WiFi: Draytek 2927ac WiFi vs Unifi NanoHD

A Draytek, be it a 2765, 2865, or 2927 based on WAN connectivity and LAN complexity is my go to device for a router. More than likely these are the ‘ac’ variants as WiFi provision is expected rather than featured.

In newer Draytek models the perceived performance of wireless as been lacking based on earlier models such as the rock solid 2860n/plus with reduced range and throughput speeds, in particular poor VoIP performance for my industry.

This could be down to the passage of time and how WiFI has become even more ubiquitous, in demand and ultimately a more congested radio band. Regardless an alternative solution needs to be explored.

Previous dabbling with deployment of Unifi access points have yielded trouble fee results, so this would be a quick win. Trouble is, the default AC-Pro and AC-LR are in serious supply shortages at present. Wifi 6 variants have better stock availability but also have a higher purchase cost.

The only Unifi AC product that is plentiful is the NanoHD, so in desperation lets see if it is a justifiable upgrade to the Draytek offering…

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NordVPN / Draytek 2862 LAN to LAN Not Connecting

I’ve been a NordVPN customer for about 6 months now, mainly due to its ongoing support of L2TP connections. However recent changes to its service put my use of this service with my Draytek 2862 in jeopardy. Luckily there is a fix, and it’s a story of updates…

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Using Phone Wiring for Networking?

Here’s a quick one, ever thought of taking some existing phone extension wiring and converting for use in ethernet networking?

Since moving in I’ve had an analogue phone extension socket in the bedroom. The cable runs outside and down the side of the house, before returning into the house close to the BT master socket. It was connected, but was immediately removed to get the best internet speed at the master.

It has 3 pairs of copper, one pair short of what is needed for traditional Cat5 cable, but it is feasible to get 100Mbps from just 2 pairs, all I need to physically connect my Raspberry Pi media player in the bedroom to my network.

There’s nothing wrong with connecting it up, right?

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My FTTP Journey

Unexpectedly and to much excitement, my home internet is now provided via FTTP.

For background, I was previously in a FTTC environment getting average speeds due to my distance from the cab, however good enough to assumably be overlooked for the next phase of the Openreach Ultrafast rollout. Not that I’m complaining, 2020 is the year my speed gets a much-needed boost.

2020 also turns out to be the inaugural international work from home year, so had the opportunity to have a front seat view from my home office on the activity and timeline that brought FTTP home.

I’d like to share my observations and timeline as an example of what you can expect should you get the inkling of fibre coming to your street soon.

Before we get started, as my expectations rose, I found this post by Andy’s World invaluable for identifying activity and helping me confirm that FTTP was on its way.

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Testing Draytek WAN2 Throughput

In a series of events that I thought wouldn’t have happened for many years, FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) has just become available to my home. With available speeds of 1000/330Mbps available the temptation is to go for the maximum, but will my current infrastructure actually deliver what’s on offer?

My current router is a Draytek 2862ac, which has an advertised 400Mbps throughput at the WAN, but what can it actually achieve in the real world? This will be the basis on choosing a FTTP speed profile.

Speed testing a router can be setup with a couple of laptops…

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LibreElec – Pi Camera Mjpeg Streaming

Following the setup of a Cent OS CCTV server, I’ve been using Raspberry Pi’s as video sources. But what if there was a Raspberry Pi in perfect situ for a CCTV camera, but was already in use as a media player?

A Linux system has always had the impression that it is versatile, so this should be an achievable task. A barrier would be how to get this done with the operating system installed, in this case it is LibreElec, an OS with the tagline “Just enough OS for Kodi”. Therefore, it would be more of a challenge than a usual Debian install.

The team at LibreElec saw this type of thing coming, and included the Docker service as a Kodi addon to allow the curious tinkerer to add more than Kodi to a Pi.

If you have the LibreElec based Pi in the opportune placement to add a camera, here is how to add Mjpeg streaming capabilities…

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Motioneye – Cent OS CCTV Server

If you’d ever searched for Raspberry Pi projects that involved a camera then the results would certainly include Motioneye OS, an easy to use self-contained operating system that is truly (write then) plug and play.

Looking for a CCTV project earlier this year I too was drawn in by this, and with my small abundance of RPi spares it was the cheapest choice, using a couple of RPi 3B+ for video, and a Zero W for time-lapse image capture. All processing was self-contained on each Pi with capture data passed over via SMB to a Windows file share.

This worked, but had a couple of problems that prevented it from being trustworthy. Firstly, it stops recording video after a few days of uptime, by creating empty files. And secondly the time-lapse camera seemed to reset every few minutes that created in white out image capture as the camera’s exposure setting recalibrated, ruining a time-lapse video.

Looking wider there was also the performance issue. In Motioneye OS’ default state of managing all features, the highest FPS seemed to max at 15 fps even on the Pi 3B+. Forums suggest this is due to the motion eye daemon handling all the image processing in software, putting a strain on the Pi’s modest CPU.

The idea and goal is to move the processing and IO responsibilities to my server, which would be far more capable than the then latest available RPi, and as I have chosen Cent OS to be my go-to Linux OS of choice, this is what I’ll be using.

A gateway to make this possible is an option in Motioneye OS, Fast Network Camera. This when set relinquishes the Pi of all processing duties and serves to just stream the camera capture as best as possible via MJPEG.

Here’s how to set up Motioneye on a Cent OS server to be a central data hub for a network of RPi Motioneye OS cameras.

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Taking Things for Granted – The RDP Attack.

Before we start, a story. When I created my first web server, I’d found a copy of Windows NT Server 4.0, upgraded it to Service Pack 6a to get IIS enabled, opened port 80 on the router and viola, working webserver. This was 2001 and unfortunately my creation of a webserver coincided with the spread of the Code Red virus, and it reached my server within days of it being online.

Not knowing at the time, and thinking it was a one off, formatted the hard drive and completed the whole setup again. A day passed before the virus was back. Now with the knowledge of what was happening and wary of it happening again. I rebuilt the server and this time put the website behind port 8080, this time the virus never returned.

I thought to myself that this was security through obscurity, and with the victory over Code Red, was something I held onto for many years.

I applied this method when it came to opening RDP access to the outside world, choosing a seemingly obscure port 8021 on each network setup. However, I’ve been dealt a wakeup call following what I’ve just seen…

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Netgear – Wireless Power To It’s Full

Living in a block of flats is a nightmare when it comes to getting reliable wireless network coverage, especially when only having 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi as it is a heavily congested frequency. Over the last few months I’ve found the connection constantly dropping on my wireless devices, even within a few feet of the access point.

I use a Netgear FVS318N for my wireless connections and a frustration is that the region is locked to Europe, where the radio power is limited more than other parts of the world.

This means the highest achievable power is half, raising it to full results in this dead end:

Very annoying, this post shows how to get a region locked Netgear use all the power available, and to discover what devices in the area are competing for the wireless space.

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