Review

Ubiquiti Unifi and my ISP appear to be a good team!

My ISP (Ziggo) issues?

Many times people write on social media or forums that Ziggo (My ISP) internet very bad performs. Most of the times this is due to bad devices with the main cause failing wireless connections. Of-course there are also cases known which is the fault of Ziggo. Distribution centers or DNS which suddenly stopped working. Some days ago there was an issue which was the mistake of Microsoft (solution KB3206632). It’s clear you can not easily pin point the problem of an internet connection.

I got a Technicolor cable modem where suddenly a firmware update caused I wasn’t able to change the DNS anymore. This was the reason for me to change the cable modem in bridge mode.

After struggling a while with an ASUS AC-68U and Linksys AC1600 I decided that these ‘high-end’ consumer products had to go and embrace an enterprise product. I was not able to get a stable enough environment with the (pro-)consumer products. I had the following issues on a regular basis:

  • The technicolor acting weird with the mentioned routers (DHCP issues, strange client error messages)
  • Ring doorbell and the
  • Nefit Easy lost a lot of times their wireless connection (FYI both working on 2.4 ghz)
  • Sony VAIO laptop was not able to maintain a stable wireless connection, especially having a lot of DNS issues with websites. (FYI also on 2.4 ghz)
  • 5 ghz was working fast but also experienced DNS issues (stuttering (unable to load websites and pictures/video’s on Facebook, etc…) while speedtests report a fast enough speed
  • App of Philips HUE didn’t connect fast when using it via WiFi on the LAN.

Old situation

The disadvantage of this setup was having multiple SSIDs (wireless network names). I got several times the question why those names are not the same. You have to know that these routers and clients lack the feature to know which connection is the best. To explain it easy the client will connect to the first connection possible and tries to maintain this connection till it completely get lost. This is not what you would like to happen.

The ideal situation would be that you have one network name per band and the client automatically can roam between access points depending of the signal strength. This kind of system is called MESH. Also will some people say you can name the same network name for the separate wifi bands (2.4 and 5 Ghz). In theory this is correct, clients are able to choose the band best suitable for them, but some devices like the Ring and Nefit Easy are not able to do this advance client communications and will get confused resulting in losing the connection. I advice to disable automatic choosing of channels and bands for this reason.

New situation

I was ready for an Enterprise WiFi solution. I’ve chosen for Ubiquiti with their Unifi enterprise WiFi products.

At first I choose for the following setup:

This basis setup I choose to start if I like the environment. The installation and features surprised me in a good way.

Lots of WiFi access points and routers scan only the channels used by WiFi to check which other WiFi is causing any interference. Ubiquiti scans those frequencies but also check those used by other devices such as a microwave or baby-phone which enables you to make a better decision which channel to use. You are also able to see how much of that bandwidth in that channel is being used. With this information the other wireless routers and access points look like a kids toy.

It’s very clear which channels are occupied and busy and which not.

When you click on the channel you get even more in-depth information..

With this information I was able to fine-tune my channel per floor, because each floor experienced different types of disturbances.

It’s better to not setup the channel being chosen automatic. There are (mostly old) device which cannot hop automatic to the new channel which will result in unstable or even lost of the connection. The advantage of a fixed chosen channel is that it will give those devices a stable connection. Take care of choosing a channel which is not interfering with neighbors their equipment but surely also not those from yourself.

Roaming

One of the main reasons to switch to Ubiquiti Unifi WiFi is the feature to use MESH/roaming in home like I written before.

Here you can see my S7 roam from Slaapkamer to Mancave In stead of choosing another AP manually Unifi takes care it will automatically roam from Slaapkamer (upper floor) to Mancave (lower floor).

But this is not the only advantage. There is also an advantage regarding redundancy. Imagine the AP is not available due to maintenance or another reason other APs will be able to serve these clients.

Here you see the Chromecast roam from Slaapkamer to Woonkamer because I forced a maintenance of AP Slaapkamer resulting the clients to roam to other APs nearby. Clients will continue to work, maybe temporarily with a slower throughput but they keep on working, eventually the Chromecast will roam back to the AP with better connection.

It works very well. Everybody with multiple APs in home should have a system with MESH/roaming features.

Speed

I love measuring statistics and speed so I started to do.

These are my results with my old Linksys EA6400 (AC1200). Maximum download 283.3 Mbit/s, average 258.8 Mbit/s and upload maximum 26.44 Mbit/s and average 22.52 Mbit/s. This is without roaming or other features enabled. This AP was in our living room (Woonkamer) because here the speed is the most important for our devices. (measured with using the 5 Ghz band)

I was shocked of the difference. I first noticed the download speed. I had expected a higher speed with this Enterprise product. We have at home a 300 Mbit download and 30 mbit upload connection. Maybe you notice the test server is slower than using with the linksys but I reran the test several times on the 10 Gb/s and the difference keeps the same. The first positive thing I noticed was the upload speed. Average from 22.52 Mbit/s to 30.18 Mbit/s) which is a nearly 34% faster. The ping time is also shorter,  26 ms to 20 ms, which is 30% faster. This can be called a big gain.

Stability

At that moment I wasn’t aware of how good the stability was of Unifi products. Because the strange behaviour of the Technicolor from my ISP Ziggo I decided to buy also the router of Ubiquiti so my whole infrastructure will be Unifi. I called Ziggo to change my router into bridge mode. It’s not possible to change the TC7210 manually in bridge mode.

The Unifi Security Gateway Router :

I know the stability would be better because you can arrange and control DHCP and DNS.

The system is now running more than two months and I have to say I’m impressed and I should have done this much earlier. All devices (iOS / Android / Windows 10) but especially the Nefit Easy, Philips HUE and Ring working very stable now.

Current situation

In Unifi it looks like this:

The first options show the Dashboard, showing the most important information in this view.

The second option is for statistics.

The third option is called “Maps” but I don’t use it for the limitations not able to use floors.

The fourth option is “Devices” and you can see the Unifi devices.

The fifth option is called “Clients” which show you the clients which are currently connected.

Sixth and last option is called “Insights” which enables you to see the clients during a specific time frame they were connected to the system.

On this page I found my NEST Protect V2 for the first time. I was never able to find them with Fing or Linksys, Unifi no problem! (for security reasons I don’t show IPs but you can see them in Unifi).

In this example I have selected the clients from 24 hours but you can choose more options which are added or updated in new versions.

Conclusion

You buy good equipment for home. Linksys, ASUS or Cisco products for (pro-)consumers are despite their higher price lacking a lot of features. I didn’t write about lots of features like VPN, guestnetwork, etc… Most important is it’s working very stable. We had no issues in those two months. Download speeds of 36+ MB/s ( 288 Mbit/s ) with a UTP connection via Steam are not rare.

My wife here iPhone and iPad are working better since our migration to Ubiquiti Unifi. I noticed on my computers and android devices a much better working DNS. All smarthome devices working faster and more stable than ever before. Throw away those consumer routers, switches and access points!

Happy 2017!

 

Posted by Ramond - 28 December 2016 at 18:37

Categories: Review   Tags: , , , , , ,

My Virtual Reality (VR) experience – 30 years later – Samsung Gear VR

First experience

Now already 30+ years ago I experienced my first Virtual Reality (VR). The PC had now it’s powerful 32 bit processor, the Intel 80386. I can remember well a company located in Scheveningen (NL) with the only working VR setup for consumers. The price for this VR set was approx. 150.000 Dutch guilders (73.000 euro) during the late 80s and begin 90s.

The 80’s and 90’s

The screen quality was very basic.

VR had it’s potential in the 90’s but the dream vanished quickly. No one was interested at that time. I spoke with friends a lot about why VR isn’t here yet, the graphical power of GPUs is now many times better than in those time.

Palmer Luckey had given VR a new life

Gladly Palmer Luckey gave in 2012 VR a new life, and how!

Since his kickstarter campaign reached 2.4 million dollar many jumped on the VR train. He had a vision and wanted to make VR popular and a success. He managed this in my opinion.

I dare to claim that many with me relive the moment they had the Commodore 64 home computer. Many asked why and what you should do with a computer at home but in the mean time everyone has  a computer and smartphone or tablet in use. I think VR will be no different. People were yelling how stupid chatting was and only for nerds. Nowadays everyone is using it. VR will not be a replacement of things but an addition.

Google Cardboard

During the Google I/O 2014 developers meeting Google introduced the Google CardBoard. Google did motivate developers to make applications for VR in this way. I got myself also a cardboard using it on a  Samsung Galaxy S5+ and I liked it right away. The possibilities were obvious. If you install the cardboard app you can start immediately with your new VR experience. YouTube also supports cardboard.

Google Cardboard

Samsung Gear VR

During my pre-order of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge I was given the opportunity to enlist for a free Samsung Gear VR. On the 8th of April 2016 Samsung started to ship the Gear VR in The Netherlands.

I took the next day time to test and install my Samsung Gear VR. I wanted to take it the slow road instead of doing it fast.

Unboxing Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VR

During unboxing I noticed a small but nice manual in Dutch. I decided (how it should be) to read the instructions properly and doing step by step. Happy I did. The only thing they didn’t describe in the instructions is to remove the plastic protection but the other steps were clearly written.

Setup Samsung Gear VR

When I placed my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge in the Gear VR I got a notification to take the mobile out of the Gear and complete the installation.

Gear VR software installatie

After the setup run I could place my smartphone again the in Gear VR. The VR party could start!

First experience with the Samsung Gear VR

When I placed the Gear VR on I felt immediately that everything was better made comparing to the cardboard application. It felt more VR. A short tutorial shows you the basic controls. I have to say, it felt good and natural.

I believe this is because the cooperation of Samsung with Oculus.

The application Oculus Home felt nice:

WOW moments

There were several moments that I a WOW.

360 videos

There are several 360 videos available to watch for free. I personally liked the on of National Geographic with a waterfall. Impressive.

NextVR

This was a surprise for me. A good surprise. They had two who really gave me the immersive feeling. It was a video of NBA and a soccer match (Manchester vs Barcelona). At both sport matches it’s like you actually are there! PERFECT!

Jurassic World: Apatosaurus

Don’t worry, no spoilers. I can and want only tell you it’s not scary. Enjoy the moment. Nice to watch for young and old.

Invasion!

A funny short animation movie. Look around and enjoy! I loved the humor. Tip: during half of the movie look at your feet 🙂

Notification

During my VR session I received a notification on my Gear 2 smartwatch and I was not able to view my watch at that moment ofcourse. The notification was shown on my Gear VR and not intrusive at all. Well made Samsung!

Not so WOW moments

It’s not all perfect. We have to remember these are basically first generation VR products for consumers.

Memory

128GB SD

I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 32GB with an additional 128 GB SD. Unfortunately I was not able to move one additional or application to my SD card. So I got soon a warning I had not enough space on my smartphone while I had 90 GB free on my Samsung microSDXC Pro Plus which according me should be fast enough to handle those files with a minimum read speed of 95 MB/s and 90 MB/s write speed.

Reboot

I experience one spontaneous reboot during normal usage. The screen went black and I saw suddenly appearing the white characters with Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge on my screen. Looked familiar to me, but not welcome on that moment.

Fast WiFi

I  was visiting my sister and showing her the Gear VR which didn’t work properly at first while it was running smooth at my place. Cause was found quickly as the WiFi connection was much slower than in my place (sound normal as I have a faster subscription and faster/more modern wifi accesspoints). The disappointment was not less due to this. This particular video was not available for download and you had to stream it but that didn’t go well causing stuttering due to buffering. Experience gone.

Mandatory Oculus Home

At the cardboard solution I was able to use other applications and using VR, for e.g. YouTube and others. In Oculus Home this is not possible. You have to start the application within Oculus home otherwise you are not able to use the Gear VR in VR mode. Happily I found soon that Samsung Internet application in Oculus Home was able to visit the YouTube site. None of the cardboard games work in Oculus Home because of the simple fact you are not able to see and select them.

Future

The future of VR will be dependent on it’s success. Samsung already announced that you can make your own 360 videos with the Gear 360 which will be available in The Netherlands for € 349,- around spring.

This information came with my Gear VR (Dutch, sorry):

Gear 360

I don’t think Oculus will rest. Oculus will motivate their partners to create content for Oculus home.

Google Cardboard vs Samsung Gear VR vs Oculus Rift

I also preordered the Oculus Rift gepreordered and some will ask why. What is the difference between Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR and the Oculus Rift?

The Google Cardboard is a fun way to experience VR, with a low budget.

My cousin Gino bought a Google Cardboard alternative at the Action (NL)  store for only € 2,50!

gino

 

Buying the Samsung Gear VR separately will cost you € 99,00. (The Samsung S6 (Edge), S7 (Edge) and Note 5 are supported).

The difference include extra sensors and lenses of a better quality. The material is not cardboard but plastic on the Gear VR. It wears more comfortable and is user-friendlier to use. The control and experience are better implemented.

Last but certainly not least… Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift will be the best in this row for VR experience. The price is not for everyone and you will need to have a powerful PC.

You are able with the Rift to use certain games and applications in VR. This is the dream of every computer nerd 🙂 Applications are almost unlimited. The Oculus Rift didn’t arrive yet but I will review it when I can.

I’m ready for a new era…. the VR era…

Posted by Ramond - 10 April 2016 at 19:29

Categories: Opinie, Review, VR   Tags: , , , , , ,

Nerd Porn Google IO 2013

The annual event of Google for Developers is named Google I/O. Google I/O 2013 is currently happening. On internet there are plenty sites about Google I/O but I wanted to give one specific project my special attention.

Google wants to create the ultimate results machine. Not just a search engine which finds some results for you but one which will find on the right moment and location what you want and need.

Do you know the computer of Star Trek?

A place where you can ask questions and have answers for everything… exactly that kind of computer wants Google to built. When Amit Singhal from Google said this is exactly what they are working on now I was thinking… NERD PORN. That’s why this title of this article.

This will change a lot for us, users, if they can serve results faster and better. Some will now think what to think about Apple Siri. Siri is nice but it’s too limited. Imagine that all data and information Google has can use for this cause. The possibilities that can arise.

Soon searching via Chrome will come available with hot words and no interface which will imply you can do this without a keyboard and mouse. The system will react when you say the words : “OK, Google  and you can ask you question.

By using Google Now you are already able via iOS and Android devices to try this, but you still have to push the mic-icon.

I had the Google-voice search language already on English US but I changed also Android UI to English US. I didn’t see the correct cards when using Dutch. I wanted to try the just introduced new card Reminder but it didn’t work when I was speaking English. When I changed all the language settings from Dutch to English it was working and I had the new features.

When Google has a search result in a Knowledge Graph this can be spoken as answer.  This can be for eg how many people live in China or how much is 100+1. In stead of search results Google shows you the result specially made/calculated for you.

Google Now is an important part in this. If you ask a question Google will try to answer it. Like the Star Computer did in the 1960s TV series.

I tried several things to get an impression. They are working a lot to expand it’s features and I think later expand it to other countries. It’s a begin, but I found it an impressive begin. I did all in English.

How much people live in China?

How much people live in China is a statistic Google has and can answer you when you ask for it. Eventually it’s also meant you could compare this between other statistics like comparing it with India, China and USA inhabitants.

Maybe you already used Google to make a simple calculation. You can also ask how much is one hundred euros in dollars.

You noticed that Google calculates its currency-exchange and pronounce the numbers correct. Google doesn’t say one, two, eight, point, two, six dollar but hundred and twenty eight point two, six dollar. You hear that after the point Google stops reading in a natural way. This will I presume getting fixed in the future but it’s a lot better than in the past.

The question how many meters in one yard works also :

The question every nerd knows to answer is of course What is the speed of light :

Google knows and shows the answer but it’s not read yet. I think this will also come in the near future.

Another Nerd-question : Who is the creator of Star Trek.

I believe Gene Roddenberry would be proud on this begin.

When was Marilyn Monroe born?

That went well with a nice photo and complete date.

When did Elvis die?

Google comes with the correct date and photo again. What I like about this is that Google presume I meant Elvis Presley. I didn’t ask the question literaly. I said Elvis, not Elvis Presley. On this natural way of asking Google is going to bet for the future according Amit.

What is the time in New York now?

That also done well by Google Now.

Now something we need location services. The weather forecast. I ask What is the weather.

Google reads the weather forecast of Maastricht. Maybe you notice this is done in Fahrenheit in stead of Celsius. I was not able to change this. When I change my language to UK it doesn’t understand me well. I believe we can change this more later or even better speak in Dutch in the future. Google does first the US market and later the others.

I asked Google What is the next match of Real Madrid.

The integration with Google+ will be mind-blowing  I will now give some voice search command which show you some photos from Google results. You can also let Google search within your own photos. The question I now ask is Can you show me some pictures of Camino de Santiago.

It’s all impressive but we are not yet there. I ask How much is one megabyte in bit.

The result is correct. The speech is not good enough. The figure is not spoken in an natural way like we humans would do (eight million etc….).

Google is really doing good efforts to create the ultimate Star Trek computer.

You can also check out the complete Google I/O 2013 Keynote.

Some other interesting news I want to mention aside the nerd porn :

– 900 million activated Android devices, a lot to go said Sundar with 7 billion people

– APIs with new features: Geofencing, Activity recognition (are you walking, running, cycling, driving, etc…) and Google+ Single Sign-On

– GCM which has the nice new feature to synchronize notification. At the moment 17 billion messages per day with a latency of maximum 60 ms are being processed. Incredible achievement.

– Gaming. Cloud Save. Game till a certain level and continue playing another device. Announced multiplayer.

Then they showed us Racer. A game which remembers me of slot-racing  A demo showed how data are being synchronized between applications and devices  If you look well you see it’s Android and iOS devices mixed (iPhone, iPad and android phone and tablet). Really nice to see this technically possible, now.

Nice proof of concept… curious what developers can make for this.

– Google+ has 41 new features like related hash-tags whereby they analyse photos and add a hash-tags automatically. A photo with a famous person which doing a sport will get hash-tags with his name, teamname and sport. Photos in Google+ can be easily organised. I tried and tested it three times but I was not able to upload 10 photos so I stopped trying, but it looks promising.

– Hangouts is nice new feature. Messages can be sent to each other despite the platform being used. Works nice. I’m going to make a test with several persons and devices. It looks better than Skype and Whatsapp combined and also more platform freedom.

Posted by Ramond - 17 May 2013 at 21:25

Categories: Opinie, Review   Tags:

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