• Tag Archives network
  • Mesh Wifi

    I am not totally thrilled with the Wifi coverage in my house.
    I am not the only one having this issue. Seems houses over here (in California) are built, then covered in chicken wire, then sprayed with cement. The net result of which is that WiFi coverage in two story houses is terrible.
    My router is upstairs and we mostly live downstairs.

    Added to this is the fact that we (Terry and I) fly (well, test hover – and in Terry’s case, move the little guys around a little bit – its not that big of a park, but its super convenient and fun) our drones in the park over the back of the house, and its a dead spot, both for my personal WiFi and for cell phone coverage. So when we want to post pictures or videos it’s often a case of standing on the park benches and sticking out your tongue and looking for the best wind direction to get a signal.

    Dan and I tried to do some tweaking years ago, but it resulted in poor through put and the usual problem where the phone will hang on to a low signal level access point in favor of the high signal strength access point you are standing next to.

    Thus, I am always on the look out for a solution too all the above problems……
    Is this it?


    Not only does the AmpliFi HD Mesh Wi-Fi System sort of look like an AirPort router, but it promised an easy app-based setup. What really sweetens the pot, however, is that the 802.11ac system uses “mesh” technology, allowing several access points to work together. Oh, and let’s not forget that this home-based product is made by the much-respected Ubiquiti Networks.

    In addition to the router, there are two mesh access points called “AmpliFi MeshPoint HD” that plug directly into a wall outlet. The design here is quite brilliant, as the antennas sit on a magnetic ball joint. You can easily rotate — or remove them — without the need to screw or unscrew anything. They also have a series of LED lights to show you connectivity.

    Answer. No.

    There were some anomalies, however. Sometimes my MacBook Pro on the second floor would connect to the router a floor below rather than the much-closer access point on the same floor. To make matters worse, it would connect on the 2.4GHz band at a slower speed.

    To remedy this, I would turn off the Wi-Fi on my MacBook Pro and then turn it on. It would then connect to the closer mesh access point on the 5GHz band as I wanted. Yes, this actually did matter. When running the Speedtest app on my Mac, I would see a dramatic speed boost when on the closer access point with the 5GHz band. It is worth noting, this “bug” only happened a few times. It has worked as it should ever since.

    Seems they also have not yet solved the signal strength issue either. Bleh.
    Not only, but also, at 350 US bucks, it waaaaay out of my buy and test price range.
    Still… tempting… I really like Ubiquity networking gear. (I currently have a set of their 900mHz radios at Opto to test with our gear).

  • Network issues at home – back to stock Asus firmeware

    The router has crashed around 3-4 times (I am losing track) in the past 30ish hours.
    So, we have reset it back to stock Asus firmware.
    This is part one of a two part plan…. If it lasts until Sunday morning (a record if it does), it gets a stay of execution. If it crashes again with the same symptoms, then we are taking it back to Best Buy and getting another, the same (hopefully they have one in stock).

    Leaving the new one at stock for a week or three to see how it goes.

    So, thats the two part plan.
    See if the third party firmware was the issue.
    See if I just got a dud router.

    I just want a router that is reliable and that I can live with. Seems too much to ask at this point in time….

  • Network issues at home – the kill packet

    Non-tech description first…….
    The network is ‘glitching’ every 1 to 3 days.
    I have no idea what it is, or why it is doing it. I just know it happens at any time it wants.
    When it happens, I lose network connectivity to the Internet and between devices at the house. This means that if my website is down, sorry. Send me an email. I do not have anything automatic set up to let me know when it goes down, because when it goes down, I cant send emails!
    It is driving me nuts!

    Techo version.
    The Asus router has a lot going for it. I really like a lot of its features and it seems to be powerful enough to do the job when things are going smooth.

    The frustrating thing is that I have not had more than 2 days of a working network since all this started. I have not been blogging about it because I have been spending my time trying to find and fix it. (The other generic blogs are all scheduled blogs that I wrote ages ago).

    It is annoying because once it goes down, the only way I can find to get things back up is to reboot the router.
    Here is the thing, I am not 100% sure it is even the router that is causing the issue.
    It seemed like it was at first. Like there was a memory leak or something (keeping an eye on the status page of the router does not show anything like that).
    I then setup a cronjob to reboot the router at 3:14am every morning….. When whatever it is that glitches does the same thing as when the router reboots. It will take out random devices around the network. Not just take them out, but sometimes services on those devices.
    For example. It will glitch one or more Linux PC’s. Sometimes they refuse to ping, sometimes they ping fine, but the web server service does not respond, or it pings fine, but the SNMP service goes south. Sometimes it is the Linux boxes, sometimes the Opto controllers, sometimes the Arduino, sometimes a combination of devices, sometimes a single device. The best way to get them back is to just unplug their network connection, count to three, plug it back in and they are fine.

    Why is it not the router? Because I have had times when the router stays up, but that sort of glitch goes through the network and takes out one or more devices. I can not seem to find a way to log the system from the firewall on the Asus, so all the traffic data is bound up in the core Linux router log data. Having some issues finding a clear way to log it to the USB stick rather than RAM, so I have not been able to view any logs.
    Sometimes it happens when I am at home, and sometimes when I am at work.

    Is is like there is a kill packet floating around taking out stuff at random.

    The worst is when it happens and no one is at home.

    It reminds me of what was happening to Ipcop. Where it just glitched and went weird. I blamed Ipcop or the PC it was running on, but now the Asus is doing the same things.

    To top it all off, I am trying to monitor the network traffic to see what is going on and I have found that my network is circulating around 90 gigabytes of traffic every 24 hours… does that seem like a lot to you, because it seems to be an insane amount to me!

    I thought it might be the Verizon ONT, so we got the guy to come out and change it. Nice side effect is that we now have speeds over 100Mbs, so when it’s working, the Internet fairly screams at our place.
    I also changed out the two switches in the place for gigabit versions and that did not change the glitches, but again, when its working, everything hauls ass big time.

    Blood pressure was up again this morning. 132/93
    I do not have any clue what is going on. I do not have a plan to move forward.

    In other news, a blog reader, David, very kindly sent me a Ubiquiti Wifi AP to evaluate and integrate into the system. I have been using it because one of my frustrations with the Asus is that I can not seem to get more than 30Mbs speed from the Wifi…. The UBNT is doing the same speed…. it is nice to have something to compare against, so now I know it is my wifi devices… Only they get ~50+ at work, so I know it’s not the devices…..

  • Asus networking devices

    Mixed feelings about this one, but want to throw it out there and have the discussion rather than pretend it did not happen or does not happen.

    I am NOT going to relive it (far too stressful), but I had a very bad week (and a bit) of networking trouble at my house mid February 2016. Long story short, we went through 5 different routers before we found one that a) worked and b) that I could live with.

    The router I ended up with is an Asus RT-AC3100.
    Not that long ago, there is no way anyone should have used an Asus router on any network…..


    the FTC found that the Taiwanese manufacturer’s routers had critical security flaws despite its promise to consumers that the devices can “protect computers from any unauthorized access, hacking and virus attacks.”

    Hackers could easily exploit one of those bugs to access users’ web-based control panels and change their security settings. If the user isn’t exactly tech-savvy, someone with malicious intentions doesn’t even have to hack the device. He simply has to use ASUS’ default log-in credentials: username “admin” and password “admin.”

    So, like most home router manufactures, they cut a LOT of corners on security and, well, pretty much ignored it.
    They got caught. They got fined. And here is the interesting bit…..

    Over the next two decades, ASUS’ routers and their firmware will undergo an independent security audit once every two years.

    From here on, they have to hand over the code that runs on their (my) router and have someone poke under the covers.
    If you are a regular reader, you will know that I am not running stock Asus firmware. This means that the code I am running has already been inspected three times. Once by Asus, once by the auditors and once by open source community that work on the firmware I use.

    So yeah, mixed feelings. I wish all companies took security more seriously, but that is a hope wish dream…. So in the meantime, getting caught and having to show your cards every 2 years for the next 20 is better than nothing.