Tag Archives: Airport Extreme

DIR-825 and SharePort

If you have the D-Link DIR-825 and are trying to get the SharePort to work, there has been a recent update. Thanks very much to Nikolay for the information. I’m happy with the Airport Extreme but his info may be useful for you. Although you can find the comment at this link, here is the post:

“Not sure when you tried to install the SHareport drivers for MAC but now they are available… over the Christmas (Dec.2010) holiday I installed the drivers for the Mac — downloaded the drivers from the D-Link support web site / the site for DIR-825 and was able to even use TimeMachine on the MAC with the USB drive connected on the router…..The link to the MAC is 802.11n Next I need to figure out the Shareport with my Ubuntu Linux desktop PC. Good luck;”

So, here is hoping that Nikolay’s finding will help you as well.

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Updates

Various Updates


Ultimate Ears 5vi

The link to the previous post is here. After spending more time with the 5vi, I like them very much. Contrary to my original intentions, I really haven’t played much with the foam. Even after weeks of use, the silicone tips continue to feel like small acorns jammed into my ears; they don’t annoy me as much as they originally did but it still isn’t terribly pleasant.

Magic TrackPad

The link to the previous post is here. There is no question, the Magic TrackPad, combined with BetterTouchTool, has become a huge time-saver for me. Not once since my original posting have I missed my old faithful Logitech MX Revolution. Here are my favorites:

  • Four finger slide left or right to bring up the app switcher, then two fingers left or right to select the app, then four finger tap to activate. Standard drivers.
  • Three finger tap to send ⌘R, primarily for refreshing websites. BetterTouchTools.
  • TipSwipe Left Finger Left to send ⌘⇧[. With three fingers on the pad, slide the left-most finger to the left a bit. This moves me left one tab. BetterTouchTool.
  • TipSwipe Left Finger Right to send ⌘⇧]. With three fingers on the pad, slide the left-most finger to the right a bit. This moves me right one tab. BetterTouchTool.
  • Five Finger Tap to show the desktop. This is one command that I’ve missed from Windows and BetterTouchTools makes it easy to bring to the Mac.

Magic TrackPad for Windows

Go here for instructions on how to extract the Apple Magic TrackPad Windows drivers from the BootCamp installer that Apple provides here: 32-bit or 64-bit.

The instructions will tell you to find the Bootcamp3135* folders. You can ignore the #Bootcamp3135* folders. I have to say that this did not work with my POS Dell Latitude D620. It proves nothing, though, since the Dell was able to locate my Mac on Bluetooth but could not discover the Magic TrackPad OR my Plantronics Voyager Pro headset.

Magic TrackPad for Ubuntu

In VMware Fusion, the Magic TrackPad works just fine as a standard trackpad. Two fingers to scroll in FireFox also works. Here is information on pairing with Ubuntu. Since I’m using Fusion, I did not have to do any pairing. Here is another page that includes a link to patches (it’s in the main body of posting).

Airport Extreme

The link to the previous post is here. There have been no complaints from the family about web access since installing the Airport Extreme. It does provide more reliable iTunes streaming to our Airport Express, which is about as far from the router as you can get in our house. By more reliable, I mean that we don’t get the cut-outs and buffering lags that we would get in nearly every song using the DIR-825. Unfortunately, as anticipated, it has NOT resolved my problem with losing my Internet connection. It’s no longer a daily event (more like every 2-3 days), but it still happens. The issue is that my Internet connection will just disappear. Adium stays connected but web traffic completely disappears, as does the Mail connection to my ISP’s e-mail. If I have VMware Fusion running Ubuntu, it retains its connection. This has been happening since I upgraded to Snow Leopard. Based on feedback on the Apple forum I have tried:

  • Changing my DNS server to OpenDNS or Google
  • Flushing the DNS cache
  • Renewing DHCP

Only a reboot resolves the issue. This seems not to happen with the MBP’s in the house but they aren’t on all the time like the iMac, so I guess I’m not surprised.

Sharing USB Drive with Windows

As mentioned in the original posting, connecting a USB drive to the DIR-825 was pointless. The software that D-Link provides for OS X was worthless. Going back to the original developer version helped make the drive recognizable but it still couldn’t be used reliably. Files of any size bigger than a few hundred KB would time out. The good news is that sharing the USB drive with Windows from the Airport Extreme was extremely easy and seems to be quite reliable so far.

  1. Go into the Airport Utility and find the IP address for the Airport Extreme.
  2. Go to the Windows machine and run Windows Explorer.
  3. From Windows Explorer, go to Tools->Map Network Drive.
  4. Select an unused drive letter.
  5. In the “Folder” field enter \\IP_address\USB drive name. Example \\192.16.8.0.1\My_HD.
  6. Check Reconnect at logon if desired.

Airport Extreme 2.4 vs. 5.0

After seeing that there have been a number of searches for Airport Extreme comparisons between the 2.4GHz and 5.0 GHz modes, I decided to augment the original table with iStumbler readings at 5GHz also. This is only for the Airport Extreme. With the DIR-825, the 5.0 GHz band was useless in rooms 5, 6, 7 so we turned it off. Those who are interested can interpret the results for themselves (or feel free to post your thoughts below).

As a follow-up, we have been using the Airport Extreme for two weeks now and I have been very pleased. The USB drive share has worked very well and I haven’t experienced any of the other weird symptoms that we had with the DIR-825. The weirdest symptom was that most days my iMac would lose its connection with the Internet and I would have to reboot. I tried changing the DNS from my ISP to OpenDNS to Google DNS (along with a variety of other things at the promptings of folks on the Apple forums). So far, with the Airport Extreme pointing only at my ISP DNS, the problem has not resurfaced. I’m not prepared to conclude that the problem is gone but it has certainly been nice not to have to deal with it for the past few weeks.

Also, after switching the MBP back to 5.0 GHz, it has been very responsive. Seeing how much better it works than the DLink, I’m going to leave it on and see how things go. If I start getting complaints, I’ll switch back and post here.

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D-Link DIR-825 vs. Airport Extreme — Sort Of

wpid-voila_capture143-2010-07-12-20-521.jpgVS.wpid-voila_capture144-2010-07-12-20-521.jpg

I hate routers. Seriously. Maybe it’s me but I just haven’t had great experiences with them. Over the last 12 years or so, we’ve had 5 or 6 different routers; is there an unwritten rule that they must suck?

The DIR-825 has been on point for the last two plus years. We bought it because it got excellent reviews. For example, on Cnet it got 3.5 stars out of 4 (interestingly, checking the user reviews now shows an average of 2 stars with 49 votes).

This sucker has been frustrating from the beginning. D-Link seems to churn these things out without ever perfecting the firmware or bothering to adequately update it after the fact (call me stupid but 3 of my routers have been D-Link). This router (the Rev-A version) was never able to determine that new firmware was available. It would randomly reset the date and time, which played hell with my favorite feature; the ability to turn the wireless off at a certain time of night. It would do this whether I asked it to get the time settings from my computer, from manual settings, or from the Internet. With Shareport, it offers the ability to connect a USB drive for network access. Using the D-Link drivers, I was unable to even see the hard drive. I eventually found out that they just don’t work with Macs. By using these drivers, I was able to get the hard drive recognized but it was very unreliable. Writing or reading large files was impossible. If you’re seriously techie, the DIR-825 allows a wealth of control over your network. Time will tell if that granular control provides benefit or not.

The signal was pretty good on the 2.4 GHz band but not at all good at 5GHz. As the family got more and more dependent on their laptops, I found myself searching for a way to improve the signal so that the kids could move freely about the house. After watching for a while, I found this antenna at Meritline and bought two when they were on sale for $6.95 each (seems to happen every few weeks).

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As you’ll see below, the antennas definitely improved our signal. Everyone noticed that their range had improved; they were even able to work out on the deck. So, just as things started looking up, fate dealt me an interesting opportunity…

Although I was intrigued by the Airport Extreme, I felt I had been burned enough on routers that I was unwilling to shell out the big bucks that Apple was asking. Plus, it pissed me off that there were only three ethernet ports. As time passed, I bought a 1GB switch that sat next to the router because not even 4 ports was enough. Then, Cowboom offered a refurbished Airport Extreme at a fantastic price. How could I pass it up? Now was the time to see if Apple could change my experience with routers.

The unit was delivered promptly and was well packaged for shipping. The inner box was nondescript and non-Apple. Inside was the manual, the power cord/brick, and the router. As with anything Apple, setup was a breeze. Plug it in, plug the Mac in, then activate the Airport Utility. The utility allowed me to quickly name the network, set a password, and go. I went beyond the standard and setup a guest zone, as well as changing the IP range from the default of 10.0… Gone was the ability to have the wireless turn on and off based on the clock. Gone was the ability to set priority for my Vonage adapter and our Xbox 360. However, unlike the D-Link, plugging a hard drive into the USB port provided instant satisfaction. The hard drive shows up under “Shared” in the Finder Sidebar.

Overall, setup took me 5 minutes. This contrasts with the D-Link, which I recently had to setup again after finally finding a firmware update that I hoped would fix the time issue as well as an ongoing connection issue. The firmware upgrade wiped my settings because I wasn’t smart enough to save my settings first. That setup took over an hour.

Before plugging in the Extreme, I decided to get signal strength readings from various spots in our house. I did this from the same spots using iStumbler to provide the readings. Of course, I don’t know how accurate the iStumbler readings are but it’s all I had to go with. I took the readings using the DIR-825 with the standard antennas, using the DIR-825 with the Meritline antennas, and using the Extreme. The table below shows the readings, with a brief description of how far (approximately) the spot was from the router. Wherever it says “over,” it is indicating an approximate horizontal direction away from the router.

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Time will tell how my experience goes with the Extreme and I’ll provide updates as my experience continues.


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