• How to: Setting up pfSense Router Software to work with SaskTel Infinet (Fiber)

    SaskTel started upgrading its entire infrastructure in early 2013. They are moving to a Fiber to the Home type of delivery. For the majority of users, they simply have the installer come out and change them over to a fiber and have the copper removed. It’s a pretty seamless change over. Previous to the fiber, the best that could be provided to a customer was 25 mbps downstream and 2 mbps upstream. With fibre the maximum bandwidth you can get is 260 mbps downstream and 60 mbps upstream!

    One of the problems being encountered with the high end users is the lack of bells and whistles in the Actiontech gateway that is provided as the main router for the new fiber install. Common complaints are poor wireless signal, and very few advanced routing, NAT and firewall options. Because of the way SaskTel has deployed their optical fiber network, you can’t just buy a ‘small office/home office’ (SOHO) router. Most people have one of these already, like a D-Link or LinkSys or their equivalent.

    Many customers have turned to an open source router software called pfSense. Using a small form factor PC and adding a second network card or NIC you can easily connect directly to the fiber box without having to use the provided Actiontech.

    NOTE: If you have a MAX tv subscription, it is suggested you use the provided Actiontech gateway. While it is possible to set pfSense to work with the MAX services, you may experience degraded or loss of service if it isn’t configured exactly right. Some sources say if you have MAX tv, make sure you have IGMP snooping and make it priority 1. Max and Internet are both coming in on VLAN 1000. This tutorial will only encompass the internet portion.

    To begin, you need the following:

    • Some sort of PC that can run the pfSense software
    • If it doesn’t already have it, a second NIC or Ethernet card. While a 100M card will work, it will have issues with bottle necking and won’t give you your full speed. Gigabit (1000M) cards are recommended.
    • Download the pfSense CD

    We’re not going to re-invent the wheel on this post, but will direct you to a few really good videos on how to install the pfSense software and get it basically working. Check out these YouTube Videos for info:

    Tutorial 1 – For a little more advanced users

    Tutorial 2 – This one seems to be a bit more of a step by step.

    Once you have the software installed and the cables plugged in, you need to set the WAN (this would be the the card that is plugged into the fiber box on Ethernet PORT 1) to a VLAN of 1000.

    pfs1

     

    In your management screen, select the Interfaces table and then go to the assign. This will allow you to change the settings for the interfaces. We need to alter the WAN one to work on VLAN 1000. Sounds scary, but it’s actually really easy.

    pfs2

     

    Click on the tab that says VLANs. This will take us to the correct spot to set one up. There shouldn’t be anything in there yet unless you have already been setting up internal VLANs. Underneath the tabs should be a button that looks like a piece of paper with a plus sign on it. This is the “Add VLAN” button. Press it to get to the next screen.

    pfs3

     

    In the parent interface, you need to select the Ethernet or NIC card that is plugged into the fiber box (Remember: You have to use ETHERNET PORT 1 on the fiber box!). There should only be two interfaces here, unless your computer has other interfaces. This is sort of a trial and error part unless you specifically know which is which.  In the VLAN tag area, type in “1000”. For description, I find it easiest to use the word “Fiber”.

    When you have them set correctly, press “Save”.

    pfs4

     

    It should take you back to the VLAN tab and show you your new VLAN set up. Select “Interface Assignments” from the top tabs. In the WAN interface, click the pull down and you should see the “Fiber” (or whatever you called it) in the list. Select it.

    Open a new window and try to surf. If it fails, then go back to the VLAN and select a different interface. Save it and try to surf again. When you find the right one, it should just start working!

    Warning: Any damages caused to your system, property, data, or person as a result of this tutorial are not the responsibility of DTC Consulting or its partners. This article is provided for educational purposes only!

     



  • Buying a used Cell phone? Make sure it’s not stolen!


    Are you thinking of buying a used cell phone from Ebay, Kijiji, or some other source? Make sure you check the phone’s IMEI number against the Canadian Blacklist to make sure it isn’t someone else’s lost or stolen phone!

    ProtectYourData.ca features a convenient tool that allows you to enter the IMEI number of a wireless device and find out immediately if that device has been blacklisted in Canada. If the IMEI number has been blacklisted, that device will not be able to be used on participating Canadian networks. The database includes blacklisted devices that have been reported as lost or stolen as of September 30, 2013 and beyond.

    Phones that have been blacklisted will not be able to connect to any of the participating Canadian Carrier’s networks. Keep in mind it can take up to 48 hours for the device to appear on the blacklist after it has been reported. The list does not include older CDMA devices.



  • Cellphone Madness!

    Ever wonder what all that stuff means when you go to look for a new cell phone? What’s the difference between and iPhone, Android, Blackberry and others? We can help!

    We will provide you with a clear understanding of what all the bells and whistles that current day smart phones have. We can also help you find the best carrier and plan for your needs.



  • Updated Info on Parts Ordering


    Just letting everyone know that we can handle any orders you wish to make through Tigerdirect.ca!

    We have a unique relationship with their Canadian distributor and can usually get you great prices on almost everything they list on their website.

    To have an order priced, simply visit their site and find the parts you would like. Email us the SKU codes, or links to the items and we will have a price sent back to you as soon as possible. Most times it is a 24 hour turn around on pricing. Sadly, we can not process anything on weekends, but you should get your response on Monday!

    As always, we would be happy to sit down with you to explain about what the various technical terms for each part you want may mean. Let us help plan your perfect computer purchase, without the concern that you’ve bought something way over priced, or more than you need. Why spend money on a Ferrari when all you needed was a pick-up truck?

     



  • Now available: Drobo Products

    UPDATE

    Due to problems with the Drobo purchasing and distribution procedure in Canada, we will not be able to order these items any more. Please contact us and we will try to meet your network storage means!

     

    A short time ago, DTC Consulting became a registered Drobo partner! Now we can provide almost any Network Attached Storage solution you need using Data Robotics systems.

    You’ve asked and it has arrived – Drobo FS®.

    We are extremely pleased to announce the release of the revolutionary Drobo FS, designed with one purpose in mind: to deliver the best file sharing experience ever.

    The all-in-one Drobo FS is ideal for any connected home, home office, or small office environment that needs a simple, safe device for sharing and backing up files over the network. Once you plug it in and see it instantly appear on your desktop, you realize there’s nothing else like it.

    As always, Drobo storage products provide redundant data protection without the complexities of RAID – Drobo FS is no exception. Just plug in your Drobo FS and your data protection is all set up with no configuration required. Now that’s peace of mind.

    • Access you data from any Windows, Mac, or Linux computer
    • Connects directly to Gigabit Ethernet network
    • Up to 5 drives of instant capacity expansion to 10TB and Beyond
    • BeyondRAID self-managing and self-healing technology
    • Protection from up to two hard drive failures
    • Configurable and customizable with DroboApps

    We look forward to hearing from you; please contact us to discuss your storage needs.

     

     



  • Podcast!

    Just as an aside, Jess Hallsworth has teamed up with Wes Nairne to produce a weekly podcast called The Digital Crockpot.

    They pick topics from current events, cool new technology, and basically anything that catches their eye. They also accept submissions from listeners for topics!

    NOTE: The podcast has completed its run. You can see the archived shows HERE



  • Special alert!

    Special Ended - July 28, 21010

    If you are still interested in projectors, please contact us for info and pricing!

    NEC NP110 DLP Projector

    Projection Technology:      DLP
    Projector Type:      Business Projector
    Native Resolution:      SVGA (800 x 600)
    Brightness:      2200 ANSI Lumens
    Contrast Ratio:      2000:1
    Native Aspect Ratio:      4:3 Standard
    Display Technology:      DLP
    Data Signals:      NTSC4.43, PAL, PAL-M, PAL-N, SECAM, NTSC, PAL-G, PAL-H, PAL-I, PAL B, PAL-D,
    Inputs:      S-Video, PC Input, RCA Jack
    Audio:      7-Watt Speaker
    Lens:      F=2.41 to 2.55, f=21.83 to 24mm
    Zoom:      1:1.1 Manual Zoom
    Image Size:      33″ – 300″ diagonal
    Throw Distance:      1.95 to 2.15
    Keystone Correction:      +/- 40 degrees
    Power Supply:      100 – 240V AC, 50/60 Hz
    Audible Noise:      34 dB
    Lamp Type:      180W
    Lamp Life Expectancy:      3000/5000 Hours
    Remote Control:      Included
    Dimensions:      12.2″ x 3.7″ x 9.7″
    Weight:      5.5 lbs.

    This is an excellent business class projector. Built for video presentations, it is capable of projecting a nice bright image in a fully lit room. It’s able to correct the image for mounting to a ceiling or floor.

    I can currently get this from my supplier for $385.00 plus taxes and S&H*. Please reference number N124-2444 when inquiring!

    * Only GST is charged. Shipping charges are dependent on how many units purchased.



  • Project: Media System

    A few months ago we started researching HTPC’s. Now we know what you’re thinking.. what the heck is a HTPC? Here’s a description in a nutshell:

    Some people use a computer connected to their TV to play video, music and display pictures. Now, most computers and laptops are fairly large in comparison to the regular stereo and video equipment, such as DVD and Blu-Ray players. Why do it? Some people have many thousands of hours of video, music and pictures saved on their home computers. There are several ways to display this content on the family tv, but the easiest is to have the computer directly connected. What a Home Theatre Personal Computer does is simplify this process by providing the content directly to the TV through the person’s home network.

    There are many models of them out there, from the full size computer to a laptop doing the work. Digital media is the way consumers are moving, and the ability to pick up a remote control and browse all your movies collection on the screen, then press a button to play, pause, rewind, etc. is a big draw.

    What we have been researching is a smaller model of the PC, something more along the lines of a DVD size computer. Here’s some of the results:

    Mini-ITX computers are fairly new to the market. They don’t have a lot of penetration to the general consumer and tend to be used by hobbyists or specialists for one-of uses. We chose the Zotac ION motherboard as it incorporates a good processor and a top of the line graphics card. It’s got an HDMI port and optical audio connection for high quality video and audio. This means you can plug it into your existing TV an stereo systems with no special connectors.

    With no fan, the system is totally silent. One drawback is to keep it cool enough to run there are a multitude of vent holes across the entire case. If they are covered, it may cause a heat build up that would degrade performance.

    For software, we looked for something that wouldn’t increase the cost of the unit. Linux is a free operating system that has several bonuses to it. First and foremost, it’s free! Next on the list is the size, at less than a gigabyte with the media playing software, it can easily reside on a usb thumb drive.

    There are several media playing software packages on the internet. All of them are good, and have great qualities about them. For this project I chose XBMC.

    Everything seems to be working with a single exception: We can’t get the HTPC to connect to any Microsoft Windows 7 computers. Ubuntu (linux) and Windows XP or Vista all work. A little research on my part finds that We’re not the only people with the same trouble. It seems that either an update done to the XBMC software or one that Microsoft made has broken the connection. While we’re pretty good with the software, there are better programmers and software engineers than us!

    Currently, this project is on hold. As soon as the issue with the connection to Windows 7 machines has been resolved, we’ll begin development of the HTPC again. If anyone has a solution to our trouble, please give us a heads up!



  • Website Update

    Posted on by Jess

    I realize the website doesn’t look much different since I put it up, but there are things going on in the background. DTC Consulting believes in creating an environment where the regular person can keep control of their spending by understanding what they are buying.

    We focus on educating our customers and letting them pick who and where they purchase their products. By providing some links to several suppliers, we further assist out customers in this choice. Any links on this website will have been investigated, and checked for the quality or the software, hardware or services.

    For example, our web hosting is provided by 1and1.com. If we trust them with our face to the world, we can honestly promote them to our customers.

    If you have any questions regarding our partner links, please do not hesitate to email a question to us!



  • Website Changes

    The website was too static with the old layout, so I’ve started working on using a WordPress based layout. I hope toe have some tidbits of information, and possibly some great links to help people out with their computer and technology troubles.

    If you wish to contribute to the tutorial and information articles, please send us an email! In the mean time, please allow me some time to finish polishing the new format. Thanks!