Steve and I are off to Paris for a couple of weeks, so be sure to send your audio reviews to Bart to help him out doing the show (Allister has his already in the can). We won’t have a live show for the next two weeks – will miss you! In this episode, I tell you about how CloudMounter might solve your cloud storage problems. Then I’ll tell you the results of my scientific testing of a traditional Netgear router against their cloud router, the Orbi (you might be surprised at the results). Then we’ll talk to PLEX at CES. Finally, we have Bart Busschots on with Security Bits where he’ll tell us about the US Customs epic security fail, answer the question of whether Cellibrite can actually unlock any iPhone and of course other notable security news.
You know how I’m always starting my stories with “What problem are you trying to solve?” Before you decide whether to go for a traditional single router or one of these fancy new mesh routers, you really should think about the problem you want to solve, because this is definitely not a one size fits all problem.
In August of 2016, I bought a Netgear Nighthawk X8 router to replace my aging Airport Extreme. This was before the current mesh router craze happened, and I’ve wondered for a long time whether I made a mistake buying this router too early. Maybe I should have waited until the mesh routers matured.
I met with Netgear at CES and happened to mention I was thinking of testing a range extender with my Nighthawk X8. The rep told me to not even consider buying one. He said that the only good solution for dead spots in your home is to go with a mesh router. I told him I was interesting in testing out their mesh router system. Netgear was kind enough to send me their Orbi AC3000 mesh router to fly off against my Netgear Nighthawk X8.
Allison interviews Amit Rele from Netgear about their new outdoor version of the Orbi mesh WiFi system. The family of Orbi tri-band WiFi systems is designed for a broad range of home environments. The Orbi Outdoor Satellite (RBS50Y) extends high-performance WiFi coverage outdoors by up to an extra 2,500 sq. ft. with a weather-resistant, wall-mountable, add-on unit. The Outdoor Orbi is rated at IP55 and can operate over a temperature range of -20°C to +50°C. The setting is Pepcom at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Learn more at https://www.netgear.com/orbi/
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Allison, now that Apple has end-of-lifed the AirPort Extreme (my device of choice until now), I’m taking another look at the Netgear Nighthawk X8 (your endorsement has to be worth $$$ to Netgear). Besides the obvious reasons to use an Apple access point/router (e.g., quality, auto-notification of firmware updates, etc.) is the fact that I can plug two USB drives into it (via a USB hub) and it provides great Time Machine backup destinations for my home systems.
So the big question is: Do you know if the Netgear Nighthawk X8’s USB ports can support over-the-network Time Machine backups (to AFP+ drives)?
Great question, Steve. The short answer is yes, you can do this and it works. But short answers aren’t the theme of the NosillaCast, are they? Netgear does have a really old “how to” on setting up Time Machine to work with their routers, but lets walk through it ourselves. Continue reading “Time Machine Backups from the Netgear X8 USB Port”
We WILL have episodes of the NosillaCast (and live shows) on both Christmas and New Years day (unlike those other slacker podcasters). Check out last week’s episode of Chit Chat Across the Pond with Chris Ashley from the SMR Podcast (fun with Windows!). I’m one of the new rotating co-hosts for Eye Chart Radio with Mike LaPlante. Bart comes on for just a few minutes to chat about the ginormous Yahoo breach of 1 BILLION accounts is even worse than it sounds. He explains why it was so absurdly bad that Yahoo was hashing passwords with MD5. Terry Austin sends in a review of Nomorobo for the iPhone. Shelly Brisbin does a dramatic reading of her poem, “I Did Not Buy the MacBook Pro”. I’ll tell you about a way to achieve simultaneous onsite and offsite backups using the new Amazon Duet drive from Seagate.
A few weeks back after the disastrous distributed denial of service attack on the DNS servers was found to have been caused by insecure Internet of Things devices, Bart suggested that we turn off automatic port forwarding. This is a technology that is built into routers that allows devices (and software) inside your network to punch holes through your firewall in order to talk to the Internet. The advantage of this technology is that you don’t have to understand or even know what port forwarding is in order to get your devices and software to work. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that our IoT devices are often spectacularly insecure. For example, there are devices with hard-coded Secure Shell (SSH) usernames and passwords that were largely responsible for the denial of service attack.
This automated port forwarding I’m describing on most routers is called UPnP, and on Apple routers they use a similar protocol called NAT-PMP. Bart recommended that we turn this service off, and only open ports manually when we know why they need to be opened. I have both a Netgear router and an Apple router, so I thought it might be helpful if I posted tutorials on how to turn off UPnP via the web interface on the Netgear router, and NAT-PMP from the Airport Utility. Thanks to Allister Jenks for helping put together the instructions for turning off NAT-PMP from an iOS device for the Airport. And of course we made the tutorials with my favorite app, Clarify.
Here’s links to the three tutorials:
Back in April I told you about the new router I bought, the Nighthawk X8 from Netgear. I bought this router for two reasons. I already had an Airport Extreme 802.11ac router with beam forming antennas, but after talking to Bart about how insecure the Internet of Things devices are, I wanted to run two parallel networks. The second reason is because it sounded really cool.
Just a few weeks ago, Denise Crown did a review of the same router for us. She’s a serious network nerd (Masters degree in Telecom) so I really liked hearing her perspective on it.
One thing neither of us did was any kind of network speed tests to see whether a) we needed this router and b) whether the new router improved speeds or reduced dead spots in our homes. We had both been influenced by Dave Hamilton of the Mac Geek Gab where he talks a lot about routers. I reached out to Dave and asked him what he uses to check network speeds. I knew that while running speedtest.net was a relatively good way to test your Internet speeds, it wasn’t a good way to test the speed of your internal network. Since the speed test was going through Internet and back, it had far too many variables involved.
Before we dig into the tests, let’s review the devices. The Airport Extreme is the current model, which has internal beam-forming antennas. It’s only a dual-band router, with one radio for 2.4 GHz and another for 5 GHz. The Nighthawk X8 is a tri-band router with two 5 GHz radios and one for 2.4 GHz. By having two 5 GHz radios the Nighthawk can send and receive at the same time. It also sports four internal antennas and four active external antennas. That all sounds swell, but at 1.7x as much money for the Nighthawk X8 over the Airport Extreme, let’s see how they perform relative to each other in real world testing. Continue reading “Real World Bandwidth Test: Netgear Nighthawk X8 vs Airport Extreme”
Guest post by Denise (@Deverelle) Crown
Our ISP caps our bandwidth to 450 GB per month and several times a year they assert we use double this or more. We don’t stream a lot of movies, our cloud data is pretty static, and we have a stupidly complex password, so this runaway bandwidth is a mystery I cannot solve with our aged Airport Express router.
We also need the ability to manage a lot of WiFi devices.
The wiring closet is at the far back of the house, which has always caused connectivity problems in the front of the house.
Wanting a router that would be current for a few years, I chose the tri-band Netgear Nighthawk X8 AC5300 Smart WiFi Router. I purchased it on Amazon using Allison’s banner and paid a whopping $359.99. It’s definitely an investment.
As the dedicated network and software tech in my house, I dreaded this project like the plague. I removed all the old equipment, crossed my fingers and plugged in this huge beast.
Continue reading “Netgear Nighthawk X8 AC5300 Smart WiFi Router by Denise Crown”
Guest Review by George from Tulsa
My 1953 ranch house is long and low, with a mix of old and newer electrical circuits. The cable modem and primary router, an Airport Extreme N, are at the far north end The “media” room juts out to the east, at about the middle, the front porch at the west middle, the bedrooms at the far south.
I ran an Ethernet cable to the “media room” and added a Netgear N900 router there and connected everything except one Chromecast with Ethernet.
There’s three wireless networks, #1 at 2.4 from the Extreme, #2 at 2.4 and #3 at 5 ghz from the Netgear. I assigned channels that don’t overlap each other, or the neighbors.
None reliably reached the front porch or bedrooms.
I’ve wondered if the re-modeling’s steel studs and aluminized insulation impede the signals, or it it’s just distance?
Continue reading “Netgear EX 6200 AC1200 Range Extender by George from Tulsa”
This week we’ll learn how awesome Smile, the makers of TextExpander really is (in spite of last week) and how Ditto can give you notifications without a smart watch. We’ll learn how you really NEED a wicked cool new router like the Netgear X8 5300ac, and Bart is back with Security Bits.