@home does some very tricky stuff to prevent you from trying to put multiple boxes on one shared connection... because they want you to pay the extra $10/month for extra IP addresses. The technical support people will tell you that they do not support Linux or even firewalls. If you are a linux geek or security conscious, this can seem unconscionable. But even for little, Windows-running-me, this caused a major problem.

If you just want to know how to make it work, skip to the end.

See, the problem is, they require you to set a computer name (which they assign you upon provisioning) and workgroup in your windows TCP/IP settings. They refuse to tell you how to work around this in an alternate environment.

I use a Lynksys Etherfast cable/DSL router in order to share a broadband connection with multiple people in my home. Great little box. But when I tried to figure out how to set it up with @home, no dice. I had used it with Telocity DSL before and Optimum Online cable service before with no problems.

First, with a little help from The_Custodian, I tried to forward the ports (137-139) that applied to the checks to my box. (The Lynksis is awesome at that.) No luck. I called technical support again, got loud and gave them hell. Nada. They wouldn't give me any information.

Finally, in a fit of frustration, I logged on to the Lynksis box and saw the "Hostname" and "Domain" fields. I realized I should just try the computer and workgroup names. Which worked. For about two hours. Until their servers must have checked mine or something. So after a few hours of hair pulling (which is tough with a shaved head), my dad told me he knew someone who had set up something similar and had it working.

After beating my father into submission for not telling me sooner, I called his friend who informed me that the domain was a specific address that depended on your location. Luckily he was in mine and gave me the address. Meanwhile, he retold his nightmare of trying to set up his connection, as well as relating the threats he had to give @home to get the address.

I finally had everything up and working, and all three computers going.

Summary:
In order to get @home to work with a hardware router/firewall/hub etc.:

  1. Set your hostname in the firewall to the computer name they give you.
  2. Set the domain name to an address you will need to scam from them. (Just in case you need East Windsor, NJ's, its ewndsr1.nj.home.com). The_Custodian said you can get this adddress additionally by doing the following:
    To get the domain name, if you know what IP address you get, log onto a friendly neighborhood linux box and use 'nslookup (ip addr)' and see what domain it gives you

And all it took me was 6 hours, a case of Dr. Pepper, and one father beaten to a pulp.

This node may be a bit late, but I did not seeing any other nodes about this. Excite @home is no longer, they declared bankruptcy and allowed according to the court to shut off the service to nearly 3.1 million users. This has left many customers in the lurch without internet access and forcing some to return to dial-up service. Ma Bell is trying to figure out what is going to happen as people scramble for accounts. Rumor has it, everything will be working by Friday, but many are not waiting. DSL is the choice for many people to replace their beloved cable modem, if the service is available.

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