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Fonera Router
hardware : by Tommy - April 12th 2007, 11:20PM
hardware
A while back, in the Forums, I made a post about getting a free Fonera router from Fon. There's been considerable buzz about these little routers and how quite a few people have been able to hack them.

Normally, the Fonera will be hooked up to provide a private wireless network for the owner and an open, albeit throttled, free wireless connection for those on the Fon wireless network. (The idea is to blanket the world with wireless - good idea, in theory. More about Fon on wikipedia.)

Early on Fon was dishing out modified Linksys WRT54G routers, but it was overkill for their intended purpose. Then came the Fonera, which is a tiny little one-port, one antenna router. Its like a travel size router and the antenna is about half the height of my WRT54G. The router's software tells it to "phone home" once it's found an internet connection to update any software. It also registers itself as part of the active Fon network. After grabbing the newest flash it becomes a bit more tricky to mod. ...I made sure not to plug mine in.

I found quite a few HOW-TOs, but some seemed to be dated or aimed at older firmwares. I received a rev 4 model. The mods include adding another antenna to doubling the internal ram from 16Mb to 32Mb (too much work). Both were a bit more than I cared to bother with. Instead I chose to install DD-WRT on the little box to match my other WRT54G.

The first step was to enable SSH access. This was done by way of this HOWTO.
Next, I needed to grab the DD-WRT files compressed for the Fonera's slim 16Mb, as well as a forged bootloader signature. I found all of this info at this other great tutorial. I followed the instructions word for word and it worked flawlessly. (No he didn't make any typos.)

I spent a while lurking alot of HOWTOs, but these two seemed to capture all of what I needed. It didn't take me long to enable SSH. Maybe about 20minutes from setting up a switch apart from my existing network, to logging into the shell and enabling the SSH daemon permanently. Flashing with DD-WRT took a little longer, but a bit of that is spent waiting as the little processor loads the new filesystem into memory. A great project to embark on if you have a Fonera and don't know what to do with it.
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