First step to Improve Home Networking Performance, don't run Internet Connectionat 100%

Of the things that you have at home what runs at 100% of capacity? Your heating and cooling? No. Your fridge? Your lights? Your Car? No. Would you run your kids, family or dog at 100%? No.

Yet almost everyone expects their Internet Connection to run at 100%. I did. I fell into the trap of running speedtest, fast.com, speedof.me to see if the Internet Connection is working.  The only data I had is the speed and latency.

QOS settings would be there, but so hard to use. So blindly think that all is good.

Then I decided to try Pfsense Traffic Shaper. And, one of the first things you need to do is input upload and download to use the network at 96% of top speeds. Why? Because running the network at 100% is not good. And without a traffic shaper the capacity will go to 100% for a large file which affects all other traffic.

Does it work to use Traffic Shaper? The best test is my son saying Xbox One Grand Theft Auto is so much better. Audio is perfect. No lag. No drops. And it is so much more fun to play.

A benefit to me is the inline writing and editing in squarespace is now better as Web pages have a higher priority. VOIP has top priority. Next is Games. Facetime and Web are in the middle. oh yeh game IMAP, POP3, and SMTP a mid level priority too. P2P traffic is the lowest.

Here is an article on setting up PFsense Traffice Shaper.

Thanks to my Netgate SG-2220 and PFsense software running as a firewall with Unifi Cloud Key and Access points I am making improvements in my home network. I also have a Xirrus AP and another router when i really mess things up, but haven't done that for months now.

Improving Availability of Home Wi-fi with an extra access point

Earlier this year my Netgear POE switch went bad and stopped routing traffic correctly. It took me 4 hours to figure out the problems was the switch. Luckily I could borrow one of my other switchers to see if the problem went away. That's when I found out how much better performing my newer broken switch was versus my older one. Luckily the Netgear switch has a lifetime warranty and I got a replacement within a couple of days.

Everything is working great, then a couple days later my Netgate SG-2220 goes dead. Netgate support couldn't help me recover the unit. Get a replacement board. Reimage. Found out the Intel Atom's were bricking.

Intel’s Atom C2000 processor family has a fault that effectively bricks devices, costing the company a significant amount of money to correct.
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Coincidentally, Cisco last week issued an advisory warning that several of its routing, optical networking, security and switch products sold prior to November 16, 2016 contain a faulty clock component that is likely to fail at an accelerated rate after 18 months of operation.

To improve my home wi-fi I just added a 4th access point. I can now have one access point go bad and the remaining three will cover the house. It is a luxury to have 4 access points, but one will go bad at some point. i can log into the access point controller to trouble shoot wi-fi.

The failed firewall and switch has me thinking more about redundancy.

At some point I may go for a complete redundancy for the firewall and switches which besides reducing the single points of failure it means I can do maintenance and network will not go down.

Facebook Releases Dallas Data Center Video that is not the standard

The past data center standards is like "Fight Club"

Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!

Facebook has participated in a set of videos that are like other industries have done to launch their efforts in an area.

When you watch these videos see you if you can see any downside about what they share. The old secretive ways of data centers are dying out.  Being open and transparent in some areas has benefit.

Who will win the Home Gateway Battle? Watch for Amazon's Move

Wi-fi is something I think about every day. I have a low end enterprise wi-fi (unifi) and high end enterprise wi-fi (Xirrus) in my home office network.  Six access points, open source firewall appliance (Pfsense/Gateway), and two cable modems allow me to experiment, test and develop solutions for a better gateway. 

To give you an idea how hard it can be to figure out how this stuff works check out this Arstechnica article where they found out what they didn't know about testing wi-fi mesh network solutions and how "easy" means different things to the vendors.

More details are coming, but one important quick takeaway is that “Easy Mode” means different things for different competitors. Plume didn’t actually get an “Easy Mode,” because it roamed properly and rapidly everywhere. Orbi’s “Easy Mode” was the addition of a second satellite AP, which was ridiculous overkill in the 3,500-square-foot test house. Google Wifi, AmpliFi HD, and Eero all received quite a bit more cajoling in Easy Mode. This could mean running a few extra tests at a site where roaming happened late or manually unplugging and re-plugging my USB3 test wNIC when roaming went badly. In AmpliFi HD’s case, Easy Mode even involved some rather heroic measures and a lot of cursing.
— https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/04/send-wi-fi-companies-floor-plans-receive-the-ultimate-mesh-networking-test/

Xfinity announced xFi its home wifi solution.



The xFi app for iOS and Android works with the internet “gateway” boxes that Xfinity customers can rent. They work as both a cable modem and wireless router; while we’d probably recommend buying your own gear rather than leasing from your service provider, the truth is that millions of people just go with what Xfinity offers.
— https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/08/comcast-xfi-wifi-setup-app/

The one company I think will make an interesting Home Gateway move is Amazon. They have Amazon Echo and Fire TV as home hardware. And even bigger is they have AWS with all that cloud experience. There are AWS hardware devices like Storage Gateway.

AWS Storage Gateway is a hybrid storage service that enables your on-premises applications to seamlessly use storage in the AWS Cloud. You can use the service for backup and archiving, disaster recovery, cloud bursting, storage tiering, and migration.
— https://aws.amazon.com/storagegateway/

Google has Google Wifi as a home gateway. Apple has Apple TV.

There is a battle going on for who will own the home gateway to connect all the devices.

My choice is to build my own and have complete control. The trouble is once you go with the home solutions all too often you give up control for easy of use.

Britain sabotaged its Computing Industry being male chauvinists

The Imitation Game highlights the British efforts by Alan Turing to break the Enigma code. I like this picture from the movie because it kind of looks like a data center

Movie makers are smart enough to show a women in the movie to make it more interesting and diverse to the audience.  Who wants to watch a bunch of guys build a computer?

Hidden Figures went even better to show mostly women working as computers.

Did you know that one of the contributing factors in the decline of British computer technology was efforts to give preference to men to be computer programmers and operators?

In Programmed Inequality, Marie Hicks explores the story of labor feminization and gendered technocracy that undercut British efforts to computerize. That failure sprang from the government’s systematic neglect of its largest trained technical workforce simply because they were women. Women were a hidden engine of growth in high technology from World War II to the 1960s. As computing experienced a gender flip, becoming male-identified in the 1960s and 1970s, labor problems grew into structural ones and gender discrimination caused the nation’s largest computer user—the civil service and sprawling public sector—to make decisions that were disastrous for the British computer industry and the nation as a whole.
— https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/programmed-inequality

This male chauvinism was government sponsored.

Hicks traces the role of women in computing in the UK from the 1940s to the 1980s. During those years, women were marginalised within the industry as computing moved from being considered low-paid, unskilled and therefore “women’s work” to higher paid, skilled “men’s work”.


This categorisation was created and perpetuated by the UK’s largest employer, the civil service, which wanted to preserve the societal status quo (men as the main breadwinners, women as homemakers) and power in the hands of an elite few (white, middle-aged men) even at the expense of economic progress.
— http://www.thenational.ae/business/the-life/book-review-britains-code-breaking-women-overlooked
Is that "Steve" on the book’s cover?  No. That’s Cathy Gillespie. She started her operating career at the UK government’s Post Office computing centre, after quitting secretarial college because of the dead-end nature of the work. She had to swear she wouldn’t have children in the near future to clinch the job.  What happened after that? After two years, Ms Gillespie moved to IBM, which is where this publicity shot was taken in 1970. As the author writes, the way the photo is staged, "Gillespie sits in a seeming passive role … in a way similar to a secretary at a keyboard". By contrast, photos of men show them "striding around with a sense of gravitas that seemed to heighten their importance".

Is that "Steve" on the book’s cover? 

No. That’s Cathy Gillespie. She started her operating career at the UK government’s Post Office computing centre, after quitting secretarial college because of the dead-end nature of the work. She had to swear she wouldn’t have children in the near future to clinch the job. 

What happened after that?

After two years, Ms Gillespie moved to IBM, which is where this publicity shot was taken in 1970. As the author writes, the way the photo is staged, "Gillespie sits in a seeming passive role … in a way similar to a secretary at a keyboard". By contrast, photos of men show them "striding around with a sense of gravitas that seemed to heighten their importance".