ASUS RT-AC66U Dual Band 3.3 802.11AC Router

The Asus RT-AC66U Router continues to lead the pack with firmware downloads with improvements through enhanced features and security.   Last night Jay messaged me with details on one of their features that provides a dual WAN option with fail-over features.  Here’s a couple of screenshots that shows the dual WAN features.

Router        (Information)  (Specifications)

Asus’s latest firmware is just one of many firmware updates that proves this router is valuable to homes and businesses.


Credit: Jay Matlock


ASUS MAP    bandwidth  tRAFFIC     wan oNE Wan Setup     WAN TWO wired

AlphiMAX PTP Estimator provides an excellent way to align your wireless antennas

Need an excellent program to estimate your wireless bridges from building to building?  AlphiMAX provides an excellent online program to estimate your wireless links.

Sign up is easy and fast.  The PTP Estimator requires that you have the Latitude and Longitude of both buildings.  You can get an estimated Lat. and Long. from Google maps.  Find your location on Google maps (you should use a GPS) and right click on the location you want then select “What’s here?” .    This will provide the numbers you need.  Remember, it is best to use a GPS on each site where you intend to erect an antenna.

PTP Estimator

You can also search for a location by name by clicking the area in the center of the online application.  icon

Once you have the Lat. and Long., enter the numbers at the top of the online application.  Click Estimate.

Entering LatandLong

The interface will show you the terrain, Antenna height, compass information, Fresnel Zone Clearance, approximate altitude,  along with product information they provide.



The estimator also offers a 3D view of your project if you have an active subscription.

AlphiMAX Company Overview
AlphiMAX provides products to help you with your wireless needs.

How to guard your wireless network and see intruders

100% credit goes to Bill Mullins for sharing this information. (

Softperfect has some of the best freeware for Windows.   With Netscan you can see devices on your network and find information about the  devices.  Now with their software “WiFi  Guard”, you can use a device on your network and find the devices that are attached to it.

While you should take precautions to secure your wireless network, is someone accessing your network without your knowledge?

Installation is fast and easy.  Simply follow the wizard and make sure you run the software at startup.


Once you install the software, select the adapter and scan your network.  Next double click on known devices and select “I know this device.”  Let the software run and periodically scan your network.   If you find a device connecting to it,   locate the device and remove it from the network or take action to prevent unknown devices from connecting.

I Know

The software is designed to run on Apple, Windows or Linux.

Note: The above pic is from a lab environment and the addresses and macs do not represent real machines or a production environment.

Need a small wireless access point or wireless router?

Here’s one of the smallest, feature packed and powerful routers for under $30.  The NetShair Nano by iogear offers some of the most features money can buy.  Here’s how it works (interactive).   (Thanks Jeremy for bringing it in!)

  • Compact design USB powered ultra-portable Wi-Fi router with USB pass-through
  • Converts any wired Internet connection to Wi-Fi
  • Perfect accessory for Ultrabooks, MacBook Air and other devices without Ethernet ports
  • Serves as a DHCP Router or Access Point
  • Plugs into any USB port or USB charger for power
  • USB pass-though (no loss of USB port when connected)
  • Free apps for iPod®/iPhone®/iPad® and Android operating systems
  • IEEE 802.11b/g/n compliant 150Mbps speed
  • Supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 64/128 bit security
  • VPN
  • Firewall
  • more
Warranty:   1-YEAR
photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 5

What about the  Zyxel Routers / APs we featured in late 2013? Here are some pics from an earlier  our blog post earlier..  With a router/ap switch on the side and the ability to act as a router, ap or bridge, the routers came with two power supplies each, a CAT5 cable and a very powerful wireless signal.




As we go through the CWTS curriculum, students are exposed to many different types of routers.  The Zyxel MWR102 is a tiny router (only 2.9″ x 2.3″ x .6″) that you can use when in a pinch or even in a small apartment.


This tiny router packs a ton of features.  Under $20, the router’s specs prove it gives a full size router a run for the money.

Zyxel Specs- USB Powered 150Mbps Wireless-N Fast Ethernet Travel Router


  • Pocket-sized router/AP for internet access on-the-go
  • 3-in-1 Functionality – Router, Access Point, and Client Bridge
  • Wirelessly share a wired Internet connection with multiple friends, colleagues, or devices.
  • 802.11n wireless connectivity for data transfer rates of up to 150 Mbps
  • USB or AC power provide flexibility for any situation
  • Hardware Specifications:
  • Ports:
  • Two (2) 10/100 Mbps (1x WAN, 1x LAN)
  • One (1) MiniUSB (For Power)Power:
  • 5V DC USB
  • System Specifications:
  • Wireless Standard:
  • IEEE802.3, IEEE 802.3u
  • IEEE802.11n auto rate up to 150Mbps
  • IEEE802.11b/g compatible auto rate up to 54Mbps
  • IEEE802.1x MDI/MDI-X adaptive flow-control
  • IEEE802.1p
  • IEEE802.3x
  • IEEE802.3az
  • Operating Modes:
  • Router
  • Access Point
  • WiFi Client Bridge   Yep, even a wireless bridge…Wireless Security:
  • Security:
  • 64/128-bit WPA/WPA2
  • SPI Firewall
  • WPS Setup
  • Routing and IP Management:
  • Static IP
  • DHCP
  • PPPoE
  • NATUnit Dimensions:
  • 0.61 x 2.93 x 2.32-inches (H x W x D)   Is anything smaller?

Where can you buy it?

What should you do with an old computer? Create a home router/firewall!

ITX-motherboards can often be found in older computers from garage sales or thrift stores.  What is the practical use for these motherboards or older computers?

Here’s a small project that involves protecting your home.

After finding an ITX motherboard and gathering extra parts from broken laptops and computers, this project will put the software SMOOTHWALL Express onto the computer to make a mini firewall.  Total cost?

  • $22 250watt power supply
  • $5 Gearhead mini keyboard


Base processor
Athlon 64 X2 (B) 5400+ 2.8 GHz (65W)
800 MHz front side bus
Socket AM2

GeForce 9100


  • Manufacturer: Pegatron
  • Motherboard Name: APX78-BN
  • HP/Compaq motherboard name: Nutmeg-GL6E

Power supply

240 Pin DDR2 PC2-6400 MB/sec
Hard drive
120 GB SATA 6G (6.0 Gb/sec)
7200 rpm

Video Graphics

Integrated on motherboard (NVidia 9100)

High Definition 6-channel audio
ALC 888S chipset

Network (LAN)
Integrated 10/100 Base-T networking interface
Added Broadcom wireless to create a wireless router

External I/O ports connections – 6  USB

Expansion slots

PCI Express mini card socket – added Broadcom Wireless
PCI Express x16
PCI Express x1


  • 2″ Fan for Chipset

In the video below, HAK5 shows just how to make a motherboard like this into a nice home router/Firewall.

WISP – A view from above

One of the areas entering the IT arena over the past several years is advanced wireless technology.  So what is a WISP? Here’s an excellent article from PCWorld:  Meet WISP, the wireless future of internet service.

IMG951570 (1)

Josh and John of Athena Broadband who recently attended as professional monitors of the Network+ class at TCAT Shelbyville recently gave us a bird’s eye view from their new tower on Madison Street (above). (Photo Above: Athena Broadband)

Dawn gave us a reverse look at the tower used in WISP.

IMG_7715  IMG_7718IMG_7719IMG_7720IMG_7721IMG_7722IMG_7723IMG_7724IMG_7725
The Computer Information Technology class continues to receive advanced training on the Ubiquiti AF24 Airfiber and other technologies.  The Ubiquiti AF24 Airfiber is a hi-power, linear 2X2 MIMO radio with enhanced receiver performance and reliability.  The AF24 has a breakthrough speed of 1.4+ Gbps real data throughput.

These devices are specifically designed for outdoor Point to Point bridging between buildings and provide hi-performance network backhauls.  These dual-independent 2×2 MIMO 24GHz hi-gain reflector antenna systems, can operate in FDD and HDD  modes providing speed and spectral efficiency in the 24GHz band.

Students learn how to configure advanced wireless devices for real world information technology and hands-on experience.

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429478_10200791244321655_297120865_n    527862_10200791246441708_100458323_n


Justin, Josh and Theo’s results during a configuration of the AF24s.


150 Best Windows Software

As we move into our seventh year, we have found Rick over at What’s On My PC and the articles he finds on the web to be some of the most useful resources.   Rick once again has found an excellent article on AddictiveTips giving 150 of the Best Windows Software of the Year 2013.

For one of the best resources on the web (770 sites), visit Rick’s other site Bookmarks4Techs.

Thanks Rick!

Increase your router’s power and purchase a better antenna for better performance

Increasing your router’s power or purchasing an antenna will improve the signal to noise ratio at the receiver.  You may have given up on laptops or desktops but you probably still have wireless for your tablet, smartTV and other devices.  Although you may be surfing the web and thinking you are getting an excellent download speed, you may be able to increase the speed by using a third party firmware such as DD-WRT or Tomato.   Traditional factory firmware usually doesn’t allow increasing your power.

First off you need to download Xirrus, NetSurveyor, inSSIDer or Vistumbler.  Each of these free software packages allow you to measure your signal strength, quality and view the channel to make sure you are using a free channel.

Next relocate your router to other areas in your home or business.






Netsurveyor 3d


Netsurvey heatmap


Netsurveyor timecourse







Xirrus History


Firmware such as Tomato or DD-WRT offer a power setting (below).



Note:  It is important to make sure your router has adequate cooling and to only increase Transmit Power when necessary and in small increments.  Always research your router and see what settings have been used to tweak your connection.

Other articles:

Hacking your wireless router

Increase your wireless speed

Guard your wireless network

Tweak your wireless router

Resolve wireless problems


Diagnose your network and view network packets with Microsoft’s Message Analyzer

Microsoft’s Message Analyzer enables you to capture, display, and analyze network traffic.   This software even allows payload rendering in order to see pictures and other data.

A Start

B Scanning

Download Here

Tomato – another wireless router firmware alternative

We have a ton of articles on DD-WRT and have used the firmware for a ton of different routers.   Recently we looked into Tomato another free firmware upgrade for the older Linksys WRT54G routers.

Tomato like DD-WRT offers a ton of features more than the factory firmware that came on the older Linksys (802.11g) routers.

My curiosity got the most of me when my father-in-law George brought me an older Linksys to tinker with.

I had initially had upgraded the WRT54G (Version 3.0) with DD-WRT and decided to give Tomato a try.  Navigating to Administration in the DD-WRT GUI, I followed the instructions of Tomato and upgraded the firmware.  I immediately noticed that the power light began to flash and fearing the worst, I thought I had ‘bricked’ the router.  The router would only respond to pings and I could not navigate to the Administration page or telnet into the router.

In order to try to get the router to function properly, I decided to use TFTP and upload the firmware again.  In order to do this, I entered the router’s IP and pointed to the firmware file. I manually set my ip address on my LAN NIC card to one number above the routers (last octet) and plugged a CAT5 cable into the router from my laptop.


I then unplugged the router and plugged in the router immediately clicked the upgraded button on TFTP.   This forced the firmware on the router as it rebooted.  I waited a good two minutes and unplugged the router to reboot it.

Tomato was successfully installed.

  • Status (Overview, Device List, Logs)
  • Bandwidth (Real-Time, Last 24 Hours, Daily, Weekly and Monthly)
  • Tools (Ping, Tracert, Wireless Security and WOL)
  • Basic Configuration (Network, Identification, Time, DDNS, Static DHCP and Wireless Filter)
  • Advanced Configuration (TCP, UDP Timeouts, NAT Helpers, DHCP, DNS, Firewall, Routing and Wireless)
  • Port Forwarding
  • Advanced QoS with live charts
  • Administration (Scripts, Schedules and more)



Device List \ Logs Network Noise Floor Overview




Tomato is a very stable firmware for several older routers and offers an alternative to factory firmware which often is unstable.

Full list of features-Tomato Firmware

Remove EXIF information from your pictures

Most people still don’t know that their tablet, camera or smartphone might be tagging their latitude and longitude.   Why is this dangerous?  It can show the location of where you or your family is at.  It can give away corporate data or information that can harm your corporation.

Here’s an example of IrfanView (with plugins) pulling the information from our school where a hacking log is being photographed.

Log information

The latitude and longitude can be opened in Google Earth.  This shows where the photo was taken.  In this case, within 3′ of where the picture was taken.

Google Earth

How can you remove your EXIF data?  In Windows, right click and select properties.  On the details tab, click on Remove Properties and Personal Information.

remove it

To remove EXIF information from Mac OSX use ImageOptim.

iPhone -

Settings>General>Reset>Reset Location & Privacy.
Then launch the Camera App, select “Don’t Allow” when prompted.

You can also turn this off: Settings>Privacy>Location Services>Camera>Off.

Android, iPhone or Blackberry (more info)

Always turn off information that could tell someone where you are.  This could result in your home being burglarized or other crimes against you or your family.

Best IT Professional sites on the web

It’s hard to find great quality information that can be used by IT professionals.  One of the best sites on the web is GEGeek.  This site offers information that is updated often and covers a wide range of IT resources and troubleshooting.  This versatile site offers answers to IT questions covering a plethora of topics from legacy to modern day resources.

No where on the net can you find this amount of information.



Rick over at What’s On My PC has another site that is one of the most resourceful sites on the web.
Bookmarks 4 Techs links to over 700+ sites and blogs on the web.  The site offers links, RSS Feeds, news and hundreds of other links.