Archive for December, 2012

New stable firmware release: Paco the alpaca

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Paco is finally here, loaded with fixes, new features and improvements! Just in time to have some holiday time to play with this new firmware.

What changed?
Comparing this release with the previous stable,, here’s a summary of the most important changes:

  • 2.0g now supports bridge mode (but not wifi-bridge mode, due to technical limitations).
  • The “Orange page” with the “Your internet is misconfigured” message was removed. It caused more problems than it solved, due to onlined incorrectly detecting a broken connection when it was still working.
  • Various networking and wifi fixes and improvements that can make the network more stable and a bit faster in some circumstances.
  • Wifi scans can now be performed from the web interface.
  • Status display in the dashboard is improved.
  • Large USB disks (>2TiB) are now supported.
  • Multiple Dynamic DNS providers are supported now.
  • Various software and drivers have been updated.
  • OpenVPN was made a lot more configurable.

There are dozens and dozens of smaller changes, which are listed in detail in the changelog.

So, how do I upgrade?

The easy way:

  • This method works if you’re currently running firmware (Flipper) or 2.3.6.x (Gari).
  • Go to the “Applications” page in your Fonera’s webinterface.
  • You should see the firmware upgrade listed.
    Screenshot of the firmware upgrade part of the Applications page
  • Click the “plus” icon to install the firmware. It might take a few minutes for the page to load, it should show a countdown as soon as the actual upgrade started.
  • Done!

The manual way:

Download the web upgrade tarball below, navigate to your Fonera’s dashboard through “Settings” and then “System” and upload the tarball there (under “Firmware update”). Note that you should not unpack the file you download (and make sure your browser doesn’t automatically unzip the file either, it should remain a .tgz file).

Note: On 2.0g, the firmware update might fail due to insufficient memory. If you upload the firmware through the webinterface, but that page keeps loading indefinitely (and you do not get the updating countdown), you’re probably seeing this issue as well. As a workaround, you can disable windows file sharing (“Settings” -> “Fileserver” -> “Windows Network Shares”) and/or the public Fonspot (“Settings” -> “FONSpot”) to free up some memory. This should allow the 2.0g to successfully unpack the firmware and start flashing it.

This firmware is available for the following hardware. Be sure to pick the version for your hardware. If you pick the wrong one, the firmware update will silently bail out and no upgrade will happen (no error will appear either).

The above links point to the end user’s versions of the firmware. For different versions, like the developer’s version (which allows SSH access and custom plugins) and the .img version (which can be installed through SSH), you can look in the Paco directory on the download server.

If the upgrade somehow fails and you need to recover, the FAQ section has recovery instructions.

Are there any known problems with this version?
Yes, this release is still not perfect, but we’re getting closer at every step. In any case, here’s two things that used to work, but are now broken in this release. If you depend on them, you might want to reconsider the upgrade:

  • The music plugin is no longer available on the Fonera 2.0g, due to its limited available flash memory. The firmware has grown a bit since Flipper, so now there is no longer enough free space to install the music plugin.
  • The “Media” file share stopped working. In this release, a small security / stability fix was applied, which had the unintended side-effect of breaking the “Media” share. The shares for the individual partitions still work as expected. See ticket #1243 for details.

Special thanks go out to all of our users who have been testing the testing releases and have been providing excellent feedback and even contributed back some code and improvements!

Have fun!

Update 2013.03.13: The firmware can now be upgraded through the webinterface, the Wake-on-LAN plugin can now be installed through the webinterface and some known bugs were documented in this post.

New official plugin: Wake-on-LAN

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

As of this week, the Fonosfera repository contains an brand new plugin: The Wake-on-LAN plugin, which can be used to remotely power on Wake-on-LAN capable machines on your local network, using the Fonera webinterface.

This plugin was inspired by a previous Wake-on-LAN plugin, created by one of our users and amended by a few others. Due to technical reasons (the user interface code did not use cbi), this plugin does not share any code with the original plugin, but it did inspire us to create this new plugin.

Wake-on-LAN interface

This is still a first version of this plugin, so we welcome people testing it and providing feedback. The plugin can be installed by downloading it from our firmware autobuilder and uploading it again through the Applications page of the Fonera webinterface. The plugin can be downloaded here:

Installing an application like this requires a DEV firmware. This plugin has been tested on rc2, but I expect it will work on 2.3.6.x as well. After the final release is out and this plugin is tested well enough, it will become available on the Applications page for a one-click install, just like the other official plugins.

Note that the plugin is still missing a proper icon, so it now has a temporary (ugly) icon instead.

Update 2013.03.13: Version 1.0.2 adds a proper icon and is now listed in the “Applications” page of the Fonera 2.0 dashboard and can be installed automatically by just clicking the “plus” icon. You’ll need at least firmware for this, but it should work both in DEV and normal mode.

Setting up computers
To wake up a computer, it needs to support Wake-on-LAN (also known as “Magic Packet”) and have it enabled as well. Most modern computers support WOL, but it is often disabled by default. Often, a BIOS option named “Wake-on-LAN”, “Magic Packet”, or “PCI device wakeup” needs to be enabled, but usually you’ll also need to change some settings within your operating system. See this posting for some details on what to change. Rumour has it that Windows 7 needs some additional changes, see this posting for details.

Setting up the Fonera
After installing the application through the Applications page, you can access the WOL interface through the icon on the dashboard. To power on a computer, you’ll need to know its MAC address. You can add the MAC address to the top list, choose an arbitrary name so you can keep the various MAC addresses apart and click “Power On” to send the Magic Packet. If you already set up a static (DHCP) address assignment for the computer, you can directly click “Power on” in the bottom list (go to Settings -> Network to edit the bottom list).

If you test this plugin, let me know if it works for you, or if you have problems!

Update: I’ve updated the links above to point to version 1.0.1 of this plugin. This version should now also work on 2.0g and fixes a bug where your list of MAC addresses would be deleted when uninstalling the plugin or overwritten during plugin install. If you have the first version (1.0) installed and have a big list of MAC addresses that you want to preserve, you should make a backup of the /etc/config/luci_wol file manually before upgrading to this new version.