Northwest Nexus Frequently Asked Questions

How To Keep ISDN and Service Costs Down With Your Farallon Router:

This FAQ was written to address the issue of high channel hour usage for Office Online customers. Please realize that if you run a server within your network, www, ftp, mail, or whatever it may be, that your connectivity usage will be significantly higher than what a normal office uses. Office Online is designed for normal office usage loads or environments where there is light server traffic. If you find yourself connected too often, you may wish to consider one of our dedicated ISDN services instead, or if you have a webserver which is using up too much of the bandwidth or channel hours, one of our Business Web Hosting Services.

Please also keep in mind that Office Online is a dial-on-demand service, meaning that if there are any machines within your network trying to reach the internet, the router will dial up a connection to us. Also, if there are any machines on the internet trying to contact your router's ip address (Local WAN IP) or any DNS names such as, our system will establish a connection to you. Idle time outs are normally configured to be 2 minutes so that channel usage is not eaten up by idle activity.

Beyond normal traffic usage, here are some ways to help alleviate UNNECESSARY or UNWANTED traffic which may increase service costs due to the fact that your router is online too much when it shouldn't be.

Our system will normally send a weekly log explaining your connectivity. If you are not receiving this log, please email Technical Support and indicate where you'd like to have your weekly logs emailed to. This is a brief log which will show the amount of time you connect to us and the amount of time our system connects to your router. Detailed daily logs showing every connection made are also available for one week periods for troubleshooting purposes.

In regards to the logs you receive, some have questioned why they have significant jumps in their logs. Please realize that logs are based upon channel hours. A channel hour is a full hour that 1 channel has been used. ISDN is based upon 2 channels. So, if you have both channels (128K) connected for 1 hour, you accumulate 2 channel hours. Office Online service includes 250 hours/month, and $1 an hour per channel hour there after. Your router is normally configured for Dynamic channel usage (meaning it will only use the 2nd channel when it really needs the extra bandwidth). The other thing you should remember is that channel hours are not added to the logs until your router disconnects, so if you stay connected for say 9 days straight, your hourly usage for the week will be reported as 0 hours used, but then the following week, you will see a huge jump in hour usage.

If your log shows that we dial you most of the time, you may want to check: If your router has DNS record of just attached to it, many web surfers often try to browse to instead of This will establish a connection to your router every time someone tries to connect to Netopia's have a built in webserver for router configuration. If you do not have exported services enabled on port 80, then you can browse to ( within your local network) to see what we mean. That's why we recommend DNS entries for routers to be something web surfers are not likely to accidently browse. Most of our customers are configured with a DNS record of to help fix this problem.

Other things we've discovered to increase channel hour usage from the customer side:

  • POP Mail clients checking for email at regular intervals.
  • NetBios in Win95/NT Environments (See Netopia's FAQ).
  • Smart Updates in various Software Programs.
  • Remote Access Server sending out DNS queries.
  • Suggestions to alleviate these problems:

  • Read Netopia's Controlling ISDN Usage Costs FAQ.
  • Close down mail clients and web browsers when not actively using them.
  • Check your Event Logs in your router to determine what computers in your network are creating traffic and establishing connections, then determine what programs are creating the traffic and shut them down or filter them out.
  • Create a filter set in your router to block certain traffic (See Netopia Firewall Info) such as NetBIOS traffic.
  • Create a connection schedule in your router to limit connectivity times.
  • Contact Farallon Netopia Technical Support for Firmware Flaws or Updates.
  • Excess hours, beyond 250 hours/month, that acrue on your bill due to unknown traffic, are not refundable. Your router is still establishing a connection to the internet and we do not bill based on appropriate or unappropriate network traffic. Please realize that Technical Support is not responsible for trouble-shooting your Local Area Network. Technical Support is resonsible for making sure a connection can be made between your router and the internet, and at least one computer within your network to the internet. You may have to hire a consultant if you can not pin point which computer/program is creating all the network traffic. Often, the fees involved in hiring a consultant can save you $$$ in the long run. If you are having difficulty finding a consultant, please email Technical Support for a list of consultants Northwest Nexus recommends as being qualified and familiar with Farallon Netopia products.

    Here are a few things that we've discovered in situations where customers have run mail servers. Please understand that if you plan on running a mail server, you will obviously generate a lot more traffic than a normal office environment (even in the middle of the night) because people send mail over the internet at all hours of the day (so avoid getting on mailing lists as much as possible :-). But seriously, here's some things to not do: do not turn off exported services for port 25 if you are running a mail server. Exported Services redirect mail that is sent to your router; the exported service allows this traffic to be passed along to your mail server. If you shut this service off, the mail servers on the internet will continually try to connect to your mail server, thus lots of connectivity hours are built up because the connection is made from Nexus to your router, but your router can't connect your mail server. Also, it's not a good idea to shut off your mail server (ie at night) because the same type of situation is then created, and more connectivity hours build up.

    If you find any other fixes (or situations to avoid) as to what causes your connectivity time to increase, please feel free to share them with us by emailing Technical Support so that we may document them. Thanks!

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