Looking at technology through the eyes of an aspie in Auckland.

Plans for my home network 2014

, posted: 29-Jan-2014 16:00

Currently the bottleneck in my home computer network is the 24Mpbs ADSL2+ connection, which my SpeedTest checks tell me is averaging 6.9Mbps download speed. Replacing my existing 802.11g network hardware with faster 802.11n gear will not give me much appreciable speed increase, even after the UFB upgrade, so I will stick with 54Mbps internally. It's not like I'm playing online games or anything. I don't even have Gold on my Xbox Live account.

What I'm thinking of doing is dropping a re-purposed desktop PC in between the Orcon Genius Lite and the Linksys WRT54G. The PC will be multi-homed (dual-NIC's) and have a Squid proxy server running on it to cache local requests. It will also have Tor running, to anonymize all Internet activity. I have used the Tor network in the past, and I understand that it is incredibly slow. This will become the new bottleneck of my network, despite the expected download speed increase from ADSL2+ to UFB. It's swings and roundabouts. The UFB giveth, and the Tor taketh away. I hope that Squid will provide a small boost to offset what I lose with Tor.

Comment by JamesL, on 29-Jan-2014 16:35

I think your bottleneck is more the wrt54g than your dsl, your'e sharing 6 devices on the already crowded 2.4ghz frequency on 802.11g which is slow as it is

You would be better off upgrading to a router that's capable of dual 2.4 and 5ghz

Author's note by Frittmann, on 29-Jan-2014 16:44

Thanks for the input James. There is only myself and wifey at home, so we don't use all of our WiFi-enabled devices simultaneously. For instance, the Wii and the Xbox share the same TV, so it is a case of either-or.

Comment by michaelmurfy, on 30-Jan-2014 00:04

I'd strongly recommend dropping the whole network, get a Draytek 130 + a Mikrotik 951Ui-2HnD. The Mikrotik can run a proxy if you wish but in general doing that will offer a huge speed increase for you.

The Mikrotik kicks the ass out of any standard CPE.

Comment by resurrect, on 30-Jan-2014 08:52

an issue that people tend to not realise with WI-FI is that it's only half duplex, once you've got 3 devices connected to it a 10Mb full duplex switch will work faster, not to mention that even when you're not using a device and it's still connected to the network, it'll keep sending ARPs every second or 2 of which further reduce available bandwidth.  I recommend getting an 802.11ac as that will start giving you some aspect of future proofing.

and with using TOR, is there really a need to be anonymous? and with my previous experience of it you'll end up with closer to a half megabit for you internet speed. (most likely to be less) so why the need to pay more for a slower connection? 
if you're interested try using I2P, its said to be more reliable and faster than TOR however it's more difficult to setup.

Author's note by Frittmann, on 30-Jan-2014 11:02

That sounds like a nice setup, Michael, but at around $NZ300.00 (incl GST) I would really need to have justification for it. I'll see how my current plans work out first, once I finally get UFB. If things grind to a crawl then I'll look at splashing out on new networking equipment.

Comment by deadlyllama, on 30-Jan-2014 13:09

Do you really need to Torify everything?  Last time I used Tor, it would have made your current ADSL look positively spritely.

In my experience, and that's getting a bit old, you need quite a lot of users for Squid to make a noticeable difference.  I used to get it to peer with other friends' squids on Saturn Cable back in the day, until we worked out that the "do you have this URL?" traffic was greater than the traffic saved retrieving files from other people's caches.  If nothing else, the power used by the Squid PC would probably pay for a faster UFB plan.  I'm about to move most of my home-server stuff to a Raspberry Pi to save watts.

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Robert Frittmann
New Zealand

Technology is often an attractive interest for those of us at the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. Temple Grandin, perhaps the world's best-known person with autism, says that Silicon Valley companies are filled with people with Asperger's syndrome.¹ I was officially diagnosed as an adult with Asperger's in 2011, but I've been fixated on high-tech and computers for over 30 years before then. I'm a maker, a hacker, and a geek from before the time when geeks became cool.

In this blog I'll be documenting some of the uses I put my own technology acquisitions to. I have a wide variety of gadgets to play with at home already, including various computers, laptops, network devices (wired and wireless), gaming consoles, smartphones and other mobile devices, ebook readers, MP3 players, a digital voice recorder, and home theatre equipment. We're not rich, but my wife generously indulges my gadget-mania whenever we can afford a new piece of tech.

Sometimes I come up with unusual uses for my tech, as a result of the creativity inherent of Asperger's. I often push my devices to their limits and try to make them do things that the majority of users wouldn't even attempt. I hope this blog may provide inspiration to others, or at the very least, allow my readers to avoid having to make the same mistakes I make when experimenting with technology.

¹ Source: http://www.inc.com/kimberly-weisul/temple-grandin-on-happy-aspies-autism-and-startups.html