ASUS RP-AC68U – what a piece of crap

Firstly I want to say sorry if you, like me, ended up with one of these pieces of shit on your network.

The device worked at the start until the latest firmware was released. When firmware is released you don’t think that the firmware will be so broken as to make your entire network will go off line intermittently due to this device deciding that it wants to do its own thing.

I was using this device as an Access Point – to connect wifi devices to the LAN. Simple really! The device is marketed as an Access Point, so it should function correctly as one.

An Access Point should act as a network bridge. Packets come in over wifi and the AP sends the packets out the LAN cable, and when the packets arrive at the AP over the LAN then the AP send them out over wifi.

That’s it! It is that simple. An Access Point should NOT intercept or tamper with traffic. It has no reason to act as DHCP or DNS server. Anyone who wants an AP will already have DHCP and DNS servers somewhere else on their network.

Unfortunately the ASUS RP-AC68U does just that – it’s trying to be too smart by half. But sadly the developers who wrote the firmware are incompetent. They made mistakes by acting as a DHCP and DNS server even though an AP has no business with offering these LAN services. But that would most probably be OK if you could disable that functionality but nope, can’t do that.

What makes matters worse is that there is a disconnect between the GUI and the actual configuration of the device which is where the real trouble starts.

In the GUI you can set the IP address of the default gateway, and also set IP addresses of 2 DNS servers. Any sane person would think that that would mean that the default route of the device would be set to the default gateway IP, and that the /etc/resolv.conf file would have 2 entries.

BUT no, for some absurd reason the developers decided that your default gateway IP address should be added as a third DNS server in /etc/resolv.conf. The only way to not have the 3rd DNS added is to not set a default gateway – yup, how broken is that!

This makes the device useless to people who run a split DNS – one internal DNS forwarding to specific forwarders, and one external on your router. So this means that when the AP intercepts your DNS request there’s a 1 in 3 chance of your request being forwarded to a DNS server you don’t want the request going to. Chaos ensues when internal hostnames fails to resolve.

So, once I worked out what was happening I raised a ticket with ASUS local “customer support”… got a response quickly asking for screenshots which I sent in that day… and then I waited, and waited and waited.

About a month later I poked them so get a status – we didn’t see your e-mail. So I had to resend and asked for acknowledgement of receipt. All good, getting some action.

Weeeelllll… no…. a month later I poke them again and they asked for me “Do you want us to send this to global support?”… WTF?!?!? They’ve been sitting on this support ticket for 60 days and have done nothing with it. Now I had to fill in a word document with screenshots and descriptions that I’d already supplied them.

Problem finally gets sent to global support and I got asked for some clarifications later that week, I also sent them results of an experiment I did to show the problem, and since then it’s been nothing but silence from them.

It looks like local, in country support, have zero technical ability and they just act as paper pushers to forward e-mails to the global team once customers get irate enough. And the developers can’t seem to grasp why what they’re doing is wrong.

In the meantime I started seeing the RP-AC68U giving out DHCP leases to LAN clients as well… not good.

Downgrade I thought! I downloaded an order version of firmware that I’d used before the upgrade, but nope, can’t downgrade… sigh…

I shot off an e-mail asking how to downgrade…. silence… sent off another e-mail asking how to downgrade (or get a refund)… silence…

That was the last straw, so today I decided to buy a proper Access Point, you know, an Access Point from a reputable company that knows networking rather than some hacks.

So now my network is running a brand new Ubiquiti Networks Unifi AP AC PRO (model number UAP-AC-PRO)  Access Point. It was a breeze to setup (the UI looks like it was written by an adult rather than the amateur looking ASUS UI), wifi speeds are faster, but most importantly it’s acting as an Access Point and not intercepting and tampering with my network traffic!

And then, with much happiness, I took to the piece of shit RP-AC68U with a hammer, and then deposited the pieces in the bin where it really belonged. I toyed with selling it on eBay but I couldn’t in good conscience pass this junk on to another poor soul.

The lack of ASUS support has guaranteed that there will never be another ASUS product in this household. Life is too short to have to deal with fucked up devices and non existent support!

Do yourself a favour – buy Ubiquiti wifi gear, you will love it!

Cisco – why did you lead us along for 12 months?

I bought a Cisco SRP547W router about 18 months ago. Its a quite decent unit engineeringwise, it mostly works extremely well and has only locked up once in that time but in hindsight the support for it is diabolically non-existent.

The crux of the matter is that it supports the older IPv4 networking stack and Cisco has promised the newer, but not bleeding edge new, IPv6 network stack for about a year in the Cisco Community Support Forums (for example this thread) for around 12 months now.

Despite being told by Cisco staff, and following up a number of times in the forums, we’ve now been told almost 9 months after Cisco sold us the promise of IPv6 that they’ve now had a change of heart and will not support IPv6 for our routers.

  • How can a company the size of Cisco openly lie to its customers for 9 months in an open forum?
  • How can Cisco just wash their hands of their advertised upgrades? I’m thinking of taking this to our ACCC as false advertising and anti competitive behavior.
  • Will Cisco offer us free or heavily discounted upgrades to devices that will support IPv6 given the lies?

It’ll be interesting to see what Cisco do here… I’m guessing nothing, but I will update you if they get sudden pangs of ethics.

Moral of the story? Don’t buy Cisco!

An update from 16 April
Well the Cisco employee who said that Cisco was looking to support IPv6 many, many months ago is now trying to hide behind the weasel words in the footer of their forums. *sigh*

Moral of the story

  1. Cisco is an unethical company when it comes to support commitments made by their reps
  2. Cisco reps will lie and eventually try to hide behind a disclaimer
  3. Don’t by Cisco

I’ve asked, via the forums, for the Cisco product manager to contact me for a resolution. Time will tell if I get one. I will keep you updated!

Why you should never buy another Maxtor or Seagate harddrive – part 2

After my last blog entry on the incompetence and unethical behavior of Seagate / Maxtor it seems I finally got through to someone at Seagate.

Got a call from the Seagate courier and also the Seagate logistics company responsible for the RMAs, as well as a couple of e-mails from Seagate themselves… seems that the incompetence permeates all levels of this sham and they thought they’d all better pull their collective fingers out.

I happen to live on one of the MAJOR streets in the Melbourne CBD… Hoddle probably planned the street himself, the street has been around for that long! BUT, these facts didn’t seem to matter as they couldn’t find my place! WTF!!! The street number is on the front of the building in 12 inch high letters! Seems like a convenient, cover their arse, excuse if you ask me.

So now I have my broken drive back, after, wait for it, 70 days! How ordinary is that… so much for customer service!

And yes, they were true to their word. They HAVE voided the warranty on the drive… all because of a misplaced a ‘8’ -vs- a ‘B’ or vice verse… can’t really be bothered working it out.

Do yourself a favor and NEVER, EVER purchase another hard drive from Seagate or Maxtor, or whatever names they are trading under this week. You will end up with nothing but pain. Buy a drive from an ethical company.

I really hope they ask me to participate in one of those ‘how crap was our service?’ feedback sessions. I’d love to tell them of all the lying and unethical behavior they’ve been inflicting on this now ex-, and never to be again, customer.

Why you should never buy another Maxtor or Seagate harddrive

This tale begins probably 2.5 months ago now. One of my 500GBytes hard drives started acting erratically, eventually become unreadable and then started to click… Not good, atleast I had most of the stuff backed up.

But that’s when things started to go downhill.

I logged onto the Maxtor website, which redirects to the Seagate website to try to find out if my drive was under warranty as I’d only bought it just over a year ago. Found the link for checking warranty, entered the model number and the serial number and, according to the website, the drive was still under warranty and could be RMAed and a new one would be sent out. Sweet!

Packed the drive up and sent it off. Every couple of days I checked the website to see if the drive had been received, no luck… hhmm… A couple of weeks later I raise a support case with Seagate online asking what’s happening.

I eventually get a call from someone at Seagate saying that I had got one of the numbers wrong in the serial number. Apparently I’d entered a ‘B’ instead of an ‘8’, or vice versa. OK I thought, the drive should still be under warranty so there shouldn’t be an issue. BUT NO!!!! Seems that if you get a character wrong in the serial number they refuse to correct the error for you. Rather they tell you that they will return the drive unrepaired, AND, this is the killer, they mark the drive’s warranty as VOID, so you can’t try to return it again with the corrected serial number.

I asked to speak to this person’s manager, they flatly refused to allow me to escalate the issue. He even had the nerve to say that he had no manager! Since I doubt I was speaking to the chairman of the board of Seagate this person had just LIED to me.

I updated my support case online saying that since Seagate refuse to honor a valid warranty then Seagate should return the faulty drive to me.

A couple of week later I get another call from Seagate saying that they are shipping the unrepaired drive back. That was mid May.

A couple of weeks go by, and still no harddrive. I update my support call again asking what’s happening.

Another week goes by and I get another phone call from Seagate asking whether I’d received my drive yet. I say no, and the lady says she’d follow this up to try to find out what’s happening.

So, where are we today, 2.5 months into this saga and 10 or so days after the last call? Well, I’m still without a harddrive (either the faulty one, or the replacement that Seagate should have supplied under warranty).

Seagate have just proved how unethical and incompetent they are as an organisation. Not only have they refused to honor the warranty on a drive that IS COVERED BY WARRANTY due to a simple typographical error. They lie to you on the phone and don’t return goods when they say they will.

So, the crux of all this is that Seagate have STOLEN a drive from me and I doubt there’s much I can do about. Well there is, I WILL NEVER buy another Maxtor or Seagate harddrive, and if you enjoy your sanity, I suggest you do the same.

11 June update #1 : Still no harddrive, and no contact from Seagate after updating the ticket in their CRM system.

11 June update #2 : Just updated the ticket in the, so called, Seagate support system. Let’s see if they ignore me again. Also sent an e-mail to Seagate Sale support. Got an auto reply saying they got my e-mail and will respond in three days. Not holding my breath though.

And special thanks to all the people that have contacted me with similar stories of woe.

Why is eBay e-mail support so useless?

Has anyone else noticed that whenever you contact eBay or Paypal by e-mail that the first answer you get is almost certainly useless.

You can ask the simplest of questions and I’ll bet you pennies to pounds that the answer you get will not address the substance of your question at all.

This has happened to me on almost every occasion that I’ve had reason to contact eBay or Paypal.

Is this just eBay’s way of filtering out the “real” questions? Are they assuming that the majority of users will accept the canned, useless response and only serious people will bother to chase up a proper answer?

My guess is that the monkeys, err people, answering the question the first time aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, and probably only have English as their fourth or fifth language, and they probably don’t even understand, assuming they can read English, the questions that are being asked. But rather than not answer a question they just send you some gibberish with a few keywords in it that match your original question, but not an actual, valid answer and hope for the best as they hit the send button.

When you reply to the nonsense answer telling them that they didn’t answer the question you asked, you almost always get a decent answer. It looks like questions that you reply to goes to a different group of people… people with a clue.

But why must we endure the moronic, clueless answers in the first place?

eBay… get a f’en clue! Hire staff to answer your e-mails that have a clue!