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This is a list of questions/answers that users commonly have when trying to set up or run their PPP connections. If you received a printed version of this document, please be aware that there might be a newer version on the World Wide Web.

For the latest version, type "www http://www.yale.edu/iic/mac-ppp-faq.html" at the Minerva prompt, or launch Netscape and type in our URL: "http://www.yale.edu/iic/mac-ppp-faq.html".

List of Questions

Other Macintosh FAQs


MacPPP Frequently Asked Questions

Q0: What version of PPP do you use?

A0: We currently use MacPPP 2.1.2SD or MacPPP 2.5. You will receive MacPPP 2.1.2SD if you are running any System lower than 7.5.3 and MacPPP 2.5 if you are running System 7.5.3 or above.


Q1: What's the phone number for PPP?

A1: The phone number for PPP is entered automatically by the Mac Network Software Installer. But if you want to know the what number you should use, here is a list of all of the dialup numbers (http://www.yale.edu/iic/use/dialupnumbers-in.html).


Q2: How do I set the configuration so that MacPPP knows I'm calling from an on-campus phone, from a local off-campus phone, or from a long-distance phone?

A2: Open the Config PPP window by selecting "Open Config PPP" from the PPPop File Menu. Click on the box to the right of where it says "PPP Server" to bring up the pop-up menu, then select "on-campus", "local" or "long-distance".


Q3: I have call waiting and I want to turn it off, or I have a special PBX, a calling card, or some other reason for changing the phone number. How do I do it?

A3: Open the Config PPP window (see above). To change the phone number, click on the Config... button and then change the phone number that's listed. To turn off call waiting, for example, the phone number should be preceded by "*70," as in *70,764-xxxx where xxxx represents the particular PPP line you're dialing in to.


Q4: I've done everything you said to and everything installed properly, but for some reason when MacPPP tries to dial, nothing happens. What's wrong?

Q4a:I think my modem initialization string is wrong....

A4: If you have a Powerbook modem, see the question about PowerBook modems before checking out this link.... otherwise some modems require specific initialization strings to operate properly with MacPPP. With the wrong initialization string, PPP may not respond propely when you try to dial, or you may not get the optimal connection speed. If it doesn't turn out to be the modem initialization string, also check out Other Timeout Problems below as well.

You can change the initialization string by opening the Config PPP window (see above) and clicking on the Config... button. Enter the new string where it says "Modem Init".

We are currently collecting a list of which initialization strings work with which modems, so if you come up with one that isn't listed below, please let us know.

Macintosh Modem Initialization Strings (PPP/RTA)

Extended status info will give you the modem-modem connection speed and error-detection/compression algorithm status (if applicable). PPP extended status appears in the connection panel. RTA (Remote Terminal Access) extended status information will appear in your terminal emulator window

Also check the extensive modem init database at the Internet Starter Kit Site (this is a non-Yale service and some of the settings may not be appropropriate -- use the above settings where possible).

If your modem isn't listed here and you don't want to try to figure out the string on your own, please contact the IIC and we will try to come up with an initialization string that works for you and your modem. The IIC has a list of modems we recommend and don't recommend, which also has some vendor/third-party FAQ information linked to it.


Q5: I'm sick of typing in my username/password every time I run PPP. Is there any way I can avoid doing this?

A5: Yes! Open the Config PPP window (see above), click on the Config... button, then click on Authentication and type in either your username alone or your username and password.

WARNING: Your username is stored in "cleartext" in your PPP preferences file. Anyone with access to your computer will be able to access both your PPP account and any other accounts with your username in the Yale computer system. Please be very careful with this option!


Q6: What are all those other neat options in Config PPP....?

A6: Be careful! Your curiosity is commendable, but if you touch them, they will probably break and if you call us for help, the first thing we'll do is to ask you to set them back to their defaults. There are no user serviceable parts in the configuration panel except for the phone number, the modem initialization string, and the authentication panel. We do not using a connect script and the LCP and IPCP options should be left at the default settings.

Quiet mode makes PPP report less on the modem/connect status. The Echo interval makes sure that PPP knows that the line is active at all times. And the idle timeout ensures that you do not leave your PPP account online by accident. The terminal window is for debugging purposes only. And we would certainly hope that you hangup your modem when you close PPP, because it would be silly to have the modem using up your phone when PPP has been closed.


Q7: What is the difference between a soft close and a hard close?

A7: Soft close tells PPP to close the connection and to hang up the modem, but to continue listening for any TCP/IP network activity on your Macintosh and if there is any, to dial-up the phone again. Unfortunately, because we use "dynamic IP addressing" with the Yale PPP rotaries, PPP will not be able to connect at the same IP number again when it redials and so your connection will usually not work correctly. We recommend against using "soft-close".

We recommend that at the end of your network session, you quit all of your network programs and you select the "hard close" option or that you tell PPPop (the arrow icon) to close the connection. PPPop by default chooses to "hard close." This ensures that your PPP account has been terminated properly.


Q8: I have a PowerBook with an internal modem or a desktop Mac with the "Geoport" modem. Is there anything special I should know?

A8: Funny you should ask. First, make sure you have the latest copy of the Geoport or Express modem software if you have an Apple Express modem or Geoport Modem. You can obtain this at http://www.info.apple.com. If you have a Global Village Modem, please contact them to make sure you have the latest software.

Then, open the Config PPP window and where it says Port Name, select either "internal modem" , "modem port", or "Geoport." If none of these show up, and if you have an Apple Geoport/Express modem, open the Geoport/Express Modem control panel and make sure the modem is turned on.

Then, open the "Powerbook Setup" control panel and make sure your modem is set to the internal modem and also that it is configured in "normal" mode.

If you have a Duo, you may need to reset the Serial Port option. Simply choose the Serial Port pop-up panel to bring up the proper configuration for your machine.


Q9: The "Open" button in MacPPP is greyed out so I can't open a connection, or when I launch PPPop, it tells me it can't find PPP.

A9: What is most probably wrong is that MacTCP isn't using PPP as its driver. Open the MacTCP control panel and select PPP by clicking on its icon. Reboot your machine, then try again.


Q10: PPP tells me that "PPPError Could not send data..."

A10: This usually means that your modem is either turned off or that you're using a cable not designed for high speed hardware flow control. You need to make sure your modem is turned on, plugged in, and is using the proper cable.


Q11: Why does my Mac freeze? Are there any known extension conflicts?

A11: At this point, there are a few known extension conflicts with MacPPP that may cause your Macintosh to "freeze" or exhibit other strange behaviour:

The only known workaround is to remove these extensions/control panels, or turn off virtual memory or RamDoubler. You may also want to use Conflict Catcher 3 from Casady & Green, Inc. which will automate the extension/init confict catching process. They have a free time-limited demo version on their WWW site.

If your Mac freezes just as you're running Telnet, but other programs such as Netscape and TN3270 seem to work, you have the dreaded Network Starter Kit Question 2: Telnet freezes bug.


Q12: Why does MacPPP dial when my Mac starts up?

A12:MacPPP tries to open a connection whenever it sees TCP/IP packets unless the Hard Close command was used to terminate a PPP session. This isn't remembered on restart however. There are several extensions that send TCP/IP packets when they load at boot time so this is why you get connection attempts during startup. The extensions (or the programs that install them) that I know of that do this are: Apple's SNMP agent software installed as part of the full MacTCP install, Farallon's Timbuktu Pro, ON Technology's Meeting Maker XP, a shareware control panel called Network Time (I'm not sure of this name as I haven't actually seen this one), and one of the extensions that is used to support the Cayman GatorBox AppleTalk to TCP/IP router (sorry, lost the message with the exact info). See if there's a configuration option to turn off this functionality at startup or remove the offending extension (anyone ever use the SNMP software?).

Another extension that will cause connection attempts every time an application quits is ZapTCP. Since this extension is intended solely as a debugging aid for folks writing apps using TCP/IP packets I highly recommend removing it unless you know you need it. -- From the MacPPP 2.1.2.2SD FAQ Documentation


Q13:Why do I get PPP Wait Timeout errors? (i.e. MacPPP can't find the modem)

A13:Here are two common causes of the 'PPP Wait Timeout - Waiting on: OK' error:

0) You have the wrong modem initialization string, see initialization strings FAQ question above.

1) An incompatible Port Speed is selected. This may be a rate higher than supported by your modem or a speed that you'd think was supported but isn't. Port speeds of 14400 and 28800 are examples of the latter (Why? I don't know). For Mac/Modem configurations that don't support the 115K or 230K port speeds, stick with the 38400 or 57600 rates as these should be supported by every 14.4 and 28.8 modem on the market today.

2) You have fax software installed that is conflicting with MacPPP. Try turning off the answer incoming faxes feature if it's turned on in your fax software. If that doesn't do the trick try turning off the fax software completely with an extension manager. -- From the MacPPP 2.1.2.2SD FAQ Documentation


Q14: Why do I suddenly get disconnected after link establishment?

A14: If you don't have a 'hardware handshake' cable and you have hardware flow control enabled (see the section on Flow Control in the accompanying 'Installing MacPPP' document for details) you will usually get a disconnect soon after a PPP session is established. Most modems these days come with a bundled hardware handshake cable. It's when a new modem is connected with the cable that was used for an old 2400 bps modem that causes a problem. In short, if the modem came with a cable be sure to use it. If the modem didn't come with a cable, make sure the one you're using supports hardware handshake. For the technically inclined this means a cable with pins 4 & 20 on the 25-pin connector for the modem are connected to pin 1 on the 8-pin connector for the Mac. -- From the MacPPP 2.1.2.2SD FAQ Documentation


Q15: I get a warning that I'm not connected to an Internet Provider with the Internet Connection Kit?

A15: The Internet Connection Kit from Apple is incompatible with the Yale PPP and causes an annoying dialog box to popup. While harmless in itself, it does cause 300msec. of wasted time closing it.

To get rid of the dialog box, search for "Dialer" and delete the Dialer program and its preferences file.


Q16: I have a US Robotics 56k modem, and it seems to connect fine with PPP, but when I try to run any of my network software, the connection chokes and nothing works.

A16: This is the now-infamous "Pause Bug." For some reason, when the modem connects to a PPP line it goes into pause mode and stops sending out information. To fix things, you should use the following modem init string (see Question 4 above):


Other MacPPP FAQs

Some other people/organizations maintain FAQ lists for MacPPP. These are presented here for informational purposes only, since the IIC has no control over their content: [an error occurred while processing this directive]