Configuring the SmartRG WE65ac as an Access Point

The SmartRG WE65ac is primarily used as a wireless range extender, which means it will pick up an existing wireless network and re-transmit it. The unit can also be configured as an Access Point, which means the unit is physically connected to your main router via Ethernet. This means that device does not need to be installed within wireless range of your router. The WE65ac is often placed right next the existing router, as the dual-band 802.11ac signal is stronger than most non-802.11ac wireless routers.

Here are instructions for setting up the WE65ac as an access point.

  • Connect a computer to the unit using the Ethernet port on the WE65ac. (an Ethernet cable comes in the WE65ac box)
  • From your web browser, go to http://10.0.10.254
  • You will be prompted for the admin password. This is printed on the back of the unit, as well as in the Quick Start Guide.
    • OPTIONAL: If you want to change the default network name (SSID) and password, click on Wireless Setting on the left and set the info for both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
  • Click Mode Settings on the left, and set unit into AP mode
  • Click Apply.. The unit will restart. You will notice that all the status light on the front will remain on when in AP mode.

 

SmartRG WE65ac WiFi Extender

Customers wishing to extend the range of ther wireless network will be interested in the new SmartRG WE65ac wireless range extenders. These devices plug to an AC wall outlet and can pickup the existing wireless signal from any router and re-transmit it, using the latest dual-band 802.11ac technology. They can also be connected to your router via Ethernet cabling to use it as an access point.

we65ac

You can pick one of these up from the LMi.net office for just $65.00 + tax.

See the spec sheet for more info.

Configuring the SmartRG Gateway with a Static IP Address

By default, all of our DSL circuits come with a dynamically assigned IP address. This means that when your router starts up, it will get an IP address from the DHCP server on our network. When the router is restarted, it may get a different address. For most people, this setup in fine. However, if you wish to have an IP address permanently assigned, you can request a Static IP address be added to your circuit. The main reasons that you may need a static IP address are:

  • You need to connect to a private network (VPN) that has to be setup with your IP address.
  • You need to be able to access devices on your network remotely, so you need to know the IP address to connect to.

If you wish to add a static IP to your account, you must contact the LMi.net support dept. There is a $5.00 per month charge for a static IP address. We can generate the IP in few minutes, and you will need to change the settings in your router or computer with the new IP address at the same time.

Assuming you are using an LMi.net-supplied SmartRG router, here are the steps to configure a static IP address. (if you click on any of these screen shots, you will see an enlarged version)

1) Log into the router (from inside your network) at http://192.168.1.1/admin    The login name is admin and the password is admin.
smartrgmain

From the main Device Info page, take note of the Traffic Type. It will be either ATM or PTM.

2) Click Advanced Setup on the left, and WAN Service beneath it.

wanservice

3) Click the Edit button next to the Interface that corresponds to the Traffic Type of your router. Check the “Use the following Static IP address” box, and type in the static IP info given to you by LMi.net.

 

wansettings

 

4) Click Next, and then Next again to keep the default NAT and Gateway settings.

5) In the DNS Server Configuration page, check the box “Use the following Static DNS IP addresses” and type in the DNS addresses given to you by LMi.net.

staticdns

6) Click Next to see the summary page, then click the “Save/Apply” button.

7) Turn the router off, wait 5 seconds, then turn it back on. That’s it!

 

 

Recommended Streaming Media Products

More and more people are steaming music and video from the Internet, or from files on their computers. We often get asked about the best way to do this. Here are some of our favorite products…

Network Attached Storage (or NAS)

If you have your own collection of movies, music, or photos that you want to access from multiple devices, a good NAS drive is almost essential. A NAS drive is basically a high-capacity hard disk that attaches to your local network (usually directly to your router). Files on the NAS drive can be accessed from anywhere inside your network (and outside if you enable this). Many new computers have solid-state (SSD) drives, which are super fast, but usually have limited capacity. Putting your movies, photos, and music on a NAS drive will save space on your computer and make these files available to other people, as well as on your smartphone or tablet.

Many companies make NAS drives, but Synology is clearly the best. They have models for large companies or single individuals, but they all share the same powerful Disk Station Manager operating system. All Synology drives come with built-in apps that you can use for sharing files, backing up computers, setting up personal cloud storage, and much more. Many third-party vendors have also released software for the Synology OS such as the excellent Plex server that will read in your media files and automatically download CD and Movie artwork and other info from the Internet. You can then access it by free apps available for your smartphone or tablet.

Streaming Media Player

Although most new TVs will allow you to connect to Netflix, a dedicated media player is a better way to go. They are usually faster, and support a lot more apps that what is built into the TV. Roku is probably the most popular streaming player on the market, but the new AppleTV  is now the top dog in the field, thanks to a huge base of available apps, and a very slick touch-pad remote that you can even talk to. Plex now has a free app for the AppleTV, making it the best way to access your own collection of digital movies on your HD television.

If at all possible, connect your media player directly to your router via Ethernet. This will eliminate a lot of problems that people have with dropouts when streaming content.

Music Server

The AppleTV does support playing music (either from your own collection of via Apple Music), but it’s hard to beat the Sonos system. The Sonos app (for your smartphone, tablet, or computer) will allow you to play music from your own collection (stored on your NAS) or from streaming music services like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music. (Sonos supports about 20 different services). The great thing about the Sonos system is that the music is not actually streaming through your device (smartphone, etc). Your device is just used to control the playback to your speakers.

If you already have a home stereo system, just connect the small Sonos Connect box to your audio receiver and your local network (via Ethernet). This method will give you the best audio quality. If you do not have an existing audio system, Sonos makes a line of stand-alone wireless speakers that can connect both to your own music collection or to online music services.

Need help?

Setting all of this equipment up can be tricky. If you need some help, LMi.Net offers in-home installation service for products like these. Just give us a call for more info.

 

Dual-Band 802.11ac DSL Gateway

PHLO+ Customers looking to improve wireless coverage can now upgrade to the new SmartRG SR515ac router. This is a top-of-the-line wireless router with integrated VDSL/ADSL2 modem.

Features include:

  • Separate 2.4 and 5Ghz wireless bands. This will allow you to get out of the more congested network channels that most people are still using.
  • 802.11ac Support. This will provide greater wireless range, assuming your device supports 802.11ac. Most devices made in the past 2 years support this.
  • Gigabit Ethernet ports. Provides faster local networking. Especially useful if you are using Network Attached Storage (NAS)

You can view or download the spec sheet

The SR515ac router can be purchased through LMi.net for $139.00, or rented for $10/month.

Upload Saturation

From time to time we get calls from customers that tell us their network speed has suddenly dropped way down. We then look at the bandwidth utilization for the circuit and see somethng like this:

uploadsaturate

This is showing data that is being uploaded from the customer’s network to the internet. In this case, the upload connection is using all available bandwidth for over 10 hours. When upload traffic is saturated, overall network performance will also suffer, as downloading data also involves handshaking with the remote server that the data has been received. (If you are a PHLO+ customer, you can see this chart yourself in the Dashboard)

Invariably, the customer claims they are not uploading anything, and in fact, they are not even using their computer when they call. This is because most programs that are uploading data for such a long time are processes that are running in the background. Examples of such programs are:

  • Online backup software
  • Dropbox/GoogleDrive
  • iCloud
  • BitTorrent

How to identify what computer is uploading data

First off, you can generally eliminate devices that are not computers. Phones and tablets generally do not have a lot of data stored on them to upload, and streaming media devices (i.e. Roku) are primarily download only.

You can visually monitor traffic on your network by looking at the lights on the DSL modem or router. If lights are flashing rapidly, in generally means traffic is flowing. You can simply turn computers off one at a time and watch to see if the traffic light slows down (there will always be some traffic flowing…). If you have all of your computers turned off and no one is downloading from a phone or tablet, and still the lights are flashing rapidly, then it may be someone else is using your wireless network. We recommend changing the wireless password in this case (see this post if you are using an LMi-supplied router)

How to find out what software on your computer is uploading data

Let’s says you have tracked the upload as coming from one computer. Now we need to find out what is running on that computer that is uploading so much.

For Macintosh, run Activity Monitor (located in Applications/Utilities). Click the Network tab, and look at the Sent Bytes column. This will show you applications or processes that are uploading data. If you see a process called “nsurlsessiond”, this is part of iCloud.. You may be uploading photos from your computer.

For Windows, open the Resource Monitor (you case use the Windows search tool to find this) and click the Network tab. This will show all processes with network activity.

If you do need to be uploading data (such as using an online backup system), most of these programs can be scheduled to run at night when people are not using the network. You may also be able to configure the software with a cap of how much bandwidth to use.

 

Download File Transfer Speed Tests

Many people use speed test websites to measure their connection speed. LMi.net has one as well. However, a more accurate test involves actually downloading a sizable file and measuring the speed averaged out over a few minutes. This is more reflective of a real-like scenario when you are actually downloading a large file, or streaming a movie. To assist in such a test, we have created an anonymous FTP server, and have loaded several files of varying size. Here’s how to use this..

If you are using a Mac

  • Open the Terminal application. You can find this in your Utilities folder, or just used the Spotlight menu to find “Terminal”.
  • In the new terminal window, paste in this command:
  • 	
  • curl 'http://www.lmi.net/testfile.100m' -o /dev/null
  • This will transfer a 100MB file to you computer, but not actually create a disk file.. (the command deletes the file when it was been transferred).  We also have files of 20, 50, 250 and 500Mb sizes. Just adjust the file name above accordingly (i.e. testfile.250m). The larger files will take longer to download, but perhaps give you a more accurate average speed.
  • Let’s look at the output:
>  curl "http://www.lmi.net/testfile.100m" -o /dev/null
 % Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time    Time  Time       Current
                            Dload  Upload Total   Spent Left       Speed
      100 100M 100 100M 0 0 850k   0      0:02:00 0:02:00 --:--:-- 882k

  • The Average Dload is the number we are interested in. in this case, 850k BYTES. Since bandwidth speed is traditionally measured in BITs per second, we need to multiply this by 8. So for this test we were getting 6,800 kbps (or 6.8Mbps).

 

If you are using a Windows PC

  • Open up the Windows DOS or Command prompt window. From the Start menu choose “Run” and enter the command CMD. Windows 7 and up users can just hold down the Windows key and press R to get the Run dialog.
  • Windows does not have the curl command installed, so we will need to use FTP. You will be connecting via FTP to www.lmi.net, as user “anonymous” You are asked to provide your email address for the password but you can just type any string of characters.
  • Here is a sample session, where we transfer the 20MB file. Test in bold is why you will be typing
C:\Users\Joe> ftp www.lmi.net
Connected to www.lmi.net.
220 ProFTPD 1.3.4a Server (Debian) [::ffff:66.117.140.16]
User (www.lmi.net:(none)): anonymous
331 Anonymous login ok, send your complete email address as your password
Password: anytext
230-Welcome, archive user anonymous !
230-
230-The local time is: Sat Oct 17 17:59:15 2015
230-
230-This is an experimental FTP server. If you have any unusual problems,
230-please report them via e-mail to <support@lmi.net>.
230-
230 Anonymous access granted, restrictions apply
ftp> get testfile.20m
200 PORT command successful
150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for testfile.20m (20971520 bytes)
226 Transfer complete
ftp: 20971520 bytes received in 31.19Seconds 672.34Kbytes/sec.
ftp> bye

  • So in this case we were getting 672.34 kBYTES/sec, so we multiply by 8 and get 5,378.72 Kbps (5.38 Mbps)

Greylisting

LMi.net is now using an anti-spam technique called Greylisting on our mail servers. Greylisting has proven to be quite effective at reducing the amount of spam our servers get. It works like this:  When we get an incoming email message from an email server we haven’t seen before, we temporarily reject the message, requesting that the remote server try again later. The next time the server attempts to deliver the message (usually within 1 to 30 minutes), we accept the message, and then will accept any future email from the same server on the first attempt going forward.

This technique will reduce spam because a lot of spam isn’t originating from legitimate, properly configured mail servers. It often comes from compromised computers that have been hijacked, or servers that are just designed to send out as much spam as possible. If such a server doesn’t get a response from a target mail server, then it will generally just skip it and go onto the next address in the list.

What this means for you is that there may be a delay of up to 30 minutes between the time the message is sent to when it appears in your inbox. But this would only be for the very first time.

For more information about Geylisting, see http://projects.puremagic.com/greylisting/

Resetting your Voicemail Password

All of our PHLO+ circuits come with built-in voice mail that can take messages when you are away from home, or on the phone. Your voicemail messages can be retrieved from any telephone, but you will need the voice mail PIN code that was setup when voicemail was first activated. If you have lost this code, here is how you can reset it…

If you have already activated the PHLO+ Voice Dashboard (online access to you voice messages), then you can just login at https://www.lmi.net/voice  Click the Settings link, then the Voicemail tab. You can change your Voicemail PIN here.

If you have NOT yet activated the PHLO+ Voice Dashboard, you will need to do this first. In order to activate, you must be next to your PHLO+ telephone to accept a phone call. Just go to https://www.lmi.net/voice and click the link for
“Need to activate your line?” You will get a phone call with an authorization code, and you can proceed.

If you have activated the dashboard already, but have forgotten your password, then click the “Forgot your password?” link from the Dashboard login page. You will get an email (sent to the address you entered when you first activated) with instructions on resetting your Dashboard password.

How to do your own MPOE test

When troubleshooting DSL connections, one of the first things we try and determine is if the problem is inside your home (called “Inside Wiring” ) or with he lines in the street, which are maintained by the telephone company (AT&T in most cases). In order to do this, we often need to test the line at the junction box where the phone company wires are connected to your Inside Wiring. This junction box is called an MPOE, or NID. If your MPOE was installed within that past 30 years, it probably has a test jack inside that will allow you to test the line yourself. If the MPOE box is made of plastic, than it probably is new enough to have a test jack inside.

Here is a picture of a fairly new MPOE

MPOE - NID

You can open the MPOE with a flat-head screwdriver. Once opened, you will see one of more circuits. This one has two:

MPOE opened

Now we can test to see if the top circuit has a dial tone. To do this, you will need a basic line-powered analog phone. (LMi.net sells them for $10 if you need one)

MPOE-testjackUnplug the short phone cord from the test jack. This will remove the Inside Wiring from the phone company wiring, and allow you to test the line directly. If you are unsure if the phone line is yours, try dialing 933 from the phone plugged into the test jack. You will hear your telephone number read back to you.

If you do not have a telephone, you can still help us troubleshoot by allowing us to run a test on your line while the Inside Wiring is disconnected. Just phone LMi.net and have a support tech run an “LMT test” on your line. This will allow us to determine where the problem is and get the line working again much faster than if we need to schedule a technician to come run this test onsite.

Here is a short video clip from another vendor that clearly shows you how this test is done.