Live in the US and are looking for a new router? Don't buy TP-Link

Subject: General Tech | March 14, 2016 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: tp-link, dd-wrt

The US FCC backed off on preventing users from flashing the firmware on their routers, as long as they do not operate outside authorized radio frequency band, not that this had anything to do with why users wanted to flash to DD-WRT.  This has not stopped TP-Link from doing so, as of now they will not sell routers which allow a user to install customized firmware.  Assumedly this is a CYA move to ensure that they cannot be sued if someone does change the frequency limits, output power, country codes or other banned modifications but is more likely to cause a decline in their sales.  The Register has more on the decision from the FC and TP-Link here.

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"In a brief statement and FAQ published this week, TP-Link – which is based in Shenzhen, China – said the FCC's revised rules on radio-based equipment makes user reprogrammable firmware illegal in America, and therefore it cannot sell in the US routers that can be re-flashed by their owners."

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Source: The Register

Now they are coming for your dd-wrt

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2015 - 04:48 PM |
Tagged: wireless router, idiots, dd-wrt

In the next installment of poorly planned out moves by a US government agency attempting to solve a problem that does not exist, we shall see an attempt to make illegal the modification of the firmware on any device which contains an radio.  This is likely to prevent you from using open source software to modify your wireless router into a death ray which will allow you to take over the planet. 

Specifically, it will make illegal the modification of any device which can broadcast on U-NII bands which happen to include the 5GHz bandwidth that WiFi broadcasts on.  While most firmware changes, such as dd-wrt only change the processor the routers are SoC's which means that the radio is technically a part of the same device as what you modify when applying custom firmware.  Hack a Day has links to the FCC proposal, you might want to consider emailing your congress critters about it.

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"Because of the economics of cheap routers, nearly every router is designed around a System on Chip – a CPU and radio in a single package. Banning the modification of one inevitably bans the modification of the other, and eliminates the possibility of installing proven Open Source firmware on any device."

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Source: Hack a Day

Time to give OpenWRT a shot?

Subject: General Tech | May 19, 2015 - 01:09 PM |
Tagged: dd-wrt, openwrt, linux, linksys, WRT1900AC

Regular listeners to the PCPer Podcast should be aware of the DD-WRT project to root and take control over your router as we have mentioned it multiples of times, along with a related project called OpenWrt.  If you have not looked into the process of how to flash up a router with one or the other of these new OSes/firmware packages then this article at Linux.com is something you should take a look at. They walk you through the steps of taking over a Linksys WRT1900AC router, from straight out of the box to final configuration.  They also give you a look at the advantages running a router on OpenWrt gives you and ideas for taking it further.  Check it out right here.

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"The Linksys WRT1900AC is a top-end modern router that gets even sweeter when you unleash Linux on it and install OpenWrt. OpenWrt includes the opkg package management system giving you easy access to a great deal of additional open source software to use on your router."

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Source: Linux.com

Roll your own Linux firewall with fwbuilder

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2011 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: firewall, router, linux, dd-wrt

You may have heard mention of DD-WRT on the PC Perspective Podcast, which enables you to flash a compatible router into a Linux based firewall with significanly more capabilities than it originally had.  There is another tool out available call Fwbuilder which lets you make a PC running Linux into a powerfull firewall with an easyto use graphical interface for those not up on their VIM skills.  Drop by Linux.com for a look.

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"Fwbuilder is a unique graphical firewall tool that allows the user to create objects and then drag and drop those objects into firewalls, to build a powerful security system for a single PC or a network of PCs. Fwbuilder supports a wide range of firewalls (Cisco ASA/PIX, Linux iptables, FreeBSD's ipfilter, OpenBSD's pf, and more), so its rules can be deployed on multiple platforms. Let's take a look at using Fwbuilder on Linux, which might just become a life-long affair with a powerful security system."

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Source: Linux.com