2013-03-29

Stupid Internet Tricks

A few weeks ago I picked up the delightful ASUS Transformer Infinity tablet. About a week ago, I finally replaced my aging, flaky Linksys WRT310N router with a fancy new ASUS RT-N66U router. For one thing, the difference was surprising. They're both Wireless-N routers from major manufacturers; however, while the wifi on the Linksys was unreliable and suffered random device compatibility issues (I had particular issues getting and staying connected from both Android and iOS mobile devices), the Asus is rock-solid. The speed and range are also a tremendous improvement. What more could you want from a router?

Stupid internet tricks, that's what. I spent a few minutes in the (notably snazzy) administration UI for the new router. I set up my (free) ASUS dynamic DNS host name and the (built-in) OpenVPN service, and I can now VPN into my home network securely from anywhere with internet access. A quick install of VNC onto my desktop machine, and I no longer have any use for LogMeIn; I have a free service that does the same thing, but entirely under my control.

The router has some other neat features, including a Guest Access option for the WiFi that allows internet access but blocks LAN access; optional complete separation of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz WANs; dead-simple static IP assignment; and, well, more advantages over my old router than I can even count. Definitely worth what it cost, assuming that it has the reliability and longevity I've come to expect from ASUS products.
Some additional features that influenced my decision to buy the RT-N66U that I've yet to tinker with:
  • The router has 2 USB ports. My printer already has WiFi and Ethernet connectivity, so I don't need them for printer sharing, but I fully intend to hook two USB HDDs up to the router for network file service (which, of course, will then be accessible over the VPN!)
  • The router has full IPv6 support. I tried to set this up at one point and it failed miserably; this is apparently because the shipped firmware (3.0.0.4.122) has a fatal failure in the IPv6 implementation that causes the router to become completely unresponsive when you turn it on. I had to factory reset to get back into it. I've since updated the firmware, but I haven't yet attempted setting up IPv6 again yet.
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