Edgerouter Custom DNS

Info in this article can be found in EdgeRouter – DNS Forwarding Setup and Options

I have Google Fiber for Internet. $70/month for symmetric gigabit is a good deal. Speeds are consistent and service is reliable. But I don’t want to give Google the data of my DNS lookups, especially since it is so easily related to my personal information, now that they are my ISP. Here’s how I configured my EdgeRouter-X to avoid Google’s name servers.

I use the EdgeRouter as a forwarding DNS service. All clients query the EdgeRouter first. The EdgeRouter either replies from cache, or forwards the request on. Forward the request where? By default it forwards it on to the DNS server provided by the ISP. I like the forwarding setup, but I just want to forward to a different DNS server.

Your configuration may be different. Here’s my configuration that sets this up. This configures the dhcp server to tell the clients to send all DNS queries to the EdgeRouter.

set service dhcp-server shared-network-name LAN subnet dns-server

One way to set a custom name server is to change the name server which is handed out to your DHCP clients. For example:

set service dhcp-server shared-network-name LAN subnet dns-server

I went a different route. I set the system name servers, then configured the DNS forwarder to forward using the system name servers, not the name servers obtained from the ISP.

set system name-server
set system name-server
set system name-server '2606:4700:4700::1111'
set system name-server '2606:4700:4700::1001'
set service dns forwarding system

Confirm your settings. Here’s my output, with the Google nameservers not configured for forwarding.

admin@ubnt$ show dns forwarding nameservers
   Nameservers configured for DNS forwarding
----------------------------------------------- available via 'optionally configured' available via 'optionally configured'
2606:4700:4700::1111 available via 'optionally configured'
2606:4700:4700::1001 available via 'optionally configured'

 Nameservers NOT configured for DNS forwarding
----------------------------------------------- available via 'dhcp eth0' available via 'dhcp eth0'

Film: Decasia

The title Decasia is a play on decay and Fantasia. The allusion to the Disney film indicates a more straightforward narrative than you’ll find. The movie is made of deteriorated film clips from silent era films and newsclips. Filmmaker Bill Morrison edits them together and holds them in place with a detuned score. Nitrate film deteriorates in fascinating ways, and the juxtaposition of these scenes invites comparisons beyond the content of the original scenes. The decay itself is another layer of comparison: The text of the scenes, the decay of the world represented in those scenes, and the decay of the medium itself. People seem to decay in the most disturbing way. Sometimes a ghost, or a wraith. Was that a klan rally, or did I invent that? Decasia invites you to bring your own imagery to fill in the gaps. In his introduction to the film, Bill Morrison remarked that the Sundance premiere is touted as groundbreaking. His remembrance is that tickets to the film were easy to come by at the festival, and most people walk out before the 67 minute running time. Still, it found its small and dedicated following, and 20 years on continues to find more.

The Sparrow

I don’t know if speculative anthropology is a genre, but if it were, The Sparrow would be an exemplary piece. It gets categorized as science fiction, but the science is the least of its concerns. Yes, there are spaceships and aliens. But the spaceships are dealt with just enough to assure us that the trip is possible. It’s far, but not too far. It makes the plot timelines work, but doesn’t get into details of, say, rocket propulsion. Upon arrival at an alien planet, our explorers are lucky to be perfectly adapted to the plant, in mass, in atmosphere, and even in food sources.

The main concern of the story is the encounter with an alien society and how that might conflict with our ideas of meaning and faith. Our crew discovers an advanced society who evolved customs and norms under a vastly different ecosystem. The alien’s actions and attitudes towards each other are troubling. Actions that seem cartoonishly evil to us are the accepted tradeoff for a smoothly running society. If you believe–as the main character does–that God is leading you to this place, only to find yourself on the losing side of in this sometimes brutal society, you’re going to have second thoughts about the possibility of a loving God and his (or her) involvement in the world.

This book is not here to answer your questions, it is here to raise questions didn’t think to ask. Don’t look for an affirmation of your own sense of justice, or vengeance. At the end, our main character is having a crisis of faith, and the book tries to put us in that same frame of mind.

Happy MLK Day, 2021

Martin Luther King, in Letter from Brimingham Jail.

…I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time; and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I’ve posted this before, but it still feels relevent.

Here’s a reading list, and here’s an article that questions the notion of a reading list.

I like to give to local causes, so I give to the Austin Justice Coalition.

Edgerouter X

In the fall of 2020 I got Google Fiber. For about $5 more than I was already paying to my local cable company, I got 5x the speed. I remain skeptical of Google as a company, and I hate trusting them with my privacy, but so far Google Fiber is a good deal. Even better, though, is the discovery of the Ubiquiti Edgerouter X.

Gigabit Ethernet made it necessary to upgrade my home router. So instead of a consumer-grade plastic box of all-in-one router/switch/access point, I went for a small-business solution of the Edgerouter X. It is purely a wired router, with gigabit internet and a four-port switch built in. I added wireless network by pairing it with a Unifi access point. The access point draws power from the Ethernet cable connected to the router. The router and access point together require one power outlet, just like an all-in-one router.

The Edgerouter X has a web-based configuration assistant that will properly set up the router for 90% of the home users. Some additional customization is available in the web admin, but really the best way to customize this router is by connecting with SSH and using the command line interface.

Having a separate access point and router is a bit like having separate stereo components, or a separate computer and monitor. The freedom to mix and match makes it easier to match your exact requirements, and it gives me an incremental upgrade path. I can upgrade them separately.

I am somewhat late to the Edgerouter X party. It’s been out for a few years, and the newer access points don’t support the power over ethernet (PoE) that the Edgerouter X provides. But for $140 for the pair, it a steal, and will probably power my house for another year or so, until the next upgrade appears.