Monday, March 23, 2099

Greetings :)


For those of you that know me, you'd know I like to email you with things I'm thinking on that I think you might find interesting or helpful.

So, rather than fill up your inbox with long winded thoughts, how-tos and tips and tricks, I thought I'd put it I'll in a blog instead!

This is really just so I have all my tech notes in one place but given that everyone tends to work on similar things at similar times I figured this was a good way to get some info sharing happening...

As I'm a network engineer, the focus will primarily be on routers, switches, firewalls, wireless, UC etc. but will occasionally wander into server / virtualisation land (gasp) as there is admittedly a fair bit of cross-over these days...

Other sections and random off-topic things will pop up as well just for something different :)

I'll try to include a quick video for in-depth posts that provides a overview of the topic wherever possible and please feel free to leave comments on each topic (I'll try and reply to them whenever possible).

If you find this page useful I strongly encourage you to create you own blog page as well!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Assetto Corsa - How to use PS4 controller right thumb stick for accellerator and brake using DS4Windows

Bluetooth Pair PS4 controller with Win10
First off, pair your controller like you would any other device in Win10.
Go to PC Settings -> Bluetooth -> Add Bluetooth or other device -> Bluetooth
On your PS4 controller press and hold for 3 seconds the playstation logo button in the middle of the controller and the share button simultaneously.

Download and install Virtual Bus Driver and DS4Windows

If you're new to all this, there's two ways to use a PS4 controller with Win10.
The first is to use Steams PS4 controller driver which becomes active only when you launch your game from Big Picture mode.

For most games, the Steam option works just fine as normally you don’t need to remap / swap the functions of the directional stick and the left and right trigger buttons (which the Steam driver does not support).

For the case of Assetto Corsa (and any other game for that matter) where you DO want to swap, DS4Windows is your answer.
First you will want to download Virtual Bus Driver and DS4Windows in that order.
To explain, the virtual bus driver is the actual driver / wrapper that makes the PS4 controller work natively in Windows 10 by mapping the PS4 buttons to the natively supported XBOX controller.
DS4Windows is a GUI which lets you use that driver easily as well as customise controller actions.
DS4Windows actually supports the download install of the Virtual Driver as part of the program however the link that it points to is often broken (due to quota being exceeded) hence why in this guide I’ve advised to download and install the virutal bus driver seperately.
Virtual Bus Driver:

Change default settings in DS4Windows to stop DS4Windows and Steam Driver Conflicts

After using DS4Windows for a while, I’ve found a one key default option you will want to change.

Under the settings tab, check the box “Disconnect from BT when stopping”.

This does two things - it saves your controller battery when you’re not using it.

The main reason though is to stop DS4 conflicting with the steam driver.
Without this checkbox ticked, if you launch a Steam game from Big Picture mode, there are two active PS4 controller drivers which wreaks havoc with games such as causing double input, second players randomly joining games etc.

Create a custom DS4Windows profile for Assetto Corsa remapping Right and Left Trigger and Right Analogue Stick.
Ok - now the bit you’ve all been waiting for.
In DS4Windows, click the profile tab and select create new profile.
Give the profile a name and carefully hover your mouse over the right thumb stick where the stick would be when pushed up and you should see the text "RS-Up: Right Y-Axis-".
Click and you will be given the option to change the mapping.
Click "Right Trigger" and close the window and then click save profile.
Now repeat for the down thumbstick action and map it to the left trigger.

Set the profile as active
Select the profile in the controllers tab to make it active.

Make sure Steam is closed and Launch Assetto Corsa from desktop - not steam.
Make sure steam is closed and launch the game from the desktop shortcut with DS4Windows running and you will now be able to use the right thumbstick the way you always have :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

NBN - How to Avoid a Crap Merchant RSP

(And really, really bad if you pick the wrong one).


You're a Government.
And one day in 1999 you are sitting around going, hmmm, we're rather crap at managing a budget and we need some money.
I know! Let's sell off our telecomms infrastructure (because that never ends badly)!
So you privatise your telecoms and who would have thought - it gets turned into a maximum profit, minimum effort outsourced pile of rubbish.
The solution? Let's build a NEW government telcomms network!
Except instead of controlling the whole lot and making sure it's a good quality service, let's leave the messy, risky stuff like supporting customers and making sure there's enough backhaul bandwidth to any business who wants to play and not hold them to any performance standards at all!
And it shall be known as NBN. 

I know all that sounds a bit harsh, but tell me why I'm wrong :p

My ADSL Experience with Exetel

As a bit of a history lesson, I'll give you some insight into the service I've come from.

I've been using an ISP called Exetel for the better part of 10 years.

Exetel used to be a great ISP (in that you got the performance that you paid for) run by a guy called John Linton who sadly passed away in 2012.

Exetel's concept was that they were an ISP for techies with very little support (with the idea that you should be able to figure things out for yourself) with the added bonus that the provided 1:1 backhaul contention ratios, meaning you got what you paid for.

Here I was in probably 2010 and was using an Optus resold connection through Exetel paying $45 / month for a full performance ADSL2+ connection.

That's right - I was sitting there getting ~20Mbps down. Any time of the day. Any file from any country, transferred at my sync rate.

You could tell Exetel was run by true engineers through their open publishing of MRTG graphs demonstrating the usage of their peer and backhaul links as follows (with some captures of the old login pages shown to demostrate the difference between how they were then and, well, take a look at the site now):

Unfortunately, following Johns passing, profit margins seem to have taken priority over network performance and the things that set Exetel apart such as 1:1 subscription ratios and visibility into network performance have disappeared.

My NBN Experience with Exetel (Woeful).

Woohoo. NBN is coming to my house!

It's 2017 and all this money has been spent by the Government so I must be getting an AWESOME connection that will absolutely fly.

I look at the RSP websites and they're all very glossy, filling me with hope that this is a polished operation.

The woes of yesteryear of different ISPs providing widely varying performance for services such as ADSL are behind us, right?

Well, here I sit on a supposed 25Mbps down / 5 Mbps up plan from Exetel (FTTN VDSL2 - the most common form of NBN delivery).

I just did an Ookla speed test to a Brisbane based server at 8:30pm on Saturday 23/04/17.

To make things a bit more scientific, I ran up SNMP monitoring of my routers WAN interface to capture the overall traffic and make sure something else on my network isn't chomping my bandwidth.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Here we have a graph showing the WAN bandwidth. It averages it out so you don't see the speedtest but you get the general idea that the WAN interface isn't flogged.


Here's the super crap results of the bandwidth test.
Exetel - hang your head in shame.
Remember - this is LOCAL traffic within AU.

For good measure, just showing the sync rate and actual rate of the VDSL connection.

Let's try an international download:

73.3 KB/sec.
That's 0.58 Mbps for those of you playing at home.

So, just to recap, it's 2017 and I'm now paying $79 / month for an NBN connection which performs at only 10% of the (download) speed my service which cost $45 / month back in 2010.

My NBN Experience with Aussie Broadband (Excellent).
At this point I thought, hang on. This is bullshit.
I can see that my router sync rate is fine. It must be the RSP.
Thanks to my mislaid trust in Exetel due to my past ADSL experiences, I'd signed up for a three year contract.
I contacted them to advise that the service doesn't work correctly and I'd like to cancel the contract.
The response was pathetic.

So, being that I needed a working internet connection and just wanted to get on with my life, I thought I'd cut my losses, pay the huge cancellation fee and cutover to Aussie Broadband who I had heard good things about.

I contacted Aussie BB and my connection was cutover the next day.

Aussie Broadband does not lock you in for three years btw. They are month to month leave whenever you want.

Aussie put me (for the same price) on a 50Mbps plan with 500GB download quota and a bonus 500GB for the first six months.

Here's my sync rate:

And here's the results of a transfer test during peak time:

Let's Deep Dive This Sucker!
Rather than read online chatter, I thought I'd take this monster apart and pinpoint where the issue is and what my options are to make my NBN connection perform like it's supposed to.

NBN Design and RSP Responsibilities Overview
When you hear "NBN" it immediately conjures up ideas of a giant Australia wide network all owned and built by the Australian Government.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the Government (NBN Co.) only really a portion of the network, specifically:
  • Purchase of last mile delivery infrastructure from Telstra (copper and HFC).
  • Installation of POI infrastructure
  • Blueprint for how RSPs provide core connectivity for NBN provided customers.
NBN performance pain points in detail - Down the rabbit hole we go!

On-Net and Off-Net POI

Domestic RSP Performance (RSP Peering)

International RSP Performance (RSP Backhaul) 

I did my homework and changed RSPs - now my connection works correctly.

How to Avoid Crap Merchant RSPs


RSPs - What they can do to PROVE they're not oversubscribing customers.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

NfSen on CentOS 7

Ahhh Netflow (and sFlow for that matter).

That magic service that let's you see what's happening on your routers WAN interface.

For new players, there's a fantastic open source product called NfSen that collects Netflow data and provides a GUI with input box to allow you to bring up flow information as and when required (going back as far as your storage can handle).

Now, like all Open Source products, they can be a bit of a PITA to setup.

I've sat down and followed three different guides to get this working on CentOS 7 and found one that was 99.9% there.

The guide I recommend is over at ProLinuxHub @

Follow that guide to the tee with the following changes and you'll be ready to rock n roll:

Extra Packages
On the line that says:
 yum install perl-Data-Dumperu

Change this to
 yum install perl-Data-Dumper

NfSen.conf Settings File
On the line that says:
 $HTMLDIR = "/var/www/nfsen";

Change this to:
 $HTMLDIR = "/var/www/html/nfsen";

Final note:

If you see the following message when you hit up your NfSen URL @ http://x.x.x.x/nfsen/nfsen.php

 Frontend - Backend version missmatch!

Edit /var/www/html/nfsen/nfsen.php

Comment out the line:
 if ( !array_key_exists('backend_version', $_SESSION ) || $_SESSION['backend_version'] !=  $expected_version ) {

And enter directly below:
 if ( array_key_exists('backend_version', $_SESSION ) && $_SESSION['backend_version'] !=  $expected_version ) {

 Save the file.

Restart NfSen:
 /etc/init.d/nfsen restart

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Dovado 4G Routers

Yeah yeah yeah.
I know what you're thinking...

USB routers suck.
And I used to agree.

But given that service providers in Australia seem to be spinning up services on new frequencies (e.g. Band 28 / 700MHz LTE) on a regular basis, you can understand why USB 4G modems are becoming popular.

I started thinking, that's all great but when you need to share the 4G connection to other devices over WiFi or Ethernet, then you need to get one of those horrible routers that works with the USB modem until it locks up, forgets it has a USB port etc. etc.

If only someone made a router specifically designed to work with USB modems that had some sort of technology to detect when the USB modem locks up and intelligently reboots the USB port to re-establish connectivity.

Well, that day has come.

Enter Dovado.

Cisco 3850 QoS Hardmax and Softmax Buffers

Here's a fun one kiddies.

If you're working with a Cisco 3850, I strongly recommend you check out Cisco's page they've created especially to explain how QoS buffers work on this particular model as it's different to anything I've ever worked with (for better or worse).

And of course, with excellent names like "hardmax" and "softmax" buffers I had to put together a little article picture :)

Check it out at: