More Novatel MiFi Hacking: Exceeding the 5 connection limit

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Novatel MiFi 2372After testing several different methods, I finally managed to get around the 5-client restriction on the Novatel MiFi 2372 I recently purchased from Amazon.

First, some background information:

The Novatel 2372 I purchased had “some minor issues“, and I was looking for a way to get at the firmware, or updated versions of the firmware, so I could address and hopefully fix these. I was more than happy to start rolling my own firmware, to put onto the device if necessary.

If you search the Interweb, there are hundreds of posts, blogs and webpages out there on how to tweak the MiFi device by making changes to the exported config.xml file and re-import it. Some of these work, some (even after making the changes), do not. One of them is the hard-coded limit on incoming device (client) connections on the MiFi itself… this is hard-locked at 5 connections, no matter how you modify the config.xml to support more.

You can however, update the number of DHCP addresses the DHCP server on the MiFi will give out, just not the number of incoming connections to the MiFi.

But I figured out a better way to solve this in a very clean and elegant way. Unfortunately, it involves a second router… but one with a LOT more functionality. This can probably be reproduced by a smaller router, but I used what I already had in my personal lab to create this working proof of concept.

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Linksys is still stuck in 1997

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One post in a series about De-Evolving Technology Products.

I’m not sure why, in 2007, we have technology companies producing products that do NOT have a dual-switching power supply with their hardware. Case in point, the Linksys WRT54GX2

Linksys WRT54GX2

This lovely piece of hardware has never powered up for me since I purchased it. The PSU that they ship with it, only works on 120v, and failed to function when I used it in Australia when plugged into my inverter and voltage converters. Everything else I had with me worked flawlessly, except this device.

Examining the PSU case closely, I noticed that it only supports 120v~ 60Hz 220mA.

Is this 2007? Or 1997? The cost difference between a 120v only supply and a dual-switching supply is about 0.03 cents. Why would they scrimp on this, for mere pennies? Very frustrating, and left me without a wireless bridge for my colleagues while I was stuck in a hotel without any Internet access (well, they had Internet access, but it was $2.00 AUD/15 minutes).

I’m going to try to find a replacement PSU for this, and hope that I don’t have to send it back to Linksys for warrantee replacement. The part number is T481210RO3CT from a company called “Leader Electronics, Inc.” (Taiwan, of course)

Linksys Quality Control

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Urgent telegram.                 <stop>
Regarding Linksys BEFW11S4 v4.   <stop>
Do not purchase this device.     <stop>
Major firmware and chipset bugs. <stop>
Return to vendor immediately.    <stop>

I bought this Linksys BEFW11S4 v4 router/WAP to hopefully replace some of my aging Luent wireless and network gear here on the network, and what a wonderful experience this has been. I also picked up the WSB24 signal booster for the 802.11 bits, because I wanted to go through some of these thicker walls. I’m also working out a plan for a Monster Cantenna that I’m building (Yes, that’s my arm).

Apparently there isn’t a single person who owns a v4 of this device who can keep a stable connection longer than 30 minutes. v1-v3 work fine, but v4 is a horrible mess of broken chipsets and firmware. Read here and here for the hundreds of users who have reported this issue. Linksys is curiously silent, and their technical support continues to blame MTU settings, Windows (even though I’m on Linux and FreeBSD), the cable modem, DSL providers, and the direction of the wind blowing.

I’m pretty close to giving up on the device, and shipping it back to the vendor I purchased it from online. I’ll barcode it off and RMA it, and let them deal with it. The Netgear MR814 is looking like a nice replacement for it.

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