Introduction

External design and hardware

Initial setup and firmware update

Web-interface

Testing

Summary

Introduction

Usually we get the equipment for testing directly from a vendor or an official distributor in the territory of the Russian Federation. Today we have an exceptional case: we have received D-Link DIR-809 A1 wireless router directly from the Chinese online store GearBest. At the time of writing this review DIR-809 is not officially sold in Russia, however, it has been available for order from online stores in other countries. The sample received was not adapted to work in the territory of the Russian Federation, so that users who also want to make an order in foreign online stores will face with some features of the equipment, which we will describe in this review. Let's get started!

External design and hardware

The first thing we noticed when we have received the parcel, - the packing exterior, neither on the box nor in the manual it has a word in Russian or in English – hieroglyphs only. In our view, a Chinese online store users should be ready for this, so we are not referring it to the disadvantages of the product. Also, despite the additional packaging of the delivery service, the box was extremely crumpled, fortunately, the equipment inside was not damaged, but it will not be suitable to use the router as a gift. Of course, this does not apply either to the quality of the online store service, which sent us the good, or to D-Link DIR-809 wireless router, but we could not help but mention the detected features. Now let's look inside the box. The case of the model has the following dimensions: 190x133x83 mm (without antenna) with weight 229 grams (without power supply adapter).

The device needs an external power source (included in the box) with the following characteristics for functioning: 5V and 1А. Perhaps a few words should be told about the power supply adapter, which has a non-standard for Russia plug (Type A). Therefore, users have to purchase an additional adapter or a new power supply unit with the appropriate plug and specifications. The appropriate adapter can be purchased immediately with the goods in the online store.

The front and side panels do not have anything remarkable on them apart from a ventilation grate on the front panel.

A small ventilation grate is also presented on the upper panel, consisting of two parts - opaque and glossy. Also there are LEDs indicating status of the entire device as a whole, the availability of the Internet connection, status of LAN-ports, as well as wireless module status.

On the rear panel there are four LAN ports and one WAN port Fast Ethernet, three non-detachable antennae, power socket and also Reset/WPS button located on it.

On the bottom of the case there are a ventilation grate, four plastic legs and a sticker with brief information about the device.

Now let's have a look at the insides of the case.

The electronic stuffing of D-Link DIR-809 wireless router is one green textolite card which has all essential elements located on one of its sides.The system is powered by Realtek RTL8881AN SoC. Winbond W9825G6KH-6 chip with the size of 32 Mbytes performs functions of the RAM. Support of the 2.4 GHz frequency range of wireless network segmentis performed by Realtek RTL8192ER chip with 2x2 antennae configuration. SoC is responsible for the operation of the third antenna.

That is where we bring the review of the hardware platform of D-Link DIR-809 wireless router to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of its software component.

Initial setup and firmware update

After the first switching on the router it is necessary to perform the initial setup of the device. The LAN-interface default address is 192.168.0.1. Unfortunately, we understand nothing in Chinese therefore we had to change at first web-interface language to make further setup. First, you need to download a language pack file from the official website of the vendor, then go to advanced settings button marked with a red box in the image below.

At the time of writing this article only two language packs were available: for Portuguese and Spanish languages. At first it is required to install any language file, then to delete it. These manipulations lead to the fact that English becomes language of the web-interface of the device.

Not obligatory, but extremely desirable step is firmware upgrade. The upgrade takes about one minute and doesn't require any technical experience from the user: it is only required to choose the file downloaded earlier and to upload it on the device by means of FIRMWARE item of TOOLS menu.

You can ensure successful change of the firmware either via the web-interface header or via DEVICE INFO item of STATUS web-interface group.

D-Link DIR-809 wireless router supports the firmware recovery mode to which the device can be transferred manually (by holding the Reset button for 15 seconds while boot) or can be transferred automatically in case of failure when updating the firmware. One can ascertain that DIR-809 is in recovery mode by slowly flashing power LED on the upper panel of the case. To recover the firmware it is necessary to connect to the LAN port of the device, assign IP-address from 192.168.0.0/24 network to the NIC and appeal by means of any modern web browser to the address 192.168.0.1.

That is where we bring a review of initial setup and firmware update process to a conclusion and pass on to brief examining of its web-interface. In conclusion we will note that on the FTP server of the vendor contains the bigger quantity of firmwares and language packs, than is available for download via D-Link Web server.

Web-interface

One can access D-Link DIR-809 wireless router web-interface using any modern browser. LAN-interface default address is 192.168.0.1. The password field will have to be left blank upon the first entry.

Upon successful authentication the user will find him/herself on INTERNET page, SETUP tab by means of which it is possible to choose type of connection to a provider and specify the main settings of this connection. Advanced network settings are available in the ADVANCED NETWORK item, ADVANCED tab.

EASY SETUP item, SETUP tab also allows users to make setup of connection to the Internet. Besides, here it is possible to change main parameters of a wireless network. However, to our surprise, not all options of connection are presented in this menu item.

Wireless networks operation is performed by means of WIRELESS SETTINGS item, SETUP tab, and also 2.4G ADVANCED WIRELESS, 5G ADVANCED WIRELESS and WI-FI PROTECTED SETUP items.

One can change IP parameters of LAN interface, and also control operation of the built-in DHCP server via NETWORK SETTINGS item, SETUP tab.

Control of IPv6 protocol addresses can be managed using the same item of the same tab.

By means of VIRTUAL SERVER, PORT FORWARDING and APPLICATION RULES items, ADVANCED tab the administrator can set up redirection and dynamic opening of TCP and UDP ports.

The administrator can allow or deny a certain traffic on the basis of MAC addresses, IP addresses and numbers of TCP/UDP ports, and also on the basis of requested URL in HTTP. The appropriate settings are available in the MAC FILTER, WEBSITE FILTER and FIREWALL SETTINGS items, ADVANCED tab.

If it is required to restrict access rate of this or that client to the Internet resources, it is necessary to use the TRAFFIC CONTROL item.

One can change admin password, allow remote control of the device, control user settings, set up time synchronization and connection to DDNS providers, update a firmware, and also execute cable diagnostics by means of TOOLS tab items. It is worth noting that some time zones for Russia are incorrect. So, for example, Moscow time offset indicated +4, whereas actually Moscow has time offset +3.

By means of STATUS tab items the administrator can view information about the router and its interfaces, get access to log information, study the list of connections, and also view statistical information about operation of the device. Unfortunately, sending logs to the remote Syslog-server isn't provided.

The web interface of D-Link DIR-809 wireless router has the built-in help, access to which can be got using SUPPORT tab items.

That is where we bring a brief review of the router web-interface to a conclusion and pass directly on to testing it.

Testing

The first testing procedure we usually begin our testing section with is estimating the booting time of the device, which is a time interval starting with the moment when the power is on until the first echo reply is received through ICMP. D-Link DIR-809 wireless router boots in 21 seconds. We believe that the result is excellent.

The second traditional test was a security scanning procedure, which has been carried out using Positive Technologies XSpider 7.8 utility. Scanning was carried out from the LAN-interface side. On the whole, there were three open ports discovered: TCP-80 (HTTP), UDP-67 (DHCP) and TCP-52881 (HTTP). The most interesting data of those we obtained are presented below.

To be fair, it should be noted that in the course of testing D-Link DIR-809 wireless router regularly rebooted, that, in our opinion, can become a serious problem even in the home networks.

Before getting down to performance tests we would like to get our readers familiar with the key specifications of the test stand we used.

Component PC Notebook
Motherboard ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme ASUS M60J
CPU Intel Core i7 6700K 4 GHz Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6 GHz
RAM DDR4-2133 Samsung 64 Gbytes DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 16 Gbytes
NIC Intel PRO/1000 PT
ASUS PCE-AC68
Atheros AR8131
ASUS RT-AC88U
OS Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus

The first test was performance of DIR-809 model upon performing of NAT/PAT. For loading emulation we used JPerf utility version 2.0.2. It can be seen from the diagram below that routing speed with NAT is restricted to wire interfaces performance of the device.

In Russia and on the territory of ex-Soviet bloc countries PPTP still remains extremely popular method of connection to the Internet therefore we couldn't help but test DIR-809 performance by operation with this tunneling protocol. To our regret, the encrypted tunnels aren't supported. We tried to turn on PPTP together with MPPE, the tunnel was established, but right there broken, - no data were transferred through it.

It is time to test the wireless module. In 2.4 GHz frequency range DIR-809 can operate in two modes: with enabled and disabled 20/40 MHz channels coexistence. We have tested the performance of the device during operation in both modes. Performance DIR-809 with disabled 20/40 customers support was expectedly higher.

Also we measured transmission speeds of user data in case of connection of the client to a 5 GHz wireless network. At first we used one wired client for this test.

From the diagram above it is visible that the received speeds are restricted to wired interfaces’ performance of the router. We decided to alter the test a little bit, by connecting the second wired client. On the diagram below maximum transmission speeds of user data of the wireless client in the 5 GHz range by operation with two wired clients are presented. Data received pointed out that wired interfaces of DIR-809 are a device bottleneck. To be fair, it is worth marking that we took measurements in situation of rather close lay-out of wireless devices. When moving away the wireless client from the router the speed of wireless connection will decrease, equalizing wired and wireless throughput.

D-Link DIR-809 can work not only in the wireless router mode, but also perform functions of the repeater. Naturally, we couldn't but test operation in this mode. D-Link DIR-809 can extend wireless network only in other frequency range that is if the initial network worked in the range of 2.4 GHz, then DIR-809 will expand its covering only at a frequency of 5 GHz. In this test DIR-809 increased a covering of the network created by ASUS RT-AC88U wireless router, review of which will appear on our website in the near future.

Another useful function of DIR-809 is the possibility of rate-limiting of the user traffic. For this experiment we used a UDP stream instead of TCP connections. Results of measurements are given on the diagram below.

Practically on all of the speed ranges the rate-limit mechanism works correctly, however on very small speeds the considerable errors are possible. We decided to provide the separate diagram for speeds up to 4 Mbps. Also it is necessary to note that we couldn't force this mechanism to work for the outgoing traffic, so rate-limiting works only for incoming packets.

On the announcement of the vendor D-Link DIR-809 wireless router supports the IPv6 protocol, however, to our regret, we couldn't force the device to transfer IPv6 packets.

In conclusion we would like to note that during testing the case of D-Link DIR-809 wireless router didn't heat up more than 38,2 degrees Celsius while average temperature in the room was equal to 23 degrees Celsius. Measurements were taken by means of our laboratory pyrometer ADA TempPro-2200.

That's where we draw the testing chapter to a close and move on to summing it all up.

Summary

D-Link DIR-809 is an inexpensive low-end wireless router which will suit those who wish to lower ones costs or aren't ready to overpay for not used functions of high-end models. The routing speeds provided by the device don't allow calling D-Link DIR-809 the high-performance top router today. However, to most of the users wishing to update the network equipment and get support of both frequency ranges them will be quite enough.

A number of features of the device associated with the way we have received the equipment. These features are, for example, power supply unit which plug is not accepted by sockets in Russia. Or initial language of the web-interface. However we decided not to refer these features to drawbacks of the model.

The strength areas of D-Link DIR-809 wireless router are presented below.

  • Support of two wireless frequency ranges
  • High traffic transmission speeds via PPTP
  • Support of several operation modes
  • Rate-limiting
  • Acceptable wireless speeds
  • IEEE 802.11AC support
  • Existence of the built-in cable tester
  • Competitive price.

Unfortunately, we cannot help but mention some of its drawbacks, which aren't depending on the place of acquisition of the equipment.

  • Absence of the web-interface in Russian
  • Wrong time zones for Russia
  • Instability to network attacks
  • No IPv6 support
  • Impossibility to rate-limit outgoing traffic.

As of when this article was being written, the price for D-Link DIR-809 wireless router in online store GearBest was about 30 dollars, and the best price for D-Link DIR-809 in German-speaking Europe countries, according to website Geizhals Preisvergleich, was 139 euro.

Introduction

External design and hardware

Firmware upgrade

Web-interface

Testing

Summary

Introduction

Currently our test lab is hosting two wireless router by ASUS meant for operation in LTE mobile operator networks: 4G-AC55U and 4G-N12. Today we're going to review the more entry-level model of the two, ASUS 4G-N12 wireless router, which features four Fast Ethernet ports and a wireless module with N300 support. However, let's take our time and tell you about everything in parts.

External design and hardware

ASUS 4G-N12 wireless router comes in a black plastic case with the dimensions of 175x125x30mm and the weight of only 300 grams. The device needs an external power adapter with the following characteristics (included in the box) for proper functioning: 12V and 1А.

A considerable part of the front panel of the router is glossy. On the right part of the front panel there are LEDs that indicate operation of the device essential components: the wireless module and wired interfaces as well as LEDs indicating presence of the installed SIM card and connection to the WAN. LTE LED displays the power of the mobile service provider signal in the area where the device is located.

The side panels of the case feature a slot for the SIM card and WPS button that is used for facilitation of wireless clients connection. It's worth noticing that 4G-N12 supports only full-sized miniSIM cards. MicroSIM and nanoSIM cards can be installed only using a special-purpose adapter.

The upper panel is not remarkable at all and there is only a ventilation grate on it.

The router under review has two external non-detachable antennas for the Wi-Fi network and two internal antennas used for connection to mobile networks. External antennas are fastened to the rear part of the device case. Also, there are four wired Fast Ethernet LAN ports located over here; one of them may be used as a WAN port if it's necessary to get connected to networks of wired service providers. A power socket, ON/OFF button, sunken Reset button, and a sticker with brief information about the device are located here too.

The bottom part of the device has two round rubber legs and a small plastic stand meant for improved comfort in desktop mounting.

Now let's have a look at the insides of the case. Hardware stuffing of ASUS 4G-N12 4G wireless router is two green textolite cards: a motherboard and wireless module used for connection to mobile service providers. Unfortunately, all primary elements are covered with metal screens. Only Broadcom BCM5358UB0 chip, which performs SoC CPU functions with support of 4G networks, is accessible.

That is where we bring a very brief device hardware review to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of its software component.

Firmware upgrade

Firmware upgrade is carried out in Firmware Upgrade tab, Administration menu item. Currently the firmware may only be upgraded in manual mode. In order to do this one will need to predownload the firmware file from the vendor's website.

The whole firmware upgrade process takes around one and a half minute and does not require any technical proficiency from the administrator.

That is where we bring a brief review of the firmware upgrade process of the device to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of the wireless router web-interface.

Web-interface

The web-interface of 4G-N12 4G wireless router is similar to other wireless telecommunications equipment by ASUS and therefore we will not review all of its capabilities in detail but only focus on the newest and most interesting ones. The web-interface is available in 13 languages.

A new group that has been added is called SMS and one can use its tabs to send, receive, and edit text messages. Phone Book tab lets the user save phone numbers of the most sought-after subscribers on the router.

On the whole, tabs in Wireless menu group are traditional and feature the same data as in other wireless routers by ASUS. Probably the only thing that we'd like to point out is inability to manually set the bandwidth of the Wi-Fi wireless channel to 40 MHz using current firmware.

LAN menu item is used to specify the IP-address of the router LAN port as well as configure the operation parameters of DHCP.

One of the most interesting menu items is WAN. ASUS 4G-N12 wireless router can get connected both to the wired service providers and wireless networks of mobile service providers. Selection of the connection type is made using Internet Connection tab. Unfortunately, connection methods popular in ex-Soviet bloc countries like PPTP and L2TP are not supported at the moment. One can choose only PPPoE as well as static or dynamic IP-address.

Mobile Connection Status tab shows the parameters of the current connection to the mobile service provider network as well as allows managing traffic limits.

One can choose the mobile network generation using which the connection should be established via Mobile Connection Scan tab. Also, one can select the service provider that one needs to connect to.

Virtual Server/Port Forwarding tab lets the user manage the rule for PAT that allows remote users to gain access to a certain LAN resource.

Intrusion Detection tab in Firewall menu item lets one carry out a thorough scanning of the transmitted packets for certain network services.

Managing access to the WAN resources can be scheduled. The appropriate settings are available in Access Control and Schedule Rule tabs.

Another interesting capability that is worth reviewing is WAN Capture in Network Tools menu item, which lets save packets that are transmitted via the device WAN interface. The file is saved in a format supported by the majority of modern traffic analyzers. For example, it can be opened using Wireshark.

It'd be fair to mention that 4G-N12 cannot be detected using standard ASUS – Device Discovery wireless equipment detection software because it may not be a proprietary ASUS device but a platform that has been ordered from third-party vendors like in the case of SL series routers. Also, getting connected to the device using Telnet and SSH protocols is impossible. That is why we are bringing this review of the device web-interface capabilities to a conclusion and pass directly on to testing it.

Testing

The first testing procedure we usually begin our testing section with is estimating the booting time of the device, which is a time interval starting with the moment when the power is on until the first echo reply is received through ICMP protocol. ASUS 4G-N12 wireless router boots in 29 seconds and we think it's a decent result.

The second traditional test was a security scanning procedure, which has been carried out using Positive Technologies XSpider 7.7 (Demo build 3100) utility from the local network. On the whole, there were two open ports discovered, and they are TCP-80 (HTTP) and TCP-8085 (HTTP).

Before getting straight down to performance tests we would like to mention the key specifications of the test stand we used.

Component PC Notebook
Motherboard ASUS Maximus VI Extreme ASUS M60J
CPU Intel Core i7 4790K 4 GHz Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6 GHz
RAM DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 32 Gbytes DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 16 Gbytes
NIC Intel PRO/1000 PT
ASUS PCE-AC68
Atheros AR8131
OS Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus

At first we measured the data transmission speed between the wired and wireless clients. In order to test it we used JPERF utility, 2.0.2 version. Results of the measurements are presented on the diagram below.

It's worth mentioning that the obtained values are due to the maximum connection speed of the wireless client. And though 4G-N12 router has N300 module, the connection speed didn't exceed 144 Mbps. It's possible that this happened due to the inability to set the bandwidth of 40 MHz. Perhaps when the vendor adds the above-mentioned setting, we will be able to obtain higher speed values. However, even in this case we would not expect it to improve performance significantly since it would be limited by Fast Ethernet wired interfaces.

The second throughput test was setting of the maximum user data transmission speeds with enabled NAT/PAT. In other words, one of the four wired ports was used as the WAN interface.

The obtained results are decent when it comes to one-way only operation, but we expected the speeds to be higher in full-duplex operation.

Neither could we keep away from reviewing connection to the LTE network of the mobile service providers. At this stage we would like to point out that the received speeds will depend not only on the mobile service provider and the load of its network, but also on the proximity of the mobile phone tower to the device. Results of our measurements performed in one of the towns in Moscow region, far away from mobile phone towers, are presented below.

That's where we draw the testing chapter to a close and move on to summing it all up.

Summary

ASUS 4G-N12 wireless router used for operation in LTE networks of the mobile service providers made a good impression on us. We believe that this device would become the workhorse for many home and small office users that experience problems with or have no connection to wired service providers. 4G-N12 will allow for provision of access to the WAN for all wired devices as well as wireless employees and customers. Connection settings are really easy and do not require any kind of special technical know-how. We hope that at the time when the device is on sale, the price will be competitive enough so that all interested users can afford it.

The strength areas of ASUS 4G-N12 wireless router are presented below.

  • Possibility of connection to both wireless and wired service providers
  • Acceptable routing speeds
  • Ability to receive and send text messages
  • The device boots really fast
  • Ability to limit wireless traffic
  • Support of deep packet inspection and access control
  • Ability to capture the transmitted packets

Unfortunately, we cannot help to mention certain drawbacks of the model.

  • 4G-N12 cannot be detected by Device Discovery utility

As of this writing, the best price for ASUS 4G-N12 in German-speaking Europe countries, according to website Geizhals Preisvergleich, was 139 euro.

Introduction

External design and hardware

Firmware upgrade and additional utilities

Web-interface

Command line interface

Testing

Summary

Introduction

The Chinese company netis SYSTEMS, a part of the group of companies NETCORE GROUP, has quite recently begun expansion on the Russian market of the network equipment. To admit, earlier we had no experience with the equipment of this vendor therefore today's review of netis WF2681 wireless router will be not only the description of concrete model, but also the acquaintance to the vendor in general. Let's get started!

External design and hardware

netis Beacon AC1200 wireless gaming router comes in a red plastic case with a white stripe on the sides. The device is meant for wall or desk mounting. The case has dimensions of 145x155x35 mm not considering the antennae and the stand with a mass equal to 285 g. To work properly the device needs an external power unit (included in the box) with the following characteristics: 12V and 1А. Minor scratches and attritions, if remain on the body, are almost not visible, but the fingerprints at the same time are very noticeable.

Four non-detachable rotatable antennae with the gain ratio of 5 dBi are located on the upper panel of the case.

On the front panel there are LEDs indicating the status and activity of wired and wireless interfaces of the router, as well as the status of WPS and power supply.

The bottom panel is not remarkable at all, there are a ventilation grate located on it and four mounting holes used for secure the stand that props the case up so that it stays vertically.

On one of the sides two T-shaped tooling holes used to mount the device on the wall are located. Also, a sticker with brief information about the device can be found over here.

The rear side has five Gigabit Ethernet wire ports, a socket for a power adapter connection together with Default and WPS buttons located on it.

Now let’s have a look at the insides of the case.

The electronic stuffing of the model netis WF2681 is one green textolite card PB-7205-M04G-00 which has all essential elements located on one of its sides. The same card is used in another model - netis WF2780. Permanent fastening of antennae cables to the card is worth mentioning. In our opinion, it is not the best solution, however, for the end user usually it makes no difference.

The system is powered by Realtek RTL8197DN SoC CPU that operates at 660 MHz frequency. We have already seen such kind of SoC CPU previously in router D-Link DIR-825AC, however there it has been used with radiator. Hopefully the active use of the model netis WF2681 will not lead to overheating of the chip. DDR2 RAM is presented by an ESMT module M14D5121632A with capacity of 64 Mbytes. The Realtek RTL8367RB chip is the managed L2 switch that has five Ethernet ports at 10/100/1000 Mbps. Support of the wireless network is performed by microchips Realtek RTL8812AR and RTL8192ER.

That is where we bring the review of the hardware platform of the device to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of its software component.

Firmware upgrade and additional utilities

Firmware upgrade is carried out in Firmware Upgrade item of System Tools group in advanced mode menu. In order to upgrade the firmware it is only required to select the file with the new firmware version preliminary downloaded from the vendor’s website and click on Upgrade button.

The whole firmware upgrade process takes about three minutes (not considering the time required for downloading firmware from the vendor’s website) and does not require any technical proficiency from an administrator. Although the Russian-language version of the website may initially discourage some inexperienced users. Here, perhaps, it is worth noting that we are somewhat surprised that the firmware for the model netis WF2681 has not been updated for about a year and a half.

One can make sure that the firmware update has been executed successfully at any page of the advanced mode menu - information on the current firmware version number is displayed in the upper right corner of the page. It is worth mentioning that when this article was almost finished, we have received a new firmware version from the vendor that supports Russian language, therefore for later use we will review the updated version. At the time of the publication of this article the new firmware has become already available on the website for downloading. Also the vendor plans to preinstall the new version of the firmware on all routers of this model sold in the Russian Federation.

Complete with netis WF2681 wireless router the software allowing to prioritize a game traffic is delivered. The client part installed on the user's PC reports to a router which traffic should be given priority in case of congestion.

Now let's pass on to reviewing of the device web-interface.

Web-interface

Any modern web-browser may be used in order to access netis WF2681 wireless router’s web-interface. LAN port address is 192.168.1.1 by default. Quick Setup page, which is home page, allows the user to change parameters of a wireless network and type of connection to ISP. All other parameters of router functions are available in the advanced mode.

Status item contains brief information about wired and wireless interfaces of the device.

WAN Item of Network group allows the user to select the type of connection to the ISP. Connection to both wired and wireless operators is acceptable. Access to advanced settings is available by using the Advanced button.

Settings of LAN interface are located in Network group. Address Reservation item is responsible for static IP binding for the definite client.

Unfortunately we haven’t found the opportunity to set up IPv6.

IPTV item of the same group allows one to set up connection of set-top boxes, working with IPTV.

The model WF2681 can work in one of two modes: router and bridge. The choice of the mode is made by Operation mode tab.

Management of the wireless network is performed by the items of the Wireless 2.4G and Wireless 5G groups.

The settings responsible for quality of service are placed in QOS group.

If the administrator needs access from outside to local servers, the Forwarding group will come in handy.

Management of the access is done using items of Access Control group.

DDNS item will be much required in case the ISP offers its users only dynamic IP addresses. Appropriate setting is available at Dynamic DNS item. At the moment only two DDNS providers: No-IP and Dyndns are supported at the WF2681 model.

Let’s have a look at Advanced group which lets to enable or disable IGMP support (version of the protocol is not configurable), select the tunnel protocols, traffic from which will be allowed to pass through the router; enable WoL function (Wake On LAN), set up static routing and select the WAN-port speed.

Management of the user’s settings, firmware upgrade, time settings, diagnostic tools and system log are collected in System Tools group.

That is where we bring review of netis WF2681 wireless router web-interface to a conclusion and pass on to examining the capabilities of its command line.

Command line interface

In order to access the command line one needs to use the same login and password as for the connection to the device web-interface. Here it should be noted separately that disabling of Telnet-access to the device using web-interface is not possible, however connection becomes possible only after the administrator enters login and password on the Password item at System Tools group using web-interface. We also found that though user password setting opens access to command line of the device it also makes web-interface more inaccessible. Naturally, we notified the vendor about this and are expecting this problem to be fixed in the next firmware versions.

Firmware of the model under review is built on Linux 2.6.30.9 OS using BusyBox1.00-pre8.

netis(WF2681)EN-V1.2.29498,2014.09.02 19:45.
(none) login: admin
Password:
BusyBox v1.00-pre8 (2013.01.10-17:24+0000) Built-in shell (msh)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.
# uname -a
uname: not found
# busybox
BusyBox v1.00-pre8 (2013.01.10-17:24+0000) multi-call binary
Usage: busybox [function] [arguments]...
 or: [function] [arguments]...
 BusyBox is a multi-call binary that combines many common Unix
 utilities into a single executable.  Most people will create a
 link to busybox for each function they wish to use, and BusyBox
 will act like whatever it was invoked as.
Currently defined functions:
 [, adduser, bunzip2, busybox, bzcat, cat, chmod, cp, cut, date, echo, egrep, expr, false, ftpget, grep,
 head, ifconfig, init, kill, killall, klogd, ln, logger, login, ls, mkdir, mknod, mount, msh, passwd, ping,
 ps, reboot, rm, route, sh, sleep, syslogd, tail, telnetd, test, tftp, traceroute, true, umount, vconfig,
 wc, wget
# cat /proc/version
Linux version 2.6.30.9 (root@yanggal-System-Product-Name) (gcc version 4.4.5-1.5.5p4 (GCC) ) #50 Tue Sep 2 19:57:55 CST 2014

Let's see what processes are currently running using ps command. Top utility is unfortunately absent.

# ps
 PID  Uid     VmSize Stat Command
 1 root        296 S   init
 2 root            SW< [kthreadd]
 3 root            SW< [ksoftirqd/0]
 4 root            SW< [events/0]
 5 root            SW< [khelper]
 8 root            SW< [async/mgr]
 122 root            SW< [kblockd/0]
 132 root            SW< [khubd]
 149 root            SW  [pdflush]
 150 root            SW< [kswapd0]
 711 root            SW< [mtdblockd]
 758 root        328 S   -sh
 798 root        224 S   /bin/logd
 1065 root        216 S   klogd
 1066 root        248 S   syslogd -L
 1095 root        212 S   iapp br0 wlan0 wlan1
 1099 root        204 S   iwcontrol wlan0 wlan1 wlan1-vxd
 1127 root        244 S   miniigd -e 1 -i br0 -w 1
 1133 root        216 S   lld2d br0
 1136 root        220 S   reload
 1166 root       1024 S   switch -d
 1168 root        260 S   game_server -s
 1202 root        160 S   /bin/restart_webs
 1204 root        424 S   /bin/cdrom_wizard
 1235 root        148 S   /bin/restart_oray
 1236 root        192 S   /bin/wps_detect
 1270 root        188 S   telnetd
 1271 root            Z   [sh]
 1347 root        228 S   dnrd --cache=off -s 8.8.8.8 -s 10.0.1.5
 1368 root        252 S   udhcpd /var/udhcpd.conf
 1515 root        360 S   ntp.sh
 1533 root        196 S   udhcpc -i wlan1-vxd -p /etc/udhcpc/udhcpc-wlan1-vxd.pid -s /usr/share/udhcpc/wlan1-vxd.sh -a
 1603 root        300 S   boa -p /web -f /etc/boa.conf
 1625 root        384 S   sh
 1636 root        292 R   ps
# top
top: not found

We present the contents of the catalogues /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin and /usr/sbin in a separate file.

Now let's turn to /proc catalogue to view its contents and find out the system uptime, its average utilisation, information on the CPU installed, and the amount of RAM.

# cd /proc
# ls
1                          alg                        filesystems                qvlan_set
1186                       br_igmpDb                  filter_table               reInitSwitchCore
1190                       br_igmpProxy               fs                         rf_switch
1196                       br_igmpQuerierInfo         gc_overflow_timout         rtk_vlan_management_entry
122                        br_igmpVersion             gpio                       rtk_vlan_support
1222                       br_igmpquery               gpio_test                  rtl865x
1223                       br_igmpsnoop               hbwrr                      scsi
1263                       br_mCastFastFwd            hw_nat                     self
1264                       br_mldQuerierInfo          igd                        slabinfo
132                        br_mldVersion              interrupts                 stat
1332                       br_mldquery                iomem                      suspend_check
149                        br_mldsnoop                ioports                    sys
150                        br_wlanblock               irq                        sysvipc
1563                       buddyinfo                  jate                       timer_list
1565                       bus                        kcore                      tty
1574                       cmdline                    kpagecount                 tz
1593                       cpuinfo                    kpageflags                 uptime
1597                       crypto                     load_default               url_replease
1608                       custom_Passthru            loadavg                    usb_mode_detect
1622                       custom_Passthru_wlan       locks                      version
1631                       devices                    meminfo                    vmallocinfo
1637                       diskstats                  misc                       vmstat
1663                       dns_replease               mounts                     watchdog_reboot
1665                       driver                     mtd                        wlan0
1704                       eee                        net                        wlan0-va0
1735                       enable_dos                 pagetypeinfo               wlan0-va1
1737                       eth0                       partitions                 wlan0-va2
2                          eth1                       pc_game                    wlan0-va3
3                          eth2                       peth0                      wlan0-vxd
4                          eth3                       phyRegTest                 wlan1
5                          eth4                       pptp_conn_ck               wlan1-va0
711                        eth7                       qos                        wlan1-va1
758                        execdomains                qvlan_set                  wlan1-va2
798                        fast_l2tp                  qvlan_set                  wlan1-va3
8                          fast_nat                   qvlan_set                  wlan1-vxd
StormCtrl                  fast_pppoe                 qvlan_set                  zoneinfo
admin_port                 fast_pptp                  qvlan_set
# cat uptime
1147.07 1107.73
# cat loadavg
0.00 0.00 0.00 2/34 1739
# cat cpuinfo
system type             : RTL819xD
processor               : 0
cpu model               : 56322
BogoMIPS                : 658.63
hardware watchpoint     : no
tlb_entries             : 32
mips16 implemented      : yes
# cat meminfo
MemTotal:          49360 kB
MemFree:           28772 kB
Buffers:            1680 kB
Cached:             3772 kB
SwapCached:            0 kB
Active:             5196 kB
Inactive:           2408 kB
Active(anon):       2152 kB
Inactive(anon):        0 kB
Active(file):       3044 kB
Inactive(file):     2408 kB
SwapTotal:             0 kB
SwapFree:              0 kB
Dirty:                 0 kB
Writeback:             0 kB
AnonPages:          2164 kB
Mapped:             1140 kB
Slab:              12456 kB
SReclaimable:       2384 kB
SUnreclaim:        10072 kB
PageTables:          276 kB
NFS_Unstable:          0 kB
Bounce:                0 kB
WritebackTmp:          0 kB
CommitLimit:       24680 kB
Committed_AS:       5012 kB
VmallocTotal:    1048404 kB
VmallocUsed:           0 kB
VmallocChunk:    1048404 kB

A couple of files in /var catalogue have focused our attention: passwd and passwd.telnetd. Both of these files contain the administrator login and password in plain text. Of course, it's not a very big problem, as to gain access to these files one needs to know the administrator password, but together with a standard password for wireless network makes us assume that the vendor engineers are not paying attention to security issues. And, of course, it is also kept in mind that two years ago in netis router firmware there was discovered a built-in easily exploited Trojan that used UDP port 53413, which was, it should be noted, quickly removed.

# cat /var/passwd
admin:oursecurepass:0:0:root:/:/bin/sh
# cat /var/passwd.telnetd
admin: oursecurepass:0:0:root:/:/bin/sh

That’s where we draw the brief review of the device command line interface to a close and pass on directly to testing it.

Testing

The first traditional test we begin this part with is estimating the booting time of the device, which is a time interval starting with the moment when the power is on until the first echo reply is received through ICMP. Wireless router netis Beacon AC1200 boots in 31 seconds. We consider that it is a good result.

The second no less than standard test is a security scanning procedure of the device, performing with the help of a security scanner Positive Technologies XSpider 7.8 (build 8.25.5.24075). The scanning has been carried out from the LAN. There were eight open ports discovered. The most interesting data of this test are presented below.

Before getting down to performance tests we would like to get our readers familiar with the key specifications of the test stand we used.

Component PC Notebook
Motherboard ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme ASUS M60J
CPU Intel Core i7 6700K 4 GHz Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6 GHz
RAM DDR4-2133 Samsung 64 Gbytes DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 16 Gbytes
NIC Intel PRO/1000 PT
ASUS PCE-AC68
Atheros AR8131
netis E1+
OS Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus

The first performance test we carried out was measuring throughput of user traffic during NAT/PAT. In order to test the devices we used JPerf utility, 2.0.2 version. The tests were carried out with 1, 5 and 15 concurrent TCP sessions. During NAT/PAT testing router web-interface remained responsive and CPU utilization remained relatively low.

Then we decided to measure user data transfer speeds via PPTP tunnels. Unfortunately, neither encryption nor data compression are supported. During this testing CPU utilization was near 100%, web-interface was not responsive to user activity, giving variety of errors.

In order to measure wireless speeds netis E1+ repeater was used as a client within the frequency range of 2.4 GHz.

Fast Ethernet interface became a bottleneck during this test, therefore we decided to repeat measurement and use standard ASUS PCE-AC68 NIC as a wireless client. As a result the speeds were significantly higher.

ASUS PCE-AC68 NIC was selected as a wireless client within the frequency range of 5 GHz.

We made current measurement and both previous using WPA2-protected connections. We also noticed that the CPU utilization of the wireless router netis Beacon AC1200 was close to the maximum, so we decided to repeat the experiment leaving the wireless network open. No encryption of wireless networks reduced the load on the CPU a little bit, but no substantial speed growth was detected.

Another function, by which we could not pass, is QoS. We decided to find out how the configured maximum speed value matches with the real measured. For testing we used ten concurrent TCP-connections. At the graph below one can see that the bandwidth limit works only to values of the range of 300 Mbps, a further increase in this value has no effect on the real speed.

During our performance tests, the router case temperature didn't get higher than 41°С, the environment temperature was 23°С.

That's where we draw the testing chapter to a close and move on to summing it all up.

Summary

We were left with mixed feelings after reviewing netis WF2681 wireless router. On one hand, netis Beacon AC1200 has features not implemented in many other competitors. On the other hand, some of our usual features are missing here. The device demonstrated speeds do not let one call the model WF2681 high-performance top-rated router. However, they will be sufficient to the majority of users who want to upgrade their network equipment and get support for both frequency ranges. Also it is worth noticing that this model is more than two years old. Therefore today, in our opinion, netis WF2681 wireless router will be interesting not to the gamers who are looking for maximum performance, but to common users.

Among the strength areas of netis WF2681 wireless router are the following.

  • Ability to connect to wireless providers (WISP)
  • IPTV flexible configuration
  • IEEE 802.11ac support
  • Ability to create a few wireless guest networks
  • Support of both wireless ranges
  • Software that optimizes the transmission of gaming traffic.

Unfortunately, we cannot help but mention some of its drawbacks.

  • Failure of the built-in web server after the inserting of the administrator password
  • No IPv6 support

As of this writing, the best price for netis WF2681 wireless router in German-speaking Europoe countries, according to website http://geizhals.at/, was 58.49 euro.

Introduction

External design

Hardware

Firmware update

Web-interface

HDMI

Command line

Testing

Summary

Introduction

It's been about six months since we published a review on a QNAP NAS, TVS-463, which became the pioneering device in our partnership with the vendor. Recently our laboratory received probably the smallest QNAP model, TAS-168 NAS, with one hard disk. This model will come in handy for home users who are not looking for huge disk memory capacities or utmost reliability in data storage. QNAP TAS-168 can also perform functions of a network media player, but first things first!

External design

QNAP TAS-168 NAS comes in a white plastic case with a couple of black elements. The device weighs 560 grams and needs a 36W external power unit (included in the box) to work properly. A remote control is included in the box too, which is a really uncommon thing for NAS packages.

The front panel has LEDs indicating the correct operation of the network interface and HDD together with the infra-red receiver of the remote control located on it. Also, there are a ON/OFF button, button that answers for copying of data from external USB drives, USB 3.0 port, and slot used for connection of SD cards.

The rear side has four USB 2.0 ports, sunken Reset button, HDMI and Gigabit Ethernet ports, and power socket.

The upper panel of QNAP TAS-168 NAS is not remarkable at all and there is only a LED indicating the device status located on it.

Four small rubber legs are located on the bottom panel. Apart from it, there are sticker with brief information about the device as well as a large screw that holds two parts of the case together.

Now let's have a look at the insides of the device. By the way, there is a small fan that cools down the NAS hardware and internal HDD located on one of its side panels.

Hardware

Electronic stuffing of QNAP TAS-168 NAS is one green textolite card which has all essential elements located on both of its sides. The device system is powered by a dual-core Realtek RTD1195DD SoC CPU that runs at a base frequency of 1.1 GHz.

Four 512 Mbyte Mosel Vitelic V73CAG04808RAJJ11 chips act as the device RAM, making the total device RAM size 2 Gbytes. A 4 Gbyte SK Hynix H26M31001HPR chips acts as the flash memory. Asmedia ASM1153E microchip performs functions of a USB-SATA converter. Another chip by the same vendor, ASM1074L, performs USB concentrator functions.

That is where we bring the review of QNAP TAS-168 hardware platform to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of its software component.

Firmware update

Firmware update may be carried out both in manual and semi-automatic mode. The user will need to use tabs in Firmware Update menu, System Settings group in the control panel.

The whole firmware update process takes about 17 minutes and does not require any technical proficiency from the administrator.

Also, we should mention that it's possible to update the firmware using QNAP Qfinder Pro utility.

Apart from updating the system firmware, the user will be able to update third-party add-ons using App Center application. We already gave a detailed description of this procedure in one of our previous reviews, which was dedicated to QNAP TVS-463 NAS, and this is why we would like to finish this section and pass on to examining the capabilities of the device web-interface.

Web-interface

We already told our readers about the possibility to adjust QNAP NASes via web-interface in the review of TVS-463 model. We decided not to repeat the same thing for the second time but tell a few words about certain features of multimedia applications available to the users.

One can view photos located on the NAS using PhotoStation 5 application.

The user can not only view the pictures s/he likes using the browser but also can transfer them to any media player connected to the same local network. Moreover, one can share the best shots with friends.

Manage section in PhotoStation 5 application is used to create albums and sort out photos.

Music Station application is used to listen to audio files stored on TAS-168. The users can sort out their audios by artist, album, genre as well as create customized playlists.

Apart from listening to music, which is stored directly on the NAS, users can also listen to online radio stations.

Video Station application is used to watch videos, which are located on the NAS, and create video collections.

Besides those capabilities we mentioned above, Video Station app lets the user manage video content categories, automatically look for subtitles, and connect to social networks.

Yet another application we would like to talk about is Media Streaming Add-on, which is used to stream multimedia content to different devices in the local network.

The list of multimedia applications for QNAP NASes doesn't end here; apart from the official applications, there is also an array of third-party apps.

That is where we bring a brief review of QNAP TAS-168 NAS web-interface multimedia capabilities to a conclusion and pass on to reviewing connection to the HDMI interface.

HDMI

QNAP TAS-168 NAS possesses a built-in HDMI interface. As a matter of course, we couldn't help but review this port.

We will not talk about all capabilities that the NAS users can enjoy upon using HDMI interface but only turn our attention to the most interesting ones. Image displaying and processing of user commands are carried out by the built-in guest OS powered by Android, which is executed in the virtual machine that operates in the NAS.

One will need to perform easy preliminary set-up after the first connection to the HDMI port. We believe that it's worth pointing out that the time zones are specified incorrectly here. For example, Moscow is in +4 GMT time zone.

Upon completion of the preliminary set-up, the NAS owner may need to install a couple of extra software elements before s/he can start using the HDMI connection. Set-up is carried out in a semi-automatic mode.

As soon as all necessary software programs have been installed, the user will be able to start watching his/her photos and movies as well as listening to music.

Management of the device upon established HDMI connection maybe carried out both using the mouse and keyboard connected to the NAS and the remote control that is included in the box.

Naturally, QNAP TAS-168 NAS owners are not limited by the capabilities we mentioned and they can use all standard applications that can be executed on Android OS.

The guest OS may be configured not only during the preliminary set-up wizard procedure but any moment after this set-up was finished, too.

Since Chrome browser is installed on Android system by default, the users will be able to fully manage the NAS directly through HDMI interface; in other words, they will not need to get connected to the device via network from a PC or laptop.

One can change the key HDMI connection settings using Android Station menu, Applications group in the main menu of the device web-interface.

That is where we bring a brief review of HDMI interface capabilities, which are available to QNAP TAS-168 NAS owners, to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of its command line.

Command line

Managing the access to the command line of the device via Telnet and SSH protocols is performed using Telnet/SSH group, Network Services menu item.

In order to access the device command line one must use the same log-on information as for the connection to the router web-interface. Firmware of the model under review is built on Linux 3.10.20 OS using Busy Box 1.01.

[/] # uname -a
Linux NASF607B5 3.10.20-al-2.5.3 #3 SMP PREEMPT Wed Dec 2 19:15:53 CST 2015 armv7l unknown
[/] # busybox
BusyBox v1.01 (2015.06.15-07:07+0000) multi-call binary
Usage: busybox [function] [arguments]...
 or: [function] [arguments]...
 BusyBox is a multi-call binary that combines many common Unix
 utilities into a single executable.  Most people will create a
 link to busybox for each function they wish to use and BusyBox
 will act like whatever it was invoked as!
Currently defined functions:
 [, addgroup, adduser, ash, awk, basename, bunzip2, busybox, bzcat,
 cat, chgrp, chmod, chown, chroot, chvt, clear, cmp, cp, crond,
 crontab, cut, date, dc, dd, deallocvt, delgroup, deluser, df,
 dirname, dmesg, dos2unix, du, echo, egrep, env, expr, false, fdisk,
 fgrep, find, free, getty, grep, gunzip, gzip, halt, head, hexdump,
 hostname, hwclock, id, ifconfig, init, insmod, install, ip, kill,
 killall, klogd, linuxrc, ln, logger, login, ls, lsmod, md5sum,
 mkdir, mknod, mktemp, modprobe, more, mount, mv, nameif, netstat,
 nslookup, openvt, passwd, pidof, ping, ping6, pivot_root, poweroff,
 ps, pwd, rdate, readlink, reboot, renice, reset, rm, rmdir, rmmod,
 route, sed, sh, sha1sum, sleep, sort, strings, swapoff, swapon,
 switch_root, sync, sysctl, syslogd, tail, tar, tee, telnet, test,
 tftp, time, top, touch, tr, traceroute, true, tty, umount, uname,
 uniq, unix2dos, unzip, uptime, usleep, vi, wc, wget, which, whoami,
 xargs, yes, zcat
[/] #

Let's see what processes are currently running using ps command. By using top utility one can obtain information on the current activity of the launched processes. We decided to present outputs of the utilities in an individual file.

We have placed the contents of /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, and /usr/sbin catalogues into a separate file, too.

Now let's turn to /proc catalogue to view its contents and find out the system uptime, its average utilisation, information on the CPU installed, and the amount of RAM. Actually, system uptime and average system utilisation can also be learnt using uptime command.

[/] #
[/] # cd /proc/
[/proc] # ls
1/             13945/         28/            5965/          cmdline
10/            14/            2814/          60/            consoles
109/           140/           2836/          6000/          cpu/
11/            14258/         284/           6020/          cpuinfo
110/           14281/         2846/          6064/          crypto
11003/         14404/         285/           61/            device-tree/
11081/         14522/         287/           6119/          devices
111/           14523/         28778/         6140/          diskstats
11792/         14524/         297/           6178/          driver/
12/            14526/         29969/         62/            execdomains
123/           14528/         3/             6224/          fb
124/           14529/         30/            6297/          filesystems
12444/         14530/         31/            63/            flashcache/
12445/         14531/         310/           64/            fs/
12465/         14682/         311/           65/            interrupts
12466/         14746/         3144/          66/            iomem
12480/         14747/         3187/          67/            ioports
12481/         14919/         32/            68/            irq/
12482/         14942/         32292/         6850/          kallsyms
12483/         15010/         33/            69/            key-users
12484/         16/            34/            7/             kmsg
12485/         17/            3490/          71/            kpagecount
12487/         18/            35/            729/           kpageflags
12488/         1824/          36/            757/           loadavg
12489/         1897/          37/            7799/          locks
12490/         1898/          38/            783/           mdstat
12491/         19/            3870/          7931/          meminfo
12492/         1946/          39/            7958/          misc
12493/         1947/          40/            8/             modules
12494/         1973/          41/            8032/          mounts@
12495/         1975/          42/            8118/          mtd
12497/         19785/         4211/          8234/          net@
12521/         19825/         43/            8251/          pagetypeinfo
1297/          19848/         4445/          8258/          partitions
13/            2/             4463/          8261/          sched_debug
13002/         20/            4614/          8269/          scsi/
13043/         2003/          4726/          8313/          self@
13223/         2005/          4730/          8490/          slabinfo
13246/         21/            4748/          8504/          softirqs
13338/         212/           4817/          8747/          stat
13348/         213/           4860/          8758/          swaps
13356/         214/           4933/          8825/          sys/
13371/         22/            5/             8855/          sysrq-trigger
13380/         2207/          5078/          8889/          sysvipc/
13396/         2208/          5337/          8953/          timer_list
13421/         23/            5370/          8954/          tsinfo/
13451/         23002/         5419/          9/             tty/
13463/         23022/         5426/          9110/          uid_stat/
13470/         24/            5427/          9571/          uptime
13530/         2429/          5522/          9623/          version
13558/         25/            5573/          asound/        vmallocinfo
13626/         26/            5616/          buddyinfo      vmstat
13763/         262/           5766/          bus/           watchdog*
13938/         27/            58/            cgroups        zoneinfo
[/proc] # cat uptime
241998.31 468624.43
[/proc] # cat loadavg
1.29 1.28 1.30 1/784 9670
[/proc] # cat cpuinfo
processor       : 0
model name      : ARMv7 Processor rev 5 (v7l)
BogoMIPS        : 74.24
Features        : swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant     : 0x0
CPU part        : 0xc07
CPU revision    : 5
processor       : 1
model name      : ARMv7 Processor rev 5 (v7l)
BogoMIPS        : 54.00
Features        : swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant     : 0x0
CPU part        : 0xc07
CPU revision    : 5
Hardware        : phoenix
Revision        : 20000
Serial          : 0000000000000000
media_type      : emmc
[/proc] # cat meminfo
MemTotal:        1814412 kB
MemFree:          852432 kB
Buffers:           49836 kB
Cached:           522484 kB
SwapCached:            0 kB
Active:           386036 kB
Inactive:         442616 kB
Active(anon):     270464 kB
Inactive(anon):   146268 kB
Active(file):     115572 kB
Inactive(file):   296348 kB
Unevictable:          12 kB
Mlocked:              12 kB
HighTotal:        270336 kB
HighFree:           2372 kB
LowTotal:        1544076 kB
LowFree:          850060 kB
SwapTotal:        530108 kB
SwapFree:         530108 kB
Dirty:                 0 kB
Writeback:             0 kB
AnonPages:        256328 kB
Mapped:           126252 kB
Shmem:            160452 kB
Slab:              63084 kB
SReclaimable:      33872 kB
SUnreclaim:        29212 kB
KernelStack:        6272 kB
PageTables:        10724 kB
NFS_Unstable:          0 kB
Bounce:                0 kB
WritebackTmp:          0 kB
CommitLimit:     1437312 kB
Committed_AS:   19160708 kB
VmallocTotal:     245760 kB
VmallocUsed:       92032 kB
VmallocChunk:      30724 kB
[/proc] # uptime
 14:34:24 up 2 days, 19:13, load average: 1.39, 1.30, 1.31
[/proc] #

That's where we proceed to completion of the brief review of the command line interface capabilities and pass directly on to testing the device.

Testing

Traditionally, we started testing the device with measuring its booting speed, but this time we decided to change our standard measurement procedure. Today we would like to consider the special sound signal that the device makes as the moment of completion of the booting procedure instead of receiving the first echo-reply via ICMP (which took approximately 120 seconds). QNAP TAS-168 NAS boots in 250 seconds (just over four minutes). Also, we decided to measure the time that the device requires to get turned off, which was 150 seconds. Well, both the booting and turning off procedures aren't that quick.

The second test, which is no less traditional, was a security scanning procedure, which has been carried out using Positive Technologies XSpider 7.8 utility. On the whole, there were 25 open ports discovered. The most interesting data are presented below. We believe that the vulnerabilities discovered are not critical.

Before getting straight down to performance tests we would like to mention the key specifications of the test stand we used.

Component PC
Motherboard ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme
CPU Intel Core i7 6700K 4 GHz
RAM DDR4-2133 Samsung 64 Gbytes
NIC Intel PRO/1000 PT
OS Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus

We decided to begin the throughput tests with measuring user access speeds to the internal HDD. We used a HGST HDN724030ALE640 HDD, meant for operation in NASes, in order to carry out this test. Since currently not all home networks support Gigabit Ethernet standard, we decided to find out what speeds will be available to users in 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps networks and compare them.

As one can see from the diagram presented above, upon operation in Fast Ethernet networks (100 Mbps), the performance of QNAP TAS-168 NAS in most of tests will be limited by the speed of the user's network.

Since TAS-168 model has USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, we decided to carry out NAS performance tests when an external drive is connected to it using the above-mentioned interfaces. The measurements were taken for these four file systems: NTFS, FAT32, EXT3, and EXT; we used our 256 GByte Transcend TS256GESD400K SSD as the external drive. Unfortunately, the NAS could not detect the SSD when it was formatted in NTFS. We notified the vendor about this and are expecting it to fix the bug in the next firmware versions.

It's a pity, but QTS 4.1 firmware for QNAP TAS-168 NAS does not have a capability allowing for connection of Wi-Fi adapters, VLAN adjustment, support of IPv6, and either a VPN server or VPN client; however, an array of VPN applications is available for installation through Android. We decided to measure the highest possible speeds one can achieve using one of the above-mentioned applications. As a matter of course, most of these VPN clients were developed for by-passing various limitations, which were put forward by Roskomnadzor, the anonymous access to the web but the standard OpenVPN client still lets users get connected to their own remote VPN servers. A wireless ASUS RT-AC88U router, which we are currently testing, was performing functions of a VPN server. Data access speeds through OpenVPN connection are presented on the diagram below.

Capabilities that we mentioned above would be barely sought-after by the common users, who are the core market for this model. However, the thing that would be really sought-after is an antivirus module. Fortunately, QNAP TAS-168 has one (ClamAV). As a matter of course, we couldn't help but review performance of the antivirus module which is being executed directly on the NAS. We chose two file packs, created using Intel NASPT utility, which we already used before. The first one is DirectoryCopyFromNAS catalog that features 2833 files, 235 MBytes. The second one is FileCopyFromNAS catalog that has only one file that occupies 1.15 GBytes of space. Naturally, we understand that the real speeds will significantly depend on the scanned files, but one still can get the picture of the AV module performance using the diagram presented below.

That's where we draw the testing chapter to a close and move on to summing it all up.

Summary

Generally, we are glad about QNAP TAS-168 NAS we tested. It has a small case where you can fit one 2.5"/3.5" HDD or SDD. The device multimedia features let us call it not only a NAS but also a multimedia player, which may come in really handy upon mounting a home cinema.

Strength areas of QNAP TAS-168 NAS are presented below.

  • A built-in client Android virtual machine
  • High access speeds to the user data
  • Presence of HDMI and USB 3.0 ports
  • Small-sized and neat design
  • Presence of a remote control
  • Ability to install auxiliary add-ons
  • Availability of an anti-virus module for scanning user data

Unfortunately, we cannot help but mention certain drawbacks of the model.

  • A very long firmware update procedure
  • The fan inside of the case is too small
  • Incorrect time zone for Moscow
  • Lack of NTFS support

As of this writing, the best price for QNAP TAS-168 NAS (without disk) in German-speaking Europoe countries, according to website http://geizhals.at/, was 189.58 euro.