Category: Network Connectivity Devices

Free launches the Android-driven Freebox Mini in France

Artlcles – French language / Langue Française

Free mise sur sa mini-box | TF1.fr

Free lance la Freebox Mini et un Freebox Player 4K sous Android TV | 01Net.com

Free : Une box plus petite et 4K | Ère Numérique.fr

From the horse’s mouth

Free.fr

Press release (PDF – French language / Langue Française)

My Comments

Freebox Mini press image courtesy of Free.fr

Freebox Mini

Free have launched into the French market the latest triple-play Freebox. This is not to replace the Freebox Révolution but to be offered as a cheaper hardware option for your high-value have-it-all service that they provide. It is based on a simplified design like the other Freebox products yet is designed to be future-ready.

The Freebox Server Mini is considered a highly functional Internet gateway device which can work with ADSL2, VDSL2 or Fibre-to-the-premises Internet services provided by Free. Like other Freebox gateway devices like the Freebox Révolution, it runs the Freebox OS which has a user interface not dissimilar to a QNAP NAS or a new Linux distro’s graphic user interface. The LAN is based on a 4-port Gigabit Ethernet switch and 802.11n N450 three-stream 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. There is the ability to connect audio equipment so it becomes an audio player in the same manner as the Freebox Révolution Server.

If you want to store data to this device, you would need to use an external hard disk that is connected via eSATA or USB 3.0. This allows for it to be a central “data store” for the home network, including recording TV content from the Freebox Player Mini. As well like other Freebox devices, it has a single-line analogue-telephone adaptor along with a femtocell for mobile phones that are connected to Free’s mobile service.

The Freebox Player Mini is the first set-top box issued by a French telco to have the latest expectations. These include an RF remote which is based on Bluetooth 4.0 Smart technology, the ability to supply 4K video via its HDMI output along with the fact that it runs Google’s Android TV operating system. It also makes this set Google Cast ready and able to be a Chromecast box of sorts.

Another bonus that this set-top box has is voice guidance courtesy of a microphone integrated in to the remote control. There is also an SD card slot so you can quickly show your digital pictures straight from your camera’s SD card “film”.

The price for these devices is EUR€29.95 per month if you are setting them up as one of those legendary French “triple-play” services which encompasses phone calls to more than 100 countries, more than 200 TV channels on the TV, Freebox Replay catch-up TV, or full-on “hot-and-cold” running Internet. The Android-based Freebox Player Mini is available for an extra cost of EUR€2 if it is to be an extra set-top box for a Freebox Révolution setup.

What I see of these devices is that there is a willingness for the highly-competitive French Internet-service market to step forward but stick to commonly-known commonly-available standards rather than head off down their own paths.

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Consumer Electronics Show 2015 – Part 4 – The Home Network

Over the past three days, I have covered some very interesting trends that were exhibited at the Consumer Electronics Show 2015 in Las Vegas. Part 1 covered the changes concerning personal computing including smartphones and tablets whereas Part 2 covered the increasingly-connected lifestyle which is brought on by the Internet Of Things. Part 3 has covered home entertainment especially as 4K UHDTV, wireless multroom audio and high-resolution file-based audio via the home network approach points of market maturity.

Now I am covering computer peripherals including USB 3.1 with the Type C either-way connection along with the “glue that holds it all together” – the home network. This is brought on with the arrival of Wave 2 802.11ac (AC2600 and AC3200) wireless networks and the highly-resilient HomePlug AV2 MIMO powerline network technology.

Computer Peripherals

A major innovation that is taking place with computer peripherals and accessories is the implementation of USB 3.1 with Type C connectors, something I have covered regularly on this site. Here, it is living up to the promise of high throughput with setups clocking a real-world throughput of 800Mbps on a demonstrator. Nokia’s N1 tablet is the first tablet device to be marketed with USB 3.1 technology and Type C connectivity. MSI are pitching the G772 gaming notebook and X998 Gaming 9 ACK motherboard with the USB 3.1 and Type C connectivity along with regular USB connectivity and they are intended to be available in March. Creative Technologies have not taken computer audio lying down. Rather they fielded a USB digital amplifier in the form of the X7 which you can connect to some decent speakers. It uses Sound Blaster chipsets for the computer interface and has enough connectivity to amplify line-level or digital sound sources or provide the Sound Blaster goodness to other amplifiers, digital recorders or digital-analogue converters. It also has on-board Dolby Digital decoding along with enhanced sound processing to get the best out of anything from compressed MP3s to high-grade FLAC files.

As for displays, most of the monitor manufacturers are running at least a few 4K ultra-high-resolution models. HP are running an new monitor lineup including some 4K models and even a 5K model. Two of these monitors have curved displays like the TVs shown at this show while there is a “virtual-reality”display that works with 3D glasses. Samsung joined the party by premiering 34” curved monitor with 21:9 aspect ratio and WQHD+ (3440×1440) resolution – their TV-display knowledge fits in here on the desktop.

There is a huge run of Bluetooth-capable audio devices at this show. Braven have premiered the Braven Bridge portable conference-call device. This uses a microphone array and noise-cancelling technology for clearer and understandable voices and can even come clear in loud environments. It has that deluxe leather look that appeals to travelling executives and can serve as a powerful Bluetooth speaker and mobile charge bank.

They also fielded a series of deluxe-look Bluetooth speakers with TruWireless stereo pairing. These are known as the 2200b and the 2300b with the latter having improved sound output. Braven also pitched a wireless audio mixer that mixes the sound from two Bluetooth A2DP sources and distributes it to two Bluetooth speakers.

Samsung cracked the storage capacity ceiling for solid-state storage by offering a 1 Tb external solid-state storage device that connects to the host via USB 3.0. Ultra fast, Ultra large! SanDisk had come to the party by offering a “memory-key-type” external storage device that connects to “open-frame” smartphones via their microSD card slots or a regular computer (or other device) via its USB 3.0 socket. These are available at capacities up to 64Gb.

The very fast no-new-wires home network

D-Link DIR-895L AC5300 6 stream wireless router press picture courtesy of D-Link America

D-Link DIR-895L AC5300 6 stream wireless router – an example of what Wave 2 802.11ac is all about

One major technology that is being premiered at CES 2015 is the 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless segment, especially the faster variants that implement at least three input and output streams and use MU-MIMO technology. This has a theoretical media-level throughput of 2.6 Gbps or 3.2 Gbps. This technology has been “cemented” courtesy of IEEE releasing the Wave 2 set of specifications for the 802.11ac wireless network along with Qualcomm, Quantenna and Broadcomm releasing the chipsets for this specification.

MU-MIMO is a high-throughput variant of MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) wireless technology that can allow an access point to concurrently serve data to multiple client devices with best-case performance and reduced network congestion. The benefits that this provides also extend to non-MU-MIMO client devices because the higher-throughput devices aren’t taking up the lion’s share of the traffic.

It was also run alongside the Wi-Fi Aware proximity-based service discovery mechanism for the Wi-FI wireless network standard which is to come later this year. Working in the background, this setup allows a device to discover other Wi-Fi devices and what they offer before actually connecting to them. It is being pitched to be like what Bluetooth was known for where you could spontaneously discover a person to share a namecard or picture with in the same room or set up a multi-machine multi-player game with friends on the couch. It also would serve a similar function to the Bluetooth Beacons and orthodox Bluetooth “push” advertising as a way to reach mobile users..

All of the major home-network hardware vendors are releasing at least one premium-level router with this technology. This has also pushed down the availability of AC1750 and lower-spec 802.11ac routers to prices that most of us can afford and allow carriers to supply such gear to their customers.

D-Link DHP701AV HomePlug AV2 MIMO adaptor press picture courtesy of D-Link America

D-Link DHP701AV HomePlug AV2 MIMO adaptor

As for HomePlug AV2 powerline networking, each of the major home-network companies is releasing a HomePlug AV2 MIMO-capable adaptor package that allows you to start setting up a robust powerline network segment with a theoretical throughput of around 1.5 Gigabits per second. It gives legs to this “wired now-new-wires” technology when being used in commercial premises or multi-building home networks.

Amped Wireless have released their 802.11ac range with AC750-compliant routers and range extenders that use touch-screens as their control surfaces. Sadly, these are their low-tier models for this specification. They are also running more 802.11ac range extenders with two desktop models having a Gigabit Ethernet switch to make them work as wireless client bridges for many devices along with two wall-plugged models that have a Gigabit Ethernet port for wireless-client-bridge functionality. In each form-factor, there is a two-stream variant along with a three-stream variant.

Linksys launched their fastest 802.11ac home-network router which uses four streams with MU-MIMO(AC2600) and has Snapdragon horsepower, a four-port Gigabit Ethernet switch and USB and eSATA sockets to allow it to serve as a NAS. They also released the “AC1200” variant of their WRT1900AC “son of WRT54G” router along with the styled-alike WRT Network Storage Bay which is a dual-bay NAS enclosure with eSATA and USB external-disk connectivity. Oh year, it has DLNA network media server functionality.

D-Link have shown off their out-of-this-world 8-antenna MU-MIMO AC2600 router and also launched the AC1900 USB wireless network adaptor. This is so you can gain the benefits of a Wi-Fi wireless segment running to the latest 802.11ac wireless specification with your existing laptops or desktop computers. They have launched their HomePlug AV2 MIMO adaptor (DHP701AV) and HomePlug AV2 SISO adaptor (DHP601AV), both having Gigabit Ethernet connections.

TRENDNet TPL-421E2K HomePlug AV2 MIMO adaptor (US variant) with AC socket plugged in to typical US AC outlet - press picture courtesy of TRENDNet USA

TRENDNet TPL-421E2K HomePlug AV2 MIMO adaptor (US variant) with AC socket

TRENDNet are also running one of the first “travel routers” to have 802.11ac technology. This unit implements AC750 single-stream technology along with the ability to be a USB file server as well as having Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. They also launched an AC3200 “tri-band” (all 5GHz band and 2.4GHz band) six-stream router with six antennas along with their AC2600 four-stream router, both having Gigabit Ethernet for WAN and LAN, USB file serving and IPv6.They haven’t forgotten about the HomePlug AV2 MIMO powerline network and are re-exhibiting their HomePlug AV2 adaptors and exhibiting a variant with an integrated power outlet.

TP-Link launched their Archer 2600 router with 4 x 4 AC Qualcomm Wi-Fi and Archer C3200 with 2 3-stream 5GHz front-ends and 1 3-stream 2.4GHz front-end and Broadcomm chipset. They also have launched a 3-stream AC1750 range extender and an AC750 range extender. As well they have contributed HomePlug AV2 MIMO adaptor which is the first of this product class to have a 3-port Gigabit Ethernet switch

Netgear have launched a lineup of range extenders including an AC1900 model, AC1200 model, AC750 model. These devices can use one band for their wireless backhaul while the other serves the downstream devices and can be set up to be access points with Ethernet (or HomePlug AV2 MIMO) wired backbones. They are the  EX7000 which is the AC1900 3 stream variant with a 5 port Gigabit Ethernet switch and a USB 3.0 file server, along with the EX6150 which is a 2-stream AC1200 wall plug that has a Gigabit Ethernet connection, and the EX3700 Essentials Edition which is a 1-stream AC750 wall plug.

NetGear GS108E 8-port Gigabit Ethernet "Click" swithch with power supply bracket press picture courtesy of NETGEAR America

NetGear GS108E 8-port Gigabit Ethernet “Click” swithch with power supply bracket

They also launched their PL1200 HomePlug AV2 MIMO adaptors – the PL1200 and the PLP1200 which has an integrated AC outlet. Let’s not forget their value-priced unmanaged desktop Ethernet switches which Netgear have been well known for and is something I would specify, and they have shown up with a new device in this class. Here, they have launched a pair of these Gigabit switches which dock in to a power-supply bracket thus eliminating the need to use a wall-wart that falls out too easily. They have a 16-port variant along with an 8-port variant which comes with two USB gadget-charging ports.

NETGEAR ReadyNAS RN1040 NAS press picture courtesy of NETGEAR America

Latest generation of the Netgear ReadyNAS family

Netgear also launched the latest iteration of their ReadyNAS multi-function NAS units as the 100 and 200 Series ReadyNAS series. The 2-bay and 4-bay NAS units have improved processors for quicker throughput along with using ReadyNAS OS 8.2 as their operating system.

Around Town launched a 4G LTE 802.11g/n Mi-Fi router with a “boosting cradle”. This is a charging dock that has an Ethernet LAN socket, and 2 better MIMO antennas for 4G. This reminds me of some consumer-electronics devices released through the early 1980s like a portable VHS video cassette recorder setup that Hitachi implemented where the video recorder docked in to a large L-shaped tuner-timer base which had a full-function infra-red remote control, or some “ghetto-blaster” setups that had a tape unit that could be removed to become a Walkman.

The NAS is being seen by some vendors as being a “personal cloud”. But some of these vendors are taking an integrated approach with interlinking with existing online storage services like Dropbox along with acceptiance of the new BitTorrent Sync technology. This is being pushed more so by Seagate with their home NAS units.

QNAP had launched some AMD Steppe Eagle x86 powered NAS units which came in 4 bay, 6 bay and 8 bay variants. They had 4 gigabit Ethernet connections for throughput-bonding or serving multiple networks, a 10 Gigablt Ethernet upgrade option for small businesses and ran QTS 4.2 OS. This operating system provided various “connected-home” functions along with various business-focused snapshot backup options.

Conclusion

What I have seen of the Consumer Electronics Show 2015 is that certain technologies like 4K UHDTV, HomePlug AV2 MIMO, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and lightweight highly-capable personal computing have hit points of maturity in the marketplace or are close to achieving that goal.

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4 years of the Freebox Révolution benchmark in France

Article

Bilan: la Freebox Révolution a quatre ans | Freenews (French language / Langue Française)

Freebox Révolution - courtesy Iliad.fr

Freebox Révolution – 4 years old (à quatre ans)

My Comments

As a consequence of the highly-competitive triple-play communications service market in France, Free had developed one of the “n-boxes” that has a lot more that is expected for this class of carrier-supplied equipment. Now this device, known as the Freebox Révolution, which is available in just about all of France for EUR€29.95 a month as part of a very tasty triple-play pack, has reached its fourth anniversary.

I have given a fair bit of editorial space to the Freebox Révolution including citing it as an example device in an article about setting up for Internet in France. This is due, not just to its exciting Philippe Starck design but due to the increasing amount of functionality that this device has come with and received over the four years. Here, Free kept with a program of frequent firmware updates which weren’t just about fixing up technical problems but were also about adding functionality to these devices, some of which I have drawn attention to on HomeNetworking01.info.

The Freebox Server was more than just a VoIP gateway with DECT base-station and wireless broadband router. Here, it had DSL and fibre support on the WAN side of the equation and a 250Gb NAS. There was even the ability for the unit to be a media player for Apple AirPlay, DLNA or online media, including playing audio content out via integrated speakers or through external active speakers. The LAN side had a four-port Gigabit Ethernet switch along with 2.4Ghz three-stream 802.11n Wi-Fi, but the Freebox Révolution comes with power-supply units that have integrated HomePlug AV-Ethernet bridges. The newer iterations had been upgraded to HomePlug AV500 and the Wi-Fi on newer releases was upgraded to a dual-band dual-radio variety. Let’s not forget that some of the newer variants even came with a Femtocell that provided local mobile-phone coverage for your home as part of Free getting their paws in to a mobile-telephony service.

Firmware upgrades even had the Freebox Server acquire full Apple compatibility along with being a VPN endpoint router and one of these upgrades was fashioned as the “Freebox OS” with an interface very similar to a newer Linux distribution, one of the mobile-platform operating systems or something you would get with one of the newer high-end NAS devices. The server functionalities included UPnP AV / DLNA, Apple Time Machine, iTunes Server and a BitTorrent server, known as a “seedbox”.

The Freebox Player which served as the “décodeur” for the IP-based TV component of the triple-play service was infact a “full-blown” 3D Blu-Ray player, games console and digital-TV tuner. The gaming functionality was part of an app-store that Free operated, which was to the same standard as most smart-TV platforms, if not better. This device was also controlled by a “gyroscopic” remote control which communicated to it via Zigbee RF technology and supported “gesture-driven” operation. Lets not forget that this was a DLNA-capable media player which gained MediaRenderer functionality from a subsequent firmware upgrade. This device also served as an Internet terminal for the TV screen and even had the ability to interact with most online services courtesy of either the Web view or a native-interface “front-end” that came with one of the firmware upgrades or downloaded from the app store. There was a firmware update that give the Freebox Player “Shazam-like” song-identification abilities.

The Freebox Révolution raised the bar when it came to the concept of a premium triple-play “n-box” offer with the competitors offering systems that had very similar functionality and aesthetics. Examples of these include Numéricable’s La Box and the Neufbox Évolution. As well, I had a casual conversation with someone who came out from France and they even mentioned about someone they knew having one of these devices and being impressed with what it could do.

For me, I have viewed the Freebox Révolution as the flag-carrier for the competitive French Internet market because of the way the carriers can add more value to the equipment they supply their customers. In this way, I would place this device alongside the TGV or the Channel Tunnel as a symbol of French technological progress.

Happy Birthday, Bonne Anniversaire, Freebox Révolution!

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What is an ideal home network?

Netgear DG834G ADSL2 wireless router

A wireless router that is part of a full broadband service

A home network needs to support both a wired and wireless local-area-network path for many different reaons. If you just use a wireless-only home network, you are exposing everything to the vagaries of the radio technology that the wireless network is all about such as interference to or obstruction of these radio signals. As well, a lot of sessile devices like desktop computers have the antenna and radio circuitry for the wireless network functionality located towards the back of the equipment and this can cause interference for equipment that uses a metal chassis.

It would be ideal to implement an Ethernet + wireless setup with a Wi-Fi network of at least 802.11n dual-band multi-stream specification providing the wireless coverage and Gigabit Ethernet wiring pulled through the house to all of the rooms. But a lot of factors can get in the way of this ideal such as the cost to pull Cat5 Ethernet wiring through an existing house or factor in Cat5 Ethernet wiring to each room in a new building.

On the other hand, I would head for a wireless + HomePlug powerline setup or one covering wireless, Cat5 Ethernet and HomePlug. Here, I would use at least 802.11n dual-band multi-stream technology for the Wi-Fi wireless segment and at least HomePlug AV500 for the HomePlug powerline segment. Using all three paths, where I include Gigabit Ethernet to some rooms like one or two of the main living areas, the office / den area and one or two bedrooms along with the other two technologies. This could create a home network that covers the house on what would be effectively a “beer budget”.

Devolo dLAN 1200+ HomePlug AV2 MIMO adaptor press picture courtesy of Devolo

Let’s not forget HomePlug as a network connectivity tool (European setup)

In some environments like a multiple-building setup or a network in a commercial building or apartment block, I would consider implementing HomePlug AV2 MIMO technology to assure reliable operation.

Why a wired and wireless network setup?

A wireless link provided by the Wi-Fi segment is to primarily serve the mobile and portable devices that are intended to be located on a whim. Whereas a wired link provided by Ethernet and/or HomePlug AV is to serve the devices that are normally fixed by providing reliable network connectivity to these devices.

Another advantage is to set up an extra wireless access point to increase your wireless network’s coverage. This can do that job better than the typical wireless network range extender because this setup can supply full wireless-network bandwidth in the remote area due to the use of a wired backbone rather than a weak wireless network with all the vagaries of radio.

Why include HomePlug AV even if Ethernet wiring exists?

WD MyNet Switch rear Ethernet connections

8-port Gigabit Ethernet switch for use when you wire for Ethernet

HomePlug AV can serve as an “infill” solution for a wired no-new-wires setup especially if you find that you have to locate a normally-fixed device in an area that is further from an Ethernet infrastructure socket. This can be of importance if you have to shift it temporarily to suit a new need or you have network-capable devices in an area where you didn’t factor the need for Ethernet connectivity in the first place.

This could also allow you to work an Ethernet wiring setup on a “beer budget” with a few rooms covered and use HomePlug AV or similar technology to provide wired connectivity to other rooms. Similarly, you may have a part of your house that is separated from the rest by a thick wall made of brick, masonry or cinder-block where the Wi-Fi network won’t perform past that wall and it is prohibitive to pull Ethernet or other wiring past that wall. Here, the HomePlug AV technology “takes it past” the obstacle.

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Solwise to provide a HomePlug AV2 adaptor with integrated power outlet

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Solwise

Product Page PL-1200AV2-PIGGY

My Comments

Solwise have released some earlier HomePlug AV2 adaptors for the UK and Irish market but they have come up with a HomePlug AV2 MIMO “three-wire” adaptor which has an integrated UK-standard power outlet. Of course, this firm have been known about pushing the HomePlug powerline-networking concept along with advanced Wi-Fi wireless networking in the UK market.

The Solwise PL-1200AV2 HomePlug AV2 adaptor implements the “three-wire” MIMO concept that HomePlug AV2 has facilitated where it can use the “Active (Line / Phase) + Neutral” and the  “Active (Line / Phase) + Earth (Ground)” wire pairs as data transfer pairs. This is to allow for robust data transfer and higher throughput, but I would place doubts on this working across the three wires with building-to-building HomePlug AV2 setups where an outbuilding that is wired for AC may be earthed independently. Let’s not forget that each HomePlug AV2 device works as its own repeater in order to increase the robustness in this segment or push out over larger areas. But it can be of benefit if you are considering this “wired no-new-wires” technology in a large apartment block or a commercial or industrial building.

This Solwise HomePlug AV2 adaptor also has an integrated 2-port Gigabit Ethernet switch which can provide an “on-board” to the HomePlug AV2 segment for two wired Ethernet devices. One advantage with this is that it could serve a desktop computer and a network-capable printer or a NAS; or serve a smart TV and a Blu-Ray player or PVR. Personally, I would like to eventually see a variant that has the 3 Gigabit Ethernet sockets as a switch, to cater for home AV setups. The integrated power socket makes sure that you are not forfeiting a power outlet just because you want to have HomePlug AV2 connectivity.

Personally, I would see a lot more coming about with HomePlug AV2 as a robust “wired no-new-wires” network setup with Solwise advancing the cause for the UK market.

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MoCA wireless access point–at least

Article

MoCA 2.0 WiFi Adapter Announced. Good Luck Getting One  | SmallNetBuilder

My Comments

Teleste has premiered the first wireless access point / Ethernet switch that can work with the MoCA TV-coaxial-cable network backbone.

In a nutshell, MoCA is based purely on 75-ohm TV coaxial cable used in cable-TV distribution systems and TV-aerial (antenna) installations. It is totally different to the older 10Base2 coaxial Ethernet system because it is not dependent on the cable being properly terminated with resistors at each end, rather catering for the norm with these setups which commonly have sockets with nothing plugged in them, perhaps to cater for portable or transportable TVs.

It has an 802.11ac access point and an Ethernet switch but is intended to refresh on a previous MoCA-Ethernet bridge that the same company offered. The common question is where are they available to consumers who have an established MoCA backbone? It is because Teleste only sell these devices to cable-TV installers to onsell to their customers.

For MoCA to work properly, there needs to be an increased retail availability of hardware like MoCA-Ethernet adaptors and access points. This is so that customers who have established TV-aerial or cable-TV infrastructure in their homes or offices can make use of this as a wired no-new-wires network backbone.

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HomePlug AV500 now available with newer Freebox Révolution

Article (French language / Langue Française)

De nouveaux Freeplugs à 500 Mbps pour la Freebox Révolution | Freenews.fr

My Comments

Freebox Révolution - courtesy Iliad.fr

Freebox Révolution now available wiht HomePlug AV500

The Freebox Révolution is the first wireless modem-router to support software updating to 802.11ac through its latest software update (mise à jour). But both the Freebox Server and Freebox Player came with the “Freeplugs” which are power supplies that integrate a HomePlug AV bridge in their functionality. This is typically to link the Freebox Player in the living room to the Freebox Server in the study or home office.

Both the “Freeplugs” were compliant to the HomePlug AV specification which worked the link at a best-case line speed of 200Mbps. This is although there are many HomePlug AV500 devices that can work the link to 500Mbps and are compliant to the IEEE 1901 specification for powerline local area networks.

Free have raised the game for the Freebox Révolution by delivering newer systems with “Freeplug” power supplies that work to the HomePlug AV500 specification rather than the older HomePlug AV specification. The only problem that I see with this is that customers who own an existing Freebox Révolution can’t easily purchase these adaptors as accessories for their existing setup i.e. they are only available to customers who are upgrading existing equipment or establishing a new installation. Personally, I would recommend that they be sold as aftermarket accessories for existing users.

On the other hand, you could use separate HomePlug AV500 devices to link these boxes while the existing Freeplugs are used simply as power supplies. This could allow you to use a uninterruptable power supply with the Freebox Server to avoid loss of telephony when the power goes down.

At least this is another example of the Freebox Révolution being considered cutting-edge for carrier-supplied consumer-premises equipment especially in an Internet-service market that has healthy competition.

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APC releases a UPS targeted for your router

Article

This Compact Device Keeps Small Electronics Running On | Gizmodo

From the horse’s mouth

APC

Product Page

My Comments

An uninterruptable power supply that I have previously recommended for use with routers, modems and the like was the APC Back-UPS ES series of UPS devices. This was typically for households who live in areas where the power supply may not be stable and they end up having to reset the equipment at the network’s edge in a certain manner every time the power goes down.

Now APC have issued a new and cheap UPS device specifically targeted at modems, routers, VoIP ATAs and the like in the form of the Back-UPS Connect 70. This 75-watt / 125 VA device is sold for US$50 and has enough power to service laptops or these other devices. You could even think of running more of these devices to allow you to support different loads such as one servicing a router, modem and VoIP ATA and another one servicing one or two consumer-tier NAS units.

At the moment, it is only available as a 120V unit for the North-American market, but personally I would like to see the arrival of a 240V unit targeted at the European market at least. This is more so with the French market where the Freebox and similar “n-boxes” are there to provide telephony and Internet service and are dependent on a reliable mains supply.

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AVM hardens consumer router security with latest FritzOS version

Article (German Language / Deutsche Sprache)

AVM kündigt FritzOS 6.20 mit neuen Sicherheitsfunktionen für Ende Juli an | ZDNet.de

From the horse’s mouth

AVM

Press Release (English / Deutsch)

My Comments

 

AVM FRITZ!Box 3490 - Press photo courtesy AVM

AVM Fritzbox 3490 to be able to update itself like your Windows or Mac computer

Previously I had covered AVM being the first consumer router manufacturer offering automatic firmware updates for their router products. Here, this firmware, known as FritzOS 6.20 will have this feature and be rolled across most of their product lineup.

But it will also have the ability to notify users of newer firmware being available along with identifying ports that are open and who logged on or off the management user interface.

What AVM have done is reacted to an industry-wide issue with consumer and small-business routers running old unpatched firmware, typically the software that is “out-of-the-box”. This is often found to be a security risk due to software exploits or vulnerable configuration setups not being rectified even though manufacturers do rectify this through newer firmware updates which the customer has to download and deploy.

A step in the right direction for idiot-proof home network security

As well, they are throwing in enhanced Wi-Fi hotspot, VPN endpoint setup functionality and Web based access to shared storage in to this firmware. It is becoming a sign that firmware integrated in an Internet gateway device is being treated by the device manufacturers as an operating system along the same lines as what you would run on a computer, tablet or smartphone. This means having a continual upgrade program to rectify any bugs or vulnerabilities, allowing for hands-off or one-touch software deployment and even adding functionality in a device’s life.

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Solwise offers an in-wall multi-function access point for £33.68

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Solwise

IP-W30AP product page

My comments

Solwise have released another of the wall-mount wireless access points which are initially pitched at the hotel and bed-and-breakfast trade. But in their sales copy, they were also pitching it at those of us who want a neat installation for that extension access point in our home network.

The IP-W30AP access point can create an 802.11g/n 2.4GHz dual-stream Wi-Fi segment and also has an up-front Ethernet socket. It connects to the host network using a rear-mount Ethernet socket and is powered by 802.3af-compliant Power-Over-Ethernet. As well, there is an RJ11 pass-through telephone socket so you don’t have to have a separate outlet for your landline phone.

But, to cater to today’s people, they have provided a USB charging socket for use with charging smartphones, external battery packs, Bluetooth headset adaptors and similar gadgets. This would be able to work at 500mA which would satisfy overnight charging of most of these gadgets but wouldn’t work well with tablets like the iPad or just work in a way to avoid compromising these devices’ battery runtime.

As for this device’s power supply needs, Solwise have you covered with a power injector or, as I have covered before, you could bring this access point on to a HomePlug AV500 segment with their Power-Over-Ethernet-capable “homeplug”.

Being pitched to the hotel installation, this device can support the sophisticated VLAN setups with multiple SSIDs mapped to different VLANs. On the other hand, it doesn’t have the ability to support WPS-based “push-to-connect” device enrollment – this would be something you would have to do at your home network’s main router. As well, they could make available a simultaneous dual-band variant that can exploit the 5GHz band either to 802.11n or 802.11ac standards.

For home network users, this device would come in handy as an extension access point for installations where you are wiring for Ethernet and need to bring Wi-Fi in to the “other part” of the house. This is more so with those houses that implement thick walls or foil-lined insulation where the Wi-Fi wireless network wouldn’t perform properly. Similarly, this would work well for that “guest-house” bungalow or similar building where you are wanting to “go the extra mile” and wire for Ethernet as part of establishing a multi-building home network.

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