Scott Hanselman

Adding a Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router WNDR3700 to an existing FIOS Wireless AP for improved wireless coverage

January 4, '11 Comments [28] Posted in Hardware | Tools
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A few months ago I added a second wireless access point (AP) to my existing network in order to get better wireless coverage. We have a house that's kind of spread out and we were getting really spotty 802.11g around the house. Laptops we getting one or two bars, or worse yet, they were constantly negotiating network speeds and never getting a decent one. The iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc) would barely get any signal in certain rooms. It was certainly irritating.

So, I added a second identical AP with the same SSID upstairs so we could move between floors without trouble. However, this AP (some crappy standard one that came with the FIOS service) was/is really inconsistent. While the network architecture is solid, as is the idea behind my "add a second AP" post, the implementation using these 5 year old crappy routers was flaky at best.

Techie Background: I have FIOS optical internet service, and have for the last 3 years. It's upgraded from 15Mbs to 35Mbs recently. The house is Gigabit Ethernet (all CAT6, see the related links below). All the wired devices are running through a Netgear GS724T-300 24-port Gigabit Smart Switch and all of the wireless devices are at least 2.4Ghz 802.11g, and some are 802.11n, with one being 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz.

Since I have a home office, meaning I literally work at home 90% of the time for my living, having flaky wireless is a problem. I decided to start researching a better solution.  I decided to add a new wireless router. I figured that it was insane for one house to have to APs and that surely if a cell phone could work over miles that a freaking wireless network router could cover a single house. I found the solution in the Netgear N600 Gigabit.

Here's the idea:

Network Diagram with additional Wireless Router

However, there are some important notes when adding a new wireless router to an existing system that is already performing these functions

  • Passing out IP addresses via HDCP
  • Acting as a wireless access point with lots of existing clients
  • Has existing static IP leases setup, existing quality of service (QoS) settings

Stated differently, my existing router is nicely and intricately configured for my house. It works fine and I like it fine, except it has crappy wireless. I want to add a new wireless router without disturbing what already works. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I picked up a Netgear N600 Wireless Gigabit Router. Note that there are two versions of this, one with a large bright LED on the outside and one without. The one without has 4 Gigabit LAN ports, and that's the better router.

Let me tell you that this router is awesome. I figured I'd be moving from a 3-5 year old crappy router to some better router, sure, but not a totally awesome Swiss Army Knife. Networking has come a long way since 2005 or whenever my stock router was made.

This Netgear is awesome because of these features:

  • Two separate bands for wireless, each with 300Mbs of independent bandwidth. There's 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz frequencies. Nice for copying VMs over wireless. I made a "HANSELMAN" and "HANSELMAN-N" network.
  • Four Gigabit Ethernet points. Not needed for me, but it's nice to have four more Gigabit ports.
  • Eight internal antennas - Seriously, this thing has insane range. I had already added an external antenna to my FIOS router and still had bad range. This little Netgear covers 3500+ square feet and more. I'm thrilled with the range. I don't need two routers anymore. Adding this router totally achieved my goal.

There were a few gotchas. I still need my ISP's router because it's the bridge to the ISP and the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) they installed on the house. It's also totally configured as I like.

Here's the steps I took:

  • Logged into the FIOS ActionTec at http://192.168.1.1 and disabled the wireless interface. I confirmed that the "HANSELMAN" network was no longer showing up.
  • Plugged the Netgear directly into my laptop and visited it's default IP of http://10.0.0.1. I disabled the new router's DHCP (this is crucial).
    • Important Trick: I temporarily plugged the new Netgear's yellow "external network" directly into the FIOs ActionTec so the Netgear could update its firmware the first time and get the initial setup wizard would stop nagging me. The router expects to be hooked up in this way at least initially, so you need to satisfy its setup.
  • After the Netgear is configured, now unplug the yellow external LAN wire and instead plug into one of the standard four ethernet ports into either your switch (that's what I did, gigabit to gigabit) or directly into your ISP's router. We want the new router to get an IP address from our existing router and route traffic and DHCP requests to the ISP's router. To be clear: Setting up your new router in this way will leave the yellow upstream external network port empty, despite what the documentation says.
  • On the new router, setup the 2.4GHz wireless network with your SSID, and the 5GHz wireless network with something like YOURSSID-N. Here's what I did:
  • View Available Networks Dialog

Now I've got 192.x.x.x addresses being handed out on two wireless networks. My Wireless-N network is getting 300Mbs throughput on my Lenovo, as its Intel Wireless LAN does 5Ghz 802.11n. Also, my iOS devices are using 2.4Ghz 802.11n and are suddenly a LOT snappier on large downloads and email.

Wireless Network Connection Status

I'm absolutely thrilled with the a Netgear N600 Wireless Gigabit Router. It's the top of the line for the house, definitely a "prosumer" router and a really nice upgrade to any existing system if you know a little about setting up your network. Totally recommended.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Hanselminutes Podcast 247 - From Agile Consultant to Agile Team Member with John Wilger

January 3, '11 Comments [4] Posted in Agile | Podcast
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imageScott sits down with former agile coach John Wilger to talk about his experience going to work for the company he originally consulted with. What kinds of issues do small teams deal with when moving from traditional software development processes?

Download: MP3 Full Show

NOTE: If you want to download our complete archives as a feed - that's all 247 shows, subscribe to the Complete MP3 Feed here.

Also, please do take a moment and review the show on iTunes.

Subscribe: Subscribe to Hanselminutes or Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes or Zune

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Building quality software is never easy. It requires skills and imagination. We cannot promise to improve your skills, but when it comes to User Interface and developer tools, we can provide the building blocks to take your application a step closer to your imagination. Explore the leading UI suites for ASP.NET AJAX,MVC,Silverlight,Windows Forms and WPF. Enjoy developer tools like .NET Reporting, ORM, Automated Testing Tools, Agile Project Management Tools, and Content Management Solution. And now you can increase your productivity with JustCode, Telerik’s new productivity tool for code analysis and refactoring. Visit www.telerik.com.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Hanselminutes Podcast 246 - Hanselminutiae-nine with Richard Campbell

January 3, '11 Comments [0] Posted in Podcast
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Happy holidays! It's a totally random chat show with Richard Campbell. What's next for Windows Phone 7? Will Scott give up his iPhone? How many Kindles can one man own? Is Kinect the future of computing? All this and less on this episode.

Download: MP3 Full Show

NOTE: If you want to download our complete archives as a feed - that's all 246 shows, subscribe to the Complete MP3 Feed here.

Also, please do take a moment and review the show on iTunes.

Subscribe: Subscribe to Hanselminutes or Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes or Zune

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Building quality software is never easy. It requires skills and imagination. We cannot promise to improve your skills, but when it comes to User Interface and developer tools, we can provide the building blocks to take your application a step closer to your imagination. Explore the leading UI suites for ASP.NET AJAX,MVC,Silverlight,Windows Forms and WPF. Enjoy developer tools like .NET Reporting, ORM, Automated Testing Tools, Agile Project Management Tools, and Content Management Solution. And now you can increase your productivity with JustCode, Telerik’s new productivity tool for code analysis and refactoring. Visit www.telerik.com.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Hanselminutes Podcast 245 - Transitions: Exploring issues moving from small companies to large corporations

January 3, '11 Comments [0] Posted in Podcast
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buildingsScott talks to his friend John Batdorf about their move from small consultancies to large corporations. What kinds of issues do we deal with as employees and what kinds of issues do IT departments come upon as companies grow?

Download: MP3 Full Show

NOTE: If you want to download our complete archives as a feed - that's all 245 shows, subscribe to the Complete MP3 Feed here.

Also, please do take a moment and review the show on iTunes.

Subscribe: Subscribe to Hanselminutes or Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes or Zune

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Building quality software is never easy. It requires skills and imagination. We cannot promise to improve your skills, but when it comes to User Interface and developer tools, we can provide the building blocks to take your application a step closer to your imagination. Explore the leading UI suites for ASP.NET AJAX,MVC,Silverlight,Windows Forms and WPF. Enjoy developer tools like .NET Reporting, ORM, Automated Testing Tools, Agile Project Management Tools, and Content Management Solution. And now you can increase your productivity with JustCode, Telerik’s new productivity tool for code analysis and refactoring. Visit www.telerik.com.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Reviewing a Decade of Digital Life - The size and the direction of personal media

December 29, '10 Comments [29] Posted in Musings
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As 2010 winds down, I was looking in my \\SERVER\Photos\2000 folder and reminiscing about how old and fat I am and how young and thin my wife is, when I noticed how different the folder sizes were. I noticed the sizes of the photos, their pixel sizes and the camera that created them.

Here's some observations, calculations and comments from a guy who has 12 years of family life in digital form. I'm curious of your observations of your own media as well, Dear Reader.

 image

Or, if you like charts with callouts:

 image

Or, if you're not into the whole brevity thing:

In the Old Days

Kodak DC265I started with a Kodak DC265 Camera. This camera used Compact Flash cards and created JPG files at 1536x1024 (1.5 megapixels!) that were an average of  300k in size.

I took a massive 263 megs of photos in 1999.

Here's an example shot from that camera, un-retouched. Click for full size.

P0002922

Casio EX-Z3 I used this camera until June 22nd, 2003 (according to the EXIF data embedded in my photos) when I got a Casio EX-Z3. My very first picture with this camera was of my wife across the camera at me. It was numbered CIMG0001.JPG ;) and it was 2048x1536 and a whopping full megabyte in size. This was a 3.2 megapixel camera.

2003 was the first year my yearly photo folder nearly reached a gig in size.

Here's an example shot from that camera, un-retouched. Click for full size.

CIMG0488

The Kinda Modern Era

EX-Z750_ff[1]My first son was born at the end of 2005 and I upgraded to a Casio Exilim EX-Z750 (I like small pocket cameras) to take pics of him. The EX-Z750 was 7.2 megapixels and created pictures that were 3072x2304 and about 3 megs in size. I remember being blown away by this camera.

The number of photos I took in my son's first year nearly doubled the previous year and the 2006 folder alone is almost 10gigs.

Here's an example shot from that camera, un-retouched. Click for full size.

CIMG5416

As they say about babies, the first baby gets a million photos (or at least two thousand) and the second baby gets less.

In fact, the year of baby #2 created over three thousand photos and that number goes up every year.

Canon EOS D40 In 2008, I bought two cameras. First, a Canon EOS D40 in an attempt to "get serious" about photography. Two years later I still don't know how to make those cool photos where the person is in focus and everything else is blurry. Sigh.

The canon creates about 2-3 meg JPEG files (or RAW if you insist) that about are about 3008x2000. It's the best camera I've owned when I can get things in focus. I wish it was faster and that it was in my pocket.

Here's an example shot from a speedboat (for no other reason than speedboats are cool) using the Canon D40, un-retouched. Click for full size.

DSC_0441

Second, a Fuji Finepix F70EXR which I regret buying. It's a 10 megapixel and is the smalled 10x optical zoom (that I never use) and makes photos of 3616x2712 that are about 4 megs each. However, it has horrific low-light support (as do most point-and-shoots) and it's grainy as heck. It's a mess. I intend to replace it with a Canon PowerShot S95 as soon as my wife "releases the funds."

Here's a shot from the Fuji. Click for full size.

DSCF3476

2010 The Year of the Wi-fi Memory Card

fujifinepixIn 2010 I collected over 6500 photos totaling 20gigs. I am not a photographer or a photography enthusiast. I'm just a dude with a good lookin' family that I like to take pictures of.

I attribute this "success" to three things:

  • Three good quality cameras were available at any time.
    • The iPhone 4 has a great little 5 megapixel camera. Having this in my pocket (or any phone with a 5Mb camera) meant I took more pictures in the moment.
    • The Canon EOS D40 (a slightly "prosumer" DSLR) meant I tried harder to be a photographer
    • The Eye-Fi Wi-Fi SD Card in my Fuji Finepix F70EXR meant that digital photos showed up on my server as soon as the camera got within my home's wireless cloud.

However:

The #1 most significant purchase for me photography-wise in 2010 was an Eye-Fi Pro Wi-Fi SD Card. It  removed the "go download the photos to computer step."

No joke, this card is amazing. You take photos and whenever the card is in range of wi-fi it'll geo-tag your photos and drop them in a folder. The wife is bananas over this card. Read (watch) my review.

I'm creating more media year over year. This post doesn't touch on video, but let's just say that I captured my FIRST digital video file on June 23rd, 2003. It was one megabyte, about 320x240 at 15fps. Today, everything I capture is 1280x720p at 30fps and I don't even think about file size.

The only thing I think about is backups. Here's to a digital 2011!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.