La Fonera Lab: Interesting Observartions

Asmodian X and I will be giving a talk on hacking the La Fonera and several other kinds of wireless routers at CCCKC's Opening Week festivities. Our talk will be Friday and that means that the usual 2600 meeting will be not at Oak Park Mall, but at the freshly opened hackerspace for March. KC 2600-goers, keep this in mind!

This evening, Asmo and I worked on a few things related to the Fon. One thing I tried: re-installing the OEM La Fonera firmware (0.7.1r1). I did this for a few reasons:

  • To document unlocking ssh
  • To document the process of enabling RedBoot
  • To let it run its auto-upgrade (which everyone warns you against, it fixes the bug allowing you to enable ssh/redboot!)
  • Maybe even document how to backgrade it to 0.7.1r1 (thus allowing you to unlock it even if it's got a newer version installed)
I figured once RedBoot's enabled, you will always have RedBoot access, and I'm right. That means that using the Un-Bricking Howto, you can backgrade easily, or install dd-wrt, OpenWrt or anything else that will run on the Fon.

Without RedBoot, you must set up an elaborate network that emulates Fon's firmware server and hands an old version off as an "upgrade", tricking the router into installing the old version. It's not really that hard, but you need a web server, a router and DNS server running on an Internet-isolated lab network.

I also figured out that once you enable SSH, you can let it run its firmware upgrades to the latest version and SSH still starts. You can still have the best of both worlds: An official La Fonera hot-spot, with shell access to tinker around. I may see if I can get Jasager working while retaining La Fonera's latest firmware. That'll come later, though.

For those of you in the KC area, check out CCCKC's Grand Opening schedule. Hopefully we'll see you out there!

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