HUAWEI WS880 – The best router ever produced by Huawei Technologies | Review

A few years ago, a reputable brand released their own router to the Malaysian market, under the code-name of Huawei Media-Life WS880. This router considered as a boon for the user as, this router promises awesome features along with the customize (firmware) options.

PACKAGING’S

Before un-boxing

The box design was decent and simply the best from Huawei. One thing that attract me is, their color selection of the box, blue-white.

After un-boxing

The router were arranged in a perfect way, and only important items such as power supply, a cat5e ethernet cable, a manual and the router itself was in the box.

Final view of the router

This router was designed in a very professional way. The branding at the front of the router also functions as an on/off button. The router does come with a single gigabit WAN port, 4 gigabit LAN ports and a single USB 3.0 Port.

SPECIFICATIONS 

Internet access

  • One autonegotiation 10/100/1000M Base-T port
  • Auto-MDI/MDIX

Ethernet access

  • Four Ethernet ports
  • 10/100/1000M autonegotiation
  • IEEE 802.3u compliance
  • Auto-MDI/MDIX

Wi-Fi access

  • 802.11ac/a/n (5 GHz, 3×3 MIMO, up to1300 Mbps)
  • 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz, 3×3 MIMO, up to 450 Mbps)
  • One button control WLAN
  • Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)
  • Wireless Distribution System (WDS)
  • Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM)
  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), temporary key integrity protocol
    (TKIP), and 64/128-bit wired equivalent privacy (WEP) encryption
  • Shared Key authentication
  • Hiding the service set identifier (SSID)
  • Multiple SSIDs (up to eight)
  • Wi-Fi access rates up to 1750 Mbps
  • Security features
  • Password-protected web-based management pages
  • Parental control (website blocking and network access period control)
  • Firewall
  • MAC and IP address filtering
  • Access control lists (ACLs)
  • Password Authentication Protocol (PAP) (RFC 1334) and Challenge
  • Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP) (RFC 1994)
  • Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
  • Protection against denial of service (DoS) attacks, including LAND and
    SYN Flooding attacks

Routing features

  • Network address translation (NAT) and network address and port
    translation (NAPT) (RFC 1631, RFC 2663, RFC 2766, and RFC 3022)
    DNS proxy
  • DHCP server and clients
  • Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) agent and snooping
  • Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) support

QoS features

  • Bandwidth control based on IP addresses, MAC addresses, physical
    ports, and applications in the LAN
  • Overall uplink/downlink bandwidth control for WAN devices
  • Uplink/downlink bandwidth control for individual WAN devices

Power supply specifications

  • Product power supply: 12 V DC􀀁 3 A
  • Product power consumption: < 36 W

Physical specifications

  • Router Dimensions (H x W x D, excluding the rack):
    270 mm x 150 mm x 34 mm (10.63 in. x 5.91 in. x 1.34 in.)
  • Router weight: < 360 g

Environmental specifications

  • Operating temperature: 0°C to 40°C
  • Operating humidity: 5% to 95% RH (non-condensing)

SETTING UP FOR THE FIRST USE

I flashed the router to Asus-Merlin firmware to enhance the performance of the router. The stock firmware does limit the features of the router. For a powerful router as this, the stock firmware really limits the user from using its full potential. This router does supports Tomato Shibby as well.

INTERFACE WALK-THROUGH

The firmware has decent features, although it slightly higher compared with the Huawei stock firmware.

WIRELESS PERFORMANCE

Dual Band Analysis

huawei download
Figure 23: The Huawei WS880 wireless result for download.

Analysis of Figure x:

Based on the analysis, the greater the distance, the lower the wireless reading. However, for such router that comes with internal antenna’s, the router performs well in terms of wireless coverage. The flashed firmware really maximize the router’s wireless performance.

huawei upload
Figure 24: The Huawei WS880 wireless result for upload.

Analysis of Upload:

As the distance of the device increases, the upload result tends to fluctuate. The reason why, the reading of the upload of 5GHz greater than 2.4GHz is because, there is less interference with the signals of the same bands from the neighbor.

Iperf3 Testing

iperf3 huawei
Figure 25: The Iperf3 result.

USB PERFORMANCE

I able to achieve 11Mb/s over write and decent read speed.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

Advantages

  1. Creative design
  2. Wireless coverage is awesome (Wide coverage)
  3. Ability to flash to Asus-Merlin firmware and Tomato-Shibby firmware.
  4. Presence of USB 3.0 port (Fast Write & Read speed)
  5. The router does not overheat
  6. The router can fit in anywhere and also can be made as an “extra” decoration for your house.

Disadvantages

  1. The stock firmware limits features such as changing your preferred DNS, DDNS service (You need to pay to use it).
  2. You have to be good at flashing it to the third party firmware so that, the router does not get bricked during the process.

FINAL VERDICT

This router is a very special router. With such an awesome specification, this router pre-loaded with a firmware that locks down its performance. However, the good news is, this router can be flashed to the third party firmware, such as Asus-Merlin or Tomato Shibby firmware.

DSC_0395
Figure 26: The router is working over the merlin firmware.

The wireless coverage of the router is good for its range. Although the router comes with an internal antenna’s, the router seems to give out awesome wireless performance.

This router is already discontinued. Retailed at the price of RM199.00, this router is pretty overkill for such price.

As for finalize my statement, the router performs well, and it can be a good decorative item for your home, if and only if, you decided to place the router in an open place.


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Tips secure your home router

Hello again. It seems we only have 3 days before the year 2017 ends. With the world moving towards with an awesome technologies and software’s, so does the hacker who getting far advance than they used to be. A hacker can hack (break into) your home network to steal your important information such as your banking information and password, your social media’s information so does your home internet access. Hence, how to overcome this situation? Today, I am going to share some simple tips on securing your home network.

Shall we begin? For this tutorial, I will use an emulator from TP – LINK website.

What is a router?

A router is a small electronic device that joins multiple computer networks together via wired or wireless connection. In network terms (OSI), a router is a layer 3 network gateway device, which operates at the network layer of the OSI model. Router consist of a processor (CPU), RAM, LAN-WAN port and input-output (I / O) interfaces. A router doesn’t need a monitor or a keyboard to operate (configure), instead, it has a pre-loaded operating system that can be done via computer through physical cable. Unlike computer or smartphone’s OS, a router operating system limits the features of the application that can be run on them due to small RAM and average CPU. The operating system was coded into a binary firmware image and commonly known as a “firmware” for routers. By means, maintaining configuration information in a part of memory called the routing table – that can control the incoming and outgoing traffics based on the packets.

Tips Number #1: Chance your admin username and password

When you open your router freshly out of the box, you will power it up. When you key in the standard private IP address for your router which is, 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1, you will be prompted with a web admin interface asking for username and password. By default, the username will be “admin” and the password field will be “blank”. Most of the routers nowadays prompting user to straight away to update their router username and password. It is suggested that, to make your router only can be accessed by you, create a unique username such as “Bella93” and a password that contains more than 8 – 10 characters long (alphanumeric) such as “Bella_940*”. After finishing your standard setup, then wait, don’t log out from your router. There are more things to be done.

If you’re not sure of your router’s private address, you can use this two simple way.

#1 CMD

  1. Open cmd from search icon.
  2. Key in “ipconfig /all”
  3. Find for the word, “Default Gateway”. That is your router’s private IP address.

#2 Using Network Adapter

  1. Click on the network icon on your task-bar
  2. Open network & internet settings
  3. After the Settings interface for the network appear, click on the Ethernet
  4. Click on the “Change adapter option”
  5. Right click on your network adapter (Ethernet or wireless)
  6. Finally, click on the “Details”.
  7. Your default private IP address for your router will be under “IPv4 Default Gateway”
default-gateway-58580fa53df78ce2c39342bb
Router’s private IP address

Tips Number #2: Change your IP address of your router

1
Private IP address: 192.168.0.1 changed to 192.168.0.94

 

Tips Number #3: Change your IP address of your router

2
Disable your WPS

 

Explanation:

Most routers nowadays come with a WPS button located at the back of the router. The real idea is that you can press a button behind the router and a button on the device and both items will pair up and you as a user doesn’t have to do any real setup i.e. entering pins and so on. If your device doesn’t have a WPS button, then the router can be set up so that you just need to type in a PIN into the setup screen for your device to create a connection instead of the long 16 characters WPA and WPA2 password often provided by Reuters. Using a PIN number can be hacked easily. Why? Because it only has an 8 digit number. Perceptibly for a regular person hacking an 8 digit number is going to take some time (maybe a week, a month, even a year!), but the actual process of hacking the WPS PIN of a router is as simple as installing a single piece of software. Nowadays, free software is available for the hackers to hack the PIN easily without even needed to enter much command line to get an access to your home router.

Most hackers out there used Linux to hack a router from the terminal. I would strongly advise do not use your knowledge you gain from my blog for evil purpose. Use the knowledge for the good purpose.

Within Ubuntu (one of the most popular Linux distributions) all you have to do is the following:

  1. Open a terminal window (press ctrl, alt and delete).
  2. Install wifite using the apt-get command (sudo apt-get install wifite)
  3. During the install you will be asked whether you want it to run as root or not, choose “no”
  4. From the command line run wifite (sudo wifite)
  5. A scan will take place and a list of Wi-Fi networks will appear with the following columns:
    • NUM – An identifier which you would enter to choose to hack that network
    • ESSID – The SSID of the network
    • CH – The channel the network is running on
    • ENCR – The type of encyrption
    • POWER – The power (the signal strength)
    • WPS – Is WPS enabled
    • CLIENT – Is anyone connected
  6. What you are looking for are the networks where WPS is set to “Yes”.
  7. Press CTRL and C at the same time
  8. Enter the number (NUM) of the Wi-Fi network you wish to attempt to crack
  9. Wait as wifite does it stuff

Tips Number #4: Change your wireless password

This is the most important part of your home network security. Most of the ISP assigns the phone number or an IC number as the wireless password. This is wrong. Your wireless password can be cracked easily using “brute force”. It can take up to 5 to 6 hours to get an access. It is advisable to use 13 – 20 characters long password.

3
Wireless password sample for 2.4GHz
4
Wireless password sample for 5GHz

I would like to suggest the router manufacturer out there to create a second layer authentication so that only the authorized user able to get a notification if the unwanted device wish to connect to the home network. This is because, not all the time the user will open the apps and view the currently connected device to the router.

Tips Number #5: Avoid MAC address filterting

Each device comes with a unique media access control, also known as MAC address. In general, a router allows any device to connect to it as long as it knows the appropriate passpharase. With MAC address filtering, the router will compare a device’s MAC address against an approved list of MAC addresses, thus allows the device onto the Wi-Fi network if the specific MAC address of the device has been successfully approved. Although it seems logic to enable MAC address filtering (only whitelist the allowed device to use the home network), however, MAC addresses can be easily spoofed in many ways. This means that, an unwanted device can pretend to have an access to the network by having the unique MAC addresses. So how the hacker can spoof the MAC address? Hacker can monitor the Wi-Fi traffic for a second or two, examine the packet to find the MAC address of an allowed device, change their device’s MAC address according to the device in the network, thus, connect in that device place.

However, when the device already connected to a network, how can we spoof the MAC address? It is not logic. Well, you’re wrong.  A “Deauth” or “Deassoc” attack that forces the spoofed device to disconnect from the network and easily allows an attacker to reconnect with the place of the spoofed device. A professional hacker can use a toolset such as Kali in Linux or Wireshark on Windows to eavesdrop on a packet, run a quick command to change their MAC address, use aireplay-ng to send deassociation packets to that client, and then connect in its place. This entire process could easily take less than 30 seconds.

Tips Number #6: Reduce the transmission power

5
Transmit power of the wireless signal

By reducing the transmission power (wireless broadcasting signal), you can reduce the length of the wireless wave in your home. Why you want to give free access to your home network bruh?

Tips Number #7: Firmware Updates

As mentioned in my previous post, firmware update is very important for your router so that any of the bugs present in the current firmware can be solved and some of newly added security features can be used to protect your router. When the router manufacturer finds a security hole, they solve the holes by issuing a new firmware (updated firmware) for the router. If you’re an IT person or expert in networking stuffs, then you can browse through the internet whether your current router does support third party firmware such as DDWRT, Tomato, Padavan, Asus-merlin or OpenWRT. The third party firmwares completely erase the manufacturer’s firmware on the router, but can provide a slew of new features or smoother experience compared to the original firmware.

Tips Number #8: Disable Guest Network

Although guest network doesn’t allow your guest’s device to access into your home intranet, however, it can be dangerous. So turn off the Guest Network. Not all the time, our neighbors or relatives stay in our house. So there is no reason to turn on the Guest Network.

Tips Number #9: Enable the firewall

Most of the commercial router has built-in firewall. The function of the firewall is to protect your internal network against outside (hackers) attacks. Activate it if it’s not automatic. As an example, SPI firewall or NAT. According to my own research, an SPI (stateful packet inspection) or NAT (network address translation) can be an extra function to protect your home network. Some routers such as TP-LINK C3150 has its own built in Trend Micro antivirus that protect any harmful events to occur in your router.

Tips Number #10: Do not share your internet package you’re using and your password to anyone

This is the most easiest tips. Your home network security begins with your responsibility of not sharing what internet package you’re currently using or passwords of your SSID.


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Wireless Router Guide (If you’re planning to buy a new or upgrade the wireless router)

Hello again. I did an analysis on the router that currently available in the market that supports UniFi, Maxis and TIME. Let me give a detailed information in order to choose the best router for you so that you make a right choice for your home network. 

I’ve created a checklist of things that should be consider before investing into third party router (aftermarket router).

  1. ISP Package
  2. Fast or Gigabit Ethernet (WAN & LAN Port)
  3. Single Band or Dual Band or Tri-Band
  4. SU-MIMO vs MU-MIMO
  5. Firmware Updates (Important)
  6. Router’s Price

ISP’s in Malaysia

Before bump into this post, let us recall the ISP along with their respective page in Malaysia. The most dominating ISP in Malaysia is UniFi under the brand of Telekom Malaysia. I’ve compiled the ISP available in the Malaysia.

package in malaysia
The ISP’s currently in Malaysia

Okay. Let’s get into the train here, the reason why I provide with a detailed ISP package because, in order to fully utilize the bandwidth you subscribe, you need a good router and a router that suits your daily needs. Some of us might say, who needs a better router when our subscribed ISP package comes with a free router. Please note that, the router provided by your ISP will be a “crap” router. I don’t wish to publicize the router brand supplied by the ISP since the brands do make a good router. Let’s get deeper to our topic here. I will explain step by step on how to choose a good router that will fully utilize your internet bandwidth with charm.

Fast Ethernet vs Gigabit Ethernet

Fast Ethernet is a term to describe Ethernet in computer networking. A Fast Ethernet can carry the traffic up to 100Mbps. In general, the speed of Ethernet is 10Mbps back in the early ages. During the year of 1995, the Fast Ethernet was announced and it remains for 3 years before surpassed by Gigabit Ethernet. Fast Ethernet was upgraded by improving the speed and reducing the bit. During the introduction of Fast Ethernet, IEEE 802.3u was a standard which currently known as 100BASE-T. Fast Ethernet delivers more compatibility options with 10BASE-T systems, thus enables the plug-and-play upgrades from the 10BASE-T. For an extra knowledge, BASE stands for the baseband signalling that has a very narrow signal frequency.

Gigabit Ethernet is a term in computing network, it carries the data up to 1000Mbps or 1Gbps. Was introduced in 1999, 3 years after Fast Ethernet was introduced significantly gained popularity in the late of 2010. This marks the beginning of Gigabit Ethernet widely acceptable in the current world. In general, Gigabit Ethernet performs ten times faster than Fast Ethernet. However, the maximum network limit for Gigabit Ethernet is 70 km if a Single Mode Fiber were used as a medium. Gigabit Ethernet is suitable for a faster transfer rate compared with Fast Ethernet. At the present time, there are 11 types of Gigabit Ethernet, 1000BASE-CX, 1000BASE-KX, 1000BASE-SX, 1000BASE-LX, 1000BASE-LX10, 1000BASE-EX, 1000BASE-ZX, 1000BASE-BX-10, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-TX – that utilizes the different medium for the specified distance. Currently, Gigabit Ethernet widely used network system that provides faster data rate transfer and evolved into physical and link layer protocols.

“Okay macha, I can’t get your point just get straight into the point.”. I can listen to your mind. Currently, most of our ISP packages offering up to 100Mbps and maybe in 2 – 3 years time, we can use 1Gbps bandwidth. Hence, I would strictly advise to opt for the routers that has WAN & LAN Gigabit Ethernet port.

Single Band vs Dual Band vs Tri – Band

A single band router can only provide with 2.4GHz band while a dual band router can provide both 2.4GHz and 5Ghz band. A tri-band router can provide a single 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz bands. Let me get straight to the point. If you wish to get a new router, I would strongly recommend to get a dual band router. In general, the price of a single band router were cheaper compared to a dual band router. However, there is a reason why you should avoid a single band router. One of the reasons is, 2.4GHz band has only 3 non-overlapping transmission channel which makes it vulnerable to interference from nearby gadgets such as microwave, phones, Bluetooth and etc. The transfer rate of the data via 2.4GHz is slower if and only if the wireless channel congested. The advantage of using a dual band router is two separate Wi-Fi networks operating concurrently. In general terms, there are two waves, 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless signal. However, not all good things are perfect. 5GHz has its own disadvantage. One of the common problems with 5GHz is shorter range compared with 2.4GHz. The wireless coverage for 5GHz is very limited. 5 GHz signals cannot penetrate walls nearly as well as do 2.4 GHz signals. Most of the time, a dual band router costs more than a single band router. A tri-band router giving out a single 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz bands. A tri-band router considered overkill for normal home use.

In supposition, mark your checklist to buy a dual band router if you have the budget.

SU – MIMO vs MU – MIMO

This is the most frequent questions asked by the people’s out there. “Do I really need a MU-MIMO router?”.

HNyxUdv
A simple diagram that summarizes the difference between SU-MIMO & MU-MIMO

Acronym:

  • MIMO stands for Multi Input Multi Output.
  • SU – MIMO stands for Single User – Multi Input Multi Output
  • MU – MIMO stands for Multi User – Multi Input Multi Output

To understand SU-MIMO technology, let me explain from basic. SU-MIMO come along with 802.11n wireless standard in 2007. It enables multiple streams of the data between the devices where constant data transmitted simultaneously (send or received) between the devices. The disadvantages of SU-MIMO is, only a single device gets full bandwidth while other devices have to wait for their turn at one time. As an example, a SU-MIMO requires both transmitting and receiving Wi-Fi radios to support the MIMO technology by having more antennas. The more antennas present on the router, the processed signal of the MIMO signals requires more resources.

Next, MU-MIMO released in the second wave of the 802.11ac wireless standard. It enhances the MIMO technology by enabling Wi-Fi to simultaneously transmit those multiple streams to different Wi-Fi devices. In simple terms, all the devices using the network get equal bandwidth simultaneously. Let’s look into the positive side of MU-MIMO. MU-MIMO increase the speed and throughput of the entire network. The router comes with MU-MIMO function compatible with non – MU – MIMO standard.

We’ve seen the good side of MU-MIMO. Now let’s look to the negative side of MU-MIMO. MU-MIMO only works on the downlink connection of the Wi – Fi currently. MU – MIMO only works on the 5GHz band. This newer MIMO technology only works for connections utilizing the actual 802.11ac standard.

Another thing to consider is, beamforming. Beamforming defined as the Wi-Fi signals directed towards the intended recipient rather than exposing to all areas. In simple term, it’s like clay. The more you pull to another side, the clay forms towards the way it’s being pulled. Most of the routers using the MU – MIMO costly. However, the cheaper routers have beamforming technology, so it is an advantage.

beamforming
An example of beamforming technology. Image courtesy: TP-LINK

Firmware Updates (VERY IMPORTANT)

Almost every router manufacturer in this world or even the universe MUST provide updates for their routers. Here, I vote ASUS as my favorite router brand because they’re always giving out firmware updates even for their discontinued products. Brands such as Linksys (best if flashed to DDWRT), Mikrotik, Netgear and Asus roll out their router’s firmware updates twice or thrice in a year. I don’t like to bash other brands as well since they come up with a new hardware revision (router version) and improves their firmware by giving an update.

firmware
An example of firmware updates for Asus RT-AC1200G+

A firmware update is important to ensure that your router is protected against the internet threats such as the recently WPA2 KRACK .

Some of the router brand does support DDWRT. The famous brand that allows third party firmware to be installed in their product is Asus (Asus – merlin & Padavan), D-Link (DDWRT, OPENWRT, Tomato), TP – LINK (DDWRT, OPENWRT & Tomato), Linksys (DDWRT & OPENWRT).

Be sure to mark your checklist as an important security feature for the router you going to buy.

The Wireless Routers Available in Malaysia along with their retail price

I’ve arrange the routers available in the market as per order. In order to ease the users, I’ve make a research for the third party firmware that supports the router. Most of the high-end router for Asus brand listed as the official Asus’s third party firmware, Asus – merlin.

ASUS

Capture
Asus Wireless Router pricing as per 2017.

 

TP – LINK

4
TP – LINK Wireless Router pricing as per 2017

 

D – Link

3
D – Link Wireless Router pricing as per 2017

 

Tenda

2
Tenda Wireless Router pricing as per 2017

 

Linksys

6
Linksys Wireless Router pricing as per 2017

 

Mikrotik

5
Mikrotik Wireless Router pricing as per 2017

 

The conclusion from this post is, to buy a good router, there are few things to be considered so that your home network is protected and you can fully utilize your internet bandwidth.

Personally, I’ve just book a Mikrotik’s RB750Gr3 router. I will give a review on this router once I receive the router.


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