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Making the Most of Your Anonabox’s Wireless Capabilities and Learning to Reset

Alan Burwell

There have been countless parodies about the troubleshooting technique common to virtually all technology out there. It’s seemingly magical power to restore a device’s functionality no matter what the ail has kept many IT professionals employed. What we’re talking about here is the reset. Often as simple as unplugging and then plugging a device back in to its power supply, this simple troubleshooting tool is supremely important and remains so with your Anonabox device. While removing and returning to power in this case doesn’t do too much to restore defaults in the Anonabox, resetting the device is just as easy.

But restoring defaults with a reset will erase any configurations that you’ve established within the device, and can take time to re-establish. So let’s touch first on, and discuss, a best practice habit all users should be familiar with when utilizing wireless networks with our new Anonabox devices (Fawkes, Tunneler, PRO). We recommend using Ethernet cables for both WAN and LAN connections, as this method provides direct connections and eliminates potential configuration errors; but, let’s be honest, this is the day and age of wireless connectivity, and you’re almost certainly going to want to take advantage of the wireless feature with our new devices. All three of our new devices connect, and treat, wireless connections the same way, so users of any of these devices can benefit from reading this.

So what do wireless connections and restoring factory defaults have in common?

Hopefully nothing, but if you skipped the ‘Maximize Portability’ section in our manual (User Manual PRO – pg. 24; Fawkes and Tunneler – pg. 22), or didn’t quite understand this section, let’s explore what is going on and make sure you don’t associate resets with wireless connectivity.

In this example we’ll assume that you are using a laptop computer (the device doesn’t actually matter) and that you have connected to an Anonabox PRO by selecting the PRO as an available WiFi network and foregone the wired option (User Manual, all devices: Option 2, Step 1 – pg. 8). Note: While we’re using a PRO in the example, users of Fawkes and Tunneler can still follow along. You’ve followed the set-up steps and are now within the User Interface and are connecting the PRO to your home’s wireless network (User Manual, all devices: Option 2, Step 4 – pg. 15). You follow the steps as outlined, ask to join your network, put in the password, save and apply changes and you should be good to go right? So what happens when your laptop is no longer connected to the PRO and you can’t find the PRO as an available network to connect to after following these steps? What happened?

This is the first instance where a reset may come into play when leveraging the wireless capabilities of the Anonabox, and we’ll discuss how to do just that a bit later. You also need to know right now that using an Ethernet cable to connect to the LAN port of the PRO to an Ethernet port on the laptop will provide direct access to the PRO and allow configuration changes and prevent the need for a reset. Being that in this example we’ve connected wirelessly, we’re going to assume that you don’t have an Ethernet cable. So you need to reset. ARRRG WHY?

Something happened that caused you to have failed to make a positive connection to the general WiFi network you asked the PRO to join. The result is a failed configuration that the PRO’s wireless capabilities rely on. Because it is invalid, the signal the PRO was broadcasting fails as well, thus locking you out of the User Interface. This is why using an Ethernet cable for LAN connections can be hugely important.

In this example, the failed WiFi connection to the home Internet network is likely due to something as simple as an incorrect password. When you click save and apply within the User Interface you establish the configurations that the PRO will use thereafter. It might be useful to think of these as physical setting that you’re configuring. Once saved, the PRO will then try and implement these changes and in the case of a bad password, fail. Because the device relies on these configurations the wireless capabilities fail completely which is why you can no longer find the PRO as an available network. So rule 1, make sure you use the correct password. For those taking my advice and are carrying a cable for LAN connection, read the troubleshooting section in Step 4 (User Manual, all devices - pg. 16) for an easy password change without resetting.

Ok, we get it. The Anonabox works a bit differently than we might expect.

By saving and applying changes we’re changing how the device is physically configured and we need to be sure that we’re confident in the changes we’re making, especially when utilizing the wireless capabilities. If this hyperbole is truthful, then you understand the ‘maximize portability’ section of the manual, but just in case you simply like reading, let’s continue our example and examine how in fact you truly maximize the Anonabox’s portability.

To continue the example, you’ve successfully connected to the PRO and connected the PRO to your home network and are using your laptop with ease. You’re getting the hang of it and now want to try using the PRO at your favorite coffee shop. So you pack up and off to get a cup of joe you go. When you get there however, you can’t find your PRO as an available network. Did you break it by simply taking it out of the safety of your home? I assure you no, it’s perfectly fine. You just have the same problem you did when you put in the incorrect password at home. The PRO is still configured to connect to your home network and here in the coffee shop it can no longer connect. Did you bring your Ethernet cable? No? Then reset.

So let’s go back home and take a look at what we can do to prep our trip to the coffee shop. If you have an Ethernet cable at the coffee shop, the steps are the same, but we’re trying to ditch the cords, so save yourself time and follow these steps before leaving your house. And when you’re done at the coffee shop do the same thing:

Before you power down the Anonabox and end your session:

Use the ‘Network Tab’, select ‘WiFi’.

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You should see both the Anonabox PRO and your home network on the overview screen now in front of you.

When you’re done using the PRO, click the ‘disable’ button associated with your home network.

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Notice the network still shows on the overview screen when it refreshes, it is just no longer active.

Your Anonabox will remember past network connection configurations, so if you want to use this network in the future no further action is required at this point. You can always use the ‘remove’ button to erase old networks, but let’s leave the home network for easy re-connecting.

Once your home network is disabled, you’ll notice that you will still have access to the User Interface, but not broader Internet. This is what you want.

If you’re following along, you know it’s time to go to the coffee shop.

The results this time is at the coffee shop are different. You plug in the PRO and all of the sudden your laptop can view the PRO as an available network and you can connect to the User Interface.

You can now reference Step 4 in the manual (User Manual, all device pg. 14) to get the PRO connected to the coffee shop’s wireless network.

In the Wireless Overview section, you’ll now see the home network you disabled and the new network you just joined at the coffee shop.

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Just remember, when you’re ready to back home, use the ‘Network’ tab, select ‘WiFi’ and ‘disable’ the coffee shop’s network connection. Use the ‘remove’ button if you don’t plan on returning to the coffee shop in the near future.

When you return home, connect to the PRO via your laptop, use the ‘Network’ tab, select ‘WiFi’ and then click the ‘Enable’ button next to your home network that you saved before you left for the coffee shop. Click save and apply and the PRO will re-establish the connection to the home network and you’re go to go.

Remembering to simply disable the wireless network connection when you are finished using the Anonabox will save you time by avoiding common situations that will warrant a reset. If you however find yourself in a position where the WiFi has failed and don’t have a hardwired LAN capability, there is no other way to break the configuration that is causing the failure of the wireless capabilities of the Anonabox outside of a reset.

So the moment you’ve been waiting for...here’s how to reset:

Reset Your Anonabox

Yep it’s that easy.

If you prefer to reset through the User Interface, which is not especially applicable to our lengthy example, but could be a welcome option at other times, you can use the ‘System’ tab in the User Interface and select ‘Backup/Flash Firmware’.

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You’ll want to click on ‘perform reset’ on the resulting screen. The Anonabox will then reset itself.

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That’s it for resets and device portability. Thanks for reading and hope this helped you make the most of your Anonabox. Keep an eye out for more helpful tech-talk blogs. If you have a topic you’d like covered, please email us at info@anonabox.com.

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