Robert X. Cringely writes about the Linksys WRT54G, an 802.11g wireless access point and router that includes a four-port 10/100 Ethernet switch and can be bought for as little as $US69.99. Since the operating system is Linux and since Linksys has respected the Linux GPL by publishing all the source code for anyone to download for free, the WRT54G is a lot more than just a wireless router. It is a disruptive technology.
The adaptable WRT54G allows you you “hack” the firmware.Third party firmwares inculde those from Sveasoft here’s what you can use it for after less than an hour’s work. You get all the original Linksys functions plus SSH, Wonder Shaper, L7 regexp iptables filtering, frottle, parprouted, the latest Busybox utilities, several custom modifications to DHCP and dnsmasq, a PPTP server, static DHCP address mapping, OSPF routing, external logging, as well as support for client, ad hoc, AP, and WDS wireless modes.
You too can be a WISP (Wireless ISP.
The point is (I think) that wireless access point and routers – like the Linksys WRT54G – that allow firmware mods and have the potential to either a) radically lower the costs to companies entering the market or b) non- profit / DIY WISP (Wireless ISP) and VoIP hot spots.
SlashDot has jumped on this under the banner Do-It-Yourself VOIP Telco
Here’s a link to the Linksys product page for the Wireless-G WRT54G and the Sveasoft WRT54G Firmware Documentation
Update June 3 2004: Linksys WiFi Gateway Remote Attack Risk Discovered or maybe not
Building a DIY WISP is easier and less expensive then you may think. There are several professional grade wireless networking products on the market today designed to help DIY builders start a successful wireless ISP in their town, city, neighborhood, apartment complex etc.
Learn more about wireless networking; including how-to setup a WISP and wireless equipment for your network: