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The thoughts, opinions, happenings, and just plain ramblings of a seemingly boring person.

NBN Rollout Announced & Giving DD-WRT a try

As fate would have it, there are two loosely related things to blog about today.

NBN MapFirstly, in the past week NBN Co. has announced it's schedule for stage one of the wide-scale rollout of connecting areas. I was of course clamouring to see whether I could expect fibre-based internet within the foreseeable future. Luckily for us, our area is included in this three-year plan, and is due to "commence work in your area from Jun 2014 in phases with last work scheduled to commence in Jun 2015".

The news could be better (Ipswich and north-eastern Brisbane start getting it within a year), but it's a whole lot better than areas that haven't even been announced. Whether this timetable is something that NBN Co. can keep up with remains to be seen, and the other big question is what the current Opposition will to do with this schedule if they are elected into government next year.

Netgear WNDR3800The slightly related other topic is that I have installed DD-WRT onto my router at home. Late last year I bought a new router: the Netgear WNDR3800. I mainly bought it to replace my aging D-Link DIR-655, however I was interested in the current line of Netgear routers mainly because Netgear has opened them up and encouraged people to develop 3rd party firmware for them.

It took quite a while, but recently there was finally a BrainSlayer-developed (i.e. mostly stable and reputable) version of the popular DD-WRT firmware.

One of the biggest things that irritated me about the default Netgear firmware for the router is that they are starting to change the LEDs on their routers to be solidly lit when there is a device connected, rather than the traditional behaviour of the LEDs flashing on network activity. I can understand the trend towards this, as many 'normal' home users don't pay attention to, and are irritated by the flashing lights on a router.

However, for someone like myself, the flashing lights on a network device are an invaluable troubleshooting and general information tool. There are plenty of others who share my opinion, if the Netgear forums are any indicator.

It's astounding that Netgear doesn't simply provide an option in the firmware to enable the LEDs to flash on activity. Surely it doesn't require that much more development to enable this and make everyone happy.

Anywho, by putting DD-WRT on the router I have gotten my precious flashing LEDs back, and without sounding too geeky, it's awesome ;).

However, there were a few teething issues that were quite difficult to solve. Most notably there was the issue where the DHCP reservations form accepted characters in the reservation name that crashed DHCP and DNS on the router; but the thing that threw me off was that it only started to affect the router on it's next reboot. So a few hours after entering the reservations I did the first reboot, and that's when the issues started. It took many more hours and a few resets to figure out what exactly was going on.

Other than that it's been very stable, and i've been quite happy with it overall.

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