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EVDOinfo Tip of the Week #40: Using OpenDNS With Your Cradlepoint Router

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Thursday, 04 February 2010

tip of the week by evdoinfo.com

 

EVDOinfo.com has long been your source for tips, tricks, hacks and suggestions for getting the most out of your EVDO service, and each week we will be highlighting a particularly interesting or popular topic in the "Tip of the Week" feature. To suggest future Tips of the Week, contact us at suggestions@evdoinfo.com or post your suggestions in the EVDO Forums.

 



Using OpenDNS With Your Cradlepoint Router


In the past we've talked about how OpenDNS Speeds Up Mobile Broadband, and provided instructions on how to configure Windows or Mac OS X to use OpenDNS if you were using your 3G / EVDO device directly in your computer. Since Google is now offering DNS services, we have decided to revisit this topic & compare the two services and also provide instructions for using OpenDNS with your Cradlepoint Router. Before we get into this weeks tip, let's go over some background information that will help you understand why using a dedicated DNS server is important and how it can really improve your web browsing experience!

What is a DNS Server? A DNS Server is like a phone book for the internet. When you go to an address like www.google.com, your web browser doesn’t know where to find google.com, so it will query the DNS server to find out. The job of a DNS server is to look up the domain web address (www.google.com) and provide the IP address of Google's server (72.14.204.99). Once your computer knows the IP location of a web domain name, it opens the website in your browser.

DNS plays a very important role on your mobile broadband browsing experience, as the DNS server can prove to be the slowest link in the process of loading a web page. If the DNS server of your ISP is slow, the time it takes to resolve the web address adds up to the overall loading time of the website. This becomes even more of a problem with more complex web sites, as there may be images, Flash video, or other items that are stored on different servers. This means that the DNS server has to look up several different domains before it can locate all of the servers that the content is stored on, and it can only begin to download all the information on the page after it resolves the IP addresses for each server.

By default, your router uses your ISP's DNS servers (such as Sprint or Verizon). IPS's DNS servers tend to be a lot slower compared to dedicated DNS servers like the ones from OpenDNS. This is because your ISP's DNS servers don't cache the IP address for most domains, so it takes longer to find the IP address for the domain that you are trying to get to. OpenDNS servers store the IP addresses of millions of websites in their cache, so it takes significantly less time to locate the server that you are trying to access.

In addition to providing a faster browsing experience, OpenDNS provides better security by blocking phishing websites that often pretend to look like other commercial websites to steal your information. OpenDNS has a database of these websites, and will prevent you from accessing the known phishing scams on the internet. This is a feature that could really help you sleep more comfortably at night!

Now, with Google recently offering their own free DNS services, you might ask why we recommend OpenDNS instead of Google DNS. First of all, Google's DNS service doesn't provide the extra security features that OpenDNS does, such as blocking phishing scam sites that try to steal your paypal, banking, and other important login information. On top of that, we did some extensive testing to determine overall which DNS service is faster. Since our audience is all over the United States, we had our employees in California, Illinois, and Virginia perform these tests, so we have results from the East/West Coast and the center of the country. Each employee noticed that OpenDNS was faster than Google at resolving almost every domain name. We averaged all of the times together, and our results are shown in the graph below. (Keep in mind that lower times are better [faster]):

opendns vs google dns
click the image to view the full size version

Using the OpenDNS service is free, provides better security, and faster performance - and it's very easy to use with Cradlepoint routers! Below are the steps to configure your Cradlepoint router to use OpenDNS:

  1. Connect to your Cradlepoint router and access the web admin by navigating your web browser http://192.168.0.1 (the default password is the last 6 characters of your MAC address located on the bottom of the router)
  2. Once you're logged in, select the Basic tab at the top of the page.
  3. From the "Basic" menu on the left side of the page, choose WAN.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. Under the DNS Settings section, click Use the following DNS Servers.
  5. Enter the following settings (Also pictured below):
        Primary DNS Server: 208.67.222.222
        Secondary DNS Server: 208.67.220.220
  6. Scroll back up to the top of the page, Click Save Settings, and then Reboot The Device.
cradlepoint dns settings

That's it - your router will now be configured to use OpenDNS, for a faster and safer browsing experience!


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Last Updated ( Thursday, 11 February 2010 )
 
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