Friday, April 8, 2011

I've resurrected my router!

A long time ago (December 2005 actually) I was fed up with my wireless router's crappy performance. I had a Microsoft MN-700. I later found out it was pretty much an Asus router with Microsoft plastic and firmware, and that the firmware was just terrible.

I stumbled upon this guide to replacing the router's firmware with an open-source Linux-based firmware, and got to work. In fact, I think this was one of my first excuses for installing Linux. The router came preloaded with a bootloader that wouldn't accept the firmware I wanted to install, so I had to flash a new bootloader through a JTAG connection.

I later learned that this JTAG wire was too long and was causing flash errors.

Flashing the bootloader, in Windows 2000!

New shorter JTAG cable.

After a couple tries, I couldn't get a successful flash. And with each try taking hours, it didn't seem worth it to keep trying. After all, I had no idea what I could have been doing wrong.

I recently read another guide on it, this one claiming it takes several tries to get a successful flash. I thought, why not try again? The router and JTAG cable had been sitting under a bed ever since, being useless. I needed Windows XP apparently, and didn't have it on my computer, so I actually resurrected an old PC with a capacitor replacement and new psu (the one from this post) for the flash. It went through on the first try. I couldn't believe it.

I have another router now though, so I have no idea what I'm gonna do with this one. It's not worth it to sell, new G routers are like $30. If it had a USB port (to act as a print server) I could turn it into a wifi radio, which I really want to do, but it doesn't (although the datasheet for the Broadcom 4710 says it does...).
I'll think of something.

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