Farewell Skolem, the PIII packet-pusher

Skolem was a Pentium III mobile with 128MiB RAM, a 20GiB travelstar HD, and a dock! The dock was important since the LCD was completely shot, and it had two PCI slots (with Lite-on tulip clones) which enabled routing duties. Skolem was my router for many years, taking over after my Ultra 5 started failing, and even survived a DSL to cable ISP change. Continue reading Farewell Skolem, the PIII packet-pusher

Now only one generation behind on wireless

I’m a big fan of wires for networking. You usually know where they go if you are the one who installed them, they are reliable for long periods of time without maintenance, and they are not typically subject to interference without physical access. They are cumbersome for battery powered devices, so although I have pulled cat5e through multiple rooms in my house, I did eventually relent, and installed an 802.11b bridge to my home network 2005. My first B bridge was based on an Atmel chipset, and I don’t remember much beyond that except that performance was really poor.

My first B wireless bridge was replaced with a commercial-grade b/g model after it became apparent that even light web-browsing was unusable with three wireless devices. The network was originally left open (but firewalled) which lasted until a neighbor’s visiting laptop during the holidays generated approximately 20,000 spam through my mail infrastructure. (my dual 50MHz sparc 20 dutifully delivered about two-thirds of them before I noticed a few hours later. Luckily I only ended up on a single blacklist site as far as I could tell, which expired a few days later.) I set a password, and went on my merry way.

The B/G configuration survived until I realized that I only had a single B holdout in the form of an old laptop which used a PCMCIA lucent orinoco silver wireless card — everything else was capable of G. The laptop was due for a hand-me-down update anyway, so it was retired and my network was configured exclusively for 802.11g. Observed network speeds jumped, and through the years more devices joined the network.

I figured with 2017 rolling around, it was time to upgrade the wireless. I figured something capable of B/G/N would be easily available, and I knew that N was capable of working in 5GHz, so I figured I would keep the existing G network in 2.4GHz, and augment with N in 5GHz. Yes, this meant having two wireless bridges, but I’d be able to cover all standards.

My wife has had an amazon kindle since the first generation (still has it, still used on occasion) but her seventh generation kindle never worked correctly with my G network, (I even tried B/G and B-only,) and it’s been kind of a sore point since she got it. It only supports N on 2.4GHz, so that nixed my idea of splitting G and N across frequency ranges, but we’re far enough away from our neighbors that channel capacity doesn’t seem too bad.

After getting N working at its new location, with new router setup, I started re-associating devices from G to N. When I was done, there weren’t any G devices left. Everything in active use already supported N.


Now to fully decommission the old wireless router, but that’s another post…