oh no, Netgear sux too…

16 07 2009

i “inherited” a Netgear Rangemax WPN824v3 wireless router recently, and found a use for it. as it’s a pre-802.11n uber-802.11g 104Mbps thingy, so i figured it’d be a good idea to put the latest (2 year old, so presumably stable) firmware into it. and that’s where the fun stopped…

i was trying to upgrade the firmware in this thing on a Mac with Firefox, but got a ‘invalid filename’ error when trying to upload the new firmware.

what a ridiculous fiasco ensued:

– the product support pages have a FAQ note advising to use Firefox2 or IE, and that updated firmware will be posted soon. but, how am I to get this promised-but-as-yet-undelivered firmware into the router with this bug?!?

– so I try the following setups:
Safari4 on Mac = same problem
IE8 on Windows7 = same problem
IE8 on WindowsXP = same problem
IE7 on WinXP = same problem (how is that possible!??)

in disbelief & desperation, I went to the Netgear forums.

– a 1 year old forum post on this topic (now closed – why is it closed? the issue is clearly unresolved) advises to “turn off Java”. without logging in to this forum, the 2 pictures attached to the post didn’t display. so I dutifully disabled Java. same problem.

– i noted the original poster says only IE is supported, all else “at own risk”. nice to see that in the user manual – NOT.

– so i dig up some old forum login credentials – they seem to be half recognised but i’m none the less referred back to a full registration page. so i register – again.

– then i see the 2 pictures, clearly showing both Java AND JavaScript unticked. for the uninitiated, Java & JavaScript are totally separate & unrelated things. i untick them (as unintuitive as this seems, given that the Rangemax config pages appear to require JavaScript). but finally that works.

TWO HOURS LATER a 10 minute job is done.

not wanting to sound like an Apple fanboy, but this kind of chosen mediocrity by a (once respected?) major networking company just drives me nuts.

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Upgraded to iPhone v3.0 & now your battery life sux?

16 07 2009

then read on…

first: be aware there’s a difference between “Push” (which is for some email account types & some MobileMe features) and “Push Notifications” (which is for apps).  they are controlled in separate Settings screens.

short story:
if you’ve upgraded to v3.0, usually have Wifi ON, and experiencing short battery life, and if you can live without Push Notifications (at least until Apple finds a better solution), TRY TURNING “Push Notifications” OFF.

alternatively, if you need Push Notifications but can live without Wifi, try turning Wifi off & let the data travel via 3G.

long story:
first I ran alternate days with Wifi ON, then Wifi OFF, and noticed with Wifi OFF my battery life was nowhere near as short (I could get through a day), but with Wifi ON, I can barely get through half a day.  this is very different to v2.21, and in my setup the only significant difference was Push Notifications being ON.

so today i’ve been running continuous pings from my Mac to my iPhone, with various combinations of Push on/off, Push Notifications on/off, email accounts on push / fetch / manual, and discovered there’s a huge difference in how often Wifi gets turned on when Push Notifications is enabled.

with Push Notifications ON, while your iPhone 3G (and probably 3GS) is asleep, Wifi will be turned on for 15-20seconds every 1 to 2 minutes!

this is in stark contrast to Push Notifications OFF, but Push (for email, MobileMe, etc) ON, where Wifi is on only as often as your email account settings dictate.

this explains a lot, I think.  with Wifi OFF, data goes through the 2G/3G radio, which is inherently ON all the time (for phone functionality), so the incremental ‘cost’ (to battery life) of Push Notifications is comparatively small.

but with Wifi enabled, data is instead sent via Wifi.  the incremental cost (to battery life) is dramatically higher having to turn on the Wifi radio, find the WLAN, get an IP from DHCP, then exchange data with various Internet servers, when it happens every couple of minutes!

though I’m not really sure what Apple can do about this situation.  they appear to be turning Wifi on frequently to give the illusion of true (ie timely) push notifications.  i think this situation runs parallel to those who found, with v2.x, that enabling Push on email accounts & Wifi enabled had similar major negative impact on battery life.  except now heaps more people want the Push Notification feature.  interesting conundrum…