I spend a decent amount of time working with wireless internet, routers and WiFi. I actually started this blog as I’m seeing a very-real need for internet users to start using dual band routers. Beyond that, though, there are many, many different questions that people have and problems that they face with their WiFi, routers or wireless internet. That’s what this post is about: helping to provide answers to some of those questions.
If you’re in the market for a new wireless router or AP, you have a choice in front of you. Contrary to what many people appear to think, at least based on their actions, one wireless router is not as good as any other. While buying a cheap wireless AP / router doesn’t guarantee you’ll have problems anymore than an expensive wireless router guarantees a fantastic experience, I’ve seen enough to say that there’s a pattern of what to expect based on the retail price of the router. At least with Belkin, Linksys and Netgear: these are the brands used almost exclusively by our customers.
I’ve been using Private Internet Access for many years. Speeds are generally good on multiple servers, support for Linux is good and you can even setup and run a VPN from different routers, including Mikrotik.
If you have a slower internet package, or too many users for your available internet speed, it could be very beneficial to be able to split up your internet speed based on the number of simultaneous users. The ability to do this is well-beyond any consumer-grade router with QOS settings that I’ve seen, but it’s pretty simple if you’re using a Mikrotik router.
At my job I work with a mix of old and new wireless equipment. Some of the old stuff, such as Ubiquiti Nanostation2s, may not automatically let you ssh into them from newer workstations due these old devices using old / weak / outdated encryption algorithms, which newer operating systems tend to disable by default. If you’ve run into this, you’ll probably see a message along these lines:
I find myself looking up mac addresses semi-regularly, trying to find the vendor behind a device connected to our equipment at a customer’s house, or looking through logs and trying to identify devices attempting to connect to our wireless APs. I tend to default to using the MAC / OUI Lookup tool at aruljohn.com, but after a few failed attempts, I started looking for source lists after noticing they may not keep their database updated.