Wasted hours

I got a cheap wireless router a couple of weeks ago to replace our slowly aging/dying ones, mainly to use as access points. So today I tried to set it up. It is a Zyxel NBG-418N v2 for a grand total of 25€. It even has a set of modes to set it to Router, Access Point, etc. Which of course is useful if you actually need that sort of thing. And if you aren’t a network engineer lets just say that those modes are quite different.

I first had the bright idea that instead of unplugging a computer I would just use the iPad. Seemed reasonable and worked, except that switching to Access Point in the web console didn’t seem to do anything. Anything at all, over, and over again. Every time AP was set it would reboot, taking minutes to come back, and then it was still in Router mode. :-(.

So some googling later nothing. I sort of hacked the thing to work using the advanced settings, but it still didn’t work quite right. Especially NAT was active and no way to disable it. I moved it to the place where I actually wanted it and tried again. Nothing, over, and over again.

I unplugged the MacBook from its tangle of cables on the desk and used a cable. Still nothing. Updated the firmware. Nothing. Reset to factory defaults. Nothing. Rebooted it. Nothing. Changed the network settings on the Mac. Nothing. Reset to factory defaults. Nothing. Swore at Zyxel. Googled. Nothing. Turned off WLAN. Nothing. Rebooted. Nothing. It sort of worked. It connected to the LAN and was available on wireless. But still in the half configured mess it was before.

Put the MacBook back in its normal place and connected again to the web console and thought, I wonder if there is something wrong with the web console. Safari on this machine doesn’t have the web developer tools enabled so I started Firefox and connected to the router. I found the page and put a break-point on the script. Sure enough it wasn’t doing anything complicated. Changing the router mode just set a value in a form, and did a script based form-post to the router. Unfortunately when I stepped through the page it timed out. So refresh the page and try again. Only this time since I had refreshed it lost my break-point on the script and when I switched the mode and pressed the Apply button it didn’t pause, but just went straight ahead and rebooted.

Only now when I reconnected it was in Access Point mode. WTF?!, WTF?!?!?

The only difference was switching from Safari (iPad, MacBook) to Firefox. Obviously the Zyxel web console doesn’t work correctly in Safari, but fails silently.

In the immortal words of Russ Hanneman, Fuck you Zyxel. Fuck you in the ass.