Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Denon Heos vs SONOS




Denon Heos vs SONOS
This is one of the review quickies.
This is a review that compares the DENON HEOS to the SONOS PLAYBAR
First off the specs of each are the following presented in a comparison table, where the differences are presented accordingly.
HEOS HomeCinema
SONOS PLAYBAR
Connectivity (a/v)
HDMI x2/ HDMI (ARC), optical, coax, aux (3.5mm),
Optical only (SPDIF standard connector)
Connectivity (Network)
RJ45, Dual band 802.11N wifi (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz)
2xRJ45 ETH x2 and 2.4Ghz 802.11G only
Software controllers
Android 2.3 or higher and Apple iOS app based controllers
Android 2.3 or higher, iOS controller app, Windows (PC) controller app for windows 7 or higher
Speaker config and specs:
2 x tweeters and 2 x woofers in main and 2 x woofers in included subwoofer
6 x woofers and 3 x tweeters
Subwoofer included
Yes
No (extra 700USD approx)
Night modes
Yes
Yes
Includes cables
Yes
Yes
Setup comparison (hardware/software)
Both soundbars seem to be made well on the hardware end and they both don’t feel cheap
They both had great cables included and plugged in fine to my A/V gear.
Here’s a table outlining my experience with setup and config of both units:
HEOS HomeCinema
SONOS PLAYBAR
Ease of installing app
4/5 (app install was short)
3/5 (app install took longer)
Wifi association
5/5 (worked the first time
3/5 (took a few attempts)
Input selection
5/5 (lots of inputs and worked great on RokuTV and RCA 32 In LCD TV)
1/5 (Only optical for TVs, worked fine on RokuTV but took a long time to actually output audio)
Music server/services
4/5 (worked great with both local and streaming, however some playlists were out of order on emby and serviio servers [DLNA], recognized very quickly though and work well)
3/5 (does not directly have DLNA servers displayed, one must input manual, exact paths to servers vs having them be discovered in app, other services work well though
Sound quality:
Both soundbars have pretty good sound quality. I’ve tested with several movies and types of music.
Here’s a rundown of the highs and lows of both units:
HEOS HomeCinema
SONOS PLAYBAR
Music (all genres)
No distortion
Some distortion on lower frequencies when low freq turned up past 1.4th
Movies
Volume was pretty normal, other than the sub slightly being overpowered, I recommend lower than 1/3rd the way up. Night mode is awesome though and sound range is still full and voices are still hearable. Sub doesn’t constrain either.
Seemed to be a blur and slur on some frequencies, treble needs to be turned way up for movies and then turned way down for music. Night mode can restrain sound and it sounds a bit off. Voices are harder to hear in night mode
Overall Performance:
Both soundbars have done relatively well as a whole, however I’ve presented the high and low points of both:
HEOS HomeCinema
SONOS PLAYBAR
Connectivity perf (A/V)
had some issues with maintaining audioconnectivity with roku TV sometimes and needed to just open the app and let it sit for a while and connectivity would resume, updates have corrected it though and it's gotten much better. No CEC or control issues that often either
Had some issues with lag and took a while to get going with the RokuTV. Does not work with RCA dumb TVs that are made around 2010. Optical does not work with them and requires purchase of a new TV to make work. No workarounds without expensive converters
Connectivity perf (Network)
Maintains good connectivity overall, however takes a long time to reconnect. However is
Full dual band N and works well
Maintains good connectivity, however it takes a very long time to connect and re-associate and also only works in wireless G standard which is very extremely dated and also delivers inferior streaming quality.
Services
Works great with media servers (local and online)
Works ok with online services, however local streaming lacks
Overall
4/5
3/5
Closing thoughts:
Both soundbars are “The” ones to have, however for those that seek ultimate compatibility with thier A/V gear should go with the Denon offering, as well as being able to interface with local media servers like Plex, Emby, ServIIO, or other DLNA offerings. Those that have a TV that has no issues with optical, have a simple wifi network, and not use DLNA could benifit from the SONOS, however, SONOS remains vulnerable to being phased out when network admins start to block 802.11G clients or traffic shape them to the point they no longer work, and the lack of HDMI/ARC and other inputs can be a problem for those that have older TVs or ones that drop outdated optical in favor of HDMI or wireless. The fact, also, that SONOS has no dual band wifi will scare people away that have too much 802.11 2.4Ghz congestion, as it RELIIES on it. The HEOS uses dual band which is best in most congested environments. I could not, also get the SONOS to work with many older TVs that lack the HDCP support to support HDMI device output to an optical source like outputting the Roku 1 over HDMI to the SONOS Playbar’s optical. You can’t do that on tons of TVs and it needs to be fixed. I can do that with the HEOS but not the SONOS. SONOS chose simplicity over compatibility and this is where it failed. Also SONOS charges and extra 700 some USD for the subwoofer while DENON includes it. The high points for SONOS are the fact it can be administered via a PC controller app so you don’t need a smartphone to manage it is nice. I wish DENON had that. However DENON has a much more refined app experience.  
Overall the ratings for both are as follows:
Denon HEOS: 4.5/5
SONOS Playbar: 3.5/5

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cisco Meraki scaling back throughput of various hardware firewalls!

This is a quickie article:

Please note: UPDATE AT BOTTOM the issue has been resolved at this time. The article will remain as such for documentation purposes.

Cisco Meraki has been scaling back the throughput speed for various hardware firewall products including the Z1, MX60/w,MX64/w, MX80.

A user on Reddit has reported the drama in the following thread:
https://www.reddit.com/r/meraki/comments/41laj8/did_the_z1s_just_get_a_bandwidth_lock_pushed_down/


Sure enough I've done a speed test just now and here's the result:
http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/5010989908  

Here's a result prior to this:
http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/4596230047

An employee on Spiceworks forums has said this:


However this statement does not seem to be true on my connection.

Earlier when I first bought mine I got an upgrade that brought mine UP from 50Mbps to 80Mbps stateful firewall throughput. Why they would retract this and bring it down is beyond me. It's not like it costs them any extra since we pay cloud fees and this is happening on OUR NETWORKS and not thiers. They just have a one off cust cloud controller that they have a solid datacenter contract on, so it costs them nothing extra to keep our speeds up.

Many of us have paid for higher speed connections and now we aren't going to be able to get our money's worth. Also why leave the Celluar uplink unlimited but the WAN interface limited? you think it would be the other way around since Cellular based links are more expensive and LOWER speed?

This move from Meraki does not make any sense at all and I hope to hear back from them on this.

This is a crazy move that will cost them dearly. Very depressing since they have been a very solid company through and through and now they have to mess up like this. I'd hate to leave them since it would involve a week to reconfigure my network and to find another brand that can traffic shape and QoS and have as nice management as Meraki :(

I hope to see them undo this fatally bad move. I've been a HUGE supporter of them and I'd hate to see them do this.

Cisco/Meraki reps are welcome to comment and I encourage them to make this right for us! Thank you!



Update!

It seems as they took the limitation off the slider they have for the WAN interface. Hope they keep it this way.

I did do a speed test and here's my result:
http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/5013458916

Will continue to do speed tests and track this issue. Please, comment and report as well. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Apologies for the last post BLOGGER HAD AN ISSUE

I would like to apologize for a certain post that wasn't supposed to appear on here. Blogger had an issue and I'm getting that looked into.

Please do not take that personally or anything.

Please also let me know how long that was on there.

Thanks.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ubiquiti Unifi AP AC LR and Lite review



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

Intro: The Ubiquiti Unifi AP AC LR and Lite are enterprise level wireless access points that are extremely affordable for small to medium businesses, has lots of features and can tolerate a lot of heavy usage that enterprises require.
Review Note: I have been provided two APs The AC-Lite and AC-LR or Long Range. They both work together on the controller software that works on windows, mac, and linux called UNIFI. The app requires Java runtimes so please keep that in mind. Also for the controller to see the APs and adopt them you must have the controller on the same VLAN segment as the APs and you must let windows firewall or whatever firewall you use allow them.


Features: The Unifi AP AC LR and Lite features the following:

I am providing a comparison table for both units for this review:
























Setup:

1)Power brick was a POE injector. Allows for just one cable into the AP.
2)Instant setup was Smooth with installing the controller software (.exe) on my windows server 2012 machine


Let's take a look at the really helpful status page that tells us all our status.




Wireless Configuration:

Here’s the WLAN config screens:
Radio Settings:




The Unifi AP AC LR and Lite supports WPA/WPA2 and supports PSK and Enterprise authentication types that can be different for each SSID. Selecting “Enterprise” allows you to use RADIUS 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.


Roaming:
The roaming works ok, however, the band steering does not work very well.



Throughput Tests: (Wireless) (AC-LR/AC Lite)

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 theAPACLR/Lite: 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/Asus AC53 USB WLAN (note: The Amped ACA1 does not work in that machine anymore and is unfit for tests till further notice and is no longer a recommended adapter)

AC LR:
5Ghz 802.11ac mode: Channel 149 -75dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 6Mbytes/sec or 48Mbits/sec



2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 11 -59dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 7Mbytes/sec or 56Mbits/sec



AC Lite:
5Ghz 802.11ac mode: Channel 44 -74dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 13Mbytes/sec or 104Mbits/sec



2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 11 -70dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 7Mbytes/sec or 48Mbits/sec


Test environment: (Set 2)

Specs of Building Test Run 1: 16Ft away thru a wood door hallway right outside the office where the Unifi AP AC LR and Liteis located.

Specs of server (my machine in the same room as theAPAC-LR/Lite): 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

AC-LR:
2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 11 -71dBm

LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 4Mbytes/sec or 32Mbits/sec



AC Lite:
2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 11 -40dBm

LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 1Mbytes/sec or 8Mbits/sec : Note: Issue completing test and unstable



Test environment: (Set 2a)

Specs of server (my machine in the same room as theAPAC-LR/Lite): 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/Edimax AC600

AC-LR:
5 GHz 802.11anac mode: Channel 149+ -70dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 9Mbytes/sec or 72Mbits/sec



AC-Lite:
5 GHz 802.11anac mode: Channel 44+ -61dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 9Mbytes/sec or 72Mbits/sec





Conclusion:

Pros:
Decent management software with lots of options
Decent coverage and throughput

Cons:
Very cheap
No external antennas
Sticky client issues
Band steering issues
Unstable 2.4Ghz performance


Rating:  7/10
Recommended: Yes









Sunday, November 22, 2015

Please take our android app dev responsiveness survey!

We've created a neat survey to gauge app developer responsiveness to issues, and reviews. This survey only has 14 questions and you may qualify for an incentive for completing it!

Please click the following link to start the survey!
https://surveyplanet.com/56524d09c6c5e7955b7549a9

Thank you and good luck.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Newegg.com compromised!

 
 Newegg.com has been compromised by a nasty "flash upgrade" pop up that leads to malicious software. DO NOT ACCEPT!!!

Redit link 1: https://www.reddit.com/r/buildapcsales/comments/3sva4q/meta_allegedly_newegg_has_been_hacked_and_it_is/

Original source: http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/newegg-appears-to-be-infected-with-some-kind-of-social-engineering-hack.217568/

Someone has encountered the problem with Kasperski (sorry for mentioning another vendor! But this needed to be said)

capture010.jpg
(Care of Jetster At Tech Power up forums)


Here's a handy report on the IP address this attack is originating from http://urlquery.net/report.php?id=1447553569796
Please see there lots of IPs to block in your firewalls to further secure yourselves from other malware/attacks as well. I blocked in my hardware and software firewalls and hostsfiles as well. I suggest y'all do so too



For all that want to contact the owners of the IP address where the attacks originated from please contact support@centrilogic.com and be very nice and tell them the attacks came from codehost.ml and they are hosted with PKHost which resides on the network of Centrilogic. If we get rid of the source of the attacks we can save other webmasters/admins as well as newegg. source 1 http://toolbar.netcraft.com/site_report?url=http://www.codehost.ml source 2: http://urlquery.net/report.php?id=1447553569796 also source2 has IP addresses you can block in your firewalls till centrilogic or the other layers of the food chain can take action. Please be safe eggers!
 
 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Amped Wireless APR175 review



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

Intro: The Amped Wireless APR175 is a SOHO level wireless access point that is targeted at pro-sumers market  has an average amount  of features and can tolerate a good bit of heavy usage that pro-sumers require. 

Features: The Amped Wireless APR175 features the following:


1) Dual band 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz operation with 3 x 3 MIMO connectivity at up to 1200Mbps
2) 2 wired Gigabit LAN ports (1 PoE uplink/1 LAN)
3) 3 3x3mimo  dual band ext antennas with 27dBm output power for great wireless coverage.
4) SSIDs with configurable VLANs for each one providing more security then standard guest networks
5) Can operate as a controller and manage up to 7 APR175s with grouping
6) Full VLAN configuration 
7) And lots more


Setup: 

Setup was average, needed to be set as “access point” mode for this test. 
Also was unable to complete setup wirelessly. Needed to connect laptop to eth port to complete setup. 
Unit has a power brick like a laptop one instead of on the plug itself. 
Unit powered as PoE from a Cisco Meraki MS220-8P Poe Switch in 802.3.AT mode. 
Obtained proper IP from Cisco Meraki Z1 router within 4 minutes. 

Let's take a look at the really helpful status page that tells us all our status.




Wireless Configuration: 

Here’s the WLAN config screens:
Radio Settings:



Security Settings:



The Amped Wireless APR175 supports WPA/WPA2 security. Also supports RADIUS with external server. 
Unit lacks onboard RADIUS server and splash authentication pages. Also lacks proper SNMP implementation. Unable to edit strings and import MIB/OID file to apps like PRTG
Also adding another VLAN SSID does NOT work. clients stuck at "obtaining IP address"


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 the Amped WirelessAPR175): 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 9650/6GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 RAM/Nvidia Geforce 650Ti/Samsung 840 120GB SSD/Windows Server 2012 Standard/Asus AC53 USB WLAN connection

5Ghz 802.11anac mode: Channel 36+ -60dBm

LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 20Mbytes/sec or 160Mbits/sec


2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 6  -45dBm
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 Amped WirelessAPR175 is located. 

Specs of server (my machine in the same room as theAmped WirelessAPR175): 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 6 -50dBm

LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 4Mbytes/sec or 32Mbits/sec 


Same system WLAN USB (Edimax AC600)

5.0Ghz 802.11ac mode channel 36+ -66dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 8Mbytes/sec or 64Mbits/sec







Conclusion: 

Pros:
Ø Easy controls and options
Ø Decent throughput
Ø Fairly smooth setup

Cons:
Ø Lacks some options for configuration 
Ø No detailed RF controls or monitoring
Ø No splash screen authentication
Ø No onboard RADIUS server
Ø No device onboarding
 
Ø No band steering
Ø Clunky UI
Ø No detailed client statistics like error rates, data-link rates, HOSTNAME, etc. Only displays MAC add and sig str. 


Rating:  5/10 
Recommended: mabye