Saturday, August 30, 2008

FON’s partnership with Sony PSP is good?

Well it looks like Martin is at it again. After a negative response from the whole partnership (well at least on the English Fon Boards, I imagine there were many more responses), it seems like Martin had to comment on the situation and reassure foneros that this was the right move. Read the topic on the Fon boards, its pretty good reading.

Following last week’s announcement of FON’s partnership with Sony PSP we received a few negative comments from Foneros wondering why we would give PSP users access to FON’s network, even if they don’t share their connections like Foneros do. The reason is simple: this partnership helps us grow the network and promote FON, which ultimately is extremely positive for Foneros.

How does Sony PSP help FON? Simple, Sony is marketing FON to over 10 million PSP users. They find out about FON, understand how practical it is for them, learn how to enjoy it, and join FON. Sony is telling them what we already know: that FON is good. Sony will promote La Fonera and encourage PSP users to buy one to get full access to FON Spots. The announcement has already shown significant impact on Fonera sales in Japan, and it has been only a week.

PSP owners who will connect to FON Spots thanks to this partnership won’t have full access to the Internet nor will they be able to play online games, unless they become Foneros. With this deal they can only access the official PSP site and download custom themes, wallpapers, special characters only available at FON Spots (this only accounts for extremely minimal traffic). What a PSP owner wants to do online is to play online games, and for that he will need to buy a Fonera and share his Internet connection as any other Fonero.

The majority of the Foneros understand that this is great and we haven’t received a single complaint from our fellow Japaneses Foneros, quite the opposite. So far this agreement is only for Japan, but we’re working to extend it to other countries. It helps growing the network of FON Spots and we are sure that the success of the deal in terms of FON exposure, new Foneros and new FON Spots will be replicated in every country.

My Blog Post - "PSP® and FON collaboration"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fon Tips and Tricks Part 3: Making a Parabolic Reflector

In effort to improve the La Fonera signal distance, without having to pop the extra cash for a new antenna (or the overrated La Fontenna), you can make a Parabolic reflector to make the standard La Fonera antenna into a directional antenna.

There are tons of information on this all over the internet. I have tried making a couple of them myself, but really could not test it at long distances (so I really can't tell how it worked). On the other hand this idea is all over the internet and many people have had great success with it. So O encourage you to google the idea and try it for yourself.

Kyros Parabolic Reflector

Fon Boards - "La Fonera signal distance?" - windsurfer

El Fon Blog - "Wifi Reflections [1 EDIT]"

TechAnvil - Building A Parabolic WiFi Booster

TechAnvil's design for a Parabolic WiFi reflector

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Canadian research involving Fon and Meraki

A recent study by Canadian researchers brought up some good points about Fon and its competitor Meraki.
El Fon Blog: "A Case Study of Fon and Meraki"

"Is it Good to Share" By Catherine Middleton and Amelia Bryne Potter

Friday, August 22, 2008

PSP® and FON collaboration

Seems Fon and Sony got together and once again came up with an idea that only impacts people in Japan (more countries later??). Anyway, now PSP users (in Japan) :

"can access PSP® Internet Browser Official Site from FON’s wireless LAN access points (hereafter FON Spots). With this PSP®×FON collaboration, PSP users are able to easily access and enjoy videos, wallpapers and custom themes of PSP software as well as videos for PLAYSTATION ®3 from over 44,000 FON Spots in Japan and over 2,200 FON livedoor Spots, which primarily cover central Tokyo."

I also found some other interesting stuff as well:

"Finally, from August 23rd, the service launch date of PSP®×FON, we will begin sales of FON’s wireless routers “La Fonera” and “La Fonera+” in PC equipment section and game device section of some of Japan’s biggest retail stores including BIC Camera and Yodobashi Camera."

"FON Members Access Points
Global: 1,002,552 members and 292,131 APs
Japan: 84,389 members and 44,661 APs as of August 15, 2008)"

The idea seems useless to me, but this somehow doesn't surprise me. Happy reading!

Martin's Blog: "FON partners with Sony PSP in Japan"

Fon Blog: "FON and PSP® “Play Station Portable” Collaboration"

Fon Boards: "PSPxFON"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

GigaOm will sell 1 billion WiFi chips this year

Once again Martin is posting useless stuff and for some reason is comparing WiFi to 3G. Go ahead and skip reading his blog post and read the article originally published by

"When we started Fon, back in 2006, 200 million WiFi chips were sold. This year according to GigaOm it will be 1 billion. This is a simple reminder that when critics say that 3G will kill WiFi they are just wrong. If anything 3G makes people even more interested in getting data which then operators want to offload to WiFi. The iPhone is a case in point. Why is it that when you buy songs from the iTunes store you can only do it over WiFi and not over 3G even in the 3G iPhone? The paradox of mobile carries is that they want you to pay for expensive data plans but then….use WiFi." "VCs Hope to See Wi-Fi Everywhere"

Martin Var's Blog: "1 billion WiFi chips"

Fon Boards: "Thoughts on 1-billion-wifi-chips from martinvarsblog"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Joikusoft and FON unveil Wi-Fi HotSpot software for Mobile Phones

A recent article on the Fon blog "Joikusoft and FON unveil Wi-Fi HotSpot software for Mobile Phones."

Looks like now fon can go mobile. JoikuSpot turns your cell phone into a mobile hotspot. The idea sounds good, but in reality it's going to suck. Just imagine, a poor alien logs into this mobile hotspot and purchases a pass. Then the owner of this mobile hotspot leaves. You have a couple options. Find this person and follow them just to get the internet, find another fon spot (if your lucky), or just sit there because you just lost $3. Although Fon's ideas of giving La Foneras to the homeless (see links at end of post) to help them make money might actually come true. Granted the homeless person can afford this. Sounds like one of those TV shows, "From Rags to Riches, How Fon saved my life." I guess we will have to wait and see when this comes out.

El Fon blog also commented on the partnership as well.

From The English Fon Blog:

Joikusoft and FON unveil Wi-Fi HotSpot software for Mobile Phones

Joikusoft, the mobile software development house, maker of the mobile Wi-Fi HotSpot software JoikuSpot, announces a collaboration with FON, the world's largest WiFi community. FON and Joikusoft are releasing an exclusive version of Joikusoft's mobile hotspot solution, named FonSpot. FonSpot turns a mobile phone into a Wi-Fi HotSpot, enabling any laptop, iPod Touch, internet tablet or other Wi-Fi device to connect to the Internet using any compatible mobile phone as a secure high speed Internet gateway. FonSpot with Wi-Fi will effectively replace Bluetooth, cable and USB dongles to access the Internet using mobile phones and 3G connectivity. The FonSpot is a fully secure mobile internet HotSpot solution, and makes use of the maximum security offered by the underlying Symbian OS platform. The users have full control over who will be able to access their FonSpot's wireless internet connection.

FonSpot is an exclusive offering for members of the FON community. Foneros will be able to share their mobile Internet connection with up to 5 friends, who can connect to their FonSpot. It will be made commercially available for Foneros during 3Q 2008. According to the Joikusoft Chairman and Founder Mr. Tom Ojala "FON is a perfect companion to roll out wireless Wi-Fi access in mobile phones as FON already has an established user base of hundreds of thousands of physical FON Wi-Fi base-stations. FON users will now enjoy even broader access to internet wherever they are, literally carrying internet in their pocket."

Alexander Puregger, FON's Director of Business Development, states, "FON is very glad to work with Joikusoft as the company is proving to be an innovative contributor to the proliferation of Wi-Fi. And FON is all about WiFi everywhere!”

About Joikusoft
Joikusoft is a software development house focusing on mobile innovation. The Joiku mission is to liberate mobile internet with mobile Wi-Fi HotSpots. Joikusoft has developed a mobile Wi-Fi HotSpot software client called JoikuSpot for S60 Smartphones. User base of JoikuSpot exceeded 300.000 in June 2008 and grows exponentially. Joikusoft was the first in the world to roll out a mobile Wi-Fi HotSpot solution in February 2008 at 3GSM Barcelona. Joikusoft is a privately held company, founded in 2007 in Finland and has headquarters in Garden City, Espoo, Finland.
Visit for more information.

About FON
FON is the world's largest WiFi community. FON's mission is to stimulate the growth of WiFi around the world by creating a global community of "Foneros". FON's La Fonera routers have been designed to enable Foneros to share their home Internet access in a completely secure manner. Founded in February 2006 in Madrid, Spain, FON investors include Google, Skype, Index Ventures, Sequoia Capital and British Telecom. Currently FON has over 250.000 hotspots worldwide and more than 900,000 registered members in Europe, Asia and America.
For more information, visit FON at

Links from Martin's blog:

Friday, August 1, 2008

Hacking La Fonera Part 1: DD-WRT



I know that this is totally against what My Fon Blog is all about, but I think it is important to take the time and try to understand why the hacker community loves Fon (and their cheap routers). Yes, I'll will admit it, one of my Foneras is running DD-WRT and I don't regret doing it. I now understand why people do it. The whole process is very simple and once everything is done, you will realize the power that DD-WRT has and how crappy Fon's firmware really is. Sometime later I will make a post on how to put the Fon firmware back onto the router, and maybe some other stuff as well. We'll just have to wait and see. Have Fon! (Yes, I was trying to make a joke.)


(Below is a is a copy and paste from UselessHacks (with a few minor changes), They are the ones who created this guide and deserve full credit. I am merely distributing this guide to help people out. Oh yeah, here's another tip, disable any firewall or security suite you have installed on your computer. Some stuff won't work with it running.)

FON Router Hacking Guide

Note: This guide has been updated as of Aug 8, 2008 to reflect the new flashing procedures related to DD-WRT v24 SP1.

The following is a guide to flashing the Fonera Access Point, into a mini-router (albeit with only one ethernet jack) running the excellent, open-source DD-WRT firmware. This provides many useful features, such as turning the router into a wireless repeater, or even an ethernet to wireless bridge.


Download the latest version of the following items (I recommend saving them all into a special folder on your desktop for convenience):


HTTP File Server (HFS)

Tftpd32 (Extract the Tftpd32 zip file to your special folder)
DD-WRT Fonera Firmware-> Atheros WiSoc-> Fonera

(Download linux.bin for v24-sp1, root.fs and vmlinux.bin.l7 for pre-RC7)




It’s important to download everything you need before you get started, because you will not have internet access throughout this tutorial. All of the programs listed are installer free, meaning that at the end of this tutorial, you just have to throw everything in the trash. No messy uninstalls, no shortcuts all over the place.

If you have already enabled SSH access on your router, please skip to Flashing the Firmware.

Connecting La Fonera

Plug the Fonera into the power, and into the LAN port on your computer.

In Windows, disable all other network connections besides the one connected to the Fonera. You’ll need to set the following settings in the LAN ports properties. Disable all firewalls, or at least make sure that port 22, 23, and 9000 are open.


Subnet: (System will fill it in for you)
Default Gateway:


Once all three leds are blinking (1-2 minutes), you should be able to open a browser, type and see the Router Status. If not, wait a little while longer. If you are still not getting anything, re-check your settings.

The first time you log into the router, you will need to supply the following:

Username: root

Password: admin

If the firmware version is 0.7.1 r1 or lower, please skip to Enabling SSH.

If you have version 0.7.1 r2, you will fall in two categories:

1. Your router shipped with a previous firmware, and you let it update itself from FON’s servers. You will need to downgrade before continuing with this guide.


  • After the Fonera has been on for a couple minutes, push the reset button on the bottom, and hold it in for several seconds (30-45 secs is fine). Wait for it to finish rebooting (1-2 minutes), then check again to see wh at f irmwa re version you have.
  • If it’s now at or below 0.7.1 r1, then you may move to the next step, Enabling SSH.

2. Your router shipped with 0.7.1r2 installed. You will need to do the Kolofonium Hack, then when you come back here, you will start at Enabling RedBoot.

This works on the newest firmware:

1. Hold reset button for 30 seconds
2. Remove the power connector while still holding reset.
3. Replace power connector and continue holding reset button until “wifi” lights up and goes away again (a good 2-3 minutes of holding it).

4. Let go and wait for “wifi” to come back (2-3 minutes).

  • Supposedly, you will now be able to follow the rest of this guide without troubles. I will need to verify this, but for now, I am all out of routers. Feel free to give it a shot.

Enabling SSH

Now open the SSHEnable.htm (that you downloaded earlier), hit submit.

Enabling RedBoot

Now open HFS. The first time you open it, a prompt will ask you if you want to include HFS in your context menu. I chose “No”. Now, right click on the little house icon, and select “Add Files…”, and add openwrt-ar531x-2.4-vmlinux-CAMICIA.lzma and out.hex.

Now, open Putty and SSH into, click “Open”:

If this is your first time SSH’ing into the router, you will be faced with the following dialog prompt. Despite how serious it sounds, never fear, just click “Yes.”

Login using:

Username: root

Password: admin

As you type in the password, nothing will appear to happen, but continue typing anyways, and then hit enter.

I’ll also share with you a huge time saver. In order to copy from this tutorial the commands and paste them into the SSH terminal, first highlight what you want to copy (make sure not to include any extra spaces), right click the highlighted text and hit copy. Then right click your SSH window. This will automatically insert whatever you highlighted into where the green cursor is located.

Once logged in, execute the following command:

mv /etc/init.d/dropbear /etc/init.d/S50dropbear

This enables SSH permanently so that if you need to reset the router, you won’t need to run SSHEnable.htm again. If you have done this step before, it will return an error, and you can just continue on with the guide.

For the following, after every line, hit enter and wait for it return to a prompt again:

cd /tmp
mtd -e vmlinux.bin.l7 write openwrt-ar531x-2.4-vmlinux-CAMICIA.lzma vmlinux.bin.l7

Now a prompt should pop up saying “Server unexpectedly closed network connection”; Just hit “OK”. The Fonera will now be restarting and will take 1-2 minutes (all three lights will be on). If you are impatient, you can do the following:

Unplug the Fonera from the power. Open up a command prompt in Windows (Start->Run->”cmd”), and type the following line:
ping -t
Plug the Fonera back into the power. Whenever you start to see “Reply from…”, you can move on to the following step.

Right click on title bar of Putty and hit “Restart Session.” You will now need to login again.

Username: root

Password: admin

For the following, after every line, hit enter and wait for it return to a prompt again:

cd /tmp

mtd -e "RedBoot config" write out.hex "RedBoot config"


Click “OK” on the unexpected connection close box.

Congratulations, you have now enabled RedBoot, which will allow us access to the bootloader. There we can flash the firmware to DD-WRT.

You can now exit the HFS program if you want.

Flashing the Firmware

Change the IP to, subnet

You should not need to change the gateway or DNS servers, but you can if you want (i.e. if you are having an error). They will need to be changed back in the last step if you decide to change them here.

Now open Tftpd32:

Make sure that linux.bin (Note: root.fs and vmlinux.bin.l7 for pre-RC7) is in the same folder as the Tftpd32 program (or in the folder that is listed in “Current Directory” in Tftpd32).

Now, we can use Putty again for Telneting to the Fonera, or you can use whatever other program you have available. Right-click title bar of Putty, select “New Session.” Make sure to select the Telnet button in Putty, IP to, and then change the port to 9000. Its best to do it in that order, since Putty automatically changes the port number to 23 whenever you click the Telnet button.

If you are having trouble knowing when to start the Telnet connection, open up a command prompt in Windows (Start->Run->”cmd”), and type the following line:
ping -t
Whenever you start to see “Reply from…”, then hit connect in the Telnet client.

Once you’re connected, enter the following commands. After each line, hit enter. The “fis” commands will take a long time (up to 10 minutes), but it will return to a “RedBoot>” prompt whenever it is ready to continue (refer to the second picture for how it will look). I got impatient and entered the next lines before the prompt appeared, and I ended up having to restart the whole process.

For the newer releases after RC7,

there is a new flashing procedure, as follows:

ip_address -l -h

fis init

Type “y”, and hit enter.

load -r -b 0x80041000 linux.bin
fis create linux

Do not reboot yet. Boot script needs to be modified.

RedBoot> fconfig and press ENTER

Run script at boot: true Press ENTER

Boot script:
.. fis load -l vmlinux.bin.l7
.. exec
Enter script, terminate with empty line
>> fis load -l linux
and press ENTER

>> exec and press ENTER
>> Press ENTER

Boot script timeout (1000ms resolution):

10 and press ENTER
Use BOOTP for network configuration: false Press ENTER
Gateway IP address: Press ENTER
Local IP address: and press ENTER

Local IP address mask: and press ENTER
Default server IP address: press ENTER
Console baud rate: 9600 and press ENTER
GDB connection port: 9000 and press ENTER

Force console for special debug messages: false Press ENTER

Network debug at boot time: false Press ENTER
Update RedBoot non-volatile configuration - continue (y/n)? y and press ENTER
... Erase from 0xa87e0000-0xa87f0000: .

... Program from 0x80ff0000-0x81000000 at 0xa87e000

0: .
RedBoot>reset and press ENTER

Now skip to Post Flashing.

The following procedures are for RC6.2 and earlier:

ip_address -l -h
fis init

Type “y”, and hit enter.

load -r -v -b 0x80041000 root.fs

Note: The line below is correct; “rootfs” is not a typo.

fis create -b 0x80041000 -f 0xA8030000 -l 0x002C0000 -e 0x00000000 rootfs

load -r -v -b 0x80041000 vmlinux.bin.l7
fis create -r 0x80041000 -e 0x80041000 -l 0x000E0000 vmlinux.bin.l7
fis create -f 0xA83D0000 -l 0x00010000 -n nvram

Post Flashing

Once it finishes rebooting, you can connect to it over a wireless card at IP, or if you want to manage it over the ethernet port, you will need to change your IP address again to

Subnet: (System will fill it in for you)

Default Gateway:

Now, you can connect to the DD-WRT web interface by opening a web browser and typing If you want the router to give you an IP address automatically over ethernet, you will need to change the mode of the router. As of right now, they are still working out some of the bugs, but I have gotten the “Client Bridge” mode to work on 3/19/07 firmware, following these instructions.

Also, you need to remember that any time you reset your router by hitting the button on the bottom (or in the firmware), you will need to manually set your IP again to the…etc. as above, in order to access it over the Ethernet port (well, until they change the firmware to where it defaults to putting the DHCP server on the ethernet port, if they ever do).

Also, watch the DD-WRT wiki for news about less buggy firmware releases, and make sure to upgrade using the fonera-firmware.bin files through the web gui. Its much easier!

If you are to this point, and your router is not responding, wait 5 minutes, and check your IP settings. If you are still not getting an response, I would recommend the following:

1. Unplug the power from the fonera
2. Make sure you have all the other network connections disabled
3. Set the ip to the with the same options as above.
4. Start the pinging (ping -t)
5. Plug in the power to the router
6. In about 10-50 seconds, you should see a response. If you don’t, wait a little longer and double check your IP settings.
7. If you finally see a response, Start again “Flashing the Firmware,” but unplug the power from the router first, because there is a narrow gap of time that the Redboot option is open.

Related links:

Original Hackers of the FON

DD-WRT Fonera Wiki




FON router hacking guide