Fon’s firmware has been the subject of controversy. While receiving praise for it’s “plug-and-play” simplicity, Fon has eliminated features required by many ISPs, and needed by potential wifi users. Fon has also declared a ”Fonero Promise” in effect, forbidding any modification of the firmware. What can we Foneros do to make the Fon System more attractive to the wifi community?
The FreeWLAN Community is an innovative group of hosted projects working to enhance the abilities of Fon’s La Fonera line of routers. They maintain both English and German discussion boards, an online wiki and bugtracker. This is quite a professional operation for a group of volunteers!
FreeWLAN operates in a grey area around Fon’s covenant by adding firmware as plugins, rather than modifying existing code. Additional features show up as new pages in the router’s onboard administration. Fon’s code is not cracked, and their system of authentication and client management is not circumvented.
Let’s welcome the new release of FreeWLAN v0.9.0 today, which includes the following new abilities (copied from their press release):
- Bandwidth limiting
- Bridging Ethernetport to private WiFi
- Connection to the web via WLAN (Pseudo-WDS) –> QRM (Quasi Repeater Mode) with detailed settings
- Family- & Friends-Accounts
- Fonero-Status of connected guests
- Hostname editable
- Mail service
- MyPlace works in QRM => three (!) WiFis
- Private WiFi’s SSID hideable
- Static DHCP (binding IP to MAC)
- UAM-Allowed editable
- WiFi-Scan in QRM => Display on status page
In addition, the Help System and Speed Information have been updated.
Installation is as simple as changing your DNS server and SSID settings, rebooting your La Fonera router, and watching it update itself!
These folks appear to nurture the kind of creative spirit which a grass-roots startup like Fon needs in order to have a competitive edge. Attention Fon: hire these guys before someone else does!
Click the picture below for FreeWLAN’s web demo: