So, WRT54G V5 is here.

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by Anonymous, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Obviously everyone is unhappy. Still, someone must be hacking at this thing - right? It's just another OS.
    All I really would like to do is be able to adjust txpower (in my case - down, so the signal would not go too far outside my home). Anyone out there?
  2. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    The flash is too small for anything other than VxWorks.

    I wrote an appropriate customer review on Amazon.
  3. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I understand the part about flash. However, previous versions could be configured (through some hackery of breaking into the shell of course) even with factory firmware - just using utilities on them (that is especially true about transmitter settings). It just seems that the outcry about new firmware, as justified as it is, turned out to be counterproductive. VXworks is just a system - not some sort of magic.
  4. jgutz20

    jgutz20 Network Guru Member

    choose a higher channel, wider wavelength shouldnt go as far, not going to change drastically but its a start
  5. NateHoy

    NateHoy Network Guru Member

    Linux is a known-quantity open source product. "hackery" is committed on the old units by downloading the source code that Linksys has provided, modifying it to suit new uses, recompiling it on busybox, and uploading the resulting code.

    Changing stuff requires "root" access to the box. To change stuff on the old Linux routers, you have to completely reload the operating system with a new variant that accepts the changes.

    The new routers (GS and G V5) are based on a closed-source proprietary operating system. No one has source code except the authors (VxWorks), and no one knows exactly how it works without massive reverse engineering into workable code. That's several orders of magnitude harder than the old way, and all to hack into a router that has less memory, which means less ability to customize and do interesting things. It's a matter of the target being too hard, and not worth the effort. Like breaking into a vault to steal a $5 bill when there's a $1000 bill on the sidewalk out in front of the bank with a sign that says "FREE".

    The old units invited and even encouraged aftermarket modifications. The new ones discourage it to the point of near impossibility.

    How many people who use Windows write their own security patches? You can't, without reverse engineering everything surrounding what you are trying to fix. And it's not worth the effort if you have that level of skill, because you could go to Linux more easily.

    If you COULD "break into" the operating system of either the old or new Linksys units without an "invitation", they wouldn't be very secure, now would they? ;)
  6. NateHoy

    NateHoy Network Guru Member

    Build yourself an antenna like the ones found on and just adjust the direction of the antenna to point down toward the ground and only allow leakage (signal) in areas where you want it. Basically, you can put it in one corner of the house and use one of those antennas to "bounce" the signal into the house.

    Alternatively, you can line the wall next to it with aluminum foil to partly baffle the signal, or for the ultimate in security, put it in your basement and get aluminum siding (that works great for me, though I really don't want it to). ;)

    I did think that the default firmware on the WRT54G had an "antenna power" option under Advanced Wireless Settings, but I'm not sure if that was carried over into the V5 series. You might want to double check that screen just in case.
  7. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    Even the very beginning hacks on WRTR54G took advantage of the well-known OS called Linux.

    For example the early "ping hack". There was a GUI page where you could put in an IP address to be pinged. However this box would take commands as well, so you could run traditional unix commands and poke around, even modify things. Something as simple as /bin/ls to see what programs are present for you to work with.

    Here's a reference:

    Now, what are the VxWorks commands so we can even begin looking around? Please feel free to research this and let us know. There are a million amateur Linux hackers very familiar with it, didn't take very long to see it was Linux and find ways in. How many VxWorks hackers do you know?

    Once we do get into real modifications, what license are we going to be in violation of if we go around distributing ways to modify closed-source code?

    No thanks!

    I doubt this would have come up for us, if Linksys hadn't been bought out. Cisco uses VxWorks on some of their own access point products, my guess is there was management pressure to switch quietly. Otherwise what is motivation to switch? Shrinking flash from 4M to 2M is a very miniscule cost-saving, the hardware gets cheaper faster than you can save a fraction of a penny on flash. The costs of licensing an OS and switching over to it have to be significant. I just don't buy the "we did it to save a buck on hardware" argument.
  8. jgutz20

    jgutz20 Network Guru Member

    Granted i have a 3rd party firmware and have adjusted the TX power, i have the Linksys 7dbi antenna (those of you who made their own probably think these suck) but it was more than enough to have a solid signal throughout my house which is bigger than your average house. Im not sure how much difference it made over the 4 but hey, im happy and thats all that matters. :D
  9. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    But back to original posters question, perhaps you are the one who should lead this charge. Email Cisco and VxWorks, and start a movement. :)
  10. pyorama1

    pyorama1 Guest

    Linksys used to be cool. After WRV54G (with broken quickVPN) and new WRT54G (selling shit with old brand) I have banned Linksys.
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