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Wi-Fi Router Charts

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Mesh System Charts

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Hands On

As noted earlier, my Skydog had beta 3.0.1 firmware. For my testing, I connected Skydog's WAN port to a LAN port on my public facing router. Skydog easily connected to the internet. Since I had already registered the device, Skydog was ready to use immediately after it ran its bandwidth test. I connected five wireless devices and one wired device.

When you log into your Skydog account, you land at the Dashboard page shown below. The dashboard provides a quick overview of the current status of your network.

Skydog Dashboard

Skydog Dashboard

One of my test devices supports WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup). So I started the WPS session on the client and pushed the WPS button on the router. Nothing happened—the WPS light on the router didn't flash. According to Skydog, WPS won't be implemented in the first release of software, but will be added in a future release.

At the top of the Dashboard page you’ll see a summary of internet usage. The pie chart shows that the bulk of the usage was by the WDTV Live device and Craig’s Mac. If you hover your mouse over a segment, the bandwidth used for the time period specified appears. Above the usage graph you’ll find drop-down boxes that let you display data by device, user or zone, show stats for all zones or individual zones, select the display period (Hour, Day, Week or Date Range) or by direction of traffic.

Across the top of the screen, the number shown in the red box shows the number of notifications. Notification triggers include a new device added to the network or a change in user access policy. The Router drop-down shows router statistics and lets you configure various router options. The Skydog drop-down box lets you add a new network, view admin accounts and set notification preferences. By adding a network, you could, for example configure, manage and monitor a network for remote family members or technically challenged friends. Finally, the Person icon lets you add an administrator, sign out, view/edit your account profile and change your account password.

You access management choices from the menus on the left side of the screen. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see if your connection to CloudCommand is active and the last time that your Skydog router sent data to PowerCloud. Your last tested internet speed is shown along with the option to test now. Finally, the bandwidth manager summary shows how you’ve allocated your bandwidth.

Skydog focuses on managing and controlling access for users and monitoring internet bandwidth usage for uses and devices. As each device connects to the network, either by wired Ethernet or via a wireless connection, it joins the network as an unassigned device. Users are Skydog's way to aggregate statistics for multiple devices in a logical manner. As you’ll see in the gallery below, I created user Craig and assigned my iPad and Macbook to that user. Similarly, I created user Android Devices and assigned my three Android-based devices to that user.

Note that I placed one of the Android devices into the guest zone just to test grouping and reporting across zones. It worked as expected. Finally, I assigned my WD TV Live media streamer to user Multimedia. It’s a good idea to put a little thought into how you want to group multiple devices, since access control is done by user, not by device.

Using Skydog DNS content filtering, you can apply one of three content filters to all devices assigned to an individual user. Likewise, you can completely restrict access to the internet for all devices associated with a user in half-hour increments 24 hours/day and 7 days/week. You could, for example, create a schedule that would deny internet access from 10PM to 7AM and set a medium strength content filter for the balance of the schedule for all devices used by your children. Skydog will allow you to use third-party DNS content filtering services such as OpenDNS, which may give you more flexibility in defining categories that you want to filter.

Skydog Content filters

Skydog Content filters

As noted before, there are some features that aren't implemented, but are supposed to be added prior to production units being shipped in September. Most notably, some of the parental control features haven't been fully implemented yet. You can't, for example, set time limits on usage of specific applications. Nor can you block specific web sites or services for specific users. You can, however, even with the current beta, monitor usage levels for websites that you define.

Since Skydog depends heavily on graphics for many of its reports, I’ve included an extensive gallery of each of the menus and major features. In the gallery, you’ll see how to set up an access control schedule for a user that includes no access, restricted, and unrestricted access. You’ll also see screenshots of reports for different time periods (hour, day) and watched web site reports. I urge you to view the gallery, as I’ve included more information in the individual captions.

Skydog features gallery

Despite all of Skydog's reporting features, other functions you might normally expect in a router may not be there. The screenshot below shows only a few settings under the Network Settings > Internet tab. So if you are looking for a router for gaming that supports port triggering or want to see a port map of ports opened by UPnP, this isn’t the router for you. I'll also cover more Skydog negatives in the Closing Thoughts.

Skydog port forwarding

Skydog port forwarding

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