Comcast, Netflix and a fix with Privacy

Comcast claims otherwise, but I’ve tested and they definitely are limiting Netflix traffic on their Xfinity network.  I tested this by streaming a Netflix movie to various devices – Blu Ray player, Computer, mobile device – on wired and wifi connections that get service from Comcast.  All devices played haltingly and buffered so much it was impossible to watch the movie.

Netflix states that the minimum connection speed you really need to watch a movie is just 0.5 mbps.  They recommend 1.5 mbps, and If you want HD: 5 mbps.  My Comcast service claimed to be 25 mbps… but I was still having problems?  This needed some testing.

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Ridiculous, Kid-safe Network Setup Attempts

I just finished setting up my home network (again) and thought to document what I did, why, and what needs to be fixed.  It might help someone else who’s kids are fiendishly clever about avoiding safe network endeavors.

My Perfect System

What I really want is a kind of proxy server that manages all our inbound/outbound network traffic and enforces schedules per user, per traffic-type (netflix vs web, etc), and can require a password for some users to access specific kinds of sites.  Parents either don’t need, or else know the password, kids don’t, voila.  But I don’t have a computer running 24/7 to work as a proxy for my network, and don’t want to learn a system like squid to set it up if I did.  Oh, and I want it to be free, and easy to manage.

So I’ve tried other things…

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Netgear WNDR3700v3 Firmware problem – 1.0.0.36

When firmware version 1.0.0.36 was announced for my WNDR3700 router (v3), I waited a week to see what I could find online about its changes… then got impatient and installed it.

Since then, my router has routinely kept dropping internet connectivity for any wireless device.  Wired connections work fine even while wifi connected devices do not.  My wifi devices had excellent signal connectivity, but no access to the internet – this affected both 2.4ghz and 5ghz bands.  The router itself does not list any log entries for problems.  There were no access restrictions, dns server problems, etc… I tested everything I could think of.

For a short-term fix I could disconnect/reconnect the wifi device, or reboot the router (which does the same thing), and I’d get back on the internet for a while.

I finally got sick of it and re-flashed a previous firmware version 1.0.0.30 and the problem has gone away.

I was considering just putting dd-wrt on the device instead, but it seems that v3 of this router doesn’t have terribly wide support for alternative firmwares.

Anyway.  If you’re having this problem, now you know how to “fix” it.

If I were getting a new router (which I also considered) it would not be another Netgear without having done some serious research on it first.