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What does "Radio Internet: NONE" really mean?

I'm having trouble connecting a 6600M running 3.1.8 to SmartLink. It works occasionally but usually fails. When it fails, the radio claims that it doesn't have an internet connection, but that's not really true. The radio is connected to my home LAN, which is currently connected via AT&T U-Verse.

The experiment is simply to power the radio on and see if it appears on SmartLink. Sometimes it does. Usually it does not.

I can then check what the radio thinks about its connection status by going to the "Select a Version" screen, hitting the "<Radio" link at the top left, and hitting the "Info" button. It says either "Radio Internet: Available" (working) or "Radio Internet: NONE" (not working).

To try and find out what this means, I used Wireshark and a managed switch to get a look at the Ethernet frames coming to and going from the 6600M. The trace clearly shows that the radio is in fact connected to the Internet in both cases.

In both cases it starts by having a short (encrypted) conversation with flexradio.flexnetoperations.com. That's a host belonging to Flexera Software. Judging by their web page, this is almost certainly a license check.

In both cases the next step is a connection to smartlink.flexradio.com. This is a host in Microsoft's Azure cloud. Once again, the connection is encrypted so we can only guess what's going on.

When the SmartLink connection succeeds, the next step is a connection to global.stun.twilio.com. This is a service provided by Twilio that uses the STUN protocol (Session Traversal Utilities for NAT) to solve the problems created by the IP address translation done by home routers to allow connection of many devices using only one routable IPv4 address. Something like this is necessary to allow SmartLink to set up paths between clients (SmartSDR, Maestro) on the internet and radios on typical home LANs.

When the SmartLink connection fails, the radio never tries to find or connect to Twilio to use the STUN protocol. Instead, it just keeps retrying the conversation with smartlink.flexradio.com over and over. Each time it is able to connect and converse with the SmartLink server, but apparently the results of the conversation are somehow unsatisfactory.

There can't really be anything wrong with my credentials, since it does work occasionally, and when that happens I'm able to connect with SmartLink and use the radio remotely. But what does that leave? Is this a problem in the SmartLink server or something strange going on with my (brand new) 6600M? So much of the mechanism is hidden, undocumented, and encrypted that I can't really tell.

73  -Paul KB5MU

Comments

  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin
    edited October 2019
    Hi Paul It sounds like you need to open a support case. Mike
  • Gary NC3Z
    Gary NC3Z Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    Paul, I have been having the same exact issue since upgrading to 3.1 from 3.0. I did put a Support ticket in a while back and after some back and forth with the usual like, it's your router, it's your ethernet cables, etc. it just got logged with all the other weird issues.

    One thing to try that I have found allows the radio to boot 100% without the Radio Internet: NONE issue is to **** the external power, apply external power and hit the Flex power button within a second or so of applying the power (or use the Remote On option). It will power up properly.

    But even when it says no Radio Internet the Flex still works 100% with my SmartIOS from a remote location, so the Internet does work, it just appears to be a very annoying false indication. But I just add it to the list of all the other quirks to live with.
  • Paul - KB5MU
    Paul - KB5MU Member
    edited October 2019
    Gary, the plot thickens! Your symptom is not the same as mine. In my case, there is no way to even try with SmartSDR for iOS from a remote location. The iPad only shows the Demo FLEX-6700 under Available Radios, just as if my 6600M did not exist, whenever it is showing Radio Internet: NONE.

    of course, for test purposes I’m not actually distant from the radio, I’ve just turned off WiFi on the iPad so it has to connect through the cellular network. This works fine (the radio shows up on the iPad with the red SmartLink tag) when the radio boots with Radio Internet: Available, as expected, but shows no radio available when the radio boots with Radio Internet NONE. If I enable WiFi on the iPad, the 6600M does show up as a locally-connected radio, and can be used that way.

    it is possible that the Remote On feature is part of the story here. I hooked that up and started using it recently. However, for the bulk of my testing last night, the feature was disabled in hopes of simplifying the test. I’ll turn it back on and see if that makes any difference.


  • Gary NC3Z
    Gary NC3Z Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    Paul, if I do a warm boot (e.g. the 12V PSU is already on) my 6600M will not go directly into the operating display, it will stop at the Info/Operate/Smartlink screen. An at is point if you hit Info you see NONE for Radio Internet.

    But when you do a cold boot (e.g. turn on 12V PSU and immediately turn on 6600M) the 6600M goes directly into the operate screen (and when you check Radio Internet status it is good). This is 100% reliable.

    So let me know your results with Remote Power on by using this method to turn on your 6600M.
  • Paul - KB5MU
    Paul - KB5MU Member
    edited October 2019
    That's also different; my radio always seems to power up directly to the operating display.

    I ran some tests with Remote Power On. The first three of powerons initiated with the Remote Power feature (leaving the 12V PSU on) were successful, which was exciting, but the fourth one failed again and more failures followed. Leaving the Remote relay on and turning power on with the PSU powered up the radio but the SmartLink failure was still present. If there's any connection between the Remote Power feature and this SmartLink failure, it's complicated. My guess is that they are not connected, but it would take a lot more testing to be sure either way.

    I'd really like for this to Just Work reliably.
  • Gary NC3Z
    Gary NC3Z Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    Ah, OK, was hoping for some commonality. It is a PITA but I have other Support tickets in for bigger bugs to fix. Flex has ack them but no ETA on fixes, but this one is still in the "trying to get a handle on it".
  • Gary NC3Z
    Gary NC3Z Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    In any case it did not happen under 3.0.x and only showed up under 3.1.x
  • Kari Gustafsson SM0HRP
    Kari Gustafsson SM0HRP Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    Hi comrades! I have experienced a similar issue with "NONE" and no internet IP-adress. I have a fairly large remote SO2R station with a lot of remote operated ethernet connected devices via my 4G router. Often with no possibility to access my 6700 on my LAN. I have started to suspect that one of the 30 ethernet devices (PA:s, rotors, switches.....) is putting **** out on my LAN and interfering with the DHCP of the router on the LAN. So today I disconnected all devices on the LAN except the 6700. Now the problem with "NONE" internet seems gone. So I need to verify my hypothesis and fine the device that is creating this problem on my LAN. Can this relate to your issue or have you noticed anything of this kind ?
  • Paul - KB5MU
    Paul - KB5MU Member
    edited October 2019
    I’ll have to try that experiment, but I don’t think my issue has to do with DHCP. The radio always successfully reclaims the same two IP addresses (one for the radio and one for the front panel). Without an IP address it couldn’t get as far into the SmartLink negotiation as it does, and wouldn’t be usable on the LAN, which it always is.

    Your DHCP problem could probably be tracked down in short order with an Ethernet packet trace.

    All these different failure scenarios point to a need for Flexradio to display a much more specific diagnostic message than just “NONE” when there’s a problem with networking.

  • Bob G   W1GLV
    Bob G W1GLV Member ✭✭
    edited June 2020
    I think your main problem is ATT Uverse. When I first started using SmartLink I also had connection problems with ATT. I switched provider to Cox, problem solved. I'ts been almost three years now without a hiccup with SmartLink.
  • NR0X
    NR0X Member
    edited August 23
    I have been having a similar problem here, when trying to use Smartlink for the first time. Everything else worked fine, but the software insisted that the radio had no internet access. Now in my current setup, I had the network settings on my 6700 configured for a static ip. When I switched it to DHCP and restarted the radio, the Internet: NONE problem disappeared and she connects to smartlink just fine.

    NR0X
  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    Yep, Mike, VA3MW has posted a few times about avoiding static IP addresses. They can be made to work in those rare cases where they are required, but generally, life is much easier when using DHCP.

    I'm glad you got it working!

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