I thought I'd post this summary of my experience with the Genius Lite so that others might understand its limitations and temper their expectations accordingly.

  1. When I dipped my toe in the water with a view to subscribing to the VOIP system that Genius provides, I had one overriding concern - Port Forwarding. I'll come to my home LAN setup later, but for now, suffice to say, I was reassured that the Genius Lite router provided Port Forwarding.
  2. With that caveat out of the way, I signed up.
  3. I received the router and proceeded to configure it to provide for my peculiar needs. My LAN consists of - for our purposes here - four servers: a DNS, a web server, a mail server and a development server. Let's say that the web server had a static IP of 192.168.0.7, the DNS had a static IP of 192.168.0.3, the mail server had a static IP of 192.168.0.4 and the development server - another web server in fact - had a static IP of 192.168.0.2.
  4. As you will see from the above, my LAN was on a 192.168.0 network. The Genius comes preconfigured for a 10.1.1 LAN. Simple though to change the Genius to a 192.168.0 LAN. [Select "Advanced Settings->Local Area Network Settings" and enter the appropriate modem's IP address.] I changed it to 192.168.0.1. As I did this, the IP address pool changed appropriately. It appeared to be working at that stage, although - because it wasn't live, I wasn't able to test it.
  5. When I was switched over to the Genius routing from Orcon, I had to reset the modem to its factory settings. This wasn't an issue for me because the changes that I had made to that point in time were for testing purposes only.
  6. Now however, the fun started.
  7. I began my setup as above. In addition, I configured Port Forwarding - ["Advanced Settings->Portforwarding"] to provide for the following:
    1. Port 80 - TCP -Apache - to my server on 192.168.0.7 (I'll call it 7)
    2. Port 443 - TCP - Apache - to 7
    3. Port 25 - TCP -SMTP to my mail server - 192.168.0.4 (I'll call it 4)
    4. Port 25 - UDP -SMTP to my mail server -4
    5. Port 110 - TCP - POP3 to my mail server -4
    6. Port 110 - UDP - POP3 to my mail server -4
    7. port 587 -TCP - IMAP to 4
    8. Port 587 - UDP - IMAP - to 4
    9. Port 53 - TCP - DNS - to my DNS Server 192.168.0.3 (I'll call it 3)
    10. Port 53 - UDP - DNS - to my DNS Server 3
    11. Port 8820 - TCP - Apache - to my development server 192.168.0.2 (I'll call it 2)
  8. That looks like a simple setup you might think - as did I. Prior to subscribing to Genius, I had a Netgear N150 Modem/Router which worked simply and flawlessly.
  9. However, it was now that the fun started. As you will see from 3 above, my LAN included a development server where I did experimental and development work - hence the name. Thus, if I wanted to access a web site I was developing that was on the development server, I had to have Apache proxy the URL to point to that machine. I also had the development machine Listen on a range of ports other than Port 80. The range was 8820 - 8829.
  10. The Genius router spewed at that. There was just NO WAY it was going to receive the URL back from 7 with the port appended by Apache's proxy and then send it on to 2 as I had configured it to. 
  11. In addition, any local requests for a domain whose Authoritative DNS was mine - ie domains that I owned and were originating from my DNS - were sent to the router's home page. That is, local Port 80 requests were not being forwarded - even to 7.
  12. So now I saw two problems:
    1. No local DNS resolution
    2. No proxy requests were being delivered appropriately.
  13. I needed to test the efficacy of the system so I went to host-tracker.com, entered the URL of one of the domains that I was hosting and - to my dismay - found a huge failure rate. For example, out of 60 requests, 28 failed. And that was a good result. I thought it might be my DNS server, and so reinstalled it from the ground up. No change. I tested that it wasn't the DNS by going to centralops.com and doing an Nslookup from there. No errors reported. (I wanted to do the queries remotely so that I was seeing what the world at large was seeing.)
  14. I started pulling my hair out. Something so simple and common was now becoming the giant - or to put it another way, the tail was wagging the dog.
  15. So, on to Orcon's help desk.
  16. I want to say at the outset that I have only admiration and applause for the people manning the Help desk. Over the last three weeks, I have spent a huge amount of time with them and found that they were trying to help as far as they could.
  17. Eventually, I got through to IINET who provide the Genius to Orcon. I wanted to know from them what brand the router was so that I could - if possible - use the documentation for the original to resolve the problem. Unfortunately, the best that I could get from them was that it was a Belkin clone. The model number that the person gave me was F1PI1243EGau. This didn't help. Because it was a clone, and a cut down version at that, I was stumped. Also the fact that it was a Belkin was a decidedly bad bit of news on its own. I've had a bit of experience with routers over the years and one brand I steer clear of is Belkin.
  18. Anyway, to cut a long - a very very long - story short, I got to the point where it was obvious that the router was the problem and would never work.
  19. I told Orcon that I needed to go back to the pre-Genius position. Back to paying Telecom their $55 per month. Back to a landline.
  20. In the mean time, a whisper came to me about how Orcon have set up the VOIP system:
    1. Authentication is automatic. Each router is identified by its MAC address and is authenticated automatically at Orcon's end using that as the identifier.
    2. The router sends the MAC address to Orcon. In its authentication tables, that MAC address is assigned to my phone number and a one time password is generated by the system for the session.
    3. A glimmer of hope appeared on the horizon. If that auto authentication was turned off and I used a router with VOIP capabilities that worked, could I still use Orcon's VOIP system?
    4. I got the name an d model number of a router that fitted the profile - a Netgear [Yay] DVG834NH router. Let me get my hands on one and see if that makes a difference.
    5. So I rang PB Tech. They didn't have any. In fact none were even in their system.
    6. I rang Netgear in Australia. (I had to ring their Australian office rather than their helpdesk in the Philipines.) The guy I spoke to looked on their website and couldn't find the router with that model number. When I pointed out to him that I was staring at their web site with that router showing in front of me, he tried again. It wasn't until I actually gave him the URL from their own web site that he was actually able to bring it up. Hmmmm. Well, we have them, he said, but I don't know why they aren't showing up as a retail product. He made some enquiries and the answer was simple. They only supply them to ISPs - not to the genereal public.
    7. So back to Orcon. At this point, I was greeted by the mantra that I'd heard many times in the past three weeks - we only support the Genius. Any other router is not supported and therefore won't be able to connect. Despite my protestations that I didn't want support, that I probably knew more about the product than their support team did, I couldn't persuade them to get me one.
  21. And so I get to the end of the story: I'm going back to a standard DSL connection. And that pisses me off. I like to live on the edge of technology but sometimes the edge crumbles and if you don't take a step back, you'll fall into the abyss.
  22. Some final thoughts:
    1. Orcon's new VOIP product is a step in the right direction.
    2. I have had some callers say that the line quality ain't so good, but generally they're few and far between.
    3. With fibre optic cabling being laid throughout the country, it's only a matter of time before everybody has the chance to have SIP trunks to their home. The issues that I've outlined here will then have to be a thing of the past.
    4. I hope that Orcon will allow people like me who have both knowledge of telecommunications and a willingness to do their own setup will open their doors to let us in. They have the ways and means to do it now. I know this. The only thing that's holding them back is the fear that a floodgate will be opened and they won't be able to handle the deluge.
    5. With an appropriate VOIP router, and with the parameters for the connection available from Orcon, all they need to do is allow us to request a connection and we're away. By turning off auto authentication, they've gone one step, now let's see them go the next!!!!!!!!