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Best Router?
Posted by: Diana
Date: August 21, 2011 11:01PM
It appears that my router, a Motorola WR850G, is not operating properly; specifically, I get an "illegal MAC address!" message for any MAC address that (apparently) does not begin with 00. I could flash this thing (woo-hoo!) to a newer version, or just get a newer router.

The problem is keeping my MBP from getting on the network wirelessly (and I suspect also the iPad) if I try to restrict the network using MAC address filtering. If I turn filtering off, I can get on ye olde home network, but if it's on, then I cannot. From a google search, I see that others have had this problem even using the various authentication schemes this router allows; usually, the answer is to use no authentication scheme, but to use address filtering and to hide the SSID with the idea that this is good enough.

Flashing this router is probably going to open up another can of worms and be a major PITA. If I brick it, I'll have to buy another router anyway, and in the end I'll probably never quite trust the Moto even if I am successful.

So...What router would you suggest? They all look about the same to me at this point.

Thanks in advance.

Diana
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: btfc
Date: August 21, 2011 11:03PM
Airport Extreme.
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: haikuman
Date: August 21, 2011 11:07PM
Quote
btfc
Airport Extreme.
agree smiley



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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: jdc
Date: August 21, 2011 11:11PM
Buffalo. AEs are too rich for my blood.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: August 21, 2011 11:18PM
Reset it to factory settings via its reset button and reenter your info.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: btfc
Date: August 21, 2011 11:22PM
Apparently your router will take DD-WRT.

[www.dd-wrt.com]
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: Black
Date: August 21, 2011 11:26PM
Quote
Speedy
Reset it to factory settings via its reset button and reenter your info.

Agree^^

And if that doesn't do it, then comes the "flash" you were referring it to (presumably a firmware update and not some third party thing?)

Nathan (Slivarios) and Chakakhanin will appear on this thread presently to let you know in no uncertain terms that using MAC address filtering and hiding your SSID as your main approach to security is akin to placing a note saying "please use my network" on a plate of cookies and hand delivering it to your neighbors.

Have you tried just using WPA instead of MAC address filtering?

If all else fails, I just bought and installed one of these, and it works very well:

[www.amazon.com]

But why spend money when what you have might not be broken?




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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: Black
Date: August 21, 2011 11:27PM
Quote
btfc
Apparently your router will take DD-WRT.

[www.dd-wrt.com]

Guessing that's the "flash" she's referring to.




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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: Diana
Date: August 21, 2011 11:29PM
Resetting to factory settings does not fix the problem.
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: GGD
Date: August 21, 2011 11:35PM
Quote
Diana
Resetting to factory settings does not fix the problem.

You didn't go into much detail about how and where you are getting this message. If this is in some of the browsers web interface configuration pages, it may be more of a compatibility issue with the web browser you are using rather than a hardware failure in the router. And trying a different browser or upgrading to the latest firmware for the router might change that situation.
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: Diana
Date: August 21, 2011 11:40PM
By "flash" I mean:

a. Upgrading to the "newest" firmware version, or
b. DD-WRT.

And yes, I was aware the router would take DD-WRT. The newest firmware version shouldn't be a problem, but I've never done anything like it before. DD-WRT would be akin to it, but do I really need to go that far?

And yes, I'm aware of the "place the head in the sand" approach to network security will get me a stern lecture, but using some form of authentication such as WPA with old hardware on the system (such as a G3 Wallstreet) and with someone in the house with the attitude that if it can't be fixed or learned or examined thoroughly in 5 minutes or less you're spending too much time on it, suffocating on sand seems to be easier than the pain converting to WPA will become. Anything requiring security is usually done on a machine wired into the system. No excuse, just fact.
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: Diana
Date: August 21, 2011 11:45PM
Quote
GGD
Quote
Diana
Resetting to factory settings does not fix the problem.

You didn't go into much detail about how and where you are getting this message. If this is in some of the browsers web interface configuration pages, it may be more of a compatibility issue with the web browser you are using rather than a hardware failure in the router. And trying a different browser or upgrading to the latest firmware for the router might change that situation.

Further information:

It is coming from the router's configuration pages. The browser I'm using is Safari 5.1, and I've never encountered this issue before. Firefox gives me the same message.
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: Black
Date: August 21, 2011 11:50PM
Quote
Diana
By "flash" I mean:

a. Upgrading to the "newest" firmware version, or
b. DD-WRT.

And yes, I was aware the router would take DD-WRT. The newest firmware version shouldn't be a problem, but I've never done anything like it before. DD-WRT would be akin to it, but do I really need to go that far?

And yes, I'm aware of the "place the head in the sand" approach to network security will get me a stern lecture, but using some form of authentication such as WPA with old hardware on the system (such as a G3 Wallstreet) and with someone in the house with the attitude that if it can't be fixed or learned or examined thoroughly in 5 minutes or less you're spending too much time on it, suffocating on sand seems to be easier than the pain converting to WPA will become. Anything requiring security is usually done on a machine wired into the system. No excuse, just fact.

Good answer! Take that, Chaka and Nathan!




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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: Black
Date: August 22, 2011 12:07AM
Guessing you saw this:
[discussions.apple.com]


Here's someone who claims upgrading firmware to v 5.x fixed the illegal MAC address problem:
[www.broadbandreports.com]




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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: Diana
Date: August 22, 2011 12:12AM
The router is old enough to have been discontinued by Motorola! Imagine that.

Flashing to either the latest firmware version requires either a Windows machine (ugh!) as the files from Motorola are a .exe, or a linux box (they also gave the files as .tar balls). It is now past midnight and I've got to go to work in the morning.

If I get started with this now, it will probably take several hours. I'll do it when I get home (I hope) or on Wednesday evening. Classes start on Tuesday, so I don't have that much time to put into this.

Thanks to all who have replied. And, I'm quite tempted to get that router you linked to, Black. Quite nice!
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: Diana
Date: August 22, 2011 12:18AM
Quote
Black
Guessing you saw this:
[discussions.apple.com]


Here's someone who claims upgrading firmware to v 5.x fixed the illegal MAC address problem:
[www.broadbandreports.com]

Yes, I saw them. Also, the v 5.x fix mentions that it has problems with "heavy usage" whatever that amounts to, and suggests going back to the previous version to see if it fixes the issue.

The latest version is 6.1.4. I'll try it when I get home from work; hopefully it fixes the issue AND the "heavy usage" problem mentioned in your second link.
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: space-time
Date: August 22, 2011 09:46AM
I thought that MAC filtering was a bad idea, and one should use WPA or WPA2 (not WEP). MAC filtering is almost as useless as WEP



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/22/2011 09:47AM by space-time.
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: August 22, 2011 09:53AM
Just set your SSID to "FBI_SURVEILLANCE_VAN" and you should have no issues.
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: numbered
Date: August 22, 2011 10:25AM
Quote
mikebw
Just set your SSID to "FBI_SURVEILLANCE_VAN" and you should have no issues.

Not fair, coffee all over monitor now...

POMTL ==> Spewing Coffee All Over Monitor, Laughing==>SCAOML
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: August 22, 2011 12:09PM
Quote
Diana
...with someone in the house with the attitude that if it can't be fixed or learned or examined thoroughly in 5 minutes or less you're spending too much time on it

Airport Extreme (or Express) it is then...
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: silvarios
Date: August 22, 2011 04:33PM
Quote
Black
Good answer! Take that, Chaka and Nathan!

Are you high?
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: silvarios
Date: August 22, 2011 04:34PM
Quote
Diana
And yes, I'm aware of the "place the head in the sand" approach to network security will get me a stern lecture, but using some form of authentication such as WPA with old hardware on the system (such as a G3 Wallstreet) and with someone in the house with the attitude that if it can't be fixed or learned or examined thoroughly in 5 minutes or less you're spending too much time on it, suffocating on sand seems to be easier than the pain converting to WPA will become. Anything requiring security is usually done on a machine wired into the system. No excuse, just fact.

If you want to run an open network, why bother with SSID hiding and MAC address filtering? The latter seems to be causing you trouble. Just run an open WiFi network at that point.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/22/2011 04:36PM by silvarios.
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: silvarios
Date: August 22, 2011 04:39PM
Quote
Article Accelerator
Airport Extreme (or Express) it is then...

I have both; 802.11n Express model and last generation simultaneous dual band Extreme. Fabulous products.


Diana,
If you need Ethernet ports, you can't use the Express (only has one which will be used for the WAN). Apple is not the only game in town, there are other alternatives that can save a little money if you don't need all the features of Apple's routers.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/22/2011 04:40PM by silvarios.
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Re: Best Router?
Posted by: Diana
Date: August 22, 2011 10:59PM
I am home now, and I've told the news to the "spousal unit." He says, fix it! Apparently he has been doing all of the on-line financial stuff wirelessly through the MacBook since he finally retired the old eMac.

The problem was not just MAC address filtering, but rather a router running such old firmware that it could not recognize any MAC address that didn't start with 00: blah blah blah. This would force me to run completely open, so SSID hiding and address filtering no longer would (if even barely) suffice.

Nate, I don't really want to run an open network. Back when we first started this odyssey in 1995 we had G3 Wallstreets, and they didn't want to play well with network security, or would be very slow, or whatever. The decision was made to restrict the network to recognized MAC addresses only, and that should keep out the casual person. Well, now it's 2011 and times have changed. I need network security here at the house.

I have flashed the new firmware, and the router seems to be doing much better. It now accepts the newer MAC addresses, so I could declare victory and run away. I am currently running it closed, with MAC address filtering, but that isn't going to be keeping out anyone who really wants in.

Given that the oldest machine that may be using the network would be an old Wallstreet running 8.6, what would be an appropriate security authentication protocol? The Wallstreet is slated to be my "recipe server" in the kitchen; if it can't work using the authentication protocol, then it may have to be finally retired (or maybe....put OSX on it?...dunno). I can't seem to wrap my head around this stuff; I need help.

Update from the "spousal unit": he's not concerned about anyone getting any financial information from the data stream, but rather he just doesn't want unauthorized users on the system.

Diana

PS: For those who are curious: I downloaded the zipped firmware package last night on the MBP before I went to bed. This evening I got "lazy" and tried to download it using a Dell laptop running XP. After having to update various things on the Dell, I could not get to the appropriate part of the website to even get the software at all. It flat refused to do much of anything. I gave that up after about an hour. I checked it using my Mac and it worked just fine. I had to transfer the file using a thumb drive. And no, Motorola didn't give the appropriate flashing software as a Mac-compatible download, only Windows and Linux. Go figure.

Diana
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