I'm an Aussie who moved to Ottawa, Canada in 2008. I'm always having a moan about something. This is where I moan and whinge about things. Enjoy.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

TekSavvy/Rogers Idiocy

I recently had to move house, after the house I was renting was sold to a homeless shelter, who ironically asked us to move out, ie made us homeless.

Anyway, after moving to the new location, I took my cable internet modem with me, and plugged it in at the new location, just expecting the lights to flash up and down while it tried to connect, and fail. To my surprise, it connected and went online.

I called up TekSavvy this morning, to find out about cancelling the cancellation request that I put in a few weeks ago, so I could keep using the service at the new location. I was told that a cancellation can't be cancelled, and that I would need to apply for a new service activation at the new location, costing $65. I was also told that my modem won't work, and I'll need to buy a new one for $99.

When I queried this, asking why the modem that I have that is working will not work, the CSR got stuck in a loop telling me that it will stop working at the end of the month. When I would respond that I understand this, and that it is due to the service cancellation, and ask why it would no longer work on the connection that it currently does, he would repeat that it's going to stop working at the end of the month, and that it's not compatible and won't work.

It obviously is compatible, since it is connected and working. No physical changes need to be made, the service is already connected, all they need to do is update the service and billing addresses that they have on file. I refuse to pay $164 for this, and have to throw away a modem that works perfectly fine.

I know the actual reason, and that is that Rogers are refusing to connect DOCSIS 2.0 modems to the network, however there is no reason for this, especially as they would have allowed it to remain connected forever if I had not moved/cancelled the service.

I have emailed them and opened a case about this, we'll see what their response is. I suspect I'm not going to get very far, but this is ridiculous, and I refuse to pay $164 for nothing. Here's the email I wrote to them:

Hello, I have moved, and I took my cable modem with me. I plugged it in at my new residence, and it works. I called to find out if I can cancel my cancellation, as I now wish to keep the service.

Your CSR told me that a cancellation can't be undone, and so I'll need to pay for a new service activation, which is $65, and that my modem isn't compatible and won't work, so I need to buy a new one for $99.

This doesn't make any sense, as the modem is compatible, because it's working right now. I don't see why I should need to pay $164 for nothing, as the service is already connected and working at the new location. The only thing that needs to change is the billing and service address that you have on file.

Can you please explain both how and why the working modem that I have will somehow magically break at the end of the month and no longer work requiring me to buy a new one, and why I would need to pay $65 for activation of a service that is already activated?


Update: TekSavvy responded:

Justin M. Today at 12:13
Hello Squigley,

Thank you for reaching out to us today.

Since you have not placed a move order for your current service and it is set for cancellation, the current internet you are using is not your own but the person who was previously living at that address. Please do not utilize this connection as you may cause overage charges for someone.

Your modem likely works on the service because the connection and filters are set to work with your current modem but this is not your plan. Once we establish our internet connection to the house then your modem will not work.

Please give us a shout at 1-877-779-1575 if you wish to re-order internet through us.

Thank you and let us know if you have any other questions.

Online Requests Team
TekSavvy Solutions, Inc.
800 Richmond Street
Chatham, ON N7M 5J5

This seems like utter lies to me. If it's not my service, then why do they require knowing the MAC address of the cable modem that the service is provisioned to, and that I am using?

Why do I have a TekSavvy netblock IP?

It's delivered via Rogers' cable, and if I was to order a new service, then the cable that is already connected would be used, so why would this stop my current connection from working?

I responded:

Hello Justin,

Thanks for your update, however I find the information you have provided very hard to believe. I am a systems engineer for a telephone company, and I have a good understanding of how these systems work.

I have not moved into a residence after the previous person left; the owner/landlord of the property still resides there, and he has Bell DSL. He has never had TekSavvy Internet. He has Rogers basic cable for TV, and this is what I connected my cable modem to, which I relocated from my previous residence.

The MAC address of the modem ties the service to my account, so the Internet connection that is online at the new location is mine, as it is provisioned in your system, and it also has an IP within the TekSavvy netblock, which it would not if it was a Rogers or some other service:

NetRange: -
NetName:        TS1-ROGERS
NetHandle:      NET-24-52-192-0-1
Parent:         NET24 (NET-24-0-0-0-0)
NetType:        Direct Allocation
OriginAS:       AS5645
Organization:   TekSavvy Solutions Inc. (TS-1)
RegDate:        2011-06-23
Updated:        2012-02-24
Ref:            http://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-24-52-192-0-1

The Internet connection that you would be connecting via Rogers to the property is the connection that is already connected. There are no physical changes required in order for my connection to work. As there are no physical changes required, and the modem I have works, I would still like an explanation of why I am required to pay $164 and replace a working cable modem for no reason.

I could have relocated my cable modem to the new location without informing you of anything, and continued paying my bill each month with no interruption to my service. It seems that is what I should have done instead of trying to do things correctly, and incurring huge charges for nothing.

If you are unable to provide more information and answer my questions, then please escalate this ticket to someone who can.


Update 2: Another response

Leanne R. (TekSavvy Help Centre)
Oct 21, 7:59 PM

Hello Simon,

I am sorry for any inconvenience you have suffered. As a wholesaler we do not directly own the infrastructure. This is why we can not push modems to our Vendors or even complete remote activation's. Our Vendors have deemed these older modems are no longer approved since they are a known cause of congestion on the network. As well they are unable to handle the faster and newer connections.

This has been a slowly phased out but at this time all Docsis 2.0 have been completely phased out and we are no longer able to use them on the network. You can look into your own approved modem from our list on our website. Keep in mind any modem you purchase must match exactly as listed. You will still need to have the services reconnected at your new address since we can not reverse the cancellation. This is for the same reason I mentioned earlier that we do not own the infrastructure and we must follow the rules in place from our Vendors. Even if we could move the service we would still need a approved modem.

If you do decide to get services with us you will need to call in at 1-877-779-1575 to place a new request with a new modem, or have a new modem on hand.

If you have any other questions, please let us know.

Online Requests Team
TekSavvy Solutions, Inc.
800 Richmond Street
Chatham, ON N7M 5J5


OK, so now they're telling me what's really going on. I already knew this was the case, that Rogers are charging a ridiculous fee and TekSavvy are passing it on, and that Rogers are the ones refusing to allow my modem to be connected again.

Was that so hard to answer my questions truthfully? Why did it require telling me a bunch of lies first? Is Justin M being malicious, or is he just ignorant and likes to make things up when he doesn't know the answers?

The next question is why TekSavvy's connection fee is $65, yet Start.ca only charge $50.

Update 3: I give up. Rogers sucks.

I responded to Leanne:

Hello Leanne,

Thank you for your update; and including honest, truthful, and correct information.

Due to the high cost involved with reconnecting my service, which I understand are caused by Rogers, I will be finding another option for Internet service.

The cancellation can go through as already planned, and this ticket can be closed.


Wednesday 8 July 2015

Thanks for nothing Comwave

I found an ATA (Analogue Telephone Adapter) at Value Village recently, which is a device that's used to convert analogue phones into VoIP phones, for a few dollars. I guess I didn't learn my lesson from last time, when I bought a Linksys PAP2T that was locked to Vonage..

This one is a Linksys 2102-R, where the -R means it's locked to someone. I setup my machine to block most network traffic from it, since that was how I got screwed last time, when the Vonage locked one phoned home and set itself in a state where I couldn't unlock it..

I plugged it in, and while running a packet capture I saw it attempting to perform DNS lookups for "dmsc.comwave.net", which appears to be Comwave's provisioning server.

I googled around on how to unlock the device, and for another provider which doesn't exist anymore, someone worked out a trick of how to unlock it. I wanted to see if that might work against this one, so I allowed it out to the Internet, but once I saw that it was attempting to provision over HTTPS to Comwave's provisioning server, I knew that trick wouldn't work against this unit, since I would need Comwave's SSL certificate private key.

More googling around didn't turn up anything useful for how to unlock it, so I figured I would contact Comwave's support, and ask them to unlock it for me, since this is an old unit.

Here's the email exchange I had with Comwave's support:

(note the timestamps, so you can see they take advantage of the "up to 2 business days" response time frame)..

JUN 30, 2015  |  02:09PM UTC
Original message
Simon wrote:

I bought a Linksys SPA2102-R from Value Village and it's locked to your services. It contacts your provisioning server, are you able to unlock this adapter as I wish to use it with an Asterisk PBX?

JUL 02, 2015  |  07:13PM UTC
Comwave Technical Support replied:
Dear Simon,
Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We will be glad to assist you.
We would like to get more information about the device. Could you please provide us the MAC and serial number of the Linksys SPA2102-R? You can find this information at the botton of the device.
We will be looking forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience. Sincerely,
Herbert- eCare Team

JUL 02, 2015  |  07:59PM UTC
Simon replied:
Hello Herbert,

Thanks for your response. The MAC of the Linksys SPA2102-R is
00:0E:08:4C:7A:62. The S/N is FM500L882925.

Thanks very much,

JUL 06, 2015  |  04:32PM UTC
Comwave Technical Support replied:
Dear Simon,
Thank you for getting back to me.
The serial number and MAC address you provided are not linked to any Comwave account anymore. This means that we no longer have control over the device. In this case, please contact Cisco support center at 800-553-2447 or for more information you can also visit this website http://www.linksys.com/ca/support-product?pid=01t80000003K7fzAAC.
I hope this information helps. Should you have any further questions, please feel free to email us again.
Herbert – eCare Team

JUL 06, 2015  |  05:44PM UTC
Simon replied:
Hello Herbert,

Thanks for your response. I understand that the device would no longer be
linked with an active account with you, and that's why the previous account
owner who was using this device with your services would have donated it to
Value Village where I purchased it.

You do still have control of the device, as it contains the profile rule(s)
to contact your provisioning server, and has been configured with a non
standard admin password, so I am unable to login to change the profile rule
to point the device at my own provisioning server.

I have attached a packet capture which shows the device booting up and
performing DNS lookups for your provisioning server, "dmsc.comwave.net",
and attempting to perform an SSL handshake in order to download the config

If you were to place a config file on your provisioning server for the MAC
address of 00:0E:08:4C:7A:62 containing the following:


perhaps compiled with the SPC tool if necessary, then when the device next
contacts your provisioning server it should have the admin password reset
from the currently unknown to me value, to "admin", which would allow me to
login and clear/change the profile rules in the provisioning settings of
the device. Alternatively if you have the admin password on record, or are
able to generate the device's password based on its MAC address or serial
number, and provide that to me, then I would be able to login and reset the

The support link you provided was to a wireless router on Cisco's site. If
I search for the SPA2102 on their site, then there are some results,
however those pages have been removed, and the search results mention that
it is an end-of-life device which is not supported by them anymore, which
is why I need your assistance in unlocking the device.


JUL 08, 2015  |  08:05PM UTC
Comwave Technical Support replied:
Dear Simon,
Thank you for your reply.
The Linksys SPA2102-R FM500L882925 you received no longer works on our network, unfortunately, we cannot support it. We suggest you our Comwave Home Phone VoIP service , however, you would receive another device since we do not have control over the configuration of your Linksys.
Should you have any further questions, please let me know at your earliest convenience.
eCare Team

So, that's pretty much the end of that. Even though the device boots up, performs a DNS lookup, resolves to their provisioning server, and attempts an SSL handshake, they refuse to help me to unlock the device, even though it's no longer supported on their network, so it's not like I could even use it with an account with them. Instead they expect I'll signup for their services so they can send me some other device I have to pay for, completely defeating the purpose of what I'm trying to do by reusing this perfectly workable ATA, and instead they've just created more e-waste.

I'm currently trying to brute force the password on the device, but that's probably going to be a futile effort, since most of these passwords use extended characters, making the keyspace huge. I've already gone through all the 4 character passwords using combinations of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and numbers, and that took 2 days.

I've now moved on to attempting all 5 character passwords, and that's estimated to take 70 days at the current rate..

The other option is to desolder the flash TSOP and use a programmer to reflash it with the unlocked "NA" firmware, and then resolder the flash chip, but since that requires a microscope and soldering equipment I don't have, it's not really a viable option.