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Obey the Epel!


Pasted as Plain Text by registered user Sam ( 5 years ago )
Where do we draw the line between the old days of what defined a geek, and today's general embrace of Personal Computers and the cluster of Internet of Things.

I can understand dumbing-down technology to suit the mums-and-dads masses out there who have no inclination to tinker (or waste their time doing it; that is, boring) and just want things to work in an isp-managed/ automated way. But there is an ever growing group of folks -- without even needing to segregate them into a genre -- that simply want to use the ISP supplied devices, for economical / non-wasteful or whatever reasons, in a better (aqnd safer) way or get more out of them / bang for buck.

Take for example my ISPs latest Smart Modem Gen2: on my FTTN connection (which isn't exactly supplying the highest sync rate due to distance from the node cabinet; and 'vectoring' isn't enabled as yet, if ever, anyways) and i have trialled a bunch of modems and found that a specific one syncs the highest consistently. Atleast ten percent margin at that to the nearest similar device. Within context, that ten percent increase itself is more than what my old adsl connection used to be, so yeah you kind of appreciate anything extra you can get when starved due to distance with regards to internet technology. I have twenty year old (initially it was trialled, now unused) ISP dark fibre running through my street but thats a story for another day.

Now if i wanted to use that optimal syncing modem in bridged mode, and the Gen2 as the router (hey! it has 4G backup for data and voice! Why not.), i can do that right now but would have no web access to the bridged modem. So i would essentially need to physically toggle the power button, or hook a device into it directly and do it that way. Not practical if said device is in a comms box in an inconvenient spot or tucked away somewhere.

Say i had root access on the Gen2, i could set the Gen2 IP as and the bridged modem as Set a network alias on the Gen2 device on the same subnet as the bridged router so they could talk, do some internal tinkering to the bridged device to allow web access to all required web cards and modals in said mode, which are normally disabled, and access both via a LAN PC, even though they were on separate subnets. Also, unlocking all the hidden cards and modals on the Gen2 that your ISP deems not appropriate for you, even though they are unlocked / stock standard (and useful) on retail routers, and even though you may have bought the Gen2 router outright - karma anyone?

In the same train of thought, you could point all DHCP DNS requests to your Raspberry Pi, which happens to run pi-hole - which basically disables any text and image based internet advertisement links and tracking (FU-G!). You can also blacklist or whitelist any un/desired websites at the DNS level here, too, and much more. Sure you could disable DHCP on the Gen2 and let the pi do it all if inclined that way.

Then there is the obfuscated sip stuff. There is standards-based Open Source stuff (FREE, even the Gen2 router has GPL software in it, too via openwrt from what i understand) that could have been used if the sip details weren't entrenched into the Gen2 and password hidden from consumer sight. Let's say that you managed to get the details, you would still be struggling to utilise them, as the sip handshake defies sip standards or is that uncanny, it would be frought with SMH's or utter frustration, depending on your PC prowess. Full voice control in your own hands out the window there. Oh, i got another stock exchange industry marketer/telescammer call whilst writing this. yes i could make use of the ISP supplied dect phones that can block limited amount of incoming caller ids but that includes a monetary aspect and binning some perfectly fine existing dect phones right?

The ability to turn off fon/air locally even though you tried repeatedly via the 24/7 app and then had to get a (seventh time lucky) CSR to fill out the necessary form to patch the bug that was preventing you from doing it yourself on your account.

By making use of the Gen2 cwmp/tr-069 automated services, you're also opening yourself up to potential 'man-in-the-middle' backdoor attacks. I'd like to turn all these unnecessary services off to reduce risk on my own local network (family and/or business sensitive content that should stay private) and just manage this all at my pace. That includes being able to manually update firmware, backup and restore my router settings after a factory reset, et al.

There needs to be an acceptance that some people, not all i know, like to tinker with their ISP-supplied router. This is not a ISP specific or geo based request or concern but moreso a global paradigm inquisitive consumers have to deal with. Some will blatantly say vote with your wallet, and some do/ have (or forgoed bundled services in favour of external services they could control themselves) but i'd like to argue that some of us like the ISP we are with (an addons) and we're just a different bunch of consumers - a square doesnt necessarily have to fit in a round hole to make use of the same service, whatever it is. Be flexible and embrace our consumer IoT diversity. Allow us to waive any ISP technical support or guarantees to allow open full access, and we're on par.

TL;DR - ISP supplied devices: dumb it down, for those that need it; be open and flexible, for those that don't.


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