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RB/2011UiAS-2HnD-IN - MikroTik RouterBOARD RB/2011UiAS-2HnD-IN (complete with case, antennas, power supply, touchscreen LCD panel, fiber-enabled)
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Extremely flexible configuration. Any ethernet port can be connected to any network, be it WAN or LAN. Multiple WAN uplinks are possible, and their use can be conditionally specified in RouterOS firewall for load balancing. This also includes the wireless radio, which can serve as an access point, bridge or station for uplinking to another wireless network. Wireless can be fine tuned to use frequencies below the public 2.4 GHz ISM band (with appropriate license) at manually specified Tx power up to the strong 27 dBm. Mikrotik devices can use the NV2 protocol among them for increased speed and security.

Router is managed from Winbox, a special utility, which runs on any Windows version and is supplied on the router itself, telnet, SSH, and Web browser. All confugration interfaces have a similar layout. I am primarily using Winbox because its GUI is clear and responsive, and a telnet terminal for CLI access can be opened within Winbox at any time. This is useful to set some options not exposed via the GUI, such as changing of MAC addresses, or to export lengthy configuration parameters, such as firewall rules, for reference or loading into another unit.

RouterOS includes advanced diagnostic tools, such as Packet Sniffer, Ping, Traceroute, IP scanner, Wireless frequency scanner, connections monitor, which run from the router's perspective are handy for troubleshooting problems.

The throughput of the device is high, and depends on the number of active firewall rules. It will range between 150 and 300 MBit/s. The two sets of ethernet ports can be separately switched together, and will then work at wire speed without loading the CPU. I've reached 900 MBit/s over Cat 5E. By default only the Fast Ethernet ports are switched. Activity of each port in a switch group can still be monitored.

Thermal management of the unit is good. The 600 MHz Atheros AR9344 CPU and the AR8327 switch have decent heatsinks. Wide range of accepted power voltage (8-28 V). Configuration changes don't require a reboot, except overclocking and firmware upgrade.

Cons: Strong Cons are few. No 5 GHz radio transceiver and expansion slot for one, to use the less crowded band. This is partially compensated by the ability to select custom frequencies, but then all devices must be able to broadcast on those.

Setup requires itermediate knowledge about IP networking. The RB2011 comes with a default configuration where WAN is on ether1, radio disabled, remaining ethernets bridged as one subnet, which will get basic connectivity. But this setup might not be optimal, such as if the uplink is only 100 MBit, or admin wants to power the device by PoE not in the uplink. Port forwarding is also difficult.

Activity LEDs are not near network interfaces, and blink at a lower frequency than normal with NICs, which makes it more difficult to see and pinpoint activity. The design of the red plastic front panel feels cheap, especially around LEDs and the micro-USB port. The blue power LED is too bright making it difficult to see the green programmable activity LED next to it.

Socks 4 proxy instead of Socks 5. Micro-USB is too tiny and fragile.

Other Thoughts: I've been using RouterBoard products for several years. My first RB532A from 2007 is still in working condition, but doesn't quite meet the performance demands of today. These devices hardly ever need rebooting or reset if working properly. As another reviewer put it, the RouterBoard is a real geek's router for those who are eager to learn, or a professional device. No functionality is deliberately locked down. But the CPU and RAM limit the number of functions that can be active simultaneously. The online wiki manual for RouterOS is easy to understand, as it uses clear technical language, and doesn't hide behind marketing buzzwords. The manual gives examples as telnet commands, which are closely mirrored in the menus of GUI tools.

I always start configuring a Mikrotik with Winbox, and don't bother with the Web UI. If connected directly to a PC, or via an L2 switch, WinBox can access the router by MAC even if IP addresses are not set up correctly. In the RB2011, I started with disabling the default firewall rules, and enabling WinBox MAC server on all interfaces, to avoid locking myself out from the router. The chosen WAN ports can be secured later.

The Web UI is useful for monitoring traffic or system resources. I always enable that via Graphing, and disable webUI configuration access for all users (including full/admin) to harden security.

The touchscreen is helpful for monitoring Wlan activity and CPU usage. To execute drags/swipes on the resistive touchscreen, one must press hard on it for the whole duration of the drag. I also set the touchscreen to read-only in WinBox to prevent accidental changes to the configuration.

The RB2011 was tested upgraded with RouterOS v6.10.

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Canon CanoScan 5600F 2925B002 9600 x 4800 dpi 48bit USB 2.0 Hi-Speed Interface Flatbed Scanner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Quality traditional CCD scanner from a good brand 09/26/2013

This review is from: Canon CanoScan 5600F 2925B002 9600 x 4800 dpi 48bit USB 2.0 Hi-Speed Interface Flatbed Scanner

Pros: Stable LED light source that doesn't need warmup and recalibration. Power supply is embedded in the scanner itself for a compact setup. Compact software that occupies little space on disk and on screen; only the "driver" is needed for acquisition and basic processing. Software is compatible down to Windows 2000. Verified to work with the cover open for bulky documents like books. The cover has a retractable hinge to support thicker documents. As a CCD scanner, the unit has good depth of focus, and natural blurring of unfocused, distant edges.

All automatic correction in the software can be switched off to obtain raw scans of matching, reproducible color balance. Decent actual resolution at or slightly above 1200 ppi. Decent dynamic range for any type of reflective document, able to resolve both the darkest HQ print and the texture of the whitest paper. Greater than 24-bit actual precision. Decent on-the-fly "descreening" filter for quick moire-less copies, but not to be relied upon for making quality scans of printed artwork.

Cons: No significant cons for this price range. No larger than 35 mm transparent documents (film) can be scanned. Dynamic range and resolution might not be sufficient for some negatives. The power supply makes tweeting noises when the switch is off; switch doesn't fully disconnect power. Adjustment of contrast in ScanGear is imprecise because the histograms are small. Data is processed only at 24-bit at high resolution. With enough memory, 48-bit can be manually selected.

Other Thoughts: I have only tested reflective documents via the TWAIN interface from within Windows XP. The Navigator EX application is only needed to have the buttons on the scanner respond. When scanning documents that approach the amount of available memory (which is displayed in ScanGear), a small application like IrfanView will allow to make larger scans.

I've previously owned CanoScan 4400F. I was disappointed that I didn't get the elite-looking translucent USB cable with the 5600F. Resolution in this unit has increased slightly from around 800 ppi to about 1200 ppi. It also doesn't need calibration and compensation for a 'weaker' color (which was blue in the old model). All colors come out balanced by default without correction. I was able to obtain good partial scans of Vinyl artwork, which could be seamlessly rejoined in Photoshop. The ScanGear "driver" has changed little, and can be controlled precisely via TWAIN. It first starts up in simplified mode.

The 5600F driver allows to correct contrast on the fly, and performs some correction by default. However, when the resolution is increased to 1200 ppi, the transfer curves operate on 24-bit data only, and histograms come out with visible bands. Full 48-bit precision is used at 600 ppi and below. This is probably done to increase scanning speed when the USB interface becomes the bottleneck. Because of this, contrast adjustment on the fly becomes pointless, as one can use better preview facilities in a graphics editor to do it.

At 2400 ppi and a regular sized document the stepper motor had to pause because my computer's USB wasn't fast enough to receive the data. The scanner was able to restart, without backing up and without visible tears on the picture. The 2400 ppi resolution must be manually keyed in the dialog, and is of limited use since the scanner's optical resolution isn't that great. I was able to preserve a little more detail when digitally rotating a picture supersampled this way.

I was unable to verify whether the scanner can scan all money bills. It successfully scanned $10 (as a sample of detailed print without a halftone pattern) and all of my local currency, but I believe they don't have the special dot pattern. If the unit does have protection against scanning of money, I would deduct one full Egg from the score.

After I first installed the driver, the scanner would first refuse to make a full resolution Scan, but succeeded producing a Preview. I received an error message with code "95,0,0", directing me to turn off the scanner and follow instructions in the manual. The manual didn't explain this error code, and the error went away by itself after a few more attempts, without power cycling the unit. I suspect the driver wanted me to install the software in a particular order.

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Kingston DataTraveler 111 64 GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive - 1 Pack
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

4 out of 5 eggs Business-like design 09/25/2013

This review is from: Kingston DataTraveler 111 64 GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive - 1 Pack

Pros: Sturdy design without moving parts, looks great at a black computer case, and in a corproate environment where "enthusiast" devices might not. Small height allows to insert the device in the rear ports next to another plug. Verified compatibility with legacy USB 1.1 ports.

Cons: No LED to indicate activity, and warn that the device shouldn't be disconnected. This is usually non-issue with file transfers, as one can simply wait a couple of seconds afterwards, but might be a problem when applications are executed from the stick (and slowly updating their configuration). I am deducting only one Egg, because bulk file copying is still the most common application.

The "rim" at the end might not allow insertion in front panel ports that are horizontally right next to one another.

Other Thoughts: The speeds are not horrendous. A write speed of 5 MB/s is sufficient for the majority of usage cases. A high capacity Flash memory will always be slower, with all other factors being equal. The speed is limited by the memory configuration. Having a faster interface does not necessarily help. USB 3.0 is the latest hype.

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Anonymous's Profile

Display Name: Anonymous

Date Joined: 04/08/13

  • Reviews: 7
  • Helpfulness: 3
  • First Review: 06/04/13
  • Last Review: 03/19/14
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