Archive for the ‘Hardware, network etc.’ Category

h1

Time on my VOIP phone keeps changing

April 11, 2022

We recently replaced our previous ‘landline’ NBN-compatible Panasonic handset with a new one—a Telstra Call Guardian, which aims to screen calls and thus minimise the amount of robocalls, scam calls, ring-and-then-hang-up-when-you-answer calls etc. you get. So far, it seems to be working great, and the coloured screen and lit buttons are easier to read too. When I got the phone, I set the settings that I could figure out without the manual, including the time and date.

But no matter how many times I set the time, after a few minutes it would revert to Australian Eastern Time. There was NO setting for time zone in the phone that I could find, so I couldn’t set it for Australian Western Time. I must’ve reset the time a dozen times before realising that what I was doing was futile. I was going to call Telstra to find out what the secret was, but then went Googling, where I eventually found an obscure forum thread on Whirlpool (an Australian tech forum) about another brand of handset that kept resetting to GMT! And way down in that thread was the information that seems to have fixed my issue.

Because these phones are NBN-compatible and plug into the router, NOT the phone line at the wall, some brands of phone will take some settings from the router, including the time zone. Perhaps that was it? I logged into my router and eventually found the time zone setting (if you’re using an iinet router, look under Gateway). And the router was set for Sydney time! Before I changed it, I emailed iinet support to find out if changing that setting would change anything else (e.g. times on the server or the PCs), and they said it wouldn’t, but that it could affect any times I might have set on the router to restrict a child’s use after certain hours. Well, that didn’t apply to me, so I went ahead and changed the time zone on the router (I didn’t need to reboot). I then changed the time (again) on my phone.

And 30 mins later, the time is holding! It looks like I’ve solved it.

(You might wonder why I even bothered. Well, sometimes you need an audit trail of when you made or answered a call, or to check when a missed call came in. If the time is 2 hours out [3 in daylight saving time], then that audit trail is totally wrong.)

h1

Finding devices and IP addresses on your network

April 3, 2022

This YouTube video shows different ways to see and identify the devices on your network: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW6F2tflfNk and is a good starting point.

However, the video’s net view step didn’t work for me, but the remainder of the information before the promotion of various software apps sis work. Here’s what I did:

  1. On the Start button type cmd, then right-click that option in the list and select Run as Administrator.
  2. At the command prompt, type arp -a to list all the IP addresses currently active on your network. (Note: Devices that are turned off will NOT be listed.)
  3. Optional: If you want to keep this list for the next steps, press Ctrl+a to select the text in the Command window, then Ctrl+c to copy it to the clipboard, then open Notepad or similar and press Ctrl+v to paste it in a document.
  4. Once you have the list of IP and MAC addresses, you can ping each one to see what device it represents.
  5. Type ping -a [IP address], for example, ping -a 192.168.0.12
  6. If you want to check each one, press F3 at the next command prompt to repeat the line entered at Step 5, and change the IP address number to the next one in the list.
  7. Assuming the device is found and has a name, it will be listed. You can then match up IP addresses with the devices you have.

You can also look up MAC addresses to find the manufacturer of the device at: https://maclookup.app/

NOTE: There may be an easier way to do this all in one step (add to the comments below if there is), but these steps worked for me.

h1

Transfer speed affected by where you plug in the USB

February 17, 2022

I needed to transfer some files to a backup external hard disk drive (HDD). I plugged the HDD into a USB-3 hub and did the transfer, but I only got a transfer rate of ~36 MB per second. I knew the HDD had a higher maximum transfer speed than that, so I unplugged it from the USB hub (which was also linked to the back of my PC with about a 1.5 m USB extension cable), and plugged it directly into a USB-3 port on the front of the PC. The transfer speed immediately jumped to ~170 MB per second.

Same USB-3 cable, just a different USB port—one that was directly into the PC without going through a hub or using an extension cable.

Update: Simon commented below that a USB-2 device plugged into a USB-3 hub will limit all ports on the hub to USB-2 as well. Guess what many wireless devices like mice and keyboards are??? USB-2!

h1

LG CI OLED TV and Foxtel Ultra HD (4K)

November 21, 2021

Another blog post for future me… and for anyone else in this situation.

I’d heard about a bug in LG C1 OLED TVs made from Sept 2021 that didn’t allow 4K content to play in 4K (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifkarBLgnWw). The gamers were up in arms. But as I’m not a gamer, I didn’t think it applied to me. However, I do have Foxtel and an IQ4 box, which is designed for 4K/ultra HD. So I checked if I could play a 4K movie from the dedicated Foxtel channel for these. Nope. I got an error message that my TV was incompatible (error F0446, details and troubleshooting here: https://www.foxtel.com.au/support/technical-support/error-code-troubleshooting/iq4/f0446.html). So I waited for the software update to roll out from LG and tried again. I still got the same error message.

I went back to Vincent Teoh’s original video (Vincent is just awesome, and funny too!) and found he had created a new one just for the bug fix (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI-ebazGJ4I), where he said you may have to change a couple of other things on your TV too. I tried those but still kept getting 4K error message on Foxtel. Based on previous experiences I really didn’t want to call Foxtel support…

So I went back to Foxtel’s troubleshooting pages for this error and stared working my way through the suggested solutions. Some I just couldn’t do on my TV as I couldn’t find the relevant settings. But there were also some suggested changes to the Foxtel IQ4 box you could make through Advanced Settings, and it was there I found the solution under their Step 3 (https://www.foxtel.com.au/support/technical-support/error-code-troubleshooting/iq4/f0446/connected-to-tv.html).

My picture settings were set to 1080p, so I changed it to 2160p (as per Step 3) and as soon as I did, I could view the ultra HD Foxtel channels!

h1

The importance of backups

June 16, 2021

I dodged a bullet last night! It was the end of the day and I wasn’t concentrating.

I wanted to delete a subfolder I no longer needed, which was on the server. Without realising it, I had the top-level folder selected on the left side of Explorer, not the subfolder on the right. I pressed Shift+Del, which PERMANENTLY deletes a file. Fortunately, I realised my error within a second or so (the 2 files in the subfolder I wanted to delete would likely never have time to display a progress bar, but this deletion did, which is why I knew something was wrong). I clicked Cancel as soon as I could, but all the individual files in the top-level folder were deleted, except for the one I had open. I stopped it before any of the other subfolders got deleted.

I called my IT people and they were able to restore those 80 files from last night’s server backup within seconds!! First time I’ve ever had to get data restored from a backup, so thank goodness I had it.

h1

Removing a device that won’t remove

May 12, 2021

Short version: New Bluetooth (BT) earbuds, paired OK with laptop, but wouldn’t connect. Discovered that laptop’s BT version was 4.x and the new earbuds required BT 5.x or higher. Purchased BT 5.0 dongle online and waited for it to arrive. Plug and play they said… Not quite… Went down a rabbit hole of disabling other BT devices via Device Manager, and trying to remove the paired, but not connecting earbuds (clicking Remove Device came up with a Remove failed notification). Many reboots and several hours later, I was finally able to remove the pesky earbuds from my devices list so I could start again with the pairing and reconnection, which eventually worked after a bit more faffing around enabling BT devices.

So what did work to remove the earbuds from my devices and BT devices lists? Showing the hidden devices in Device Manager and uninstalling from there. Here’s how:

  1. Open Device Manager (type Device in the Start area on Windows 10, then select Device Manager).
  2. Expand the Bluetooth list. (If your device is not a BT device, then expand the relevant section in Device Manager.)
  3. On the menu, click View, then Show Hidden Devices.
    Device Manager window with the View menu selected and an arrow pointing to the Show Hidden Devices option
  4. Find the problem device that you can’t remove any other way.
  5. Right-click on that device and select Uninstall device.
  6. Go back to your list of BT (or other) devices—with luck, it should now be gone.
  7. Close the Device Manager window.
h1

Variations in internet speed

February 11, 2021

A Facebook friend posted some speed checks that compared what he was getting via the NBN and via his 5G-enabled phone in Perth, which has some 5G coverage. The numbers were dramatically different.

But then I did some checking of my own and found that the type of connection, type of device, distance from the modem etc. all have a part to play in what speed you’re actually getting. Here were my results from this morning (all were done using speedtest.net or the Speedtest app on my Android phone):

  • Windows 10 PC, wired via Cat 5 cable to network hub to modem to NBN micronode (my plan is with iinet and is for 100 mbps down / 40 up): 100.48 up / 37.8 down (and it’s been as steady as a rock since we had the NBN installed, even increasing from a baseline of about 85 mbps down when we first got it to just over 100 now—we’re getting exactly what we pay for)
  • Oppo 5G-enabled mobile phone, using Wifi to the same setup above, and in the same room as the modem (i.e. within 2 metres of the Wifi signal): 84.9 / 37.8
  • Same phone, using Wifi, but in the kitchen (2 to 3 rooms away from the modem, brick walls): 52 / 36
  • Same phone, using Wifi, but in the furthest bedroom (3 to 4 rooms away from the modem, brick walls): 31.5 / 35.1
  • Same phone as above, but with Wifi turned off and using Telstra’s mobile coverage, WITH a Telstra-licensed cell booster device inside the house as the signal is so bad without it, I can’t make or take calls: 9.05 / 0.21 (this was the worst of all)
  • Same phone, with Wifi turned off, using Telstra’s mobile coverage, and inside a shop in Bunbury, Western Australia (NOT a 5G coverage areas as yet): 124 / 22.4

 

 

h1

Solved: Wireless mouse stops working

January 2, 2020

Scenario: Every time my computer did a backup to an external hard drive, my wireless mouse would stop working. I could click it and move it but there was no response on the screen. Changing the batteries didn’t help. The (wired) keyboard worked fine. The external hard drive was plugged into a USB port on the front of the computer, as was the dongle for the wireless mouse.

Solution: After Googling for solutions, I decided to try to the simplest first—move the wireless dongle for the mouse from the USB port on the front of the computer to a USB hub some distance from the computer (this hub is plugged into a USB port on the back of the computer). Once I did that, I reran a backup to test that the mouse would not be affected. It wasn’t, so problem solved! It seems that conflicts between devices—especially those plugged into the front USB ports—are common.

h1

Synology NAS: Change file path for DLNA access

March 27, 2018

This post is for future me, and anyone else who may find it useful!

Problem

I wanted to access music (stored on my Synology Diskstation NAS) through my Samsung (not-very-smart-because-it’s-7-years-old) TV. The TV was looking for ../music as the DLNA file path, but that’s not the folder I use for my music. I couldn’t find where to change the setting either on the TV (not possible) or in the Synology Diskstation settings.

With the help of the wonderful Raj at PC Guru, I found where to change it (see below) and now the NAS is indexing the music files ready for playback via the TV.

Solution

  1. Go to Control Panel on the Synology Diskstation interface.
  2. Scroll down to Indexing Service and select it.
  3. Click Indexed Folder.
  4. Click in the row for the file path you want to change. In my case I wanted to change ‘music’ to ‘jukebox’ so I clicked the ‘music’ row.
  5. Click Edit to open the Edit Indexed Folder window.
  6. Change the folder name to the path you want, or click the Select button to select the folder you want your TV to see. In my case, I changed the folder path for music to /Jukebox.
  7. If it’s not already selected, select the file type for this folder (i.e. Music in my case).
  8. Optional: You can change the name of the indexed folder — according to Raj, this changes what you see displayed on your TV when choosing your media type. I was happy to leave it as music.
  9. Click OK.
  10. Click Apply.
  11. You’ll likely have to re-index your media files so the TV can see them all — click Re-index to start that process. Re-indexing can take quite some time, depending on how many files you have stored in that folder on the NAS.
  12. To test that it all works, go to your TV and see if you can see the files and folders. In my case (Samsung TV), I had to chose the DLNA device from my list of sources, then the big icon for Music, and then navigate into the folders to find the music — for my test, only those files/folders that had been indexed displayed. Once the indexing has finished, they should all be visible.
h1

Wifi connection shuts down modem/router

March 10, 2018

Here’s a weird one. When we got the NBN installed in mid-December, part of the deal was a replacement modem/router to allow a VDSL signal. I tested all the things at the time, including my HP Spectre x360 laptop, by opening up a browser window in each device and making sure I could connect to the internet from it. I tested both LAN and wifi connections — all was fine on all devices, though I can’t say that I left the laptop on for any length of time after the test. I only use the laptop when I go away, so it’s rarely on when I’m in the house.

Fast forward to last Saturday. I decided it was time to do all the Microsoft updates on the laptop, in preparation for a trip in a month’s time. (Hint: Don’t try downloading updates via a hotel’s wifi connection.) I turned on the laptop and it autoconnected to my wifi. I went to the Updates area and pressed the button to check for Microsoft updates. After a few minutes, I got a message that the laptop couldn’t contact the Microsoft servers. I checked the wifi connection and it had been lost. Then my husband complained that he had no internet. Hmmm. A quick glance at the modem showed a big red light instead of a row of green flashing lights. After a few minutes all lights started flashing green again, so I connected the laptop again and tried the update process again. And the modem went out again. This happened several times. Somewhere in there I rebooted the modem myself by switching it off for a minute or two and switching it back on. Same story.

I called iinet (my ISP), and they got me to pull the power on the modem for a few minutes. Same story. Then they decided to put me on a ‘stability’ plan to see if that helped. Effectively, what that means is that my download speed went from around 80 Mbps to 60 Mbps. Somewhere in there I decided to turn off the laptop because it was obvious I wasn’t going to update anything if the connection kept going in and out every time the modem rebooted itself. While in stability mode — and after I’d turned off the laptop — the modem lights remained green for the rest of the day and evening, and were still stable the next day.

On Sunday, I decided to try to updates again. I turned on the laptop, it autoconnected to the wifi, I opened a browser, and within 4 mins of turning on the laptop, I lost connection and the modem rebooted itself. Hmmm… Maybe the laptop’s wifi was the culprit? The best way to test that was to turn off the wifi and plug a LAN cable into it. No problems at all. But within minutes of taking out the LAN cable and turning the laptop wifi back on, the modem rebooted. It WAS the laptop’s wifi! I called iinet on Monday to let them know I’d isolated the problem, ask if they’d heard of such a thing (there was almost nothing in a Google search), and ask them to switch us back to our usual speed. The customer support person checked with others and said the only thing he could suggest was doing a factory reset on the modem, which I was reluctant to do (all those customised settings…). He also said he’d return our speed and that the modem ‘shouldn’t reboot’ when he did that, but it did.

Later in the week, I contacted my PC Guru guys to see if they’d heard of anything like this  (one of them had and he thought it might be an incompatibility between the wireless drivers and the modem) and to see if there was some sort of configuration they could do to the wifi connection on the laptop to sort it out. Well, they did! They installed a heap of HP Support updates, and updated the Intel wireless driver on the laptop. One of those fixed it.

My laptop now works on wifi in the house and doesn’t reboot the modem.

So this post is to remind me in future what we had to do in case it ever happens again, and perhaps help anyone else who might have the same problem. There’s no guarantee that updating the drivers or firmware will work for you, but it’s worth a try.

Update, end of July 2018: It did it again! I turned on the laptop after several months of no use, and tried to connect to the wifi on my home network. It kept losing connection, so I went into my home office to see if I could get a better signal, and guess what? The router was in the process of rebooting itself and we had no internet connection for anyone. I turned off the wifi on the laptop, and the router came back online. I then connected the laptop to the network via a LAN cable, went to the HP Support program and did another update. I shut down the laptop and rebooted it later and tested the wifi when no-one else was using the internet. This time it seemed to be fine and didn’t take out the router this time. Crossing my fingers I don’t have to do this EVERY time I want to use my laptop in the house… Interestingly, I’ve travelled overseas a lot with this laptop and I’ve never had a problem connecting to wifi in airport lounges, hotels, or tethering to my phone’s wifi hotspot. Just at home.