Technology

Pakedge routers are not impacted by Misfortune Cookie vulnerability

On December 18, 2014, security researchers from Check Point Software Technologies have issued an alert about a critical vulnerability found on select residential and small business routers. An estimated 200 models and over 12 million routers are affected. Pakedge routers are not affected by this vulnerability.

We recognize that your clients use a variety of brands of networking equipment, and that it is possible that they may be at risk. Please review the quick action guide below to determine what action, if any, is required.

What:

  1. Critical vulnerability CVE-2014-9222 (aka Misfortune Cookie vulnerability) announced by researchers on December 18, 2014 that affects over 200 models of residential and small business routers (including all-in-on modem/routers) and about an estimated 12 million devices worldwide
  2. Affected routers can be taken over with administrative privileges and hackers can get access into your network and any connected devices. Your credentials and any data stored on connected network devices are vulnerable to theft and manipulation. Attackers can upload malware and viruses onto connected devices, as well as take control of them (e.g. cameras, etc.).
  3. The vulnerability is in the web server (RomPager by AllegroSoft, versions 4.34 and below) embedded in the device firmware.

What equipment is impacted:

  1. A list of the suspected vulnerable devices are listed by Check Point’s security researchers in the pdf here. Check back on a weekly basis as more brands and models are added.
  2. Popular brands include – TP-Link, Huawei, D-Link, Linksys, Zyxel and ZTE.  Other brands include AirLive, Arcor, Asotel, Atlantis, Azmoon, Beetel, Billion, Binatone, BSNL, Buffalo, CentreCOM, Compact, Conceptronic, Connectionnc, Delsa, den-IT, Edimax, Everest, Hexabyte, iBall, Iodata, Kraun, Lightwave, Maxnet, Mercury, MTNL, Netcomm, Nilox, Pentagram, Postef, PreWare, ProNet, Reconnect, Roteador, SBS, SendTel, SmartAX, Solwise, Starnet, Sterlite, Sweex, Twister.
  3. Pakedge routers and other networking equipment are NOT affected by this vulnerability. Pakedge does not incorporate the RomPager web server in its firmware.

What to do if affected:

  1. Contact the manufacturer or service provider (for leased units) to see if there is a firmware update addressing the vulnerability forthcoming.
    • If a firmware is available, install the updated firmware.
    • If no firmware is available or forthcoming, consider replacing the router with one that is not vulnerable
  2. Review your security policies and practices. Safeguard sensitive data using encryption and password protection. Store data on devices that can be disconnected from the network.

Where can I find more information?

  1. Detailed information is provided through a special web page made available through Check Point Software Technologies.
  2. Full list of affected routers
  3. US and Canada dealers – please contact your Pakedge representative if you have any concerns or questions at +1-650-385-8702 (sales) or +1-650-385-8703 (Tech Support).

Dealers outside the US and Canada – please contact your local in-country distributor if you have any questions.

Why Do We Use Blue LEDs?

blue

Energy-saving LED lamps are quickly replacing Edison bulbs these days thanks to their stronger, longer-lasting light and low energy requirement. This wouldn’t have been possible without the work of three scientists from Japan who were recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention of the blue diode.

Red and green diodes have been around for half a century, but they could not produce the desired white LED light by themselves—they needed to be combined with a blue diode for that effect.

Dozens of labs and companies thus attempted to create a blue diode for three decades to no avail. It was only 20 years ago that scientists Shuji Nakamura, Hiroshi Amano, and Isamu Akasaki used a high-quality gallium nitride crystal to create the first blue LED.

When Pakedge was in its early stages, blue LEDs had only been around for 10 years. Networking devices at the time used only green LEDs due to their low cost and availability. Despite these reasons, Pakedge still chose to use blue.

Why?

The blue LED was the final component in the white light that could operate on cheap solar power, potentially bringing light to parts of the world where over 1.5 billion people still lack access to electricity.

Blue represented something different–change. It represented the implementation of new technology to help improve the lives of its users. It represented innovation driven by vision, which is one of the core values of Pakedge.

Now blue LEDs can be found on networking devices everywhere.

Pakedge was the first networking manufacturer to use blue LEDs, just as it was the first networking manufacturer to clean up the look of messy wires in an A/V rack by placing ports at the back of a device instead of the front. Pakedge was also the first networking manufacturer to implement high-power access points, preconfigured VLANs, PoE innovations, industrial housing designs, virtualization of power controllers and PoE ports for controls, and much more. We don’t design products just to compete with what’s out there; we design what our users need.

And that’s why we use blue LEDs.

Not your old school PoE switches – five things you can do with our new innovative PoE switches

PI-04_1

Thought you knew or saw everything on PoE switches? Think again – Pakedge has brought a new series of innovative PoE switches to the AV market. Moving beyond the traditional “PoE Out” switches, our lineup now includes the Powered by PoE switches (S8Wpde, S5Wpde, S8Mpd) and the new PoE pass-through switch (SE-5P2-EP). More information about our innovative switches can be found here.

The introduction of Pakedge PoE pass-through and Pakedge PoE Powered switch technology provides new levels of versatility to networks – but how can you use them in real life? Below are five practical places to use PoE passthrough and PoE Powered switches to enhance your A/V network setup and make your job easier.

In an Entertainment Center
Switches that are powered by PoE – like the S8Mpd, S8Wpde, and S5Wpde – are ideal for use away from a user’s main rack. Entertainment centers often have multiple devices that require internet connection – TVs, game consoles, media streaming devices, and more. By utilizing a smaller switch directly at the point of use, users can avoid the difficulty of running multiple Ethernet cables throughout a home to the main switch rack – and by using a PoE powered switch, users can avoid taking up yet another power outlet where so many power-hungry devices already reside.

Attics, Basements, and other rooms without power outlets
PoE Passthrough switches are ideal in retrofit situations that require the installation of an access point, a security camera, or other equipment powered by PoE – but that don’t have easy access to power outlets.  By utilizing the power provided by a PoE+ switch elsewhere on the network, multiple devices powered by PoE can be placed in areas without easy power access without the need for power outlets or costly and time-consuming rewiring.

Extending the length of a PoE cable run
PoE (And Ethernet in general) has a maximum length of 328 feet – a length that can be constricting in larger installations. If a main rack or PoE switch is located further than that from the device you intend to power, it will have to be run through an intermediate switch to “renew” the connection strength. By adding a PoE passthrough switch to the network as an intermediary stopgap, it’s possible to double the length one can run PoE – allowing devices to be powered much farther from the original power source.

At a Desk
A PoE passthrough switch is an ideal way to bring network connectivity to the devices used at a desk while also providing power to devices like VoIP phones. A single cable run from the main switch rack can provide internet connectivity to printers and PCs while powering and providing a network connection to the phone at your desk. Convenient screw-mounts and a tiny form factor allow for easy mounting to the wall or bottom of the desk.

Space constrained areas
Sometimes, you just need a way to add ports to your network – but there’s no room to work with. PoE powered and PoE passthrough switches (particularly the upcoming SE-5P2-EP) are small enough to fit almost any available area and, can be mounted almost anywhere – making them ideal for space-constrained areas. Because they’re powered by PoE, you don’t even have to find a wall outlet.

Five Best Practices for a Successful Network Installation

Communications connectivity

What are some of the secrets for a successful mega-network installation? Whether you install small to medium, large or mega-networks, these five pre-installation and planning best practices will help make your next network installation a successful one.

A good installation, large or small, starts with planning. Firstly, you need to spend a lot of time understanding the customer’s current AND future needs, as well as understanding technology trends, to build a road map from which to build the network infrastructure. Not all of it will be built at once, but can be deployed over time. Unlike a small network, a large network requires a substantial investment and change out can be costly. Therefore, it is critical that the network be future-proofed to meet the needs of the customer now and in the future, even if they don’t know what the future holds.

Second, implement a sound project management plan and a governance structure for resolving issues and conflicts. Mega projects involve a lot of different technologies, vendors, and integration points. Problems will always come up, but in a complex mega project, it is not always obvious where the issue comes from, and resolution may require coordinated action across multiple technologies with multiple vendors.

Third, many installers tend to underestimate how much time is required to set up and deploy a mega network.  As a result, they end up absorbing the cost of the extra hours. Mega networks are complex and have far more integration issues compared to the common install. Changes midway through the project may have system ramifications downstream. Proper project planning, including accounting for project creep and scope changes, and adding in an extra buffer of time for unforeseen circumstances, should be incorporated. In high-budget projects, the installer can set up a contractual arrangement to address the scenario in case a project deployment takes longer than expected.

Fourth, many mega projects are done off-site – including setup in racks, integration, and testing (to the extent possible). The racks are then shipped fully-assembled to the project site, where they are integrated into the rest of the system.  It can be advantageous when certain tasks are done offline in a controlled environment ahead of time, where work can be fully tested.  This may not always be possible in all projects, but if possible, would make for a simplified installation.

Fifth, select equipment vendors carefully.  Unlike smaller projects, mega projects have more robust requirements, and more than likely will require enterprise-grade equipment. Not all enterprise-grade equipment provides enterprise-level performance. Make sure to know the difference. Make sure to know what types of warranties, technical support, and software upgrades you are eligible for.  Enterprise grade equipment is priced at a premium, but you get what you pay for. It’s no use saving a few dollars, then finding out the equipment can’t support the customer’s needs, or incurring more expenses in installation costs because the technical support is not sufficient to get you through the installation.

What are some your best practices, lessons learned and tips for a successful installation? Tell us and share your experiences here.

 

5 Ways to Make Your Day Easier… with BakPak

The BakPak Cloud Management system is an incredibly powerful way to control and manage networks – but we find that without hands-on experience, integrators have a difficult time putting exactly what it can do into real-world terms. “How will this make my job easier?”

Below, we look to answer exactly that, with this list of 5 ways to use BakPak to make your day-to-day job easier – and one bonus feature geared toward making your business more profitable.

  1. Remote configuration – With BakPak, dealers can remotely configure any device on a network – even non-Pakedge devices. It’s easy to view every device on the network, select the one you’d like to configure, and enter the device’s native User Interface – all directly through BakPak.
  2. Receive Alerts – It’s not easy to keep track of every device on the network of every customer. With BakPak, not only is every device mapped and easily visible – but should a problem arise anywhere on the network, an alert can be sent directly to an integrator’s phone or e-mail – allowing pro-active maintenance.
  3. Basic Device Maintenance – Devices on a network can have problems for a multitude of reasons – and most of those problems can be solved with a simple reboot. Before BakPak, integrators would have to take time out of their busy schedules, send a technician to the job site – and flick a power switch off, then back on. With BakPak, this process is simple – like it should be. Power to any device controlled through a PDU or PoE switch can be cycled directly through the app itself – and device connectivity will update within the BakPak app in real time, letting you know that everything’s up and running.
  4. Take notes – Let’s face it, no matter how you try, any given network won’t always be worked on by the same technician. To make life simpler, notes can be added to each device on the network as they’re updated and managed – enabling technicians to document problems and how they were fixed, and making it simple to isolate common problems or devices that exhibit problems intermittently.
  5. Check device statistics – Ever wonder how long it’s been since a device has had an issue? How long it’s been since you last performed maintenance? Need to know a MAC or IP address for network configuration, but can’t access the device because, well, you don’t know its MAC or IP address? Want to see the problem devices on a network? BakPak makes it easy by putting all of a device’s statistics in one easy-to-view place – making BakPak your one-stop shop for networked device information .

Bonus: Recurring Revenue – One of the biggest areas for growth in any dealer’s business model is recurring revenue – the ability to go beyond the one-time payment structure of sourcing and installing products – and to instead transform that installation into a monthly source of revenue you’re able to count on for years to come. With BakPak, network maintenance and management can become a service you provide your customers for a recurring fee – allowing you to provide better customer service, and your customers to enjoy a hassle-free, truly transparent network infrastructure that just works.

As BakPak grows, Pakedge intends to focus on providing more robust tools to enable dealers to manage and maintain their recurring revenue streams well into the future – so stay tuned for exciting updates on this front.

It’s Steve… from Pakedge!

In March of 2014, John Sciacca wrote an article about the day “Pakedge Steve” became his Network Tech Support Jedi Master. (click here to read it) Last week, on the Pakedge Twitter account, AV Awakenings bragged about the tech support they received from Karla. One thing we always hear at Pakedge is “Your tech support team is awesome!”, and we certainly agree.

Operating out of Pakedge’s Huntington Beach office, a fun team of 6 spend their days providing the best possible support to Pakedge dealers and re-sellers. They provide detailed technical advice before and after your purchase.

Are you uncertain about how to set up your C36? Do you have questions about which of our routers you should use for your next project? How do you configure your products to get the desired result? Anyone who has ever installed and configured a network system has encountered similar issues. So it’s nice to contact someone reliable and professional to help.

Our team will support you every step of the way. Our service is built on the education and rich experience of our long-time employees and our fostering of teamwork and maintenance of our internal knowledge database. The best part of all of this? It is absolutely free for all of our dealers.

Today, we would like to put faces to their names. Behold, your Pakedge Tech Support Team!

Our Tech Support Team From Left to Right (top): From Left to Right (bottom):

Our Tech Support Team
From Left to Right (top): Iris, Rachel, Steve, Shereena
From Left to Right (bottom): Cody, Danny

Pakedge Donates $200K to Orange Coast College

Four years ago, Jason Gibson was working at U-Haul managing multiple dealer locations in Orange County, CA. He decided to enroll in the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) program at Orange Coast College (OCC).

Today he is one of our regional account managers. You might have crossed paths with him on several occasions.

Jason credits his current position, in part, for his participation in the program. In fact, he still takes the occasional ICT course at OCC to keep his technical knowledge as up-to-date as possible.

Grateful for the opportunities he has been given, Jason decided to give back to the school. After a discussion with the management team at Pakedge, Jason was able to arrange a major donation: Pakedge donated over $200,000 in networking hardware to the ICT Program.

To read more about the donation by Pakedge, please visit the links below.

CE Pro

Residential Systems

Professor William Saichek, ICT Program Coordinator; Jason Gibson, Pakedge Regional Account Executive; Dr. Dennis Harkins, President, Orange Coast College

Professor William Saichek, ICT Program Coordinator; Jason Gibson, Pakedge Regional Account Executive; Dr. Dennis Harkins, President, Orange Coast College