Timeout waiting for PADO packets

2 minute read

Last Friday, at 22:50, our broadband dropped out.

We are with Plusnet, with an FTTC connection. I have an Asus RT-AC68U router running pretty up to date Merlin firmware. Nothing odd about the setup - pretty vanilla.

I tried the usual - power cycling the router and the BT Openreach modem. Nothing.

I left it overnight in case there was a fault at BT or Plusnet’s end which was being worked on, but on Saturday morning no change - we were still without broadband.

I logged a call with Plusnet and they said that there was a handshake issue - the authentication was not completing. We checked my authentication details and they were all correct. The Plusnet guy (very helpful and technically adept) said that he could see the connection was up between my router, the modem and through to the ISP, but the connection wasn’t authenticating.

We discussed my router and I noted that I was behind by one update, so we agreed I would update that (using my 4G tethering).

I did this but it made no difference. However I decided to look at the router log (should have done this before!) and saw a series of messages:

Timeout waiting for PADO packets

I also tried using a little tp-link nano router, and whilst that didn’t connect either, the log messages said:

PPPoE: Manually dialing.
PPPoE: Sending PADI.
PPPoE: Sending PADI.
PPPoE: Sending PADI.
PPPoE: Sending PADI.
Failed to connect to ISP server, maybe WAN port cable is unplugged.
PPPOE: request timeout.

(Note that I had changed the ethernet cable as well just in case!)

Consensus on the net seemed to be that “Timeout waiting for PADO packets” is an ISP issue rather than a router/modem issue. The fact that two different routers give the same types of error seems to confirm that.

I found some messages on the Plusnet forums where it appeared that the solution was to reset the connection at the ISP end (or at the BT Openreach end) because “a previous PPPoE session hasn’t been cleared down properly by the disconnect”.

I discussed these in another call with Plusnet and they said they would run a

soft cease and reprovide

but that made no difference either. Eventually Plusnet said they would need to get a BT Openreach engineer out.

As it was a bank holiday w/e the engineer didn’t come until Thu AM, but within 30 minutes was pretty certain the problem was at the cabinet in the high street. She said that she had had a number of similar problems with failures of the ports/cards in this area recently, and that it sounded like a card failure. She said she was pretty confident she could fix it by getting the card replaced (I think by swapping at the cabinet but not certain). 50 minutes later we were back up and running.

There were not too many posts around dealing with this particular error message and certainly my issue was due to a hardware failure at the cabinet, so I though this may be useful for someone else in future.

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