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WiFi sharing service gains new Linux routers

Apr 22, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Fon, which claims to offer the world's largest WiFi sharing community, has updated its Linux-based Fonera WiFi router with updated firmware and a new USB port. Like the earlier Fonera routers, the Fonera 2.0 offers both private and shareable WiFi signals, says the company.

(Click for larger view of the Fonera 2.0)

Like the original Fonera, and the newer Fonera+, the Fonera 2.0 router offers a standard private WiFi signal, but then provides a smaller amount of bandwidth for public use that can be shared by fellow Fonera users, or “Foneros.” All Foneros can share each others' excess bandwidth for free, without monthly charges, and the routers can even be set up to share local and networked files with authenticated users, says Fon.


Fonera 2.0
(Click to enlarge)

“Aliens” who don't own a Fonera can purchase a Fon access pass, and Foneros can choose to earn 50 percent of revenues generated when an alien buys an access pass through their Fon hotspot. Fon calls those users who share their WiFi freely “Linus Foneros” while the ones who choose to make money are called, of course, “Bill Foneros.”

Like the Fonera+, the Fonera 2.0 measures 3.7 x 1.0 x 4.3 inches (93.5 x 25.5 x 110mm), excluding its detachable 1.5dBi antenna. The router provides 802.11b/g WiFi for up to 54 Mbps, as well as dual Ethernet ports, one for the broadband modem and one for the LAN.

The new USB port can connect fellow Foneros to file or print servers, or can hook up external webcams. Users can also attach a 3G USB modem dongle to take advantage of 3G connections, bridging WiFi and 3G networks. The Fonera router supports WEP 64bit/128 bit, WPA, WPA2 and WPA mixed authentication, and offers automatic security firmware updates, says Fon.

Fonera is billed as open-source software, and users are encouraged to customize their firmware and add new software. The Fon site provides resources for developers, and offers a long list of company-generated and third-party software add-ons, including various hotspot locators, status apps, and VPN tools.


Fonera 2.0 LEDs
(Click to enlarge)

New features in the Fonera 2.0 firmware are said to include:

  • Upload photos to Flickr, Picasa, and Facebook via USB automatically even when attached PC is shut down
  • Hard drive network sharing and backup menu
  • Enhanced torrent client that fixes crashes and offers choice of port for automatic opening within firewall
  • Enhanced 3G support
  • Enhanced file browser
  • Improved Dashboard design (see image below) that can now be browsed with Internet Explorer
  • More space for new applications
  • Multi-partition disks can be labeled
  • Static DHCP leases supported
  • Support for access by Nintendo DS
  • WiFi-WAN compatible with more access points


New Fonera dashboard
(Click to enlarge)

Supported primarily by British Telecom (BT), Fon has also received investments from Google and Skype. BT sells its own BT Home Hub wireless routers, which are also Fon-compatible. Fon claims to host over 800,000 members and 300,000 hotspots since its founding in 2006. This searchable BT/FON maps page shows all nearby BT/Fon and Fon hotspots.

Availability

The Fonera 2.0 went on sale on April 21 for a promotional price of 49 Euros ($63 US), and should be available in the USA, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan in May, says Fon. The earlier Fonera+ is available for $40, and the original Fonera is still available for $30. The Fon WiFi signal booster antenna, the Fontenna, costs $20.

More information on Fon and the Fonera 2.0 may be found here, and more on Fonera 2.0 may be found here.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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