Frequently Asked Questions

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What is this FAQ and what kind of information is in it?

This is a work-in-progress. It is an attempt to answer 90% of the most frequently asked questions regarding portmasters and Portmasters.com. This is the first place you should look if you have questions. We will add more information as it is collected. If you think a particular question and answer should be here, please let us know.
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Why Should I buy from Portmasters.com?
  • Necessity: Portmasters.com is the only authorized service and resale center for the Portmaster. (see the next section below) and the only entity that Lucent recommends for Portmaster support. We are the exclusive source for tools necessary to use the Portmaster such as the Password Override, PMVision. If you did not buy your Portmaster from us or Lucent,  and you do not have a support contract, you won't have access to these tools.
  • Experience: We have been using portmasters ourselves for over 14 years, so we know what we are doing. We are an ISP and an ASP.
  • Knowledge: Jake Messinger, our President and founder, is a contributor to the Linux kernel and was a part of the early development of today's popular Network protocols like Network Address Translation (NAT) and NetBeui.  Jake Messinger is also an adjunct professor at the University of Houston, a leader in the development of the Internet,  where he has taught Networking and Data Communications for the past 8 years.
  • Support: We offer free support to Lucent and Portmasters.com customers. If you didn't buy your Portmaster from us, you will have to pay for your support, which may cost more in the long run especially if you purchased a Portmaster from an individual or from an online auction site.
  • Integrity: We adhere to strict guidelines in the testing and reconditioning of the portmasters so that when you take it out of the box, it is complete, it is working, it is what you expect, and we guarantee your satisfaction. Our reconditioning process brings the Portmaster back to as close to factory-new as you will get. This includes powder-coating of the cases, replacing ram, and performing the same tests that Lucent performed on them before they are sold.
  • Professionalism: We professionally repackage everything so that it is ready for shipping or resale. We also preconfigure the portmasters to your specifications at no extra charge.
  • Availability: We have the largest inventory of Portmasters, parts and accessories. We even have the early prototypes for the PM2, PM3 and PM4. We have the first pm2, and Pm3 made sitting in our Museum Case. We also still have PM11's, the FIRST true remote access servers that supported stand-alone PPP, TC/PIP and Radius.
  • Longevity: We have been in business for over 32 years, more than 3 times longer than Lucent.
  • Value: We take major credit cards and do not charge extra for that, or Paypal. We also pass on our great FedEx discounts.
  • Service: We have 800 toll free access for our customers. We have 24 hour support with emergency pager service.
  • Internationality: We are experts at International Shipping and have employees on staff that speak Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Indonesian, Hindi, Arabic, and Urdu.
  • Communication: We host the original portmaster-users and ComOS mailing lists, which represents a community of thousands of users, customers, and engineers (some work for Lucent). We have the official archives going back to the early 90's when the lists were started by Livingston Enterprises.

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Who is Portmasters.com and what is their relationship to Livingston Enterprises and Lucent?

Portmasters.com is not affiliated with Livingston Enterprises or Lucent Technology. We are a subsidiary of Alpha Medix, LP, a medical billing online service bureau started in 1972. We were one of Livingston's early customers. Livingston Enterprises is the original company that developed and marketed the Portmaster beginning with the PM-11, the first commercially available stand-alone remote access server supporting such protocols as PPP and Radius Authentication (a Livingston invention). We began to resell Portmasters in 1993. When Livingston discontinued support for the PM-11, we took up that responsibility and started the Portmasters.com website as a user-supported forum. We continued to support and resell the older Portmaster models and became a dealer for the newer Portmaster 3 and Portmaster 4. Lucent purchased Livingston in 1999 and we continued to sell, service and support Portmasters. Eventually, the Portmaster support mailing lists were moved to Portmasters.com. When Lucent decided to discontinue the Livingston Portmaster product line, they recognized that Portmasters.com had become the premiere site for Portmaster sales, service and support and they officially granted us the rights to the source code and handed over the entire support responsibility to us.
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Can I still get service and support for my portmaster that I bought from Lucent or a Portmaster dealer?

Yes. Portmasters.com still services and supports Portmasters. Lucent discontinued the Portmaster series in favor of the Ascend Line due mainly to Ascend's larger install base. They now refer all Portmaster service and support issues to Portmasters.com. We have an extensive stock of parts as well as complete units, both new and used. We also custom make racks, cables and other accessories.
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Does Portmasters.com honor Lucent or Livingston warranties or maintenance contracts?

Although we took over the support for Portmaster products, we do not honor Lucent, Livingston, or maintenance contracts purchased from other resellers. We offer our warranty and free telephone support if you purchased your Portmaster products from Portmasters.com. Otherwise you may purchase telephone support either hourly or we recommend a maintenance contract. Email and online support will continue to be free for the forseeable future.
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I forgot the password to a Portmaster product. How do I reset it?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions. Follow the Password Override instructions. You must be an existing customer to use this tool.
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How do I see the version of ComOS running on my Portmaster?

Log into as "!root" and type:  ver
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What are the latest ComOS versions and where can I download them?

The latest versions are on the Downloads page.
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Will V.92 and other Comos upgrades be available for the Portmaster?

Lucent stopped making the Portmasters; however, Portmasters.com has been granted a non-exclusive right to the COMos source code. We have the ability to add enhancements to COMos and this may include V.92. At this time, the Portmaster does not have V.92 capability, although V.92 modems should be able to connect to a Portmaster Digital modem using V.90 modulation. (A discussion on the future of V.92)
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I am not familiar with portmasters and I need to get one up and running quickly. What do I need to do first?

Read the QuickStart pages for your portmaster located on the Support page.
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What program can I use to monitor, maintain, and upgrade Portmasters?

Download and install PMVision. It is a Java Program that will make configuration and maintenance of a portmaster simple and fun. Note: If you are using Windows XP, you may need to download and install Sun's latest JDK to make PMVision work properly. Please check the README for detailed instructions on installation. You can also still download PMConsole but it will have limited capability.
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I restored a backup of my config but now users don't authenticate. What is wrong?

For security purposes, PMVision does not save passwords, including the Radius Secret. You need to reset your passwords and the Radius Secret on a portmaster after you have uploaded a configuration file to it.

What is the difference between a PM-2, PM-2i, PM-2E,  PM-2Ei and a PM-25?

The PM-2 is low profile, non expandable 10 port (DB-25F) async remote access server. The PM-2i is the same but with 5 ISDN-U BRI ports.
The PM-2E is twice the height of the pm2 and can be expanded with serial or ISDN port cards up to 30 ports. The PM-2Ei is like a PM-2E except its base configuration is 5 ISDN-U BRI ports and can be expanded with serial or ISDN port cards up to 30 ports. The PM-25 is a low profile, rack mountable high density unit. It is newer than the PM-2E, 1/2 the height, and uses a DB-68HD SCSI Ultra 2 style port to connect to multiple serial devices. 
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What are the strange connectors on the back of a PM-25?

The PM-25 combines 8 serial ports into 1 single physical port using a DB-68HD SCSI Ultra 2 connector and an 8 headed octopus fan out cable similar to the configuration used with the Cisco 2509-2512 series routers. You can actually use Cisco's CAB-OCTAL-ASYNC cable that terminates into 8 RJ-45 connectors with RJ-45 to DB-25 adapters but be aware that the pinouts are slightly different. Portmasters.com makes custom DC-8DB for connection to standard DCE serial ports and  and DC-MRJ45 cables to connect directly to USR MP 16 and Microcom Modem racks.  Here is an Excel Spreadsheet of the cable pinouts.
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How do you set up a Portmaster as a Dial-Out modem pool server?

The portmaster 2, 3 and 4 can be set up as a dialout modem pool so that you can access the modems on the portmaster for dialin and dialout from other devices. Unix and Linux based servers can do this with remote tty software that comes with some distributions. Windows based networks can use a product such as DialOut-IP so that PC's on the network can map the Portmaster's attached modems to virtual COM ports. Please read this DialOut-IP configuration document for more information, specifically on getting it to work with digital modems in the PM3 and PM4. 
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How do you set up a portmaster to authenticate with Microsoft IAS and Active Directory?

The portmaster will authenticate from any Radius compliant software such as Microsoft IAS (Internet Authentication Service). Please read the tutorial titled Authenticating a Lucent Portmaster 3 with Microsoft IAS and Active Directory submitted by Verizon, a Portmasters.com client. (Portmasters.com uses Linux based Radius compliant authentication methods and therefore cannot offer extensive Microsoft product support.)
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How many digits should the phone company send on a channeized T1 to our Portmaster?

Sending digits on a channelized T1 refers to DNIS (Dialed Number Identification Service). It is not supported on the PM3 when the line ports are configured for channelized T1. Therefore, tell the CT1 provider to delete all the digits and do not send any on the line. The PM3 is better suited for a PRI, where you DO have the functionality of DNIS over the ISDN D channel.
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How do I get the PM3 to answer calls from a Nortel DMS-10?

The Nortel DMS-10 requires a couple of changes to the default Trunk and Route configurations to be made for any Remote Access Concentrator to accept calls. Specifically the TGDP needs to be set for DATA or DIOD, and on the Route, DEL needs to bet set at 7.
Nortel has written a whitepaper describing these setting requirements for their access concentrators and the settings also work for a Portmaster 3: http://portmasters.com/Nortel_DMS-10_PM3.pdf
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For More Information

Contact support@portmasters.com
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This page is maintained by webmaster@portmasters.com. Last updated on July 17th, 2003.
Copyright © 2003 by Portmasters.com