Beam Cable provides very attractive Internet connectivity packages to homes & offices and is available in areas where the big name ISPs don’t dare to provide services. In many ways, Beam Cable has pioneered many aspects of Internet Service Providers and set benchmarks that other providers should attempt to reach.
While user’s without computer networking background crib about the lack of knowledge in Beam Cable technicians and inability to solve technical issues; power-users like me crib about handicapping ‘features’ in the Beam Cable network (such as manual login and Fair Usage Policy limits).
Beam Cable uses a ‘Web Based’ authentication system. Instead of using the more common PPPoE authentication, Beam has chosen some really complicated HTTP based authentication system. Users like me who use non-customizable Wi-Fi router (Netgear, Belkins etc.) cannot automate the login process. Logging in requires a computer with a web-browser. If you have attached devices like VOIP gateways, Security Cameras, these devices stop working till you manually login everyday.
If you have multiple users in your house, you need to share the login/password with everyone. The situation becomes worse if you use the connection in a company environment where confidentiality of login/pass is paramount.
Recently I came across an article in ‘Shantanu’s Technopilic Musings‘ where he has done sufficient R&D to determine the Beam Cable login mechanism and published his results.
The problem with the article was that the script published wouldn’t work for me and it kept saving an ever-increasing number of files titled ajax.php and index.html on my computer. Commentator’s demand that a batch file be made available has not yet been honored.
With due greetz to Shantanu, I am making available the batch file that I am using to automate the Beam Cable login.
- The ZIP file contains the GNU WGET utility (wget.exe) and a MS-DOS batch file (beam_login.bat). Please feel free to delete the wget.exe file from the package and replace it with the most recent version from Gnu Utils SourceForge Website.
- The batch file contains the WGET command string that logs you into the Beam network without firing up the browser.
- Extract the ZIP file into a folder. In my case, it is in C:\WINDOWS. Putting the wget.exe file in WINDOWS folder has the advantage that the WGET command can be run from anywhere in the system.
- Create a short-cut in your ‘All Users’ Start-Up menu. How To
- On your next system start, the batch file should execute automatically and log you into Beam Cable’s network.
- You can also use a Start-Up delayer program to sequence the Beam Cable batch file before anything.
- Changes from Shantanu’s version: fixed ‘double-dash’ before POST command, added –CONTINUE command to prevent creation of multiple ajax.php files
Does this fully automate the Beam Cable Login? Nope. You still need a PC. If you are among the lucky few who has access to a Router that can be configured with manual scripts, you can use Shantanu’s article and my command string to actually achieve decent automation.
What the script does however is to log you into the Beam network without firing up the browser and manual typing ID and password and clicking buttons. This results in Instant Messenger programs that start with the system, login successfully. Email programs that start automatically, start downloading too.
On a side note, here is an interesting Beam Cable folly:
The problem: Beam Cable has provided an Internet Connection to the office and deployed their own Wi-Fi VoIP router. My client has further purchased a HP1522nF Printer and connected it to the LAN port of the Router. While my client was able to successfully browse the Internet, attempting to print over the network failed. The only solution: Connect individual notebook computers to the printer using USB cable and print.
Needless to say, this is problematic since the printer/fax is located at the Reception area and Offices are located 50 feet away in staff area. Beam Cable technicians were contacted repeatedly to a point where the technicians gave up and declared “We don’t know what to do”. From this point on, they just stopped coming and the Beam Cable support centre would just sit on the complaints.
I once established a TeamViewer session with a computer in the staff area and could determine that computers were indeed able to connect to the Internet. However attempts at pinging the printer (static IP assigned) failed. This led me to remotely conclude that either the LAN interface on the Beam WiFi router is screwed or the LAN interface on the HP Printer is toast.
When I visited the site yesterday and checked the issue, the problem and it’s solution had me splitting with laughter.
It turned out that Beam Cable had installed two WiFi routers in the premises with the same SSID. The Reception router was connected to the Internet cable and the printer, while the Meeting router was connected to the Reception router on the WAN port and switched On. This meant that while the Meeting Room router will act as the Gateway for computers connected to it, any attempts to access devices featuring IP Address in the same subnet but connected to the Reception will fail because the Meeting room router will actually look for the devices in the LAN area and not the WAN area.
If the Meeting Room router was connected to the Reception router on the LAN port, there would have been no issue because the Reception router would now just be a LAN extender.
When the computers were switched On in the office area, they automatically connected to the Meeting Room router (since it’s closer and has more signal strength). They received an IP (via DHCP) too. Since the meeting room router features identical configuration (Same SSID, same Router LAN IP), any diagnosis that was being done by staff was being done on the incorrect router.
Since the LAN cable segments were crimped really badly and it appeared that the cable from the Meeting room router to the Reception router had been pulled out recently, All I had to do to fix the issue was to turn Off the ‘rouge’ router and re-position the reception router for better signal strength in the office room!
Kudos Beam Cable technicians. Some of you should be stripped of your MCSEs and CCNAs.