Next generation gaming and continued Linksys failures

There are a couple oddities of consumer wireless product implementations that I wanted to share and my solutions for dealing with them.

Because I was busy with other things and not usually at home after my last move, I bought a Linksys WRT54G (v2.0) router because I didn’t have time to use one of my Soekris BSD boxen. Since it was the status quo in the household after that point. It replaced my tower case firewall/router and was roommate friendly.

I was content to let this go on until today. Today I needed functionality and was unwilling to tolerate bad consumer implementations any longer.

My household network may include the following devices at any given time:

  • a couple of OSX 10.4 macs
  • at least one Windows XP workstation or laptop
  • a Nintendo Wii
  • a Sony Playstation 3
  • assorted other laptops
  • A Zaurus
  • at least one visiting smartphone or IP phone
  • Sony PSPs
  • and other such widgets and devices

Oddly enough for whatever reason, the PS3 was not fitting into my brave new world of WPA2. Sony doesn’t (even after the last firmware 1.5 update) support WPA2, but does manage WPA [AES].

Sadly after a fair amount of trial and error, I was able to determine that the Linksys firmware does infact not offer WPA [AES], but only WPA [PSK]. This was disappointing but bearable.

Today after playing Sony’s Full Auto 2: Battlelands, I remembered that I had an odd Plantronics headset laying around and that it would allow me to berate my competition while blowing them up online. As I have never been able to stomach paying for xbox live, smacktalking to people internationally is a brave new option to me, and I was greatly motivated to make it a reality in my household.

I dug out the headset, associated it with my PS3, and entered the game. I was told that because I was running strict NAT, some functionality (namely the smacktalking) would be unavailable.

Unacceptable. After these many insults, the Linksys router firmware had to go.

It was replaced with OpenWRT.

Installation took slightly longer than booting the windows environment on the wired network. Point and click in the web interface to the stable OpenWRT firmware image, and it was done. Easy.

Wait. Why isn’t my wireless working now? Oh. I need to install the nas package. Why isn’t WPA functionality included by default? Who cares.

I sshed into the now OpenWRT access point and the following commands got things where I needed them to be:

ipkg update
ipkg install nas
reboot

A really excellent feature of OpenWRT, I noticed, was that it can support WPA2 and WPA devices supporting both AES and PSK at the same time. Neat.

I still didn’t have uPnP working on my new firmware so that I could get all aggressive on people online.

After the usual security warnings about how windows can be owned at any moment by anything (which prefaced the installation instructions), I installed the uPnP module via their somewhat odd procedure:

cd /tmp
 wget http://members.optusnet.com.au/edwardluck/openwrt/packages/libupnp_1.2.1a_mipsel.ipk
 ipkg install libupnp_1.2.1a_mipsel.ipk
 wget http://members.optusnet.com.au/edwardluck/openwrt/packages/linux-igd_1.0.1.ipk
 ipkg install ./linux-igd_1.0.1.ipk
 /etc/init.d/S65upnpd start

The PS3 then reported that I was running a type 2 NAT (in place of the previous type 3) and that uPnP was now operational.

Thank you OpenWRT for giving me the chance to distract my competition with words and laugh at them when I blow them up. I appreciate it.

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