Author Topic: Troubleshooting RailPro Internet Connection problems  (Read 1379 times)

G8B4Life

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Troubleshooting RailPro Internet Connection problems
« on: March 09, 2018, 04:07:47 AM »
Troubleshooting RailPro Internet Connection problems

In this guide router is taken to mean a modem with inbuilt router that is commonly used for consumer grade internet connections.

This guide is not a definitive guide to troubleshooting RailPro internet connection problems, it is more a general guide on what you need to look for if RailPro software cannot connect to Ring Engineering's servers. There are many different firewalls and brands of routers available and while some examples are given as screen captures unless you have the exact same software and router you will likely need to consult the documentation that came with your firewall and router.

Background:
Currently, Ring Engineering's software for RailPro connects to their servers using UDP (User Datagram protocol) on fixed ports. While using UDP in itself is not a bad thing (it reduces overhead in the communication between your computer and the server) but in some computer and home network setups using UDP could possibly cause issues due to the UDP protocol being less likely to be allowed through firewalls by default than the TCP protocol. The use of fixed ports will cause connection issues if an ISP actively blocks the port or the ISP uses Carrier Grade NAT for the home internet connection.

Firewalls

A step by step guide to checking Windows Firewall is here: https://rpug.pdc.ca/index.php/topic,660.0.html

A step by step guide to checking the Firewall in Norton Security is here: https://rpug.pdc.ca/index.php/topic,680.0.html

A step by step guide to checking the Firewall in Kaspersky Internet Security is here: https://rpug.pdc.ca/index.php/topic,682.0.html


Note: In some of the examples given the rule was added deliberately to illustrate the text. The rule may not be present in your firewall.

The first thing you should check is your firewall to make sure it is not blocking the RailPro software from accessing the internet (outbound connection).

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In the example above from Windows Firewall, we can see that all outbound connections are allowed unless a rule has been specified. Most firewalls should operate this way and may not have a nice screen that tells you that. In the example below from the same firewall we see that an outbound rule has been specified that blocks the RailPro Assistant Installer from connecting to the internet.

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The below example from AVG firewall has the RailPro HC Simulator Installer blocked from accessing the internet.

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In both outbound blocked examples you simply need to change the rule to allow the connection to the internet. You would do this by selecting the rule by clicking on it and changing to it allow.

You also need to check that inbound (from Ring Engineering's server to you) is not blocked as well. In the example below from Windows firewall inbound connections to RailPro Assistant Installer and HC Simulator Installer are blocked.

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Note not all firewalls are as nice as the Windows firewall example given and inbound connections to software that are allowed to connect outbound may automatically be allowed connections inbound.

It is not advised to disable your firewall to try an install or run RailPro software, instead check for any rules that your firewall has for any RailPro software and if the rule is blocking the software's outbound or inbound (or both) connections change the rule to allow the connection.

Routers

If you firewall is all set to allow RailPro software communication to and from the internet and you still cannot connect to Ring's server, the second thing you should check is your router settings to ensure the router is not blocking UDP traffic. It would be very rare for a router to be blocking UDP connections out of the box unless someone specifically set the router up this way but we have third hand information that is has happened.

Every brand of router will be different in how to get to the settings that control what traffic can pass through the router. This may or may not be called Filters as in the example below. Consult the manual that came with your router to find out, or as always just ask for help on The RailPro User Group forums and we'll see what we can find out for you.

To check your router settings, you'll need to log in to it using a web browser. In the address bar of your web browser you need to enter the address of the router. This is likely to be 192.168.0.1 however there are many different addresses. A list of common router addresses is available here https://www.techspot.com/guides/287-default-router-ip-addresses/ however following the method to find the address using ipconfig is quicker to find the actual address you need.

You'll need the username and password of the router to log in to it. This may be the default username and password as specified in the routers manual or a different username and password if you or someone else changed them. If your Internet Service Provider provided the router as part of your internet connection you may need to obtain the router username and password from them to log into the router.

In the example below, the router has two rules which block all UDP connections inbound and outbound through the router. For RailPro software to work both of the rules would need to be disabled.

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Carrier Grade Network Address Translation
Carrier Grade Network Address Translation is a method which ISP's are using to deal with the exhaustion of IPv4 IP Addresses. With this method they place many (typically hundreds) of subscribers into a private network that has one public IP address that is shared between the subscribers. Along with this each subscriber gets allocated a range of ports on the internet side of the ISP's router that will not necessarily match the local port used for a given internet request over the internet.

As RailPro Assistant, the RailPro Assistant Installer, the HC Simulator installer and Ring Engineering's server all use a fixed local port connections to the Ring Engineering server from RailPro Assistant, the RailPro Assistant Installer and the HC Simulator installer will fail.

The use of Carrier Grade NAT is not limited to any one internet access technology.

To check if you are behind Carrier Grade NAT you can use the UDP test tool found in the files area of the RailPro User Group. You should read the test tool accompanying documentation.

UDP Test for RailPro - Getting to know the software

UDP Test for RailPro - Running tests


Wireless connections.
This is more for if you are having trouble completing downloads. If your using a wireless connection between your router and computer you can try plugging your computer directly into the router with an Ethernet cable. It has been reported previously that RailPro software doesn't like wireless connections very much. This is likely due to the fact that the UDP packets that RailPro software sends and receives must arrive in order so any dropped packets (packets that don't arrive due to being lost, more common on wireless connections than a cabled connection) will essentially stop the communication and it must be started over from scratch.

- Tim
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 01:09:27 AM by G8B4Life »