[Cerowrt-devel] [Make-wifi-fast] arstechnica confirms tp-link router lockdown
chromatix99 at gmail.com
Sat Mar 12 04:38:20 EST 2016
> On 11 Mar, 2016, at 22:40, David Lang <david at lang.hm> wrote:
> Actually, devices show up in Windows "network neighborhood”.
Ah, you see, I tend to keep Windows off my network until the network itself is set up. Also, there’s a Linux machine sitting between the LAN and the modem, which effectively blocks UPnP. That’s probably why I haven’t noticed such subtleties - that, and they aren’t listed in the router manuals I’ve read to date. Maybe I just have old routers.
> But the biggest barrier is probably that the web interface is
> cluttered with features you don't need, so there's a setup wizard you
> go through once, and you don't touch that even if you're curious
> because you're at risk of resetting it.
That’s a good observation, and suggests a design principle to follow in future.
> Just because they screwed up the WNDR3800 with too many different
> coloured lights, it doesn't invalidate the principle.
It’s not just the WNDR, and not just Netgear. Every router I’ve seen has too many lights which provide too little information - and even I have to squint and read the manual to figure out what it’s telling me.
Except Apple. Then you have *one* light which provides too little information - but at least I don’t have to read the manual to figure it out. :-)
> You have a much larger display, which gives you room for help text and images, not just a handful of characters.
You might assume that I’m thinking of a 16x2 character display. I’m not - that’s too small to be user-friendly.
Rather, something like this, which gives 128x64 pixels (equivalent to 21x8 characters with a 6x8 font) and the freedom to draw icons and choose fonts:
There are also small OLED displays which give a sharper, higher-contrast readout, but these are more expensive, lack the capacity of colour-coding anything, and appear to be so small that some people might have difficulty reading them despite the sharpness and high contrast.
The original Macintosh put a whole desktop environment on a tiny (by modern standards) 512x384 mono display. We don’t even need *that* level of sophistication. I’m confident 128x64 mono will be enough if carefully designed for - it is substantially more than a classic Nokia phone provided.
> A display is nicer than just LEDs, but it's also a lot more expensive.
Yes, it looks like a decent display+controller combination is more expensive than a mini-PCIe ath9k card (even discounting the markup associated with Adafruit providing a maker-friendly kit rather than raw devices). It will therefore be a significant contributor to the BOM cost. This is justifiable if it also contributes to the USP. On the upside, with a status display we can reduce the number of LEDs and associated optical channels, perhaps all the way down to a single power light.
> I also don't like large glowing displays on devices. I frequently put tape over the LEDs to tone things down as well (especially in bedrooms)
An RGB LED backlight can inherently be dimmed - and this could occur automatically when out of setup mode (keyboard disconnected) and the overall status is OK. Also, since it illuminates a relatively large area, the colour can be discerned without high brightness in the first place.
> I don't know if you really can simplify the configuration the way you are wanting to, but I'd say give it a try. Take OpenWRT and make a configuration program that you think is better.
Yes, I probably should.
> You even have a nice browser based tool to start with (luci). If you can make a browser based tool work well, then if your tool is better/easier, it can be widely used, or you can then try hardware versions of it.
But I will take a careful look at Luci to help generate a requirements checklist.
- Jonathan Morton
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