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Netgear WGR614 Wireless Cable/DSL Router

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When I came over here, I brought my Netgear DG824M, because I figured that it’d be useful, at the very least as a WAP, hooked off whatever I got sorted out with here, if not as my main DSL modem for my connection here. Instead, it turns out that I got cable, and it didn’t work as a WAP for that, because I couldn’t get it to not act as a DHCP server, and have the cable modem do that part of things, and it didn’t like to play otherwise. So – long story short, I bought a new modem!

Netgear WGR614
Having had a good experience with Netgear products so far, I stuck with them for my new modem, and hunted down a WGR614, which I bought from EBuyer.com. Once I get my rebate, it will have been a $35 router – not bad for something that would probably cost $200 in Australia 🙂

Since I previously had difficulty getting WEP to work with my XP machine, and had been running with it turned off (only using MAC-based restrictions), I figured it would be worth a shot to see if I could get it going using this modem. For some reason, it works! I still don’t know why, but when I turned WEP on, entered the generated key on my PC, laptop and iPAQ, everything Just Worked™.

I thought I was doing really well, had my wireless connection to the ‘net via PC, laptop and iPAQ, when I noticed that I was having problems with my PC – every 5 minutes or so, I would lose my connection to the WAP, then it would reconnect. This wouldn’t have been the end of the world (although it was annoying), but half the time my PC would pick up the connection to the other, un-secured network that’s around here, and connect to that instead. Then there was also the obvious problem of if I was doing a download or upload or gaming or something, a connection that consistently drops out every 5 minutes isn’t much use.

I checked Netgear’s support site for the modem, and downloaded the firmware update for it, which I hoped would fix the problem. I applied the update (no need to re-enter any configuration on the modem BTW, it retained all settings), but the problem persisted.

Just in case, I did a Windows Update to see if it would pick up anything. What do you know, there was an update there for Netgear, under the ‘Driver Updates’ section (not listed in ‘Critical Updates and Service Packs’). I installed it, and hey presto, my connection is clean as now. Haven’t had it drop out now in over 12 hours (which is only how long it’s been installed, so it’s never dropped off since installation).

This makes me happy – it means that now I can actually run WEP, which makes me feel better about having wireless, especially knowing there’s another network within range. I have a solid connection, which my iPAQ, PC and laptop can all share, which is relatively secure, and pretty darned fast. I haven’t bothered optimising the position of my WAP, because it has perfect range into my bedroom and onto my balcony, so there’s no need, and hopefully having it under my desk will reduce the overflow into the street and around the place.

Yay Netgear, yay wireless!

Written by Beau Lebens

July 4th, 2004 at 4:00 pm

Free Internet Infrastructure

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Ignoring the fact that Verizon are clearly evil (as shown by their service, and the amount of sneaky rubbish installed by their software), maybe they are contributing to a greater good, without even realising it.

I have moved to America now, and in the area that I live, there are only 2 ISPs, Verizon and Road Runner. Verizon’s DSL service is cheaper, so a lot of people are going for that. Road Runner’s Cable service is better, so I went for that. Either way, I tried out Verizon Online DSL, and part of their sales process is to attempt to upsell customers to buy a router so that they can have as many computers as they want online… a wireless router… which is always sold without WEP or MAC-based security configured, because it causes too many support calls! I talked with the technician who installed my Road Runner service and she said basically the same thing, that people are allowed to install a wireless router on their home connection, but that they certainly wouldn’t assist with configuring any security measures, or provide them with security enabled by default.

At first, this just sounds like the usual cop-out of large corporations (HI TELSTRA!), but if you look again, you realise that if this upsell process is effective, and people get the wireless router and use it, then they are providing something to the public; free broadband wireless access to the Internet. There are no bandwidth restrictions (to speak of) on any of these accounts. They are always-on, and not charged by download, upload, connect-time, nothing. It’s a flat charge per month no matter what you do with your account.

I’m not condoning that people should run around looking for open access points to use, but my point is this; if ISPs are providing these facilities (in particular un-metered, un-secured, wireless access to their connection), then there has to be some level of acceptance of the fact that people are going to be using the service without direct authorisation.

The reason that I thought of all of this, is that before I got my connection installed here, I turned on my iPAQ and checked for wireless networks – it immediately picked up 2, one of which was unsecured. Just for a laugh, I let it have a go at connecting, and bingo, I had a nice, fast connection to the Internet, care of a friendly (read: clueless) neighbour. If I thought that I was costing them anything, I would have gotten off immediately, but with everything here being flat-rate, and me only checking a few emails and doing some quick browsing, I didn’t feel too bad.

What’s the general vibe from other people out there about this sort of thing?

Written by Beau Lebens

July 1st, 2004 at 4:00 pm