Monday, February 20, 2006

Netgear WPN802, do I hear the words damp squib?

Right, I'll try to keep this short and spare you the few days it took to get this working. So in summary:

  • Bought a Netgear WPN802 from Ebuyer.com to replace my piece of shit U.S. Robotics USR8054 (codename "Turdbox")
  • Installation instructions on Netgear - change your IP address, plug in cable to router, configure via web browser
  • Come on, connect, connect you bitch
  • I am typing in http://192.168.0.231, look it's right fucking in front of you
  • Argghhhhh!!
There aren't many things that can go wrong when you have 3 components; 1 working computer, 1 piece of ethernet cable and 1 brand new wireless router. But somehow it managed to.

Anyway, I finally resolved this by upgrading the firmware on the router to the latest version. It shipped with 1.0.4, and the latest is 2.0.6. If it's brand new I don't know how it's already so out of date (lots of fixes perhaps Mr Netgear?). I know a thing or two about computers, I even know what 'firmware' is, but would your average consumer?

So I plug the thing into my Homechoice box, and voila, it's all working. It's been up for over 24 hours now, and hasn't needed a reboot.

There is one small problem though. It seems that I should have read all the technical details a bit more closely, and should really have gone for the next model up. You see, the WPN802 isn't actually a router, it's an access point, and doesn't perform any of the nice routery things you want, like routing, DHCP, firewalling and most importantly NAT. What this means is that my PC is now exposed to the rest of the world like a cheap hooker bending over in a hurricane. It's got the IP address of my Homechoice box, whereas before it was hidden away in it's own peaceful little network.

Another result of this problem is that I can't actually get to the WPN802 again to configure it, at least not wirelessly. It's sort of like an invisible postman in my flat, relaying messages between Homechoice and my computer. But he's too fast and I can't grab hold of him to ask him how the fuck I configure WPA-SK if I can't open the admin screen.

Never mind. At least it works, and the signal's darn strong. Plus it's really shiny, and has lots of blue flashing lights:


What I might do is get a Cisco PIX off the eBay both for use as a firewall, and to play with. Hey, if I'm going for Cisco Certification it's justified right? I may have failed my first CCNA due to the lack of one of these. Although it was probably because I didn't study enough.

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