Lessons learned

by Volker Weber

wrt54g.jpg

Today I have moved my internet connection from the ZyXEL Prestige 310 router to my new Linksys WRT54G router and wireless access point. There are a few lessons I learned today:

- If you never have to enter your password, you don't really know it anymore.
- If you write it down, make sure you also write down the changes.
- If you try and use the wrong password more than 9 times, T-Online will lock your account.
- If you make this mistake before 11pm, you can call them.
- If you call them, make sure you have all your account data or at least the last invoice at hand.
- These people are really, really nice and can make a huge difference.
- You can check your password while trying to log into Kundencenter.
- I was able to check a few possible passwords and found the correct one.
- Once you know your password, things improve a lot. :-)

Comments

>> - If you try and use the wrong password more than 9 times, T-Online will lock your account.

Thanks for the warning - I wasn't aware of that.

John Keys, 2003-08-21 07:12

As far as I understand, it unlocks automatically once a day. The service hotline can unlock it within five minutes. They just want to make sure that you are not being hacked.

Volker Weber, 2003-08-21 07:26

Out of interest, why did you go with a Linksys rather than a NetGear box, the later are cheaper, and seem to do a much better job of self configuation, based on every report I've had. Oh yes, they probably also require you to know your password, but maybe not.

Actually the Netgear does require you to know your password (using a WGR614 here right now) if you were running a router before installing it. If you had a direct connection from your PC to the DSL network, I believe both, Linksys and Netgear are able to copy your local Dial-Up Network settings to the router. But clearly that wasn't an option.

Still, if you want to have a SPI firewall, you don't want to use the Linksys which has no firewall at all. Pricing however doesn't differ that much, cheapest for both I've seen is around 160 Euros.

All in all, if I had a choice right now, I'd go for the SMC 2804WBR (aka Barricade-g). Unfortunatley SMC wasn't impressed by my "editor refuses to give it back" label I put on that one after testing it *g*. Reasons for the Barricade-g are (in no particular order):

- allows me to fine tune the SPI firewall settings should I ever wish to do so, which I doubt
- supports a syslog daemon for sendling it's logs to. no other 802.11g-DSL-router I tested has this feature
- allows me to specify not only an email account where to send intrusion detection messages to but also gives me input fields for username and password with my SMTP server. Again, no other device I tested has this feature
- supports WPA security, a feature Netgear (as the only manufacturer as far as I know) still isn't able to deliver.

Major drawback of the SMC box is that for dynamic DNS services it only supports TZO.com which requires a monthly fee. But that's a problem software can solve :)

Now, what I miss in all current products is the possibility to get some statistics out of the device using SNMP.

Stefan Rubner, 2003-08-21 21:49

Nick, I did not make a particular choice. I just used what was readily available.

As Stefan pointed out all of the current 802.11g AP-Router do not support the SNMP interface. I always had very good data on the ZyXEL and I was somewhat reluctant to replace it. It still sits preconfigured on the shelf and can easily be dropped in just in case the Linksys fails.

So far it has been smooth sailing, the admin interface is really straightforward and the wireless performance seems to be quite good. I probably would rate the Netgear and the Linksys in the same ballpark.

We do however wait for Draytek to come out with a new device. They usually stand out from the rest.

Volker Weber, 2003-08-21 23:01

I don't know whether Draytek will show a 802.11g product soon. They've been very close to Intersil but with Intersil having sold off their WLAN business I expect some of the vendors to just sit tight and wait for what's happening next. Some might switch to the offerings from Atheros - I still have to see a product equipped with chips from them - or Broadcom (I hope they don't for rumor has it that Broadcom's chipsets have some problems with mixed mode 802.11b and g). Texas Instruments seems to be quite reluctant to enter the market. Maybe that's because they are a little pissed about their favourite transmission protocol not having been happily embraced by the IEEE. Personally I never heared about GlobespanVirata (the new owner of Intersils WLAN product line) before, and maybe that's true for some or most of the OEMs out there. Atheros on the other hand is said to be a candidate for a takeover, too, so the WLAN market isn't as stable, from a chipset point of view, as it used to be. And, just rambling on here, I really wonder why it wasn't SMC to buy Intersil's WLAN technology. Or maybe even Accton, being the owner of SMC and imho quite good at adopting and improving networking technologies.

Stefan Rubner, 2003-08-21 23:34

i do have some equipment here, tryin to find some bugs while betatesting, they are based upon the intersil chipset... 802.11g ready and will hopefully be released soon..... it´s the zyxel g1000 base station and the g100 pcmcia card :-)

the zyxel offers a much better range compared to the apple airport extreme base station as well as the 3com office connect wireless 11 mbit equipment.... range is about the same (perhaps a little better *gg* )compared to my wireless draytek router

kind regards

toby

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

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