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Wireless Networking Communications The Internet Hardware

Hacking the Linksys WRT54G 213

Posted by timothy
from the go-forth-and-multiply-them dept.
knightrdr writes "Robert X. Cringely has posted an interesting article on the PBS web site about modifying the Linksys WRT54G wireless G broadband router to build a wireless layer on top of the Internet. He argues that with as little as a $70 investment per node, the Sveasoft WRT54G Firmware could be the first in a line of many wireless devices to enable a giant leap forward for the Internet."
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Hacking the Linksys WRT54G

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  • Read it - cool mabe this is the way I will end up getting broadband
  • Dupe (Score:5, Informative)

    by tjansen (2845) * on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @06:46AM (#9302059) Homepage
    It's a dupe, was posted on friday [slashdot.org]. Still one of the better cringely columns...
    • Re:Dupe (Score:5, Informative)

      by elmegil (12001) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:06AM (#9302132) Homepage Journal
      Still one of the better cringely columns...

      If you buy his "you can resell your DSL bandwidth" argument which in 90% of cases is not true.

      • Re:Dupe (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BasilBrush (643681)
        Apart, possibly, from some small print from your upstream ISP, what is to stop you? The ISP isn't going to know. Let's face it they have trouble enough stopping people using their services to spam, they're never going to notice small scale bandwidth reselling going on.
        • Re:Dupe (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tigersha (151319) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @08:20AM (#9302467) Homepage
          I sell my bandwidth to my neighbour and we share the costs. Works fine.

          The only problem is, if HE downloads childporn or visits www.osamaforpresident.com or pisses off the RIAA by running Kazaa all day I get the visit from the coppers, not him. So one should be a little careful.
          • I get the visit from the coppers, not him

            That's why you monitor him. Log everything he does. Set up a system that will alert you if he does anything not cool. I'm sure there's software out there that will do just that.. just take a look out on sourceforge or freshmeat.

            • Re:Dupe (Score:3, Informative)

              by Ateryx (682778)
              That's why you monitor him. Log everything he does. Set up a system that will alert you if he does anything not cool. I'm sure there's software out there that will do just that.. just take a look out on sourceforge or freshmeat.

              I agree, jsut set up a *nix box and run ipcop and you can pretty much see when he goes to the bathroom.

          • I bet every coffee shop and hotel in town would be shut down if that was the case. If the coppers knock, say you run an ISP (which you essentially do since you sell bandwidth) and they would need to monitor from your site to get the perp. Yeah, you get the visit, but eventually, so would he. Hopefully you ARE allowed to run servers like this (e.g. using a service like Speakeasy and not using, say Comcast). If not, you could be terminated by your ISP for unacceptable use. He'd have to be downloading a b
            • I bet every coffee shop and hotel in town would be shut down if that was the case.

              Yeah, but they're not reselling their bandwidth as their main business model. All it takes is a couple of resellers being litigated by their ISPs to help put a damper on things.

              Granted, as a previous poster mentioned, many police departments (and quite a few ISPs) don't have the resources, time or even savvy to track down, properly observe, arrest and prosecute anybody, but that's now. Give it ten years and a few juicy

      • Re:Dupe (Score:4, Informative)

        by Dausha (546002) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @08:44AM (#9302621) Homepage

        . . . you can resell your DSL bandwidth . . .

        Except, this is a violation of the state DCMA laws that are being passed nation wide. In the old days, sharing cable with your neighbor was called "Cable Theft." In Arkansas, they updated that law with the boilerplate DCMA to where it is now a theft of any IT service (telephone, DSL, Cable). So, hacking a router to where you do this is only a felony. Teaching how to hack is also considered a crime in some jurisdictions . . .

        • Re:Dupe (Score:5, Informative)

          by jandrese (485) * <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @08:53AM (#9302675) Homepage Journal
          My TOS explicitly allows me to resell my bandwidth, heck, my ISP [speakeasy.net] even has a page explaning what it is and how you can set it up.
          • Re:Dupe (Score:3, Interesting)

            by elmegil (12001)
            Hence my comments about 90%. Speakeasy is the only "major" ISP I know of with such a policy, and I know that my ISP (Primus) and the other competition in the area (SBC is the gorilla) do not. Bully for you going with Speakeasy, but most people are not going to have them as their ISP.
      • If you buy his "you can resell your DSL bandwidth" argument which in 90% of cases is not true.

        More like 99%, possibly four nines or so. DSL is rarely resellable. I'm pretty sure you have to buy a T1 or pricier to be able to resell according to the TOS.
    • Yes, but this title screams out to me - I happen to own a WRT54G, and although I can't see myself hacking it in the near future, this article is still a rather interesting one.

      Thanks for the dupe, guys. =)
  • openwrt (Score:5, Informative)

    by thehosh (755582) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @06:46AM (#9302062) Homepage
    back to the roots: openwrt [ksilebo.net] is much more fun!

    only a base system, which can be customized for your needs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @06:48AM (#9302070)
    Please note that Sveasoft uses a very restrictive development model. The firmware is developed by a closed group and only released to paying customers who lose access to future releases the instant they redistribute the firmware.
    • by rindeee (530084) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:00AM (#9302113)
      Ummmmm...it's GPL'd. They cannot put any restrictions on distribution other than those implied and expressed within the GPL itself (unless my understanding is incorrect). I am a paying Sveasoft subscriber, and all that gets me is access to the betas and pre-releases which aren't available to non-paying. Oh, and I can download the PDF manual.
    • by Sancho (17056) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:13AM (#9302153) Homepage
      That's only partially true. What you're talking about are pre-release versions of the firmware. Sveasoft has said that release versions will be available to the public completely for free.
      Also, the redistribution clause you're talking about is a little vague. No one "instantly loses access to future versions" as you so carelessly put it. This link helps clarify:
      Sveasoft Faq [sveasoft.com]
      I suspect they don't want people redistributing the source, but pointing to Sveasoft for support issues. It's not an uncommon thing in free software...check out some of the DVD Shrink and VCD Easy support horror stories. Both of these products were included in software packages without the developers' consent, and any support issues were forwarded to the developers.

      With regards to the "restrictive development model," I believe that it became a pain in the ass supporting their pre-release versions for free. People bitched about features not being available, demanded the source code to prereleases (rightly so, according to the GPL, but to hear Sveasoft talk about it, they were rude about it), and in general, were assholes about the software (it's getting pretty typical for people to be jerks about free software, while paying an arm-and-a-leg for Microsoft's software and being complacent..boggles the mind). Anyway, requiring people to pay for the binaries seems to have greatly reduced the amount of crap that goes through the forums. There's now a subscriber-only forum that has fewer demands and accusations in it. The source code is freely available to anyone who pays for the binaries, as is completely allowed by the GPL (you only have to provide the source to people you give the binaries to).
  • Dupe (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ripplet (591094) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @06:50AM (#9302076)
    The next article will be ready soon, but Slashdot editors can dupe it early! [slashdot.org]
  • Others (Score:5, Informative)

    by Quixote (154172) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @06:57AM (#9302098) Homepage Journal
    Sveasoft isn't the only game in town (though it is one of the top ones). Others include:
    EWRT [portless.net], from Portless Networks (a fork of Sveasoft)
    Wi-Fi Box [sourceforge.net]

    Ahh... the wonders of OSS and GPL. :-)

  • by JessLeah (625838) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @06:57AM (#9302100)
    I feel like my intelligence is being insulted by the pervasive labeling of these devices by Linksys as "Wireless G" and "Wireless B" (as opposed to "802.11g" and "802.11b"). Why can't any technical term ever remain unadulterated by end-users and marketeers? Yeesh. What's next, they'll start referring to the "Linux Kernel 2.6" as "PenguinPopper 2004"?
    • by Xenna (37238) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:05AM (#9302126)
      O really, I think my intelligence is being insulted by having to remember something as unmemorable as 802.11b.

      What idiot ever thought of using *that*?

      (Not that Wireless-G is anything to write home about, I vote for Ultra-Wifi ;-)
    • Tux meets Goatse?
    • by teasea (11940) <t_stool@NOSpaM.hotmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:13AM (#9302154)
      Why can't any technical term ever remain unadulterated by end-users and marketeers?

      That's an easy one. I am a programmer, and one thing I've learned; while engineers need to create terms to describe new concepts, they should be watched closely. All too often they create bizzarre strings of terms just to make a silly acronym. Worse, they keep inventing new terms so they can claim to have invented a new idea when the idea should come before the name.

      I say leave the evolution of the English language in the hands of professionals. The Rap/Hip Hop community!

      Let the cheap shots begin.
      • Let the cheap shots begin.

        What, is it happy hour already?
      • by sql*kitten (1359) * on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:38AM (#9302272)
        All too often they create bizzarre strings of terms just to make a silly acronym

        I named a couple of my projects "Asynchronous Replication System (Experimental)" and "Parallel Implementation for Maximum Performance" but both were caught by my manager before a customer saw them!
        • One of my pals managed to get a program he called the "Terminal Interchange Task" distributed at his company, before the managers noticed what the acronym would be...
        • I've got the reverse :) One day management decided to change the name of our group to "Spirent / Hekimian Informationg Technology Departent". We were quite happy to use the name, but one of the less fun-loving members of the department informed upper management what they had done. Needless to say, that name was never used.
      • All too often they create bizzarre strings of terms just to make a silly acronym.

        When Sendit was bought by Microsoft, there was much confusion about the new name. I pushed for MSMI (Microsoft Mobile Internet) but that was percieved to be too close to "a mess am I" and MMI was taken (Man-Machine Interface, like they ever cared about that before, DNS anyone?) so they went with MIBU (Mobile Internet Business Group) instead. They closed the whole thing down a little over a year after the purchase. Embrace, e

    • My understanding is that it was labelled Wireless G because the 802.11g specification wasn't finished yet.

      So, until the specification was finished (and Linksys upgraded their firmware to implement the final version), they had to avoid calling it 802.11g.

    • by jpellino (202698) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:35AM (#9302259)
      Not at all.

      Who wants to spout eight-oh-two-dot-eleven-gee when they can say "Wireless G".

      Do you say "automobile" or "car"?

      "Digital versatile disc" or DVD?

      Do you tell people "the nerve signals from the trigone indicate that there is a need to toggle the state of the detrusor muscle and equalize hydraulic pressure so that osmotic filtering can maintain its normal rate"
      or
      "I gotta take a leak."
  • by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:04AM (#9302125)
    From the article, it seems that Cringely perceives this as being an idea which could put your local phone company out of business.

    Would this be the same local phone company which provides the ADSL link this would require?
    • Sure, but if you have five people using the same ADSL line rather than five separate ones it definitely changes the economics of it for them.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        1. Sure, but if you have five people using the same ADSL line rather than five separate ones it definitely changes the economics of it for them.

        I'm in a group house (5 guys) and will soon suggest this as a way to cut internet and phone bills. It goes from expensive to cheap real fast, even adding in the cost of extra "phone numbers".

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Just remember that with a QoS-enabled router, your 5+ simultaneous pr0n downloads will be deprioritised as soon as someone picks up the phone, and they'll really drop off in the worst-case scenario when you're all calling at the same time. You might want to try dropping to two ADSL lines instead of just one: then you'll have one for voice and one you can dedicate for data without worrying about QoS issues. Set up Asterisk in the house and you can REALLY geek out.
    • I find Cringely to be in a bubble sometimes. So i think what he was eventually trying to get at was that you could blanket an entire town ( say New York or Toronto ) with enough wifi spots to have a psuedo-mesh network. The math is WAY over my head but i think the idea that you need one connection for every 3 wireless routers but the more wireless you have the less DSL connections you need.
      IE:

      wifi<-wifi<-wifi<-ADSL->wifi->wifi->wifi<->wifi-> w ifi->wifi->ADSL<-wifi
    • by Etyenne (4915) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:44AM (#9302300)
      I, for one, would never trade the reliability of a landline for the boinkiness of a few consumer-grade WiFi router, tied to a (relatively) unreliable xDSL or cable net link, operating a best-effort protocol and managed by Joe Random.

      How much does a landline cost anyway when you strip out all the useless gadget (CID, call waiting, etc) ? 20$ ? 30$ ? How low can this rigged VoIP-over-WiFi thingy can go ?
      • I agree with that. I used a VOIP line for a few months out of necessity, but I switched back to landline as soon as I could. VOIP wasn't much cheaper at all, and while it was good, it wasn't perfect. Just enough reliability and quality issues to remind me (and everyone I work with) that I didn't have a "normal" phone line.
      • I did make the trade, just about a year ago (to Vonage). Despite my self-imposed rule that I do not complicate basic household tasks enough to get a beating from my wife, the VoIP thing has worked out better than I though.

        I'll take exception to the "ISP to your cul-de-sac" idea, though: Even with a well-placed Linksys access point, I can barely get a signal on the far side of my house, never mind at the neighbor's.

        (though enough of my neighbors do have 802.11 that I've taken on the volunteer role of Appro
    • With heavy enough saturation to provide blanket coverage, these mesh networks would negate the need for the xDSL connection completely. Basically, with enough hotspots in place, the entire internet would be wireless.

      Highly, unlikely using 802.11 but, theoretically possible.
      • by aldoman (670791)
        No, actually thats not what he says. He says 16% (IIRC from the last time slashdot posted this) is needed to be 'edge nodes', ie: internet connected with DSL/cable.

        Also, these mesh protocols are not great (and I doubt they will ever be as good as the current routed internet) and I personally wouldn't like to enjoy 10,000 hop internet from Texas to Michican. Just my 2 cents...
        • He says 16% (IIRC from the last time slashdot posted this) is needed to be 'edge nodes', ie: internet connected with DSL/cable.

          You are right, that is what he said. However, the reality is that the 16% only need to be OSPF Border Gateways. It doesn't matter if the gateways are attached to xDSL, dedicated circuits or other wireless Border Gateways.

          Imagine a fully blanketed city with 16% of the access points acting as OSPF Border Gateways connected to other OSPF Border Gateways in other cities by long range
    • Would this be the same local phone company which provides the ADSL link this would require?

      Well, it depends. You don't need an ADSL line at every node, just 1 in 4 (or something like that). So, maybe the economics are that you don't need ADSL at all, maybe you can do this with regular leased lines, depending on how you recover the costs from the end users. How much is a fractional T1 these days? A "community" scheme certainly needs ADSL; a WISP/VoIP company might not.
  • by zoobab (201383) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:05AM (#9302129)
    I would like to say that there is not only Linksys, but all Broadcom based routers (Trendnet TEW-411BRP, Belkin F5D7230, Motorola, Asustek wl300g et wl500g, Buffalo Airstation, Dell Truemobile2300).

    See:

    http://seattlewireless.net/index.cgi/BroadcomRou te rs

    There is also the other APs based on Intersil:

    http://isl3893.sf.net
  • by lvdrproject (626577) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:06AM (#9302133) Homepage
    WISPs are a neat idea, but here's what i found interesting. If these routers provide the basic framework for you to build a Linux router upon, this means that any old Joe has the potential to build an advanced routing OS for this system. With enough toying around (and maybe this depends on Linksys adding in a hundred or two megs more of flash or something), it's possible eventually that somebody could write a Linux system for these cheap $50-to-$120 routers that will have similar functionality to Cisco's IOS, isn't it? I mean, they wouldn't be perfect replacements by any stretch of the imagination, but given a few simple and cheap hardware upgrades to the current routers (i imagine RAM and flash would be the biggest priorities), that type of stuff could really take off.

    I'm not alone here in being more interested in stuff like that than in WISPs, am i? A Cisco-like router (at least as far as the interface goes) for $70 or so would be awesome. :,)

    • Linux can already compete with Cisco IOS in most routing functions and with the correct hardware you can pretty much match most of their routers. Cisco hardware is insanely overpriced, a stick of ram can run you 2000$ when someone elses would be about $50. But when your in a big business you need the support contracts so when IOS goes ape shit you can have a few cisco engineers track down the bug.
      • This'll you (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:43AM (#9302293)
        We just ordered two new NIC's for our Cisco load balancer. They cost $1000 (one thousand) each. We needed them, we had the budget, blah blah blah.

        We got them, and we looked at them, and for the life of me, they looked like cheesy $15 PCI no-name-brand NICs.

        We got the FCC approval number, and guess what... they were $15 PCI no-name-brand NICs. We just learned a $2K lesson.

        Won't make that mistake again.
        • Re:This'll you (Score:3, Insightful)

          What you're paying for there is the fact that Cisco warrents that those will work, and if they don't work, you'll have replacements, or an engineer on a plane, within x number of hours.

          Up to you to decide if it's worth it or not.

          • Re:This'll you (Score:2, Insightful)

            by mlrtime (520968)

            That is if you pay for their expensive contracts as well, if you don't pay for the 24x7x4r contract then it doesn't do much good either.

            • Aye, lots of it is just good old fashioned markup. Sun used to be bad for this as well; haven't bought any kit from them recently, so I don't know if they still are....

    • And now you know why Cisco bought out Linksys. Providing a $70 product that has the majority of the functionality of products that cost a minimum of 9x as much [amazon.com] is cause for the big fish to get really worried about the saleability of their products.

      My guess is that Linksys products will blink out of existence within the next couple of years.
      • As long as consumer routing remains profitable, they'll keep making the devices. What they'll do, though, is much better overlap management.

        Keep some features totally out of the consumer product, and those that the market demands will be hobbled in some way that severely limits their usability in a real network environment.
    • Apropos to the entire GSR-vs-WRT54G concept-- How many packets-per-second does the WRT54G do? Anyone? Anyone? For the same reasons, I rather doubt that those John Deere LT series riding mowers flying off the shelves at Home Depot are threatening the sales of 7000 series ag tractors and square balers. NISM?
  • Giant leaps have always been better that ordinary leaps, in my opinion.
  • OpenWRT (Score:5, Informative)

    by cnf (96794) <`ten.esnesllun' `ta' `knarf'> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:16AM (#9302164) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I run OpenWRT (http://openwrt.ksilebo.net/) on my WRT54G. In my opinion, it is better, and my contact with the developers so far on IRC has been wonderfull.

    Check it out, and a WRT54G (or the WRT54GS) is a nice investment, even if it was just for its geekyness :-)
    • From the FAQ:

      12 Does OpenWRT have a web interface?
      Not yet.

      what are the benefits of OpenWRT?

      • Re:OpenWRT (Score:5, Informative)

        by cnf (96794) <`ten.esnesllun' `ta' `knarf'> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @08:40AM (#9302597) Homepage Journal
        It is a core system, very basic. On top of that you can install what you want with ipkg's.

        I have running:
        SSHd
        trafic shaping with iptroute2+tc
        custome firewall script
        no-ip client
        tcpdump
        network syslogd

        It doesn't run a webinterface (yes, to me that is an advantage.)

        Next on the agenda: vpn client to the office. ( so I am always connected from home.)
        serial interface so the nids can give instructions to the WRT.

        This is exactly what I need, from a 12watt machine (the WRT uses 12V DC, 1A) that makes 0 noice (no moving parts)

        And above all, it is a shiny fun geektoy :)
  • by internet-redstar (552612) * on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:26AM (#9302212) Homepage
    LinSpot [linspot.com] for WRT54G will be launched soon.

    This means a WISP in a box for everyone - and LinSpot handles the roaming between all linspots and fills your PayPal account while you sleep (and while others roam).

    I guess it will take the LinSpot crew a couple of weeks to iron the bugs out and release this for your enjoyement.

  • Numbers ?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcdade (89483) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @07:57AM (#9302366)
    I would like to know where he gets the dollar values from at the bottom of the article? He starts to toss out how much money an access point will start to make but no real values to back it up.. come one.. you need some sort of proper accounting..

    Almost sounds like a get rich scam, look at how much money you can make by buying this device. Just like the gold rush, very few made money on gold, everyone got rich selling shovel's and supplies to the masses.. :)

    Another cringley article that is partially based on facts, partially on fiction..
  • by phearlez (769961) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @08:18AM (#9302459)
    ... if a single damned one of the web pages gave me a good couple of concrete examples of what the payoff is of installing one of these alternatives. That is, beyond whatever disease makes so many linux users desperate to install linux on their toaster, pda and remote control. OpenWRT touts being small with a focus on installable packages, EWRT says what they have up on the others is the captive portal but none of them have an entry in their FAQ that answers "Why would I replace this currently functioning, rarely crashing pre-installed firmware and features with something else? Does it DO anything other than bragging rights at the geek pub?" And yes you troll, I know some have bandwidth shaping and other features but any software that purports to be a solution to a problem might want to identify that problem right off the bat or it should just call itself devTitsOnaBull.
  • by jmcharry (608079) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @08:26AM (#9302506)
    A lot of ISP user agreements prohibit the provision of service to third parties. This violates that restriction, and doesn't attempt to cover it up.
  • Hold the phone. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FreeLinux (555387) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @08:27AM (#9302518)
    Pun intended. There is a major catch to all of this disruptive technology that Cringley and everyone else seems to be forgetting. The catch, regulatory restrictions.

    You see, in the phone business, there are countless regulations and restrictions at the federal, state and local government levels. These restrictions cover everything, 911 location requirements, reliability, coverage, who is authorized to offer service, taxes and a whole lot more.

    At the moment, VoIP is excluded from much of this. But, with VoIP threatening the industry, the phone giants will be using their lobbying power to make the restrictions apply to VoIP as well.

    An infrastructure such as Cringley describes is technically possible, theoretically. But, if it comes to pass, it will be controlled by today's phone giants.

    Of course, for all this to happen and for us to have the reliability of landlines or even cellular service our cities would have to be so heavily blanketed by 802.11 devices that hot dogs would cook themselves once removed from their microwave shielded packaging. Eat it quickly Honey, before it gets too hot.

  • Is if somone ported airsnort to one of these.. Imagine throwing one under a desk for a week, while it cracked the wep key, then having it switch on its radio and broadcast the key as its SSID..
    • "Is if somone ported airsnort to one of these.. Imagine throwing one under a desk for a week, while it cracked the wep key, then having it switch on its radio and broadcast the key as its SSID.."

      or make it attack all computers it can reach.. noone would ever find it
  • Does anyone know if any university has done a study on all the wireless technology that's constantly bombarding us and it's effects on health? Don't get me wrong I LOVE the idea of no wires anywhere, but do you think with all the 802.11b's and g's, Bluetooth, cell traffic, IR remotes, etc. that it may have a negative effect on us? Just curious...

    Peace

    • Re:Cancer? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Klanglor (704779)
      well you are already bombarded by your TV, FM, AM Satelite and other radio frequency, more or less you'll die eventualy.

      Beside, if you are woried about living long and healthy. Well first start with the water and the food. they are morelikely to kill you, with all those GMO, pesticied etc..
      • Re:Cancer? (Score:3, Informative)

        by dk.r*nger (460754)
        Repeat after me: GMOs will not kill me.

        There can be so many other things wrong with GMOs (most scary is various pests inheriting resistancy), but they do not kill you per se.
    • Re:Cancer? (Score:3, Informative)

      by eggboard (315140) *
      There's nothing definitive, but the regulations that govern Part 15 devices like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth require extremely low signal strength in client devices -- effectively 10 to 1000 times less than a cell phone signal. I have some concerns that we'll find that a cell phone against your brain might have been a bad idea, but a Wi-Fi device across the room is only a few orders of magnitude above background thermal noise.
    • by Lxy (80823)
      The FCC has info on MPE (Maximum Permissable Exposure)limits for RF. This equates power and frequency top determine how close you can be and for how long. The best info I can find is that 802.11 puts out on the order of 50 mW. According to the FCC, a device at 2.4Ghz transmitting .2W (200 mW) requires a safe distance of 2.5 cm, or 1 inch from the transmitter. I can't remember that math to narrow that down, but somehow you divide the power by 4 and take the inverse square of the distance to determine the
  • Can any of these firmware replacements provide a solid DMZ yet? I looked at the SVEA site and it looks like it's problematic. The default is to bridge the wireless and wired segment and things don't necessarily work if you break that bridge.

    In my opinion, this is critical. You never want to bridge your wired and wireless segments unless you're sure that no one else is in radio range.
  • by Malc (1751)
    I have to run a Cisco VPN client on my desktop to connect to work. Anybody know if the Linux version of this can be run on a WRT54G as I would surely love to off-load that task to my edge router.
    • I'm interested in this too Malc. I _think_ that it won't be possible and that going for one of the (much more expensive) Soekris solutions might be necessary.
  • by aderusha (32235) on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @12:13PM (#9304955) Homepage
    The core firmware of these routers runs linux, and as such Linksys was compelled to offer the source code back to the community. Sveasoft was kind enough to modify the firmware using the provided source and to then provide compiled binaries and source back to the community.

    Now they've changed their model somewhat. Currently you can only download the binaries and source for the older versions of the firmware. To access any of their newer works, you have to pay them a $20/year subscription fee. Once you've ponied up the $20, you can download the new sources and binaries.

    While the GPL allows for this sort of action, it's their policing of it that makes me uncomfortable. You can download the code and binaries and post them on a website, but if they figure out which user did this they will cancel your subscription. If you post links in their forums to download sites for their new version your subscription is cancelled, your forum account suspended, and the post is deleted.

    What they've done is to take a GPL-covered firmware, improve it, charge $20 for access to it, and then do anything they can to censor any action of sharing that code. While their actions still obey the letter of the GPL, I can't really see that it is in keeping with the spirit of the free software movement.

    Sveasoft's FAQ about charging $20 for GPL software and canceling accounts that are caught distributing the software: http://www.sveasoft.com/modules/phpBB2/viewtopic.p hp?t=1259 [sveasoft.com]

  • by Yeechang Lee (3429) <ylee@pobox.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2004 @12:54PM (#9305550) Homepage
    (I've also posted this to wrt54g@yahoogroups.com and alt.internet.wireless.)

    I've had a WRT54g v2 since February, and have tried several third-party firmware offerings over the past few months. I have a Comcast 3000/256 cable modem connection, and have been 100% Linux at home for almost nine years. Here's my quick impressions of each:
    • Sveasoft Samadhi2 - Certainly the most famous alternative. Unfortunately I could *never* get, after repeated tries on multiple occasions, to get either the static DNS or bandwidth management, two of the three primary reasons for using a third-party to work. Static DNS (having the router's DNS server proffer the static DHCP settings as internal IP addresses for machines on my network) works for about 15-30 seconds after a reboot but then suddenly stops. Bandwidth management has never, ever worked for me (and, yes, I'm aware of the bug in at least one Sveasoft version in which the upload and download values got swapped). And of course there's that ridiculous bug that corrupts static DHCP entries. I have no interest in paying Sveasoft for later firmware versions in which I presume these features actually work as advertised; without restarting the disputes on the subject, I am very dubious about the legalities of what James Ewing is doing with GPL code.
    • Enterprise WRT 0.2 beta1 - Based on the Sveasoft Samadhi2 source code and also integrating the NoCatSplash authentication portal, which I don't need. Same results as with Samadhi2 regarding (non)functionality of bandwidth management or static DNS and the static DHCP bug.
    • OpenWRT b4 - Got errors in the compilation process (not the make not being able to find two tarfiles; I downloaded those manually) so used a binary I found online. Promising, and the package system is quite elegant, but the the lack of substantial documentation and (more important) the lack of a bandwidth management package also made it a nonstarter.
    • Wifi-Box 2.00.8.1pre6-i - The firmware I use now. Static DHCP and static DNS work right and work well. SNMP support is useful. No bandwidth management, but then it doesn't promise it or anything else it can't deliver. Having the source code on SourceForge offers at least the promise of future improvements by someone, if not the incommunicado-at-present author.
  • Anyone know of firmware replacement sets for the WRV56G (the VPN and cuter looking version of the WRT).

    -psy
  • I want my idiot neighbor with the yappy little mop-dog and the ungreased pool pump suing me for outage time.

    Cringely's schemes always miss one critical fact: people don't get along that well unless they're already separated by miles.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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