Monthly Archives: October 2013

MAMP error #2006 – MySQL server has gone away

I’ve been trying to debug an error on one of the websites I developed a while back. The site in question is www.lbdscouts.org.uk the website for Letchworth & Baldock District Scouts and it was built using Concrete5.

To allow me to insert debug code I built a replica of the site on my Mac using MAMP. However, when I tried to import the database I got the following error

#2006 – MySQL server has gone away

Obviously the size of the import file was too big. The solution was simple:

Create a file called “my.cnf” file in /Applications/MAMP/conf containing the following code:

[mysqld]

max_allowed_packet = 100M

Restart the MAMP servers and the import should proceed to completion.

Repairing a damp caravan – Day One

 

Day1Pic1

Do you need to repair a damp caravan like we do? If so, read along with us to find out we are going about fixing the problem.

First some history

In “Fixing ABI Jubilee Rallyman taps” I introduced the need to perform some radical restoration surgery on our 1987’ish ABI Jubilee Rallyman.

When we bought the van, we knew there had been a damp problem because the seller told us so. It was also obvious, as the picture below shows.

Day1Pic2

However, the van was dry and there were no obvious signs of bodged repair jobs so we assumed it was a one-off and bought it.

At the start of this season however, we noticed there was condensation inside the van. This was strange as there was plenty of air circulation during the winter. Inspection revealed a serious damp problem in the floor inside the front right locker, as shown below.

Day1Pic3After removing the vinyl floor covering, which also removed the top layer of the underlying plywood floor (!) I dug out quite a bit of sodden flooring before finding sound, dry wood. I then dried the van out with a fan heater and put the temporary foam plug in the hole that you can see in the ‘photo.

A couple of weeks ago we stripped the wall covering from inside the top right over-locker to reveal…

Day1Pic4Yuk! You can’t really see it in the ‘photo, but the surface ripples! A damp meter confirmed the problem: damp, a lot of damp.

After finding that the damp extended to the whole right hand wall forward of the wardrobe, we knew we had a choice: repair or ditch. The ‘van only cost £650, and would only be worth peanuts if we sold it. We decided to repair it to the best of our abilities. We’re both pretty handy and I reckon we can fix just about anything. Today was day one.

Research, research, research!

My abiding principle in business is that you shouldn’t re-invent wheels: the chances are that somebody has been there before. Thus, whenever I have a problem I start researching on the Internet.

Google is your friend

Pretty quickly, I found ukcampsite.co.uk and it’s Fixed It Club Members Directory. In there I found a site where somebody was repairing a damp problem with an ABI ACE Pioneer. The ACE Pioneer is of similar vintage to the Jubilee Rallyman and was built using very similar techniques. This site was a goldmine.

Anyway

Prior to starting, I had to spend yesterday making space in the garage to take all the bits that are being removed from the ‘van. I also purchased a cheap cover for the van:

  1. to keep it from any further damage; and
  2. to keep it sealed when I remove the windows.

Repairing a damp caravan, day one

I started by removing all the soft furnishings and loose fittings and then removed the curtain rails, coving and cupboard doors. The fact that many of the screws just pulled out is an indication of the extent of the problem.

We now hit snag number one

The top right over locker needs to come out. But how? I have removed the brackets that hold it to the wall, the screws that hold it to the wardrobe and the screws that attach it to the front shelf, but it won’t move. Prodding with a fine knife reveals that it is either screwed or nailed to the ceiling. Unfortunately, I can’t find the heads. It appears to have been put in place before the outer skin was attached. Really?

I’ve started to lever it down a bit to create a space to get a single-ended hacksaw in and saw through the screw/nail, but I am concerned about side effects.

I’ve asked a question in UKCampsite.co.uk and will wait to see if anybody has a suggested way forward. In the meantime, I’ve put a fan heater in there to start the drying out process.

 

 

 

Fixing ABI Jubilee Rallyman taps

We have an old 1988 ABI Jubilee Rallyman caravan that we bought about three years ago for the princely sum of £650. We were looking for a small and cheap ‘van that would get us back into Caravanning, this one came up in the local press and we took a look. It had just the one previous owner and came fully equipped; including a nearly new full awning. We could see that there had been a small damp problem but nothing showed up on the damp meter so we bought it.

Three years later and after quite a lot of use, we now accept that it actually has quite a large damp problem. It only really became apparent this spring when we noticed that the offside wall was starting to bow inwards slightly. Testing with a damp meter confirmed that the offside wall is very damp at the front and rear.

We did a lot of research and soul searching about how to approach this. Should we just ditch the ‘van, get it fixed professionally, or fix it ourselves. After finding the excellent ukcampsite.co.uk and the even more relevant Fixed It club we decided on the latter course of action.

Partly as a way of recording progress, but also hopefully as a help to others, I intend to blog about this.

This first blog is not about fixing the damp problem however: it’s actually about fixing the taps.

This caravan adopts the fairly common approach of using a Whale submersible pump to feed water to a number of taps; each of which is fitted with a micro switch that controls the pump. In theory, opening any tap closes a micro switch which then causes the pump to operate. I say in theory because this has become very flaky over the recent period. In fact it had got to the stage where only one tap was working properly. It was time for action!

Taking advantage of some free time, I decided to investigate the taps on the kitchen sink. I couldn’t see any markings and searching the internet failed to reveal who the manufacturer was, so I resorted to direct inspection.

After taking out the sink to gain better access, I decided the only course of action was to remove the knobs in the hope that the micro switch was hidden underneath. Given that the taps were not working anyway, I decided to prise the caps off. Luckily one came off fairly easily and revealed that the micro switch is an open unit with exposed contacts. All the ones I had found on the internet used sealed switch units which were replaceable: not with this old gal. However, the open nature of the switches meant that I could clean the contacts. I did so by slipping a piece of heavy printer paper between the contacts, manually closing the contacts and then pulling the paper out. The roughness of the paper was sufficient to wipe off the crud that had become deposited on the contact surfaces. A volt meter confirmed that the switch was now working, so I replaced the caps. Bingo, the water began the flow.

The following photos show the similar taps in the shower room.

Shower Room Taps

Shower Room Taps

I prised the top off with an wedge placed under the tap knob, to show:
The mechanism

As you can see, from this and the next photo, there is a nut that locates in the cap and which controls the position of a plunger type valve.
tap with valve removed

Pulling out the plunger, and being careful not to change the location of the nut on the thread, gives access to the micro switch. Gently prising the switch out the housing using a fine screwdriver gave me full access to the switch contacts.
Tap micro switch

I cleaned the contacts and then reversed the procedure to re-assemble the tap.

Unfortunately, during my investigative work, I had disturbed the piping and there was now a persistent leak from the tap.

Anybody who has worked on a caravan will know that they were put together with zero thought for later maintenance. To do anything tends to requires one to reverse the assembly procedure. Luckily, these taps had press fit spigots on the ends of the pipes that inserted into the base of the tap and were sealed with rubber ‘O’ rings. Fixing the leak was a simple matter of re-sealing the ‘O’ ring, smearing a bit of Vaseline on the spigot and ring and then pushing the spigot back into the tap until it clicked.

Job done.

However, this is only the start. I’ve also noticed that cracks are appearing in the handles that operate the roof vents and a couple of drawer handles are beginning to fail. There’s a lot to be done.

Update

It appears that the kitchen taps are from the Reich range. I assume the shower room taps are also, but they seem to have been discontinued.

SaaS, PaaS, IaaS: what do they mean for business people?

Cumuus cloud

Steve is the MD of a small (25 people) recruitment business. Most of the time, they operate from a single office, but they often want to work from home, or at a client’s office. They get all their email and document management from a single server running Microsoft’s Small Business Server product and they have a mix of PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets running Microsoft Office and a variety of mobile apps. Getting remote access to email is easy, but access to documents is not so easy and causes their IT support person a bit of a headache sometimes.

Steve’s server is reaching its capacity and needs either upgrading or replacing. He’s heard of Cloud Computing, but doesn’t really understand what the term means, or whether he should be interested.

This post is for all the Steve’s out there.

Introduction

Cloud Computing, or The Cloud as it is often referred to, is a fairly new approach to delivering computing services. In this post I hope to burn off some of the fog that surrounds the Cloud (sorry about the mixed metaphor) and highlight why every business, small or large, should be looking closely at moving some or all of their computing services into the Cloud. It won’t be for everybody, but for some it’s the ideal move.

I’ll start off by defining some of the terms that get bandied about so that they make more sense. A lot of gobbledygook is spoken about Cloud Computing and much of it only serves to obscure what is a fairly simple concept. Hopefully, by the end of this post you’ll be able to see this.

I’ll then move on to highlight the opportunities that businesses can gain by exploiting Cloud Computing. I’ll also discuss some of the potential pitfalls that could ensnare the unwary.

By the end of this post, I hope that you will have a better understanding of what Cloud Computing is and how your business might benefit from taking a closer look.

Future posts will go into greater detail on this topic. To be sure you don’t miss them, you can subscribe to receive posts by email when they are published.

Terminology

Let’s start by looking at some of the terms that are used to describe the various pieces that make up Cloud Computing.

Cloud Computing

The term Cloud Computing itself is an umbrella term for all the hosted services that are delivered over the Internet. By hosted, I mean that the software that delivers the service (email, payroll, word processing, etc) is running on somebody else’s computer rather than your own. The term “Cloud” is commonly thought to refer to the use of a cloud as the symbol for the Internet on computer network diagrams.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service is a provision model in which an organization outsources the equipment used to support operations, including storage, hardware, servers and networking components. The service provider owns the equipment and is responsible for housing, running and maintaining it. The client typically pays on a per-use basis. Techtarget

IaaS is the most basic form of service that can be provided. Rather than a business having its own servers, and the attendant costs, IaaS allows a business to get rid of its locally installed servers and instead use so-called “Virtual Machines” in somebody else’s computer room. The end result is the same: the users get the service they require but the business doesn’t need the space, power or hardware investment. Instead, a larger computer, owned and supported by somebody else, is simulating your computer, along with many others.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet. Techtarget

Broadly speaking, this means using a Cloud Service Provider‘s infrastructure and software to receive a service rather than delivering it yourself on your own hardware. A very broad range of services are available: including email, document management, inventory control, financial accounts. In fact, just about everything you can deliver locally using standard packaged software can also be delivered using SaaS.

SaaS providers fall into two groups: those who deliver straight analogues of existing desktop applications, and those who have developed new ways of delivering the same services. Examples of the former are Microsoft with it’s Office 365 SaaS offering, and Intuit with its quickbooks Online service. Examples of the latter are Google with Google Apps for Business, and Freshbooks with its online financial accounting service.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a way to rent hardware, operating systems, storage and network capacity over the Internet. The service delivery model allows the customer to rent virtualized servers and associated services for running existing applications or developing and testing new ones. Techtarget

PaaS builds on IaaS by providing a pre-defined operating system, storage and development tools to allow a customer to develop new applications to run on the provider’s infrastructure. Where you need to run a custom piece of software, you can choose to redevelop it to run on a provider’s PaaS infrastructure.

A word of caution however: there are currently no standards for PaaS tools and code, so you run the risk of being locked into a single vendor.

What can be outsourced to the cloud?

In principle at least, just about all IT services can be outsourced to the Cloud. Certainly all the personal and group productivity tools (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, document management and sharing, email and calendaring) are available as SaaS offerings. Also, many line of business services like financial accounts, payroll, CRM and ERP are available.

Your own custom applications can be delivered on an IaaS platform, or re-developed to take advantage of a provider’s PaaS platform.

You may recall when telephone companies delivered a service known as CENTREX. With this, the company PBX was provided as a virtualised service by the Public Telecomm provider. This was a form of Cloud Computing. CENTREX style services are still available, using VOIP, from Telecomm Service Providers.

The usual exclusion from virtualised services are applications that require tight coupling with external equipment: production control and instrumentation are the prime examples. Just about everything else can be hosted.

What’s all the fuss about?

The world of work is changing

The Internet is now beginning to have a profound effect on the way business is transacted. Everything is happening faster; the workforce is becoming more mobile; and product life cycles are becoming shorter.

This is having an impact on IT. Technology refresh cycles are having to become shorter as an increasing proportion of work is being computerised and applications are becoming more capable and complex. This is resulting in a need for more computing resources: CPU power, memory and data storage.

Also, the number of computing devices in use is rising dramatically. It used to be just PCs and servers. Now, IT departments need to deal with laptops, tablets and smartphones. The result is increased complexity and support costs.

Despite all this, the pressure for businesses to evolve is unrelenting. Failure to respond to these pressures risks a business becoming less competitive and losing market share. And all at a time when budgets are being cut and capital investment is a no-no.

There are barriers to change that The Cloud can overcome

  • The cost of change

For organisations that buy their own servers and software, the cost of change can be high. There may also be space, power and cooling constraints that limit the amount of change that can be accommodated.

  • The depreciated value of assets

Where servers and software are purchased, they will probably be classified as fixed assets and depreciated according to pre-defined rules. Where the depreciation period is greater than the useful lifetime of the asset, an organisation can be left with a rump of useless assets on their balance sheet.

How does Cloud Computing change this?

It’s a fundamentally different way of delivering business services

A different cost model

John Paul Getty had the dictum,

If it appreciates, buy it. If it depreciates, lease it.

I can look back to a time when we all used to rent our television sets. This was done because the capital cost of a new TV was high and the technology was evolving rapidly. Businesses used to do the same with computer hardware. For some time now though, businesses have tended to purchase PCs and servers, and the software that runs on them. SaaS offers the opportunity to move back to a leasing-style model where services are rented, and the software and server costs are avoided altogether.

Cloud Computing charges are usually levied on a per user per month basis. There’s no capital hit and no need to pay for software maintenance or upgrades. It’s a pure pay as you go model.

There will be startup charges as you migrate your existing information from local storage to cloud storage, but after that there’s only the monthly charge. This allows expenditure to be moved from capital budgets to revenue budgets with a resultant benefit to the Balance Sheet.

IaaS offers the potential to go further

  • Virtualised Desktops

Desktop Virtualisation moves IaaS out of the computer room and on to the desktop. Rather than having a complex, and expensive, PC on their desk, the user has a simple computer running Thin Client software that connects over the network to a Virtual PC running in the Cloud Service Provider’s data centre. This is not a new concept: services like Citrix have been around for years. The difference is that the complexity surrounding the delivery of virtualised desktops has been removed from the user’s domain.

Thin client computers are cheaper to buy or lease; need less space and power; and allow for longer technology refresh cycles (removing the problem of useless assets on the balance sheet). They also result in lower support costs as there is less to go wrong and it is viable to hold a local spare that can be deployed, so that the problem client can be repaired off-line or sent back to the supplier.

  • Potential to use other devices as thin clients

An added benefit of using a simple thin client to access a virtual desktop is that access can be from anywhere. Thin client software can run on just about anything: a client’s computer, from home, from an Internet cafe.

  • Security is increased

Using a virtual desktop is more secure as well. Company data never leaves the security perimeter; only screen images.

  • Pay per minute for occasionally used services

Many organisations have computer services that are only used occasionally. Payroll is a good example. Rather than having the computer that runs the payroll switched on all the time, IaaS enables the payroll application to be installed on a virtual machine that is only switched on once a month.

Cloud Computing is an enabler for different ways of working

  • IT is now a utility service that can be scaled up and down as demand changes.

There’s no need to predict in advance what the computing needs are going to be for the next n years.

  • Users can access from anywhere

For SaaS, all they need is a device that supports a browser for them to be productive.

  • Mobile device support is improved

Because access is often through a browser, some functionality can be delivered to even a limited mobile device. Some services also deliver specific functionality to some mobile devices

  • More flexible workforce

All of the above allows a business to be a lot more flexible with their workforce. No longer does the employee engagement process need to imply the purchase of a PC, laptop or whatever and the associated software licenses. All they need is a browser enabled device. IT costs are directly proportional to the size of the workforce.

Business resilience is improved

Cloud computing can have a significant impact on the resilience of a business.

  • Somebody else is being paid to protect your data

No longer does the business need to set up and keep tabs on a backup regime. The service provider does it automatically.

  • Service availability approaches 100%

All Cloud Services are delivered from high availability computing centres with redundant power and cooling; multiple Internet access circuits; and high levels of physical security. The effect is to improve service availability to levels beyond what a typical business can deliver using its own resources. You won’t get 100%, but you will get a higher level of service than if you did it yourself.

  • No dependence on availability of your premises or staff

By using services provided from the provider’s facilities, there is no dependence on your own computing facilities or your own support staff. No longer are your business’s IT services at risk from localised threats. Yes, they are still at risk from threats to the service provider’s facilities, but many are duplicated (at least).

Potentially, no need to retrain users

There’s not even necessarily a need to retrain your users. By moving to a SaaS that uses the same applications, your users need not be aware that their services are being delivered from outside of your organisation.

Potential downsides of moving to The Cloud

Unfortunately, it’s not all rosy; at least not for everybody. There are implications that can be problematic.

Increased dependence on Internet access

The most obvious one is that your business is now dependent on the availability and performance of its Internet connection(s).
This may be a problem for rural areas, where speeds can be limited and availability is variable.

Also, your Internet access now needs to be resilient. No longer is acceptable to have just a single Internet access line with no backup. Ideally, you need at least two, diversely routed, access lines to different ISPs. At the very least, you need to have something like ISDN or 3G backup. Whether the extra costs outweigh the benefits will influence your decision to move.

Vendor lock in

There is the chance that you can become locked in to a specific supplier; particularly with PaaS but also with any SaaS that requires you to retrain users or convert data.

Compliance

The nature of most Cloud Service Providers (CSP) is that their services are provided internationally. If your business is subject to any form of compliance regime; you need to check where it is acceptable to store the data.
If applicable, you need to ensure that the CSP has data centres located within the EU.

You need to be sure the vendor will stick around

Moving to the Cloud should not be done on a whim. It needs to be a strategic decision. You need to be sure that the CSP, and the SaaS, PaaS and IaaS services will be around for as long as you are likely to need them. If they disappear, so do your IT services.

Integration problems between systems

In some cases, businesses have tightly integrated their business processes into their existing IT systems; taking advantage of integration points to deliver custom services. You need to be sure that these integration points exist in the Cloud Services.

Summary

  • The Cloud is here to stay
  • The Cloud provides opportunities for significant changes to the way businesses operate
  • Expenditure can be transferred from capital to revenue budgets
  • IT services can be delivered more flexibly and cheaper without always requiring user retraining

Next Actions

I’ll be expanding on some of these topics, so watch out for further posts. To be sure you don’t miss anything, you can subscribe to receive future postings.

If you are interested in moving your IT services to the cloud, contact me to discuss your needs and see how I can help.

Lastly, if anything is not clear in the above, or you have a different view, please let me know via the comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

Generalist or Consultant -who are you?

I’ve spent my professional life picking up and delivering skills in various technologies and in general business management and marketing. I’ve enjoyed just about everything I’ve done and I consider that I have a mix of very valuable skills. Unfortunately the market doesn’t see it this way. Here’s my take on the problem.

Picture of GP

GP or Consultant

Imagine you’ve got a niggling headache, or your knee collapses occasionally. Maybe you get the occasional pain in the stomach. What do you do?
Unless the symptoms are concerned with your eyes or your teeth – you probably go and see your family doctor, your GP: a Generalist.

Your GP has been trained in a wide range of diagnostic skills and is focused on you the patient. She’s not only interested in your bones, your bowels and your brain; she is interested in the whole you.

Hopefully, she will use her skills to diagnose a likely root cause. She may refer you for tests at the local hospital but the results will come back to her. Unless the solution requires deeper expertise in a specific area, she will either treat you herself, or she will refer you to another healthcare practitioner like a physiotherapist. Only if the problem requires deeper investigation outside of her area of competence will she refer you to a consultant.

Being a Generalist requires somebody who has a wide range of diagnostic and problem solving skills that can be applied almost everywhere in the field of human medicine. Translate that requirement to the needs of small businesses and you have me!

I am a Generalist

My background, and my generally inquisitive nature, means that I am ideally suited to the role of being a Generalist. I’ve worked in organisations of all sizes and fulfilled most roles in them at one time or another. My initial focus was engineering; specifically communications. I designed hardware and software for communications products of various types. During this phase I built up deep expertise in software engineering principles, but I was also building skills in project and people management and learning valuable marketing and commercial skills.

After leaving full-time employment in 1988, I spent several years exploiting my skills; primarily as a communications consultant (see, I was called a consultant because I knew a lot about a little).

Once I, and others, created our first business in 1991, I restarted the process of acquiring new technical and business skills: skills needed to grow a small business and generate profitable revenue. I continued doing this for the next 20 years until I finally started working solely for myself.

At that point I needed to decide: was I a consultant? and if so, in what field? If I wasn’t a consultant, who was I?

I have enjoyed so many aspects of the work I’ve done over the years, but the common factor that links them all was the need to solve a problem. I do have deep skills in a number of areas, but I enjoy my focus being broader. I don’t want to focus on a small subset of the skills I’ve acquired over the years, I want to deploy them all. I am the archetypal Generalist.

Who are you?

So, thats’ who I am. Who are you?

Operating on 40m – why I’ll be more mobile in future

Whilst I’m not a very active radio amateur, I do get on every couple of weeks. During our narrowboat trip on Nokomis, I operated every other day or so and I now understand why. It was sooo much quieter.

By quieter, I’m referring to the background noise that comes through the speaker when there is no discernible signal being received. This noise is a combination of:

  • atmospheric noise from lightning discharges and the like;
  • thermal noise that emanates from anything with a temperature greater than absolute zero; and
  • man-made noise that comes from the plethora of devices we use in our modern lives.

At my home QTH (the Q-code for station location), in St Neots, I live on a modern housing estate with lots of plasma TVs, BT HomeHub, switched-mode power supplies, energy-saving bulbs, Solar PV energy controllers, etc, etc. All of these give out noise and most of them probably contravene the statutory limits because there is hardly anybody enforcing them. The consequence is that my HF receiver is drowned out by man-made noise. Atmospheric and thermal noise hardly figure.

Received signal strength is displayed on an :S-meter”.
S METER

The S-meter has a logarithmic scale from 0 to 9 and then 10dB increments above. Each point represents a four-fold increase in received signal power (i.e. 6dBm). Thus an S2 signal is four times as powerful as an S1 signal. We record a signal as being (e.g.) S1, or S9 or S9+40.

With no signal being received, only noise, the S-meter on my Icom IC-756Pro II hovers around the S8 mark on an otherwise empty 40m (7.0 – 7.2 MHz) band at home. Whilst I was operating away, with my Yaesu FT-817ND, the equivalent noise was about S1: it was very quiet. In other words, the received man-made noise at home is 28 times as powerful as it is out in the countryside.

Admittedly, this is partly down to the antennas in use. At home I have an inverted-L on 40m; on Nokomis I was using a simple 40m ground plane vertical. That only accounts for maybe 4-6dBm, one S point.

The net effect is that I could hear much fainter stations whilst operating /M than I could when at home. I was working QRP (the Q-Code for low power) and was putting out a maximum of 5W to the antenna. Nevertheless, I could work stations in Ireland and Germany with ease.

The learning point here is to operate /M and /P more often in future. That in turn means I need to spend more time designing an building some simple antennas that I can use effectively on multiple bands whilst away from home. Watch this space.

How to keep guests off your home Wi-Fi

It may be useful to let guests access the Internet from your house, but control what they do

Super Hub

This post was prompted by a conversation originated by Robert Craven on Google+ relating to how guests expect to have Wi-Fi access when they visit. Leaving aside the social rules, here’s how you can enable this without endangering your own security.

Caveat

The detail only applies if you are a Virgin Media customer with a Super Hub, but the principle probably applies to other models of routers.

The issue

Like lots of people, not necessarily only the techies amongst us, I have a number of devices that connect to the Internet via a Wi-Fi network in my home. Examples include: several PCs and Macs, a Raspberry Pi based media player, a NAS file server, several smartphones, the TV, my audio system, etc. The default security for these devices is “shields down”: i.e. they assume they are operating in a secure and benign environment.

Whilst I can be reasonable sure that any device I connect to the network will play by the rules, has good anti-virus and effective anti-malware protection; I cannot assume the same for devices brought in by guests.

Luckily, there is a solution

The Guest Wi-Fi network

I am a Virgin Media customer and have a Super Hub as my router and Wi-Fi access point. By default, this has a single wireless network enabled that is secured using a reasonably strong WPA-2 password. This is the network to which all our devices connect.

However, the Super Hub, which is actually a customised Netgear router, can also be configured to support a separate Guest Wi-Fi network that only has Internet access: i.e. it cannot see or access the devices connected to the main Wi-Fi network. This network can be configured as follows:

Enabling the Guest Network

Step 1 – access the Super Hub

On most networks, where the Super Hub is also the DNS server, you can access the Super Hub simply by typing

http://192.168.0.1

into the browser address bar. If you’ve changed the network settings, then I assume you know the address of the Super Hub.

You should see Screenshot 1

Screenshot 1

Screenshot 1


Login as admin If you haven’t logged in before and changed the password, it should be changeme.

I strongly suggest you change this to something unique and stronger immediately

You should now see Screenshot 2

Screenshot 2

Screenshot 2

Access the advanced settings

Click on Advanced Settings and you should see Screenshot 3

Screenshot 3

Screenshot 3

Setup the Guest Wireless Network

As you can see, there is the potential for three wireless networks on the Super Hub. The Primary network is the one configured by Virgin, and should not be changed unless you really know what you are doing

We are going to configure SSID3 (as I don’t want you to see what I’ve configured on SSID2, my own guest Wi-Fi)

Click on Guest Network (SSID3) and you should see Screenshot 4

Screenshot 4

Screenshot 4

If you click on Enable you will be able to enter your own SSID (see Screenshot 5)

Screenshot 5

Screenshot 5


I recommend selecting “WPA Auto” for Security Mode. You can then enter a passphrase.

Scroll down to the bottom and click Apply and you’re done.

If you scan for Wireless Networks, you should now see your new Guest Wi-Fi.

I recommend that you don’t connect to it from your own devices. Depending on the SSID you choose for the new network and how your own devices choose between multiple networks, you may get odd results when you try to access other devices on your own network.