AdTrap: Not Exactly “Zero Configuration”
But Satisfying Once It’s Setup and Working
I loved the idea of a hardware-based device to block ads, especially one that was easy to set up. Unfortunately, my experience was not exactly graceful as was advertised. I’ll show you how I set up my device.
I also found it odd that there were still backers of the project that still had not received their AdTraps, yet I ordered from GetAdTrap.com, and got mine within a few days.
Setup the AdTrap
First, I tried just plugging it in to see if any ads would be blocked. No luck. I was able to log into the Web interface and it said it was up an running, but nothing was happening. The next day, I powered off my router and the device for a few minutes. I plugged my router back in, and then plugged in the AdTrap. This time, I left everything alone for almost ten minutes and I watched the lights on the unit until there was a heartbeat (left-most light) and the Proxy Mode and Internet Mode (two LEDs on the right).
It still did not seem to work quite right as many ads were still getting through. The night before, I had stumbled upon these proxy instructions, so I tried them with one small modification–I used port 80 instead of 3128. 3218 is a common proxy port, but 80 was the one that worked for me. Now I noticed more ads getting blocked, but something still seemed a little off. Anytime I tried to use 3128, my Internet access was severed and I was just presented with an AdTrap page saying something about a proxy error.
In the Web interface, I found the Update tab. After downloading the updates, I noticed a lot more ads being blocked!
Condensed Setup Instructions
- Unplug router for 30+ seconds
- Plug the router in
- Connect the AdTrap to the router
- Wait for 10 minutes or for the two right-most lights on the AdTrap be be solid
- Update the device via the Web interface
- Connect each device to the AdTrap
Setup Instruction for Apple Devices
This was the most difficult of all the Apple devices to setup. Mostly because the Apple TV doesn’t really have anywhere to adjust any settings. You basically just turn it on, connect it to the network, and then it works. After searching for a long time, I found an article about Apple TV proxy settings (proxy settings for other devices here). The steps there worked just fine, with the exception of using port 80 instead of 3128. You should also read up on Configurator before using it because it is not a very good piece of software.
iOS Devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod)
Once your AdTrap device is hooked up, go into the network settings of your iOS device and
- Touch the little i next to your network name to get to the advanced settings
- Scroll down
- Touch Manual under HTTP Proxy
- Type in adtrap.local using port 80
While there is no documentation on this cool-sounding feature. The concept is something that many people already do in order to access their home networks: port forwarding and (usually, dynamic) DNS. That part could almost be done without the use of a configuration profile as it suggests you do once you log into the Web interface, but I do not recommend this.
For one thing, the only way to deploy the profile is on a supervised device using
CrApple Configurator. It is very easy to completely erase your device using this software, since it is poorly designed. Also, if your computer ever crashes and you lose your Configurator data, good luck un-supervising it.
While I haven’t quite figured out how to enable this feature without a config profile, I am working on it.
Macs (OS X)
Just like the iOS devices, you simply need to change the HTTP proxy settings in the Advanced Network settings to adtrap.local on port 80:
After using it for about ten days, I am pretty satisfied overall. See some of the screenshots below for my AdTrap’s performance. The big chunk of ads were from the Apple TV, which is nice. I already use ad-blocking software on my Mac, so I did not notice the effects as much there. On iOS, it was really nice, especially for blocking those annoying ads on YouTube or GameTrailers.