FON Or How To Get A Cheap Linksys WRT54G


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”.

34 thoughts on “FON Or How To Get A Cheap Linksys WRT54G

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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”

  9. 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.

  10. 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. Check out their blog – the site is thin on detail – The Wi-Fi market is having a second wind! I wonder what Boingo makes of all this?

  11. 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. =)

  12. 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)

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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