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74 posts

Master Geek

# 40738 2-Sep-2009 16:55
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Hi all, amongst other things I am a network administrator for a number of companies in NZ.

Like everyone else they send email, look at websites etc every day, nothing unusual about that. Most of them have their own MTA which performs faultlessly almost all of the time...

... however over the past few weeks I've had some problems with one site in particular, they've been trying to send email to another NZ company without success. After some messing around (traceroutes, pings, telnet etc) I determined that the problem occurred after their router.

Now these guys use Xtra as their ISP so you know the drill, call the helldesk & after several weeks (or days if you're lucky) you'll finally get to someone who knows something. It helps if you have an account manager as many of my clients do...

So after a lengthy discussion with an Xtra person (more telnets, traceroutes etc etc) and me logging into other clients to check things we determined that (1) Some Xtra customers had no route to the site, others did (2) No-one (that I checked) on other ISP's had a problem. There was a suggestion that the destination site could be blocking a range of IP numbers, or that there was a problem within Xtra... so I figured it'd be sorted in a few hours. Yeah right!

Subsequently they wanted logs from mail servers etc (like that was going to tell anyone a lot - 'no route to host', but we already knew that) & then topped it off with a suggestion that the fault could be within my client's server. Hmmmm. Incidentally before even calling I tried different DNS's etc in case there was a problem there but that made no difference.

Anyway a couple of days ago I tried accessing Ecan ( to find the site was down. Never thought any more of it at the time as I figured they were doing something & it would be back up shortly. However I've now been contacted by my client who tells me they can't access Ecan either & I've checked again to find that's still the case for me - yeah I'm on Xtra too (long story!). A traceroute shows.... no route! Now for other reasons I'd be happy if Ecan were to drop off the face of the earth but for the present I'm thinking there's something dubious going on within Xtra.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has a similar problem - it's clear that it's not all Xtra customers, just some, but around 50% of my Xtra clients exhibit this issue & as it's been several weeks (although the Ecan thing could be more recent) I'm starting to get a bit grumpy, particularly as they keep suggesting to my client that it's possibly something up with them >:-(

Call me overly sensitive & inclined to see fire where there isn't but I'm wondering if there's a big experiment going on with this bl**dy net filtering sh1te & we've been caught up with it somehow or is it just some other stupid thing going on within Xtra (you may imagine I've had dealings with them before over some other issues in the past!)? I'm getting nowhere with Xtra & am more and more disinclined to believe things that are said - particularly if some $#%^@!! govt experiment is involved - so hence a call to fellow network Geeks to see if you've got problems or any ideas.

Ciao, P.

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8035 posts

Uber Geek


  # 252672 2-Sep-2009 17:21
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Looks like that ecan site is hosted by Snap, they have transit provided by both Telecom and Telstra, also they peer at APE.

Tracing route to [] over a maximum of 30 hops:

  4    11 ms    11 ms    10 ms []
  5    12 ms    11 ms    13 ms
  6   159 ms    21 ms    17 ms []
  7    95 ms   215 ms   215 ms []
  8    21 ms    20 ms    20 ms []
  9     *        *        *

It could be some weird routing issue between certain Telecom interfaces and Snap, is the company your sites are having trouble sending email too using Snap as their ISP?

74 posts

Master Geek

  # 252710 2-Sep-2009 19:20
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Hi, thanx for the info, no the mx for domain resolves to an Australian IP# which is owned by the recipient company concerned. There was a thought that they may have been blocking a range of Xtra IP#'s but it's fairly unlikely.

Also now with the Ecan thing (still can't get them after a couple of days) I'm more and more of the view that something weird is going on in this country somewhere. Could be complete coincidence of course & be totally unrelated but it's frustrating to have it take so long to fix & it seems almost impossible to get to someone in the big X that can actually do something.

Cheers, P.


618 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 252751 2-Sep-2009 21:20
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I just tried from a couple of different Xtra connections and no issues with access.

Do you have the same issues with connecting to other Snap hosted networks? eg.

What IP address range is your clients site on? eg.

Phaedrus: A traceroute shows.... no route!

When you say "no route" are you getting something like "no route to host" coming back, or is it just timing out? doesn't repond to ping packets, so pings and traceroutes will always timeout. Can you perhaps post a sample traceroute?

74 posts

Master Geek

  # 252781 2-Sep-2009 22:47
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Hi, CCC is ok, the problem occurs from:

210.86.x.x (Static)
222.155.x.x (Dynamic)
219.88.x.x (Static)

but not from

210.54.x.x (tried several in this range)

and I do get a successful traceroute to and telnet (port 25) to the mailserver on the 'good' IP's so would expect the same on the other (which just report 'Unable to connect to remote host: No route to host').

Here's a bad one:

traceroute to (, 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
 1 (  7.148 ms  7.869 ms  8.109 ms
 2 (  2964.476 ms !H  2964.693 ms !H  2964.690 ms !H

and same server type on a 'good' IP range:

traceroute to (, 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
 1 (  253.503 ms  253.728 ms  253.723 ms
 2  * (  300.174 ms *
 3  * * *
 4 (  300.143 ms  300.379 ms  300.375 ms
 5 (  300.369 ms  300.608 ms *
 6  * (  287.530 ms  330.458 ms
 7 (  330.461 ms  330.696 ms  330.692 ms

Oh bugger, I've just now had a successful traceroute to Ecan from 210.86.28.x (but not 210.86.26.x), the plot thickens!


8035 posts

Uber Geek


  # 252788 2-Sep-2009 23:49
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Phaedrus: Hi, CCC is ok, the problem occurs from:

traceroute to (, 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
 1 (  7.148 ms  7.869 ms  8.109 ms
 2 (  2964.476 ms !H  2964.693 ms !H  2964.690 ms !H

That looks like it's not even getting out of the clients internal network to the ISP/Xtra to me

618 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 252798 3-Sep-2009 07:03
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Taking a stab here... you don't by any chance have a subnet mask of set on your router (first traceroute)?

As Ragnor points out, those packets for don't even appear to be leaving your network.

74 posts

Master Geek

  # 252815 3-Sep-2009 07:58
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Hi, thanks for the suggestions, as luck would have it it's working this morning - I'm not sure whether to be pleased or not! :-)

I just had a play with the subnet mask on a couple of the routers, produces some interesting results. I need to sit down at some stage & think why it should affect some sites and not others. I'm sure it's obvious but my brain hurts already this morning...

Something I forgot to mention earlier on which should have been (3) in my original post is that Xtra was able to replicate the problem internally, this led me to believe further that the problem was less likely to be mine. Additionally the Ecan issue occurred only recently & I was definate that we'd made no changes so it kept pointing elsewhere.

I'm hoping that whatever it was doesn't come back, it would be nice from a tech's perspective to find out what changed but I'm guessing I'll be unlikely to hear... if I do and/or it packs up again I'll keep you posted.

Cheers, P.


618 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 252827 3-Sep-2009 08:34
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Glad to hear that things are working again!

Phaedrus: I just had a play with the subnet mask on a couple of the routers, produces some interesting results. I need to sit down at some stage & think why it should affect some sites and not others. I'm sure it's obvious but my brain hurts already this morning...

As a general rule, most small networks shouldn't use any subnet mask other than

The reason I pointed this out was the ecan website is hosted on a 192.x.x.x IP address. If your router was using, say, as its subnet mask, it would see the ecan website as "local", ie on the same subnet as the router. This would mean packets destined for the ecan website wouldn't leave your network and you would end up with a traceroute like in your first example.

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