Archive for November, 2016

Enabling wired LAN on Canon Pixma Pro-100

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Canon PIXMA printers are equipped with three types of connections: USB, WiFi and Ethernet (wired). I try and keep EVERYTHING I can off my WiFi, so I wanted to make the wired Ethernet connection work.

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From the factory, the wired Ethernet connection is disabled (stupid) and doesn’t automatically enable itself until you do the following:

  • Turn printer on. Wait for it to do its stuff and be on (about 30 seconds)
  • Hold down the paper feed button until the power light blinks EXACTLY 11 times. It’ll respond by blinking afterwards.
  • Turn printer off. Wait for it to shutdown gracefully
  • Turn it on again, wired LAN should be active.

To verify, hold down feed button for exactly 6 blinks. It’ll print out a settings page, wired should be marked as “active”.

Apparently this may also be possible from deep within the settings once WiFi is active, but really? Also, it appears impossible to have both WiFi and wired active at the same time (no big loss, but WHY?)

Wireless done right

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I decided to do some research on the *right* way to set up wireless networks when you have multiple standards, multiple access points, multiple bands and a (fairly) large area to cover. There doesn’t seem to be one right answer, but here’s my old setup and new setup. This all seems to track nicely, WPA2 identical password and same SSID for all variants.

Old setup (limited in main building by old wiring limiting maximum backhaul to 100 Mbit/s Ethernet)

  • Linksys (hacked for high power) WAP54g (single band) in main building – kabal-wireless (802.11g, 2.4GHz only)
  • Apple Airport Express in main building – kabal-wireless-n (802.11n, simultaneous 2.4GHz & 5 GHz) running in dumb mode
  • NetGear WNR2000v1 N300 in garage office – kabal-wireless-n (802.11n, simultaneous 2.4GHz & 5 GHz) probably running as a router

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New setup (Gigabit Ethernet wired backhaul for everything)

  • Zyxel NWA1123-AC – kabal-wireless in main building living room (simultaneous 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4GHz and 5 GHz)
    • 20/40 MHz channel 6 2.4 GHz, Auto channel assignment 5 GHz 20/40/80 MHz
  • Zyxel NWA1123-NI – kabal-wireless in main building bedroom (simultaneous 802.11a/b/g/n, 2.4GHz and 5 GHz)
    • 20/40 MHz channel 1 2.4 GHz, Auto channel assignment 5 GHz 20/40 MHz
  • Zyxel NWA1123-NI – kabal-wireless in garage office (simultaneous 802.11a/b/g/n, 2.4GHz and 5 GHz)
    • 20/40 MHz channel 11 2.4 GHz, Auto channel assignment 5 GHz 20/40 MHz

So with the new setup, there’s 1 SSID for everything, and one password using WPA2 authentication. 2.4 GHz channels are set to the only nonoverlapping channels (1,6,11). 5 GHz channels are auto-assigned (and non-overlapping). For the most part clients seem to deal with roaming well, unlatching and latching onto access points (relatively) seamlessly.

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Notes (the good, the bad and the ugly)

  1. Throughput on 802.11ac is close to 1 Gbit/s (whoah).
  2. This setup is somewhat at the mercy of crappy clients (802.11b) pulling down the throughput of the access point THEY are connected to. Fortunately, I don’t think I have many left.
  3. All units are PoE capable, and a $15 injector does the trick. Coupled with some awfully thin Ethernet cable, this can be very unobtrusive.
  4. Some folks have posited that having separate SSID for a,b,n,ac and 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz is a good thing. Most do not. I think it depends on the quality of your hardware. For example, you’ll often see people with separately named -5 networks.
  5. Many folks name adjacent networks differently. This is annoying. Just thought I’d put that out there.
  6. Don’t use routers as access points. Even in dumb mode bad stuff can happen.
  7. Eventually, I may move the units to 802.11ac APs, but wow, those NWA1123-NIs sure are cheap.
  8. There aren’t a lot of players in the high end access point market: Ubiquiti, Cisco, Engenius, and to a lesser extent, Netgear, Zyxel, etc.
  9. Of course, building a great wireless network in front of a crap router doesn’t help anybody. I use a custom-built pfSense router.
  10. Comcast letting anyone use their neighbor’s bandwidth (default xfinity network) is kind of insidious. It makes me feel dirty, like I’m stealing their internet access.

IPv6 working at home (sort of)

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I finally got IPv6 working at home over the weekend. I ended up doing it with custom router hardware from PC Engines (in my case the very capable APU with 4GB memory [$131+$10 enclosure], a 16GB mSATA SSHD [$24.99], and three gigabit Ethernet ports) running pfSense.

Couple of hiccoughs along the way:

  1. Completely forgot about the all-important null modem cable.
  2. Needed to find driver for my USB-DB9 serial adapter that runs under macOS Sierra (Prolific PL2303 chipset well-supported)
  3. Needed to find an appropriate terminal emulator (screen works well)

(more…)

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