FON or how to get a cheap Linksys WRT54G

fon

FON hit the news recently because it acquired some venture capital from Google and Skype. Its goal is to create a global network of access points run by home users. The users can either offer access for free or resell their bandwidth. The actual FON software is based on DD-WRT, a Linux based firmware for the Linksys WRT54G wireless router and others. DD-WRT features a captive portal, QoS, and many additional features. FON is selling 3,000 routers with their software pre-installed for 25USD/EUR plus shipping. This is a great way to pick up a WRT without paying Linksys’s Linux penalty and it comes with a great firmware already installed. Oh, unless you have broadband from a friendly company like Speakeasy, becoming a fonero is probably a violation of your “terms of service”.

Comments

  1. Nice! says:

    Nice! my friends always come over and steal my internet access, so i might buy this!:-)

  2. atomicjam says:

    It will be fantastic if this takes off, Imagine free wifi where ever you go in exchange for offering free wifi, I have more bandwidth than I need at home.

  3. brian says:

    i already signed up for mine…. one thing though

    can i use this router to extend the range of my apple airport express? or vice versa? to my knowledge, apple routers can only extend apple routers.

  4. yeah, the router supports WDS so it should work fine with the airport.

  5. it will be awsome if this does get up and running, i’ve signed up for my router, cant wait to set it up.

  6. jwstolk says:

    is the dead “Linux penalty” link part of the joke?

  7. fixed

    The WRT v5 runs VxWorks and can’t run Linux, but Linksys is still selling v4 routers… for $20 more than a v5

  8. Mike says:

    I just signed up for a router just hope the shipping isnt too exspensive as they do not say on the site

  9. deltaf says:

    The link isn’t dead, and isn’t a joke.

    As of v5, the wrt54g hardware has changed so that existing linux firmware (dd-wrt, openwrt, etc.) won’t work. To help “support” the linux folks that still want to use the old platform, there is now a wrt54gl (L for Linux) that will probably be harder to find and more expensive.

    Not only is it more expensive, but don’t expect the same rebate offers as the wrt54g..

    Cisco/Linksys should be given some credit for supporting the Linux community in this way. I can understand their motivation to lower hardware costs on such a popular product (they ARE a business..) However, I hope it that they use linux in the future and aren’t running to proprietary OSes to avoid having to deal with the hacker community.

  10. john says:

    this thing has one major disadvantage. if you allready own a wrt54g router and want to put their firmware on it, you’ll have to disable any kind of encrytion, which is a big no no for me. but nevertheless I ordered one of their router because the price is just to good. I might even set that one up just for the fon service if I feel like it.

  11. eric jeffers says:

    I just signed up for mine, ive been looking for a good way to get a cheap hackable router for my many projects.

  12. usergentoo says:

    ive been working with some friends to create somthing like a internal network with wifi that connect to each other across the state. We felt we were tired of the cost of the internet and started on own internal version.Some have their own web servers and share with many people and some have database servers dns servers and so on. And the nice point to it all if your within range of our netowrk you can connect for free none of us charge or use any type of advertising. What we would like to see is a setup that connects wifi from state to state so everyone can have free wifi type internet and try to get away from this governed type of crap.

    What would be nice is to setup a website to get as many people interested in this as we could. I have several gigs of space on several servers. And would be more then glad to give someone space to create a site or what ever they need.

    Instead of the internet we could have like internet3 where we control it and we have say so of whats on our systems and can give all this away for free. So everyone could enjoy.

  13. eric jeffers says:

    So is this commitent free, I mean, if i buy this router, do i have to use FON, or can i put my on FW on it and have noone be the wiser? If not, then i cant buy it because although I have fast Internet (9mbpsDwon, 1mbpsup) it is from COX and is heavily restricted.

  14. brian says:

    eric…. it seems you could buy it, then put another firmware on it (you can download the original from linksys) and itd be fine

  15. tiuk says:

    Can a Canadian get in on this?

  16. mbm says:

    According to http://en.fon.com/info/software-license.php, FON is based on OpenWrt’s WhiteRussian release, no mention of DD-WRT.

  17. tiuk says:

    I forgot to mention, I have a US shipping address and a US credit card.

  18. mofomojo says:

    Only US / Europe my ass.

    Why does Canada always get screwed?! This shit pisses me off.

  19. tuckie says:

    I’m not quite sure how they expect to get off the ground with most ISP’s making sharing your a violation of the TOS as mentioned (although I’m sure that it won’t stop a number of users). I’ll probably just get in on this to try out some more third party firmware. Does anyone know how that evil bastard firmware is doing? I’m really looking forward to that.

  20. akadruid says:

    I’ve signed up for this, I was looking for a wireless router anyway, $25 is about

  21. Mason says:

    Sweet! I am totally going to buy one of these.

  22. deltaf says:

    The local DSL provider doesn’t care if you provide public access as long as you don’t resell it. It’s good that fon lets you pick, though i’d prefer if it was 100% free.

  23. reid burke says:

    Has anyone gotten a reply from Fon about their router yet?

  24. tuckie says:

    maaaaaaaaaybe ;)

    “Congratulations! You are among one of the 3,000 first users to benefit from our 25$/. (VAT and delivering costs not included) special offer for a FON Ready router.

    In the next few days we will contact you to finalize the purchase. Welcome and thanks for joining the FON Community!

    FON Team”

  25. Spork says:

    It says if you don’t participate you have to return it… and that they’re putting your location on the FON map… Can I just have it mailed to the post office and pick it up, then flash it with the linksys firmware?

    Think they would figure it out?

    not that i don’t like the whole sharing thing.. its just that my router went out last week and im kinda short on cash.

  26. Al says:

    I would rather setup a couple of hotspots charging for access and then be able to pay for access at venues where I need it. Heck, who needs a hotspot in a residential area, unless you are in a block of flats. These guys are looking at building a reseller model for small entrepeneurs to become their own hotspot providers. http://www.skyrove.com. Check out their blog – the site is thin on detail – http://www.yeahfi.com. The Wi-Fi market is having a second wind! I wonder what Boingo makes of all this?

  27. Justin says:

    Wowwww… there’s currently a _whole five_ FON APs in Manhattan… that’s like, 500 feet of coverage at most…

    I don’t see this going _anywhere._ It’s not cheap enough to do, the average consumer won’t get the concept, security issues abound, and so forth.

    I’ll wait until Google ejaculates some free WiFi or WiMAX action all over my ‘burg, thanks. =)

  28. rak says:

    i tried and it seems to have some kind of website error: after i signed up and clicked the “check out” button it says my email isn’t in their database. My friend tried too and it didnt’ work for him either, does that mean they’re out or does it take a day to register your email (even though i’ve already clicked the confimation email)

  29. akadruid says:

    I got a reply through from fon today allowing me to do the checkout process. In total the router will cost you EUR50 including shipping to the UK and tax. That’s a lot more than I expected – I won’t be taking them up on that. For a couple of pounds more I can buy a brand new one with no restrictions, or I can get one from ebay for a lot less.

  30. Yeah, the US is getting a much better deal 25 + 8 shipping = $33

  31. Barbarian says:

    The older WRT54G(S) routers are getting hard to find, but I managed to find a WRT54GS Version 2.0 in a Wal-Mart. Was about the same cost as a WRT54GL, and had double the RAM and FlashROM to boot. All the major electronics stores have version 5 only.

  32. just wanted to say that i have the 5eur fon working with an airport express in a wds network. needs to switch channels once in a while, but it might just be due to some interference… anyway – it works – just to let you know :)

  33. br0kenb1nary says:

    Its now possible to hack the Linksys WRT54G Version 8 router. Check out http://brokenbinary.ca/broken/index.php?q=node/5 for the how to and all the files or DD-WRT.com

  34. Joey McCormick says:

    The brokenbinary.ca link is broken. The same guide can be found at http://jesseryan.me/?p=16

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