really understand what you’re saying. It’s going to take him a LONG time to figure out what you need.

Anyway, I disabled the IPv6 gateway and set the default gateway to the IPv4 gateway. It was a matter of a single setting. Disable IPv6 and suddenly everything worked.

I didn’t need to “fix” my network. I just needed to stop breaking it.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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