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I'm looking for some ideas to go along with .@ProtonVPN. Should I go with Router or a ?

Asus WL-330N (3g) Review

3 min read

wl-330n3g

In my job, I travel to lots of places where people are having meetings to work on their computers.  We do this because we get the most "bang for the buck" so to speak by going where people are then working on their computers.  But, that means we don't have control over the environment we find ourselves in.  Or what resources are available.  We can get around this by taking hard drives with software and updates for our use.  However, there are cases where wifi is spotty (that's being nice).  An example would be a meeting I recently went to in Morocco:  wifi was available in the lobby but not the meeting room.  But, in one corner of the meeting room we could, occasionally, leech wifi off another hotel.  That corner was really popular.

Enter my quest for a router I could take with me places.  A colleague suggested an Apple Airport Express (he has one).  The size was right but it didn't do everything I wanted.  I then thought about getting a stock router and installing DD-Wrt.  Well, after looking, I didn't think DD-Wrt did everything I wanted.  So, I kept looking.  But, before I go farther, I suppose I should tell you my requirements:

  1. work as a traditional access point (give it an ethernet internet connection and have it broadcast it)
  2. work as a bridge (connect to the internet via wifi then give that signal over wired connection)
  3. #2 except rebroadcast on a SSID of my choice
  4. be small

#3 turned out to be the hardest.  After looking, I didn't even think that ddwrt would do what I wanted.  I kept looking.  And looking.  And looking.  Finally, I stumbled on the Asus WL-330n3G.  This thing does everything:

  1. I can plug it into an ethernet port and broadcast my own SSID (complete with DHCP, firewall, etc... services)
  2. I can connect it to a wireless network and give any wired devices access to that wired network
  3. I can reshare that wireless on a SSID of my choice
  4. I can simply repeat a SSID, if I want
  5. I can even connect a USB 3G modem and share that internet amongst devices
  6. Best of all, this thing is small.  About the size of a credit card and perhaps 1/2 inch thick!
  7. And even better, it is powered by USB.  AND they included an AC->USB power adapter
  8. Even more better, the price was only £31 (about $50)!

I haven't taken it any place with me yet, but I think this little guy will come in very handy!

Network Changes

2 min read

Network Gear Detail

Well, 1.5 weeks ago, we finally got internet hooked up at our place.  It is a long story but it involved planning, the BT guy showing up late, and having to reschedule to finally get this done.

Part of what we brought with us was an asus rt n16 to use with our VPN provider.  The plan was to have the router make the VPN connection (we use StrongVPN...for $55/year with no caps or other limits) for us so the WDTVLiveHub we brought could stream Netflix to our TV.  Well, we set it up and everything worked ok...most of the time.  However, there were times when DNS requests wouldn't resolve (even using opendns).  Yesterday I gave up and installed ddwrt.  So far, it seems to be working great....much better than with the stock firmware.

One of the extras I got with ddwrt was a graph that tracks our usage.  Why is this important you ask?  Well, instead of paying £7.50/month for internet, we are paying £25/month.  That is a hunk of money (with the £/$ ratio at about $1.55 to £1).  But, the £7.50 internet would have been limited to 40GB transfer/month.  I figured we would use more than that, but wasn't really sure.  Well, after a day and a half of using ddwrt, I'm glad we did go with it.  At the moment, we've sucked up 4GB off the internet....that was 1 movie for Cyndi and I, and about 4 30 min TV shows for the kids.  Looks like we would have been way way over our cap.

[Update 2011-11-27 17:44:41] I just realized...ddwrt is only on our VPN router.  it doesn't count what we'll use streaming TV with the BBC iPlayer and LoveFilm

[Update 2011-12-02 07:23:44] I just read this article about capping data transfer.  Does it work or should something else be done.  Interesting read.

[Update 2013-10-18 22:14:08] We just switched ISPs.  I also edited the image on this post because the old one had been taken down.

Image from lee via flickr