Random acts of malice
August 11, 2014 | After putting a powerline adapter in the living room, my Samsung Blu-Ray player worked like a charm — except when it didn't.
By "work" I really mean "connect to the internet so I can watch Netflix." The frustrating thing was I could sometimes connect and other times not.
The solution offered by the Samsung site is to do a hard reset on the player. That is, turn it on then press and hold the Stop button for several seconds. You are then required to revisit the network setup page and enter the relevant addresses, or simply accept "Auto". Either one would work — at first. But after a time, it would once again claim that "The HTTP port is disabled. Please check if the HTTP port is blocked by something like the internal firewall program." Which port? Internal firewall where?
Finding no joy with the Samsung site, I did what every sensible person does these days and Googled "Samsung blu ray http port is disabled" and Lo! I am not alone. After reading countless forums and support sites around the web, it became clear that (1) this is a very common problem, (2) the problem really has nothing to do with an HTTP port being blocked, and (3) trying to get help from Samsung is considered utterly useless. It turns out that what the error message really means is that the system can't translate the domain name (netflix.com) into the set of numbers that are used behind the scenes to locate internet resources (i.e., "resolve" the name).
Curiously enough, manually entering the IP address of Verizon's Domain Name Server (DNS) was of no use whatsoever. The actual solution suggested in several internet posts is to manually enter a public DNS, namely that of Google: 188.8.131.52.
Voilà! No resets. No reboots. No powering off. No pressing-and-holding.
It really shouldn't be this hard to get internet-connected stuff to work. I'm lucky — while there is a black hole of things I don't know, I do know far more than the average person. If I must go through such pain to get things to work, there is little hope for the non-technical. And erroneous error messages certainly do not help.
What prompted all this was the fact that the Wi-Fi signal in the living room is weak and rather unreliable; there are just too many obstacles (like walls) between the wireless access point in the office and the living room (not to mention the patio).
I have tried various "range extenders" but found them all unsatisfactory. Besides being inherently flakey, the essential problem is that all they are doing is extending an already weak signal.
So, I decided to try powerline adapters, gadgets that send network signals over the existing electrical wires in the house. You plug one adapter in to an outlet and connect it to your router. Then you plug the other adapter in where you need a wired connection. You then plug your device, say a computer or your smart TV, into that adapter and you then have a reliable, fast connection.
I chose a Trendnet adapter kit that contains the two adapters and two useless ethernet cables (they're too short to be of much use). Apart from the claim that these adapters would auto connect and had two ethernet ports, the remote adapter also establishes a wireless N wireless access point of its own.
True to the claim, the adapters did in fact auto connect. And the wireless signal in the far reaches of the house is now robust. These things I like.
What I'm less fond of is the fact that the Trendnet access point is a little difficult to manage. It sets itself up with an IP address of
184.108.40.206 which means that to use the web management interface I have to mess up the configuation of my laptop by giving it a fixed IP address of
192.162.10.something. Every other device on the home network is
192.168.1.something which means they are considered different private networks.
And it's a minor nit, but an annoyance nevertheless, that the default SSID sent out by the access point is
TRENDnet410_2.4GHz_7A30. Give me a break!
Last updated on Apr 29, 2016