Ubiquiti Networks Unifi AP AC Access Point (Review)

The Ubiquiti Networks UniFi AP AC is a simultaneous dual-band 802.11ac compliant indoor access point for Wi-Fi networks and it provides a maximum of 1300 Mbps bandwidth (5 GHz) and 450 Mbps bandwidth (2.4 GHz). This AP has a (theoritical) range of 122m and supports 3×3 MIMO configuration. It has two gigabit Ethernet ports and supports PoE (Power over Ethernet) which enables carrying both power and data on the same Ethernet/network cable.

Since this is an access point, and not a wireless router, you need to connect it either to the wired ports of a wireless router (or) to a switch connected to the wired port of a wireless router, to enable Internet connectivity. A simple access point connectivity architecture diagram is shown below.

Wireless-Access-Point-Architecture-Diagram

Advantages of UniFi Networks UniFi AP AC:

 

  1. Some useful wireless controller features are built into individual APs and can be controlled via the free user interface software.
  • Heat map: Allows you to upload a map of your location and the controller software will show the wireless power intensity in each region using different colors. Easier to identify which locations have strong signals and which ones have weak signals.
  • Guest portal: Create a separate network with a password for guests and allow them restricted network access (like Internet only).
  • Hotspot Wi-Fi Access: Create a wireless hotspot in your location and bill users according to their network usage (time, data consumption, etc.). You can restrict bandwidth rates & duration of use. You can integrate it with a billing platform like Paypal, create vouchers, etc.
  • A single controller software deployed at one location or cloud (eg. AWS) can manage multiple access points, at multiple locations.
  • Controller software installs on PC, Mac and Linux systems.
  • Limited user statistics can be viewed from the software.
  • Controller software is required only during setup. After that, access points will run independently. But, if you use guest portal or hotspot access, controller software needs to run on a connected PC for the entire duration.

 

  1. The Ubiquiti AP AC access points look beautiful and elegant in any location. It can be mounted on the wall or ceiling.
  2. You can create multiple Wireless LAN groups, each with their own access restrictions/privileges.
  3. Since it supports PoE (Power Over Ethernet), you can supply both power and data using a single Ethernet cable. You can either use a PoE switch, or use a normal switch along with an 802.3at PoE adapter (included).
  4. This access point has good speed, is future proof (802.11ac) and offers excellent coverage (distance), when compared to other APs of its category.
  5. There is a GUI/Controller software that enables easy installation. Some time is required to familiarize yourself with all the features of the controller, though.
  6. For the controller features offered, the price is excellent. This access point is a very good choice, especially if you plan to use multiple access points at a single location.

Limitations/Tips:

  1. When you receive the AP, check if a newer version of the controller software is released on the website, and download if available.
  2. You can use 2.4 Ghz band/5 Ghz band. 2.4 Ghz band has a higher range, but lower throughput. 5 GHz band has a higher throughput, but lower range. The client Wi-Fi adapters should support whichever band you use. Band steering is not yet available for these APs.
  3. The Ubiquiti AP AC is an access point, not a wireless router. Hence, you need a separate wired/wireless router that connects to the modem, in addition to the access point.
  4. This access point doesn’t support wireless uplink connections to other access points – it doesn’t work as a wireless range extender.
  5. The wireless access points should be on the same subnet as the PC running controller software.
  6. In most practical situations, the coverage distance will be around 40-50m.

Price (USD)/Buy from (USA): Amazon webpage for,

Optional/Also consider:

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Ubiquiti Introduces Camera Control Software & New Cameras

Ubiquiti, the company that has been making waves in the wireless access point market, has introduced a new camera control software with interesting features, and three upgraded/new generation of cameras – UVC, UVC Dome & UVC Pro IP Surveillance cameras. The company already offers a hardware network video recorder unit.

Some important features of the camera control software include:

  • 720p HD recording in all models; 1080p HD recording in UVC Pro model.
  • Live feeds and recording support up to 1080p resolution at 30fps.
  • Upgrade all cameras right from the camera control interface.
  • Heat map for motion triggered video recordings; Zone analytics.
  • Access Control for Multiple users with varying permissions.
  • Email alert for motion detection.
  • Mobile Web UI for remote recording/monitoring over Internet.
  • Integration with Google Maps for identifying camera location.
  • Plug and play installation.
  • Scalable to hundreds of cameras in multiple locations.
  • 3x Optical Zoom, etc.

Whether Ubiquiti be able to create the same magic it created in the managed Wi-Fi market, is yet to be seen. First look, their products seem good. Management of multiple cameras across multiple locations without license costs is definitely an added plus. The price performance ratio is another advantage. But most of the features are available with other brands also, probably at a higher cost. Let’s wait and watch.

Further information/Manufacturer’s product page: Ubiquiti Unified Video Surveillance Management.

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Three 8U Open Frame Racks

Advantages of Open Frame Racks Vs. Closed Cabinet type Racks: (Network Racks)

  1. Cost effective.
  2. Easier to access, clean & maintain mounted equipment from the sides, behind and under.
  3. Keeps the equipment cooler, well ventilated.
  4. Easier to assemble, shift.
  5. Easier to customize, expand & contract. (Some models come with adjustable height and depth options.)
  6. You can mount it on the wall or keep it on the desk.
  7. Not much proprietary components used; accessories are available locally.

There may also be some limitations to open frame racks like noise from equipment mounted inside being audible, visible flashing lights and lesser security (as there is no door that can be locked from outside).

Below, you’ll find three popular open frame 8U rack models.

BTW, 1U = 1.75 Inches High.

1. StarTech RK812WALLO 8U Open Frame Network Rack (12-inch depth):

This is an 8U Open Frame Network Rack that has a fixed depth – 12 inches. That means, you can mount up to 8U of equipment in it (8 x 1U or 4 x 2U . . . ), the rack is open from all sides (there is no cabinet or door/lock), and the maximum depth of equipment that can be mounted in it is 12 inches (distance between the front and the back portions).

Of course, you need rack-mountable equipment to fix/mount on the holes of the vertical side frames of this rack (or) you need to buy universal rack tray, mount it, and keep the network equipment over that tray. This model can be kept on the floor or mounted over the wall (wall-mount fixture not included). Screws are provided to fix up to 4U of equipment on this rack.

The main point is, even though this rack is cost-effective, its depth is fixed at 12 inches. Hence, all your network equipment’s width need to be within 12″ deep (front to back). This open rack is a sturdy model that is quite popular for homes and small businesses.

Price (USD)/Buy From(USA): Amazon webpage for,

2. StarTech RK812WALLOA 8U Open Frame Rack (Adjustable Depth):

This rack is similar to the above-mentioned 8U Open Frame rack (1), except for one point: It has adjustable rails to achieve 12″ to 20″ depth in 1.5″ increments. This extra depth is useful to mount larger network equipment and to accommodate power cords/cables that need to be connected behind (especially when the rack is wall mounted).

To adjust the depth, one needs to remove and fix multiple screws, but this is a one time job (mostly). With the given number of screws, one can mount 3-4 1U equipment. The rack comes pre-assembled, hence it is sturdier. The metal is solid and the finish is good.

Price (USD)/Buy From (USA): Amazon webpage for,

3. Tripp Lite SRW08U22 Wall Mount 2-Post Open Frame Network Rack: 

This network rack is an 8U rack, but it is expandable to 14U or 22U whenever required. All the fixtures required for expansion is included. This rack has a fixed depth of 18″ (max) and is compatible with 19″ rack mountable components that support 2-post mounting. Basically, equipment will be fixed on the two vertical bars in the front.

The manufacturer says that this rack can hold up to 150lb of equipment in up to 22U of rack space. Though people have reported a sag of 0.5″ when equipment is loaded, it seems to be stable once settled in that position. Also, the screws supplied with this rack doesn’t come with washers – you may have to arrange for some. And wall mount hardware is not included. But this rack offers excellent value for money as it is expandable to up to 22U!

Price (USD)/Buy From (USA): Amazon webpage for,

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Connect your External Hard-drive to the Wi-Fi Network

The newly released Toshiba Canvio wireless adapter enables you to connect your USB-based external hard-drive to the Wi-Fi network. By connecting this adapter to your external hard-drive, you can connect your mobile phones or tablets to the hard-drive (over Wi-Fi) and transfer your files/media directly to the hard-drive. This could be useful to expand the limited storage generally available with mobile devices.

This adapter has Internet pass-through feature that allows mobile devices to connect both to the storage device and the Internet (wireless router) at the same time, over the wireless network. Also, up to eight wireless devices can connect to the hard-drive (connected to the adapter via USB port) at the same time.

Some companies have released external hard-drives with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, but Toshiba’s Canvio wireless adapter allows you to connect your existing (wired) USB hard-drive to the wireless network, and that’s a plus. Users can store their data/media to the external drive and stream them to mobile devices whenever required.

The only issue is, this Wi-Fi adapter needs to be connected to the power source. Hence, it’s easy to use it inside homes/offices, etc. But, it may not be useful while traveling, unless you have a power source handy nearby. There are other devices that have built-in wireless adapter running on battery power, and those could be more effective during travels, etc.

Further info/Manufacturer’s webpage: Toshiba Canvio Wireless Adapter.

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Two Good Budget Tablets for Work under $300

If you are looking for a budget tablet for work/office productivity tasks, and also some play, you should consider buying one of the two tablet models from Asus, shown below.

1. Asus T100TA-H1-GR(S) Detachable 2-in-1 Tablet:

  • Introductory Video:

Let’s admit it – A tablet is just a toy if it doesn’t have a keyboard, if its monitor isn’t large enough for office productivity apps, and if it can’t run Windows-based applications for work & office usage. This 10.1″ tablet from Asus comes with a detachable keyboard dock and built-in Windows 8.1 Operating System/MS Office Home & Student edition, which makes it a perfect budget tablet for work. And play.

Important specifications:

  • Detachable 2-in-1 Touch Screen Laptop + Tablet.
  • 10.1″ HD Screen
  • 32/64 GB SSD Storage (tablet) + 500 GB hard-drive storage (keyboard dock).
  • Windows 8.1 OS; Pre-installed MS Office Home & Student 2013 – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote.
  • Intel 1.3GHz Atom Processor, 2 GB RAM
  • 11-hour battery life
  • 1.2 MP Webcam
  • USB 3.0 port; Micro USB; Micro HDMI; Bluetooth 4.0; MicroSDXC ports.
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi built-in
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2.4 lbs

Advantages:

  • The bundled software cost of Windows OS and MS Office package is much more if bought separately – these two are important for work.
  • 11 hour battery life makes it ideal for usage during travel/airplanes.
  • Free unlimited web storage from Asus for one year.
  • Can add additional storage to the tablet via SD Card Slot. The 500 GB HDD storage on the keyboard dock (available in two models) is sufficient for storage in most cases.
  • 178-degree viewing angle.
  • Auto adjustment of display brightness based on your environment.
  • Sonic Master true-to-life sound.
  • Mouse and touch screen can be used at the same time.
  • Detachable keyboard – make it work like a laptop or a tablet, at will!
  • Light weight (even with the keyboard case).
  • Excellent price, Asus is a good brand that makes quality hardware.

Limitations:

  • Single USB port – you might want to buy a USB hub additionally.
  • Limited storage on the tablet, but storage can be extended via SD card.
  • No DVD/Optical drive.
  • Keys on the keyboard not backlit, keys are a bit smaller compared to normal laptops.
  • No built-in 3G/4G data option/SIM slot.
  • The tablet doesn’t bend 180 degrees backwards while attached to the dock (bending angle is limited).

Price (USD)/Buy From (USA): Amazon web-page for,

2. Asus VivoTab TF810C-C2-GR 11.6″ Tablet:

  • Introductory Video:

This Asus VivoTab has a large 11.6″ screen, Wacom Digitizer Stylus, Windows 8 OS, MS Office Home & Student Full Edition, front & rear webcam & 64 GB built-in SSD. The only thing it doesn’t have is a keyboard dock, but you can always buy a bluetooth keyboard/dock (and mouse) to use with this tablet. (Note: The keyboard dock shown in the above video is no longer available). This is a tablet that can become a laptop, if you want it to.

Important Specifications:

  • 11.6″ HD Screen
  • Wacom Digitizer Stylus (1024-level)
  • Windows OS, MS Office Home & Student – Full version
  • 64 GB SSD built-in storage, SD Card Slot
  • Intel Atom Z2760 1.8 GHz processor, 2 GB RAM
  • 8 Hours battery life
  • 1.5 lbs, 0.1″ width
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi built-in
  • USB port, Micro SD card slot, audio jack, Micro HDMI port
  • NFC sensor
  • 2 MP Front Cam, 6 MP Rear Cam
  • Quad Speakers

Advantages:

  • Large screen – 11.6″ HD display makes working on office productivity applications, a breeze. It comes with multi-touch display and 178 degree viewing angle.
  • Windows 8 OS + MS Office Home & Student Edition full version included. The cost of this software, if bought separately, can be much higher.
  • Wacom Digitizer Stylus – 1024 levels – Use it for precision input, as a mouse, for doodling, drawing simple graphics, natural writing experience, etc.
  • Metallic finish makes it look and feel good.
  • SonicMaster Quad speakers makes it a multimedia powerhouse.
  • Very attractively priced, especially for a quality hardware device from a popular brand (Asus).
  • Integrates with OneDrive for cloud storage. Asus provides 32 GB of free cloud storage for 3 years.
  • OneNote & SuperNote along with the stylus make it easy to take notes.
  • Users can install any application available for Windows 8 PC (as full Windows 8 OS is included).
  • SD card slot expands the available memory in the tablet.
  • Full HD video recording.

Limitations:

  • No DVD/Optical disk drive.
  • No built-in 3G/4G connectivity.
  • Doesn’t come with a keyboard dock.
  • There is no slot to hold the pen in the tablet, but it comes with an elastic loop.
  • Limited storage capacity.

Price (USD)/Buy From (USA): Amazon webpage for,

Optional:

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Synology NAS for USB Hard-drives (EDS14)

Synology EDS14 NAS for USB Harddrives

Synology has introduced a new NAS (Network Attached Storage) system that connects to (up to) two USB hard-drives and one SD card. I mean, just that – there is no provision to insert internal hard-drives! Generally, a NAS device is known by the number of internal hard-drives it supports (1-bay, 2-bay, etc.) and Synology has done away with that concept, with this model. Will this impress home and SOHO users? We’ll have to wait and watch.

A NAS system is designed to be connected to the network (via the network port – RJ-45), store data/files of all systems (comp, mobiles, etc.) connected to the network, and share/stream to multiple devices (over the network), as and when required. A USB hard-drive, on the other hand can connect only to one system (at a time) through the USB port of that system.

This device (Synology EDS14) is compact (palm-sized) and light weight (300 grams). The company claims it’s very rugged and can withstand temperature extremities. There are two USB ports (only one USB 3.0, the other is USB 2.0) and one High-speed SDXC UHS-1 SD card slot. I think they should have given two USB 3.0 ports, considering the critical application this device is designed for.

What’s the maximum capacity this device can support directly? USB-based External Hard-drive: 1 x 4 TB (USB 3.0 port), 1 x 1 or 2 TB (USB 2.0 port); SD Card: 128/256 GB (at the time of writing this article).

The Synology EDS14 NAS also comes with two network ports to connect it to the wired network. Heck, it supports premium availability features like link aggregation and failover! The popular Synology DSM (Disk Station Manager) NAS OS is used to manage this one also, and almost all features available with higher-level DSM-based NAS units from Synology seem to be available with this device.

For the compact model that it is, the Marvel Armada 370 1.2 GHz processor and 512 MB DDR3 RAM is quite fine. The three-year warranty definitely helps. The main advantage with Synology NAS systems is the extensive list of native and third-party applications that extend the NAS system to do many other functions, apart from storage and backup. You can almost use this device like a server! All those apps are available for the EDS14 device too.

The 111.94 MB/s and 50.4 MB/s read and write speeds with USB 3.0 (as advertised by the vendor) seems to be on the higher side, especially with a USB interface. Practically, those speeds will be lower. The fanless design (for quiet operation) and support for extreme temperatures are definitely a plus. Support for PoE splitters to be deployed in a PoE environment is another advantage.

Synology has introduced a unique device for the home/SOHO market – the concept seems to be interesting, but whether external hard-drives can be used for demanding 24×7 NAS applications remains to be seen. As is the performance. If you already have external hard-drives and are just looking to convert them into NAS storage devices, this model maybe a good option. Otherwise, you can just use them as secondary backup and buy a regular 1-bay or 2-bay NAS from Synology.

Further information/Specifications: Synology EDS14 NAS.

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Image credit: Synology website (linked above).

Entry-Level NAS: WD My Cloud Personal Cloud Storage

Video Introduction:

WD My Cloud Personal Cloud Storage is an entry-level NAS storage system that offers up to 4 TB of space to store (and backup) your files & media. The best thing about a NAS system is: it is a network-connected centralized storage unit that can be simultaneously accessed by multiple users connected on the wired or wireless network in your home. A USB hard drive, on the other hand, connects to the USB port of just one PC/system. This device will automatically backup photos and files from designated folders on your computer(s) and mobile devices.

You can store and access the data stored in WD My Cloud device from anywhere, using any device (computer, tablet, smart phone) – over the Internet. It’s a personal cloud but without all those monthly/yearly payments charged by the online cloud providers. That’s why it’s called My Cloud! All you need to do is, install this device at home, connect it to the network/Internet, and that’s it.

Connectivity Architecture of a Personal NAS system:

CONNECTIVITY-ARCHITECTURE-ENTRY-LEVEL-NAS

As shown above, there are two ways to connect the NAS system. You can connect it either to the wired port of a Wi-Fi Router (OR) to the wired port of a network switch. Both these devices are connected to a modem (cable, DSL) for Internet connectivity on one end; and users – computer, laptop and other wired networking devices with the network switch; laptop, tablet, smart phone and other wireless networking devices with the Wi-Fi router (as shown in the above diagram), on the other end.

Please note: Wi-Fi routers can connect both wireless and wired networking devices (if they have wired ports built-into them – most do). But the performance of the NAS system on a wired network is better than a wireless network.

Important Features of Western Digital My Cloud NAS System:

  • Centralized personal cloud storage system for storage & backup of files and media for everyone in your home.
  • WD apps are available for PC, Mac, iOS, Android. You can access your cloud-stored content from anywhere (via the net) if you connect the NAS system to the Internet.
  • Automatic backup of select folders from your computer; Time Machine integration for Mac users.
  • USB 3.0 port for adding additional storage (via external USB hard-drives).
  • Gigabit Ethernet and Dual Core processor for fast connectivity and quick processing.
  • Password protection for data stored in certain folders, restricted access to (specific) users.
  • DLNA & UPnP support for streaming to compliant devices (TV, etc.); iTunes support.
  • Direct photo uploads from your camera via USB cable.

Detailed Features/Specifications: Western Digital My Cloud product page.

Advantages:

  • The WD My Cloud entry-level NAS system can stream HD, BluRay and other high-resolution content across the LAN network to any DLNA certified device. So, you can store your movies and music once, in this device, and all family members can stream from here (to their own devices) whenever required. There is no need to store the same media at multiple locations, freeing space in other devices.
  • By default, all folders will have read and write access for everyone, but you can create users (with their own passwords) and restrict access to certain folders. You can also hide folders, or give read-only access, to some users.
  • With a USB hub, you can attach more than one USB hard drive to this NAS system (for expansion or secondary backup). With a powered USB hub, you can attach as many as 7 external hard drives, all of which can be accessed through the NAS. But be advised that the speed of data transfer will be lower for external drives attached in this fashion (especially through a USB hub).
  • Content Scan is a feature that enables WD My Cloud NAS device to automatically scan the network for multimedia content and present it to you (for selecting).
  • Snapshot feature allows you to make a copy of the entire WD My Cloud disk and save it to an external hard drive. You can restore this snapshot (back to the NAS device) anytime in the future in case you lose the content on WD My Cloud NAS. This enables you to back up all the contents of the NAS, just in case the internal hard drive fails. (Hard-drives can fail – it’s better to be prepared for the eventuality).
  • Even when you remotely access the content on your NAS drive through the WD website, your content and files are stored on your devices, and not on WD servers.
  • Internet cloud service providers like Amazon, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. offer a limited free storage capacity and then charge (monthly/yearly) for additional storage. With WD My Cloud, you don’t pay any recurring costs for storing/retrieving data, and your content is securely stored in your premises. There is only a fixed one-time cost to buy the device.
  • Photos and media can be set up to upload automatically, once you connect the devices (holding them) to your network.
  • Even if there is a power shutdown, the device will automatically power up (once the power is back) and no settings will be lost. It is better to connect it through a UPS, but UPS is not mandatory.

Limitations/Tips:

  • Though you can connect the NAS system over the Wi-Fi network (via Wireless router), data transfer will be faster if you connect it to a wired gigabit network (Cat 6 cables and gigabit switch ports).
  • You can either drag and drop files to the NAS device or map important folders so that content in them is automatically be backed up to the NAS.
  • If you find the device disappearing from the network, assign a static IP address to the NAS instead of the default DHCP IP address which keeps changing.
  • You cannot connect the WD My Cloud entry-level NAS system to computer or laptop’s USB port (for file transfer). You have to connect it to the network (wired network port of a Wireless router or network switch), and connect the computer/laptop also to the same network.
  • If you have to use the wireless network, try to use 802.11ac wireless routers and clients, for faster data transfer. Also, try to connect USB 3.0 compliant external hard drive to the USB port (of the NAS device) for better performance.
  • Turn off sleep mode if you have any issues accessing files remotely from this device. File transfer from a remote location (over the Internet) maybe slow, depending on your connection speeds. Internet bandwidth charges may apply if you don’t have an unlimited plan.
  • The WD My Cloud personal storage system comes in only one color, but it looks good.
  • Please note that this is a single bay NAS system and hence you cannot add more hard drives into it. But you can attach external hard drives via the USB port. Consider the total space you might need in a couple of years, while selecting the appropriate NAS model.

Price (USD)/Buy From (US): Amazon product page for,

Alternatives: You can buy 2/3 TB models, in addition to the 4 TB model. Refer to the above link for options and prices. 4 TB model is recommended.

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Retractable RJ-45 Network Cable

The Tera Grand Cat 7 STP Retractable Network Cable/patch cable (1.5 meters, 5 feet) is a useful addition to your network equipment toolkit. This cable is basically a 5 feet cable that is wound around a central pulley. This set up helps save space and eliminate clutter (due to long cables) in homes and workplaces.

You can pull the cables out when you want to use, and release it back to wind up in the center once you are done with it.

Here are some applications for the Retractable RJ-45 Network Cable:

  • A traveler can carry it in his/her briefcase.
  • In conference rooms and other locations where Wi-Fi signal is overloaded users can connect to the wired network using this cable.
  • Can be used in hotel rooms where there is a wired port but no cable.
  • Can be used as a Backup cable, if the normal cable/patch cord fails.
  • Can be carried around easily, along with a portable router.
  • Mobile workers can use it to connect to the network anywhere they go. Normally, extra cables may not be available at client sites, etc.
  • One can keep it inside their laptop bag, pouch or even their pocket – you never know when you need a network cable!

Since the Tera Grand retractable network cable is Cat 7 compliant, it supports higher speeds and bandwidth (up to 10 Gbps!). This cable is backward compatible to Cat 5E, Cat 6 standards. Since Cat 7 is the latest and the fastest, you can be rest assured that this cable will not become obsolete in the near future. Also, this is an STP (Shielded Twisted pair Cable), and hence it can withstand more noise and interference from external sources, than the normal UTP (Unshielded Twisted pair) cables.

The five feet length is sufficient for most cases (especially for a mobile cable), but longer variants could have been made available for specific use cases. This unit maybe slightly bulkier than other retractable cable units, but that’s because it supports the bulkier Cat 7 standard and the make is sturdier. It is recommended to buy this cable over the cheaper ones because the latter are prone to get broken or retracting mechanism may fail.

One tip: Try to pull both sides at once (while pulling it out) in order not to break it. A simple tug at both ends of the cable releases the lock and engages the recoil.

The slightly higher price for this retractable cable, in my opinion, is justified because this cable is sturdier, supports STP & Cat 7 standards, is five-feet long, and is future-proof. You can even use it for regular  and demanding applications like conference rooms, etc. where people want to use cables only at certain times, and don’t want cluttering of cables all over the place.

Manufacturer’s webpage: Tera Grand Cat-7 STP Retractable cable.

Price (USD)/Buy from (US): Amazon product page for,

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Toshiba Introduces Canvio AeroMobile Wireless SSD

Toshiba has introduced a new Canvio AeroMobile Wireless SSD (Solid State Device) for data storage. This device comes with its own built-in Wi-Fi adapter & battery.

Generally, you need to connect an external hard-drive or SSD drive to a computer/laptop (via USB drive) to transfer data/files. If you have a mobile/tablet, you need to transfer the content to the computer, and once again transfer the content to the external hard-drive from the computer. This is a two-step & somewhat cumbersome process.

Now since this new Canvio AeroMobile Wireless SSD (128 GB) comes with a wireless adapter and battery, you can just take this device with you, and connect it wirelessly to your mobile devices/tablets on the go. Once you take a picture or shoot a video (on your smart phone), you can instantly transfer the file to this SSD drive over Wi-Fi, and that also frees up space on your mobile device.

Want more? This SSD also comes with a SD card slot – you can remove the SD card from your mobile device, plug it into this drive and transfer content that way too. The best part is: Up to 8 users can connect wirelessly to this SSD, simultaneously. So, you can store all your media on this SSD drive, stream it to multiple users, and almost use it like a NAS! Be advised, although, that the wireless network is not as robust or as fast as the wired network to which a NAS generally connects.

The Toshiba Canvio AeroMobile SSD supports an Internet pass-through mode. Hence your mobile can continue to browse the Internet while transferring/ accessing the files on this device. Do note that the Toshiba Canvio wireless SSD needs to be connected to a power source after the 8 hours of battery life is exhausted. Also, since it’s an SSD, it doesn’t have any rotating disks, and hence it is more reliable and faster than normal hard-drives. That reliability and speed comes at a higher cost, but the wireless feature more than makes up for the cost, I guess.

An excellent product from Toshiba that you’d definitely want to check out.

Further details/Manufacturer’s webpage: Toshiba Canvio AeroMobile Wireless SSD.

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TRENDnet has announced DD-WRT Open Source Firmware Compliance for Routers

TRENDnet has recently announced DD-WRT Open Source firmware compliance for their high-end Wireless AC routers (TRENDnet TEW-818DRU (v1.0), TEW-812DRU (v2.0), and TEW-811DRU (v1.0) Wireless AC routers). There is one caveat though: the three-year warranty on these wireless routers will be void, if you replace the router firmware with open source DD-WRT!

DD-WRT, if you didn’t already know, is an open source cross-platform wireless router firmware that enables users to extend the functionality of wireless routers, much beyond what their current firmware can give them (In some cases, certain functionality may be lost also!).

Among others, DD-WRT allows your router to provide enhanced access restrictions, hotspot Internet access, wireless mesh networking, advanced QoS prioritization with WMM support, Wake On LAN, increased range/power intensity, dual/multiple LAN connections, ability to extend VLAN to wired ports of a wireless router, using the router as a client, bridge, or access point, provide advanced USB port functionality, etc. For a comprehensive list of features provided by DD-WRT, refer to this post.

Previously, depending on the model, users had to unofficially install the DD-WRT firmware by themselves (only few models were compatible). But now, it’s good to see manufacturers come forward and announce DD-WRT firmware compatibility by themselves. Many Linksys and Buffalo routers are also DD-WRT compliant. DD-WRT open source software also gives better compatibility between wireless routers manufactured by different vendors.

Let’s hope that companies will also consider extending warranty support for routers that install this firmware, in the near future.

You can get further info on the router models supported by TRENDnet, their product pages,  and their video links from here.

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