TransACT network

andrew at andrew at
Fri Sep 28 07:14:27 EST 2001

On Fri, 28 Sep 2001 jeremy at wrote:

> Woo hoo.  Just got hooked up today.  Now for the big question... what do
> I do with it?

Ummm... Watch the non-stop infomercials on channel 5?

> I haven't got an account with an ISP yet because I had been told that I
> could communicate with other people on the Transact network but I can't
> find any doco.  Could someone point me the right way?

I got hooked up 4 months ago now, and I've been asking them about that
ever since.  Last I heard, the internal network feature is still "coming
real soon now".

While on the topic of transact isps, let me just add that I signed up with
netspeed, but only because they were the only isp available when I
connected.  Stay away from them.  They suck.  I'll save the lengthy
description of how they suck for another day.  Back on topic now...

You know they use PPPoE, right?  When I signed up, they gave me a cd with
a windows PPPoE client on it (which I never installed), and a letter
telling me that if I ran MacOS, or "any other non-windows OS", I should
contact them for the appropriate version of the software.  Well, I did
that, just to see what they gave me, (and installed roaring penguin
while waiting for a reasponse), and got an email back from Someone
With A Clue pointing me to  Useless information for
me, but it's always nice to hear that a company you're dealing with has
Someone With A Clue on their staff.  Anyway, without a PPPoE client, all
you can do is plug a serial cable into that settop box they gave you and
watch its boot messages scroll past every time you pull the plug and plug
it back in (9600, 8N1, and if you can find a working username/password to
log into it, let me know :-)

There have been several talks given by the transact people (one of them at
clug even), and I've managed to miss every single one.  However, leaving a
tcpdump running on the relevent interface has convinced me that I'm on a
switched network (I never see traffic headed for anyone else), and the
only thing I can talk to directly is one bloody big router (when I send
out PADI packets (PPPoE discovery packets - the first "who is out there
that's willing to talk to me" step in establishing a PPPoE connection), I
only get one response (despite the fact that there's supposed to be more
than one ISP on transact now), and I never see any incoming PADIs).

So, apparently all you can do is talk PPPoE to the router - and it works
out who to forward your connection to depending on how you authenticate
yourself (the "username" I supply during PAP authentication includes the
name of my isp).

I've made a point of asking about the alleged internal network transact
offers every time I've spoken to them about anything (which has been at
least once a month, as they have yet to send me a bill for the right
amount... but they still manage to take only the right amount of money
from my account each month, so it could be worse...).  I'm told every time
that "we're still working on implementing that".

The little else I've gleaned from the occasional time I've got through to
someone who actually knows something about the system there amounts to:
when it's implemented, it will work just like another isp - you disconnect
form your real isp, connect to it, supply a different PAP
username/password, and you're put on a network with everyone else
connected to that "isp" (and maybe you'll also be able to access other
servers that are connect to transact's backbone (e.g. anu), if they can
work out how to do that).  Of course, all those instructions are assuming
you're running windows - all transact's customers are, right?  With a bit
of luck, us linux users will be able to connect to both simultaneously
(see the -U option to pppoe).

So... did they tell you that there was an internal network you could
connect to now?  Hassle them over it, and I'll join you in hassling them.
I've been letting it slide just because nobody else I know is on transact
yet, so there's nobody I'd need to talk to.


More information about the linux mailing list