Friday, October 24, 2014

Architecture Rants: Gizmodo's take on Frank Gehry!

Gizmodo does not know what they are talking about!

OK, I was going through my facebook feed and I stumbled upon this:

Frank Gehry Says Architecture Today Is "Pure Shit"

[link]


And I rolled my eyes.

Do they want to see more bland neo-classical tract homes and shopping centers? Do they want more boring concrete boxes everywhere? Do they want wooden neo-colonial houses rotting after a decade or two?

Their post really doesn't make any sense.

We should celebrate people like Frank Gehry and their designs! They are very unique and you don't get bored of them!



These:





Are a LOT more exciting and innovative then this:




Oh and I would totally respond to the critics and the fools that don't know the workings of architecture like this as well:
Like a boss!!!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Windows 10 adventures

Since the Windows 10 preview is finally out I decided to take it for a test drive... However I really wanted to push myself and try it on a system with the following specs:

Dell Insipron 6000/Intel Centrino 1.3Ghz/512MB DDR RAM/60GB HDD/Intel GMA 945/Windows XP Pro/Intel Pro 2200BG

This Dell Inspiron 6000 came with XP, but I upgraded it to Windows 7 recently and it did ok with it. I even got the wireless driver (Intel 2200BG) working as well as the Intel GMA.


I decided that, well if windows 7 works then 10 ought to.

(Install progress so far)















1st phase complete! c'mon.....!















Next it's "taking care of a few things..." LOL.















OMG It actually made it to the desktop!!!!! WOW!!















New start menu.... wierd...















Had some issues getting the Intel wireless working....















Managed to get it working with the Vista drivers and here's the result!




























Still trying to get the Intel GMA drivers working. Vista ones aren't as well as the XP ones even in "compatibility" mode. :-( anyone here care to help?


Still suprised that it works and I hope MS keeps it that way. It's still faster then even XP was. A little bit slower then 7 is though. Still waaaayyy more usable then XP!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Webhosting talks Vol 1 - Weatherly cloud

Here I will be occasionally sharing experiences I've had with various hosting companies.

I decided that the first volume of this will go to the latest "company" I've dealt with.

Here's a bit of experience I've had with a company that promoted itself on Cisco Meraki's Google + page called: Weatherly cloud.

They seemed like a decent company with some neat looking offerings such as SSD based "cloud" servers, a generous amount of space, and a decent looking website and management portal.

I decided to take them up on the "trial offer" and I expected to have a month of awesome to play around with a speedy SSD cloud server.

Seems fair enough.


One problem.... How would the connectivity be and how redundant was this "cloud" hosting? If they didn't have good connectivity what good is redundant "cloud" architecture if the connectivity wasn't such to back that up?

I asked their online chat representitive and here's what they had to say:






Wait a minute.... They only have one sole connectivity provider and only one "backup" yet they promote themselves as "fully redundant"? The "other provider" they have listed is NOT a backbone provider but a computer components company that makes power supplies, RAM, cases, etc... The rep is clueless and not very understanding. One provider does not make a redundant network!

After a few more questions I decide to take a trial offer anyways.

I fired up the control panel to this:


I click the button to open the connection settings and .rdp file to get started on managing my server right? .... nope.

I shot support an email and explained that without that I don't have access and they told me that the button is really a "port forwarding button! but it's clearly made out to look like an "access" button! Why would they do that?

That is going to confuse people and they will feel like they can't access the server!


Also one problem with the service is they make no indication on where the server is physically located and this is very important to clients. You have to ask the online chat rep where they are located and he said it was in dallas, tx. Why couldn't they indicate this?

Also the trial time is only ONE DAY. Not hear enough time to determine how good they are, let alone even get a decent site up and running in that time. 


Also something wierd happened when I replied to the support ticket via email. The rep that did answer had in his email signature that the Weatherly cloud is really CubeXS Weatherly in:
Cloud Support Department   |   1st Floor Federation House, Shahrah – E – Firdousi,
T: +92-21-111-282-397 Ext:1  |   Block 5 Main Clifton, Karachi.

which is Pakistan.


So they do not disclose the server location or the company's location on their site. two red flags for those that need to keep business tabs. Some companies have requirements to only do business with companies in certain countries and Pakistan might be blacklisted or something bad might happen if they do.  A lot of businesses are going to steer clear of this "hosting company" and I think you should too.

Even though the reps were fast the amount of information they hide, the fact they do NOT have redundant connectivity even though they advertise as such, and the fact they think Corsair is a backbone provider is clear enough reason to steer clear.


UPDATE!!!

The post on the Cisco Meraki Google + page was removed! Good:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Dlink DAP2690 Review


  1. Intro
  2. Features
  3. Setup
  4. Wireless configuration
  5. Throughput tests (Wireless/Wired)
  6. Closing Notes



Intro: The Dlink DAP2690 is a enterprise level wireless access point that is  somewhat affordable for small to medium businesses, has lots of features and can tolerate a lot of heavy usage that enterprises require.


Features: The DAP2690 features the following:


Dual band 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz operation with 2 x2 MIMO connectivity at up to300Mbps
2 wired Gigabit LAN ports
4 2x2 mimo  5dBi  dual band internal SMA antennas with 21dBm output power for great wireless coverage and can also be upgraded for even better range.
Full VLAN configuration
Full and extremely detailed traffic shaping (QoS) and firewall controls
Fixed and DHCP client address assignments
Intrusion Protection Services
SNMP
And lots more


Setup:


1) Default SSID is dlink however you DO NOT connect to that. You must plug in to a router that has the 192.168.0.x subnet. It will NOT work to configure the URL with 192.168.0.50 default URL that D-Link tells you to. Both have to be in this subnet to configure! I tried attatching to my Meraki Z1 router and it would NOT show up as a connected device. Also for another thing, the d-link access point configures itself to an open SSID BY DEFAULT so if you connect this to your network be prepared to have leechers on you right away. It obtains internet access status immediately, exposing you! Not very good D-Link!
Let's take a look at the status page that tells us all our status.


Wireless Configuration:


Here’s the WLAN config screens:






The DAP2690 supports WPA/WPA2 and supports PSK and Enterprise authentication types that can be different for each SSID. Selecting “Enterprise” allows you to use D-Link Authentication, which allows you to define a username and password rather then a static key, allowing for more fine control over your wireless network. User based controls allow you to define limits PER USER so that if let’s say, they get fired, you just delete thier user account and not have to change the ENTIRE NETWORK’S encryption key.





Intrusion Protection:
The DAP2690 has wireless intrusion protection built in so you don’t have to worry about rogue APs, spoofs, etc. It will also protect against flood attacks, etc.


Here’s the config screens:




The intrusion protection has been tested and when I enabled it my phone/other devices could not connect to ANY of my other SSIDs besides the ones that are on the DAP2690. It worked well. I disabled the IPS features and the phone was able to connect to the other non-DAP2690 SSIDs. This is so people can’t bring rogue access points and it works.


Clustering feature:
The DAP also has something called “AP array” where you can cluster a few APs together and manage them as one


Throughput Tests: (Wireless)


I will be using LAN Speed test for the throughput tests and PRTG to generate the graphs. It also is a comprehensive enterprise level network monitoring software and it can record uptime, transfer rates, errors, etc.


Test environment: (Set 1)


Specs of Building: This is going through about 32 ft through 2 walls, a solid all-wood dresser, and a chimney. The room has plaster walls in some places.


Specs of server :(my machine in the same room as theDAP2690): Intel i5 3570K/16GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 RAM/Nvidia Geforce 650Ti/Samsung 840 120GB SSD/Windows Server 2012 Standard/Realtek GBE NIC


Specs of client: (remote machine in other room): AGNXAndrakon/AMD Phenom 9650/4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 RAM/Nvidia Geforce 650Ti/Samsung 840 120GB SSD/Windows Server 2012 Standard/Amped Wireless ACA1 USB WLAN connection:USB3 via a PCI-Express addon card.


5Ghz 802.11an mode: Channel 161 -76dBm


LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 12Mbytes/sec or 96Mbits/sec


2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 6 -69dBm


LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 5Mbytes/sec or 40Mbits/sec


Test environment: (Set 2)


Specs of Building Test Run 1: 16Ft away thru a wood door hallway right outside the office where the DAP2690 is located.


Specs of server (my machine in the same room as theDAP2690): Intel i5 3570K/16GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 RAM/Nvidia Geforce 650Ti/Samsung 840 120GB SSD/Windows Server 2012 Standard/Realtek GBE NIC


Specs of client: HP2000-412NR/AMD E300/8GB DDR3 RAM/300 GB HDD/AMD RADEON 6310/Windows 7 x64 Home Premium/RalinkRT5390 WLAN


2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 11 -56dBm


LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 7Mbytes/sec or 56Mbits/sec


Test environment: (Set 3)


Specs of server :(my machine in the same room as theDAP2690): Intel i5 3570K/16GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 RAM/Nvidia Geforce 650Ti/Samsung 840 120GB SSD/Windows Server 2012 Standard/Realtek GBE NIC


Specs of client (same room as the DAP2690): HP /Core 2 Duo/2GB DDR2 RAM/20GB HD/Intel GMA/Windows 7 x64 Home Premium/NETGEAR A6200 WiFi USB3.0 Adapter


5Ghz 802.11an mode: Channel 161 -72dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 11Mbytes/sec or 88Mbits/sec


2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 6 -74dBm


LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 5Mbytes/sec or 40Mbits/sec


Conclusion:


Pros:
Decent management software with lots of options
Decent coverage and throughput on 5Ghz


Cons:
No advanced client monitoring
Not so good 2.4Ghz throughput
No advanced logging/stats on website visits like Meraki does
Not very complete client info like Operating system, specs, etc. Very limited client details


Rating:  5/10
Recommended: mabye










Thursday, July 17, 2014

Xirrus XR630 Review




1)Intro
2)Features
3)Setup
4)Wireless configuration
5)Throughput tests (Wireless/Wired)
6)Closing Notes
Intro: The Xirrus XR-630 is a enterprise level wireless access point thathas lots of features and can tolerate a lot of heavy usage that enterprises require.
Review Note: I have been provided two arrays to test the really cool roaming features.
Features: The XR-630 features the following:
1) Dual band 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz operation with 3 x 3 MIMO connectivity at up to 1200Mbps
2) Two configuration interfaces - Both Local and XMS Cloud. XMS cloud is remote managed anywhere
3) 2 wired Gigabit LAN ports (1 PoE/1 ETH)
4) 4 3x3 mimo  x 5dBi  dual band internal antennas with 20dBm output power for great wireless coverage
5) SSIDs with configurable VLANs for each one providing more security then standard guest networks
6) Full VLAN configuration
7) Full and extremely detailed traffic shaping (QoS) and firewall controls
8) Full client connectivity details and monitoring.
9) Fixed and DHCP client address assignments
10) Fully customizable user/group policies
11) Full Intrusion Protection Services
12) SNMP
13) And lots more
Setup:
1) Power brick was a POE injector. Allows for just one cable into the AP.
2) Instant setup was done with the cloud management system and was easy as the Meraki one was. Took a bit longer to configure itself, however.
3) There are two config areas. One is locally served on the device and offers fine control over each array and there also is XMS cloud which has basic controls, however unifies the configuration of all arrays.
Let's take a look at the really helpful status page that tells us all our status.
(XMS Cloud)
Status Page (Local config):

Wireless Configuration:
Here’s the WLAN config screens:
Radio Settings (XMS Cloud):


Local Config:

Security Settings (XMS Cloud):





Local Config:


The XR-630 supports WPA/WPA2 and supports PSK and Enterprise authentication types that can be different for each SSID. Selecting “Enterprise” allows you to use Xirrus Authentication, which allows you to define a username and password rather then a static key, allowing for more fine control over your wireless network. User based controls allow you to define limits PER USER so that if let’s say, they get fired, you just delete thier user account and not have to change the ENTIRE NETWORK’S encryption key.

Intrusion Protection:
The XR-630 has wireless intrusion protection built in so you don’t have to worry about rogue APs, spoofs, etc. It will also protect against flood attacks, etc.
Here’s the config screens and also to note there are custom settings as well.

The intrusion protection has been tested and it’s not as easy to enable as the Aruba AP225 was and it’s a little more complex. You need to turn the RF monitor on and in “timeshare” or “dedicated” mode for the IDS to work.
Also it did not consistantly block the “rogue” AP “Pinkiepie-2 (F87B8C-Amped)” AP. I was still able to connect on my phone. When I had IDS/IPS on the Aruba it worked without a hitch.
Roaming:
The roaming works pretty well, however in order to avoid the sticky client issue the transmit power has to be carefully configured and tweaked in order to avoid that. By default the transmission values did not allow for the actual roaming to occur and for my case they needed to be set to 1dBm for the upstairs in 2.4Ghz and 2dBm for the downstairs in 2.4Ghz. 5Ghz has 7dBm downstairs and 12dBm upstairs. I will note the values go up to 20dBm!
There’s also something called “roaming assist” to help with sticky client issues, which I have a lot on Samsung phones.  

Throughput Tests: (Wireless)
Note: These are done on one array at a time and the 2nd array was disconnected to give you raw throughput PER ARRAY and the coverage values have been reset to factory default (20dBm)
I will be using LAN Speed test for the throughput tests and PRTG to generate the graphs. It also is a comprehensive enterprise level network monitoring software and it can record uptime, transfer rates, errors, etc.
Test environment: (Set 1)
Specs of Building: This is going through about 32 ft through 2 walls, a solid all-wood dresser, and a chimney. The room has plaster walls in some places.
Specs of server :(my machine in the same room as theXR-630): Intel i5 3570K/16GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 RAM/Nvidia Geforce 650Ti/Samsung 840 120GB SSD/Windows Server 2012 Standard/Realtek GBE NIC
Specs of client: (remote machine in other room): AGNXAndrakon/AMD Phenom 9650/4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 RAM/Nvidia Geforce 650Ti/Samsung 840 120GB SSD/Windows Server 2012 Standard/Amped Wireless ACA1 USB WLAN connection:USB3 via a PCI-Express addon card.
5Ghz 802.11ac mode: Channel 161 -52dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 14Mbytes/sec or 112Mbits/sec

2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 11-64dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 10Mbytes/sec or 80Mbits/sec

Test environment: (Set 2)
Specs of Building Test Run 1: 16Ft away thru a wood door hallway right outside the office where the XR-630 is located.
Specs of server (my machine in the same room as theXR-630): Intel i5 3570K/16GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 RAM/Nvidia Geforce 650Ti/Samsung 840 120GB SSD/Windows Server 2012 Standard/Realtek GBE NIC
Specs of client: HP2000-412NR/AMD E300/8GB DDR3 RAM/300 GB HDD/AMD RADEON 6310/Windows 7 x64 Home Premium/RalinkRT5390 WLAN
2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 11 -46dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 6Mbytes/sec or 48Mbits/sec

Test environment: (Set 3)
Specs of server :(my machine in the same room as the XR630): Intel i5 3570K/16GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 RAM/Nvidia Geforce 650Ti/Samsung 840 120GB SSD/Windows Server 2012 Standard/Realtek GBE NIC
Specs of client (Downstairs 26 ft diagonal from XR630 and 3 walls and stairs seperate it): HP /Core 2 Duo/2GB DDR2 RAM/160GB HD/Intel GMA/Windows 7 x64 Home Premium/NETGEAR A6200 WiFi USB3.0 Adapter
5Ghz 802.11ac mode: Channel 161 -72dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 12Mbytes/sec or 96Mbits/sec


2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 11 -64dBm
Unable to complete due to client adapter difficulties.
Special notes:
I added a lot of filters from XMS cloud and went to the local Array config and it did crash the arrays. Both of them crashed when I added more then 10 application filters to the main group! Not good!
I seemed to be able to fix it, however the array status on XMS cloud displayed an error and when I deleted all the filters from the XMS config they did NOT sync to the arrays. The arrays still thought the filters were loaded and also displayed errors in connection to XMS!
We did manage to get it fixed by removing the arrays from XMS and then going to the local config and resetting each array. Then I re-added the arrays to the XMS cloud and they pushed the settings over. Then I re-configed them on each array for the VLANs, radio controls for each (since I use different radio settings for each array) and I was up and running.
The rep I talked to said they should get rid of the global filters option and I highly agree with that statement!
The global filters will block ports that the XMS cloud uses and that’s also why there were a lot of problems.
Conclusion:
Pros:
Ø Excellent management software with lots of options
Ø Lots of RF tools to configure the WLAN radios to your needs
Ø Powerful coverage and throughput with customizable roaming
Ø Very robust security controls and options
Cons:
Ø Pricey
Ø No external antennas
Ø IDS/IPS can be unreliable at times
Rating:  8.2/10
Recommended: Yes