Recently, we obtained a new Internet Service Provider (ISP). It shall go unnamed, but if the ISP were filling in a form, the first name would be Media and the last name would be Com. I’m a an electrical engineer (EE) and therefore I cannot live with technical issues in my life. It just is not within my capacity to live in a peaceable state, until the problem is solved or the issue resolved. So, when I got my wireless local area network (WLAN) up and running, I discovered an appalling problem: Netflix HD streams were only coming in between the hours of 1am-1pm. This was NOT acceptable in my mind! What’s a good EE to do? Hit the search engines and forums. I discovered I was not alone in my plight but that several other consumers were running into the same problem. I read a thread within which the moderators had a person doing endless traceroutes, pings and other troubleshooting techniques to no avail.
Then, thank God and YouTube, I discovered a possible solution: a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Now, setting up a VPN for my computers would be no problem, but, my main source of Netflix in HD is through my TiVo. You can’t install VPN software on a TiVo. So the only option available to this DIY digital-fixer-upper was to make the VPN available through my WLAN. I was (notice the verb tense) using a Netgear WNDR3400 within which the native firmware was incapable of providing for VPN. Therefore, I had to flash it with DD-WRT. I then obtained a month’s service from a VPN provider for testing purposes and EUREKA!! Netflix HD at all hours of the day! But there was a catch…
Okay, so I’m up and running and every device on my WLAN seemed to get an increase in speed through the VPN. But, was it an illusion? Before the VPN, I was getting the speed for which I am paying 25Mbps, within tolerance. Through the VPN, I was only getting, on average, 6.4Mbps. My little router’s processor just couldn’t handle the VPN encryption scheme fast enough. Once again, I was frustrated and I could feel that old familiar need for speed 🙂 The only solution: UPGRADE my wireless router! Yes, yes, yes! More power, more speed, more, more, more, more… It is everything I need: MORE! Much to the chagrin of my wife (at least until she experienced the increased speed of her Facebook feed), I bought a Netgear AC1900 r7000 and immediately voided the warranty by flashing it with Kong’s latest DD-WRT firmware build. Now my VPN speed is averaging 18Mbps which is within the tolerance of the delta within my head (i.e., I can sleep at night with this speed). Oh, and another side benefit is I can install the VPN SW on my laptop, hit StarBucks and blissfully connect to anything in complete stealth mode! The only ones that can decode my encrypted traffic is a dude named Snowden and his counterparts from No Such Agency!
Surf safe, my friends!