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Phicomm K3C AC1900 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router Reviewed

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
What can Intel bring to the table to distinguish themselves from the already established players (Broadcom/QCA/Realtek/etc...)?
 

microchip

Very Senior Member
What can Intel bring to the table to distinguish themselves from the already established players (Broadcom/QCA/Realtek/etc...)?
The sticker with "Intel Inside" :p
 

RealBeast

New Around Here
Great work on the review as always. Thanks.

Wow, I thought that it would be a dog since I only paid $14.99 including tax and no shipping from Amazon with an Intel employees and family discount a couple months ago. I better open it up and deploy it to replace my aging Netgear WNR3500.
 

ccl13

Occasional Visitor
This brand, Phicomm, called 斐讯 in Chinese, has a bad reputation of putting backdoor in their router to steal user private info.

Their sales method is super aggressive. They basically gave away some models on Jingdong (consider this Chinese version of Amazon). You can infer what money do they make out of this.

I personally would not touch anything that is made by this organization.

References (if you read Chinese though):

http://www.anquan.us/search?keywords=斐讯&content_search_by=by_bugs

http://news.mydrivers.com/1/534/534031.htm

http://news.mydrivers.com/1/561/561448.htm (Their official, very feeble claim on there's no such backdoor issue)
 

Easy Rhino

Regular Contributor
AMIGOSH you actually reviewed this! I bought it during the window when it was $15 and it's fascinating. Thanks for the writeup, because there really is a dearth of information on it. Everything in the review matches my experiences with it.

it's actually working fine for me. I ended up using it as my primary router (because it can't work as an AP). I'd prefer to use it as an AP due to the lack of LAN ports. I'd like the Q0S to be able to prioritize VOIP/Facetime etc, but that's not an option.

Phicomm does seem to be adding to the firmware. The "wireless extension" option didn't exist in the January firmware. And I think few more options as well (like dynamic DNS or VPN, not sure).

So... from what google translate told me, Phicomm made a router for the Chinese market which was "free" for people who had a certain investment account, and it would tattle off the users activity for advertising purposes... any way to check out this router to see if it does something similar?
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
any way to check out this router to see if it does something similar?
Might be interesting putting it behind another router for a while, and capturing traffic coming in and out of it, see what remote sites it connects to, etc...
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Might be interesting putting it behind another router for a while, and capturing traffic coming in and out of it, see what remote sites it connects to, etc...
I have a capture session running with Wireshark monitoring all traffic to/from the WAN port.
 

Easy Rhino

Regular Contributor
Nice, thanks for checking it out Tim.

I would have done that with my own... except I don't know how to use wireshark :(

Oh, I also forgot my TL;DR summary of my experience with the router: it needs to be cheaper or more robust to be compelling.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Ran a capture for about 3 hours while running normal traffic through the Phicomm. Capture was filtered in Wireshark for ether host 2c:b2:1a:e0:92:02, which is the Phicomm's WAN port.

The only unusual activity was regular pings to qq.com, Tencent's instant messaging service and occasional HTTP Gets to ip.cn and ip.taobao.com.

Both gets appear to be trying to do IP address lookups, but no IP address is submitted.

ip.cn responds with a Cloudflare block and ip.taobao.com responds with this JSON:
{"code":0,"data":{"ip":"","country":"","area":"","region":"","city":"","county":"","isp":"","country_id":"","area_id":"","region_id":"","city_id":"","county_id":"","isp_id":""}}

There is no reason for the router to be doing this. But it's not harmful.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
The ping is probably a WAN state test similar to Microsoft's dns.msftncsi.com lookups. The rest sound like basic data collection based on your IP address (your WAN IP would be logged by the TCP connection itself, so no need to supply it in the http request).
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Regarding the taobao server (Google translation):

Code:
About Taobao IP Address Library
Our current services include:

1. According to the IP address provided by the user, quickly inquire the geographical information and geographical related information of the IP address, including the country, province, city, and operator.

2. Users can update our service content according to their location and IP address.

Our advantage:

1. To provide comprehensive information of countries, provinces, cities, counties, and operators with a wide range of information and standardized formats.

2. Providing complete statistical analysis reports, the accuracy of the province exceeds 99.8%, the accuracy of the city exceeds 96.8%, and the data quality is guaranteed.
Sounds like basic data metrics collection for analytic purposes.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Maybe not. But the request appears to be malformed because no data is being returned.
Either it's broken (wouldn't be surprising), or they are just interested in hitting the remote server with their public IP for data collection at the other end, so they are sending an empty query.

Otherwise, I could see a potential feature where this might be used to display a list of remote IPs connected to you, along with geolocation. Something they could have done locally using the GeoIP library tho.
 

TheLostSwede

Regular Contributor
Just a note, the price in the review isn't correct, as it's listed at $139.99 on Amazon now, which skews the review in favour of the product imho. It might be a decent product still, but at $140, it's hardly a bargain or all that special any more.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Just a note, the price in the review isn't correct, as it's listed at $139.99 on Amazon now, which skews the review in favour of the product imho. It might be a decent product still, but at $140, it's hardly a bargain or all that special any more.
The Amazon feed returns the lowest price, including those from 3rd parties.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075TJ8VNH/?tag=snbforums-20 shows vendors currently offering at the $69 price shown (less shipping).
Amazon doesn't allow me to filter out 3rd party offers.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Sitting here quietly... watching the thread.

Nice to see intel getting into this space - they're going slow - and they pick odd partners to work with.
 

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