Funding Global Domination Mk II "The Console"

roguemoko at roguemoko at
Fri Dec 12 02:51:51 CET 2008

(My apologies if this is a duplicate, I used a different sender address 
and it seems to have been greylisted or blocked or something)

Hey Stroller,

Stroller wrote:
 > On 10 Dec 2008, at 01:02, roguemoko at wrote:
 >> Stroller wrote:
 >>> For me, personally, a fully open-source ADSL router would be more
 >>> compelling. Whilst you can do just about anything you want with
 >>> iptables, most of us need a separate ADSL box of some sort [1]. Given
 >>> any arbitrary ADSL router I'm sure I could find something about it I
 >>> don't quite like, for some certain obscure configuration. The Wanadoo
 >>> Livebox has, for instance, a USB port, which would allow you to run a
 >>> print server on it or BitTorrent to an external hard-drive (like the
 >>> Asus WL-700gE). But you can't because it's bleedin' closed.
 >> Out of curiosity, what's the main benefit in having a hackable ADSL
 >> router? Outside of consolidating router and modem?
 > Consolidating router & modem is good enough for me.
 > :)
 > I don't want the extra box cluttering up my trendy designer apartment
 > *cough*.

~1"x4"x2" is hardly taking up a lot of space. One unit, two units, the
corner of my apartment wouldn't look discernably different either way.

 >> I've always bridged and considered an ADSL modem to be a transparent
 >> device whilst using OpenWRT on routers to perform all required
 >> networking and authentication.
 > I've never done that - it'll be the approach I take when I go ADSL2
 > (hopefully soon), but wasn't the obvious way to do things when I got
 > my last router (perhaps as much as 6 years ago, now).
 > I have to say, I don't entirely trust a cheap ADSL modem used in this
 > way. I kinda feel that it adds another level of potential confusion &
 > troubleshooting for me, as an administrator. There's a problem with
 > incoming packets being dropped - is it in the modem or the router? And
 > the ADSL router must, as things stand, be closed source.
 > I certainly see this as "flawed" compared to having the one device
 > doing the whole job. And from a hardware point of view you're doubling
 > everything in having separate ethernet router & ADSL "modem" - I put
 > the last in quotes because all the external ethernet ADSL modems I've
 > seen contain enough hardware to do routing, they just have a crippled
 > firmware.

I agree for the most part and I'd definitely be happy to see an ADSL
modem that _is_ open. From experience, even the cheapest modems have
performed almost flawlessy when bridged. What problems I've encountered
have nearly always been telco related. I admit that access to the modem
at a lower level may enable me to diagnose this properly or harvest more
detailed statistics but as it stands, aliasing a static IP on the wan
interface to allow me to ssh and map the web management interface port
locally does all I need, including rebooting the modem and/or router.

Another 'from experience', a lot of ADSL/wireless/router combo units
have been prone to heat issues due to the number of heat generating
components. Although strapping a fan to the top has fixed the problem,
I've avoided them as much as possible since. This may not be as much of
a concern now with current offerings.

 >> Now if Openmoko were to create an OpenWRT compatible router with
 >> stupid
 >> amounts of storage space, awesome wireless range, a screaming CPU ...
 > I'm not an expert on home ethernet routers - from my naive point of
 > view there's little very new about that.

OK, well ... from the home router consumer perspective, there'd be
little benefit. But when you're knocking up wirless hotspots and
multi-site VPNs, obtaining a consistent unit from a supplier can be a
pain. Currently units vary greatly betwen models and even minor
revisions. It's not uncommon to have to break warranty on day one by
flashing the firmware or replacing the wireless module with something
more linux appropriate. Without building your own, this is unavoidable.

 >> ... currently consumer routers
 >> (I use the Asus WL-500GP and WL-500W) are less than optimal, but do
 >> the
 >> job.
 > Out of curiosity, could you give me a quick run-down of their failings?

Warranty for intended use is the main one. Storage space would be
second, with CPU speed coming third. Ideally, hardware that is based
more around supported linux drivers would be good.

Storage space quickly runs low when the maximum out there tends to be
32MB. I have a habit of using things that require quite a few libraries.
tcpdump, nmap, openvpn and various other facilities. If you expand on
that with asterix, transparent proxying, qos, smb redirection, blah blah
... then an external drives becomes mandatory.

With all that processing (specifically asterix), a faster CPU would be
useful, the WRTs tend to handle 4 simultaneous calls OK.

Currently I tend to stick with ASUS, the wl-500w with three antenna
seems to deliver at this point. I still have to switch out the broadcom
module for an athereos one however (2.6 kernel related more so), if I
want to be able to do site surveying and have reliable wireless.

This is just what I have dealt with (off the top of my head). I'm sure 
there is more that could be detailed outside of my experience.


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