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!

Telstra ignoring RFCs

You would think that the largest telecommunications company in the country would understand how to verify that an e-mail address is valid according to the world wide standard for e-mail addresses (RFC 2822 for the technically minded amongst us).

But then there’s Telstra – if there’s the remotest possibility that they can fuck something up they’ll make sure they do!

As background, I receive a shitload of spam e-mail, so to keep track of

  • who sells my e-mail address to spamming arseholes, or
  • who’s security is fucked up enough that my address is stolen

I use tagged e-mail addresses that are specific to the the vendor I’m dealing with something like  “[email protected]” address. In this case “fuckedupvendor” was “telstra”… true in more ways that one apparently!

So, I went to purchase a SIM card this evening from Telstra through their online store. I go through their online shop, pick what I want, add it to my shopping cart, proceed to checkout and BAM up pops the

Our developers have no f’en idea what they’re doing

error messages. Or as Telstra put it politely

The E-mail field is not a valid email.

Well, sorry Telstra, just because your developers are morons doesn’t mean that my e-mail address is not valid.

Why are PayPal customer support people such incompetent retards???

PayPal customer support… what fucking useless moronic retards!

Wikipedia tells us that the number of English speakers in the world number somewhere between 500 million and 1.8 billion, taking into account people who speak English as first their language or as a secondary language.

It’s just a pity that none of those English speakers seem to work at PayPal.

I’m sure they just send canned, useless responses to your questions so that you eventually give up and go away.

So, what’s my issue?

Well, my account got “limited” by these idiots over the weekend… no idea why, I put it down to general incompetence. They made me jump through a couple of hoops to get my account reinstated, the last of which is that they charge your credit card and you need to enter the reference number for the transaction in the website.

Throughout the process, their website, and the e-mail they send you, states quite simply, in simple, clear, unequivocal English that that money they take from your card will be refunded to your credit card once the process is complete.

Here’s what they say, word for word:

PayPal has charged a small, refundable amount to the card, which will appear on the card statement along with a unique four-digit code.

Fair enough, that’s simple, we charge you, and we refund you. Given those words and the context in which they are used any reasonable person would understand this to mean that the refund goes back to the source of the money, that is, your credit card.

Well, apparently its not that simple to the PayPal support monkeys! Despite what they say on their website and in the e-mail they send, they outright REFUSE to refund the money to your credit card. They will only credit it to your PayPal account.

And why is refunding to PayPal bad? I’m glad you asked!

  1. They take money from your credit card so you will get charged interest at some rate between 10% and 20%
  2. They keep YOUR money in PayPal but do not pay you interest (yet they make interest on your money!)
  3. In Australia, if you want to withdraw less that $150 from your PayPal account PayPal charge you $1 for the privilege, so you can’t even get all of your own money back from PayPal.

Totally unethical and incompetent.

Have asked for this to be raised to the Complaint Manager so I can then escalate this to the Financial Ombudsman.

My first Myki experience — not good

Today I tried to use my myki card for the first time and I was less that thrilled with the experience. Myki, for non Victorians, is an ill conceived, incompetently designed and built, ticketing system that Victoria is trying to roll out that is currently several year overdue, hundred of millions of dollars over budget, and just doesn’t work.

Today I go to “touch on” at Melbourne Central, first machine I touched my card to did absolutely nothing, after 3 or 4 attempts I gave up on that machine and tried the one next to it. Touch, touch, touch and I was just about to give up when the barrier magically opened. Time wasted about a minute or so. The existing Metcard ticketing system takes a max of 5 seconds to validate.

I get to my destination station and try to “touch off” on the first machine, nothing at all, no errors, no acknowledgment, nothing. Try the second machine, same, so I give up.

I call Myki and tell them my issue and ask for it to be fixed. “No can do” is the answer. If you can’t touch off the system then the “help” desk apparently doesn’t see the transaction in your account until after the next time you touch on! So, since I only use public transport once a week on a Sunday, nothing can be done until then. Would I like to call back then was their answer, NO was mine. I did what I had to, and the myki system is broken, so I said to the operator that he needed to put a support ticket in for someone at Myki to call me when they can refund me my money. I bet that this complaint gets closed unresolved!

Last Sunday the same machines were causing problems as well. I watched an elderly gent fail to touch off just as I did today.

Myki is screwed and will be charging people default fares and they purposely make it hard to get them reversed, hoping people forget or can’t be bothered to follow up, so they can grab more of our money… I guess they need to pay off that $1.5bln some how!

I think I’ll stick to Metcard for a little while longer.