FAQ

Please note that we are not the makers of EWRT so we have collected whatever archived information we could find and this means that this information should be verified by the you and any information you act on is at your own risk.

We are not programmers just information gatherers.

1.1 What is EWRT?

EWRT is an embedded firmware distribution for the series of wireless routers from Linksys known as the WRT54 series. The firmware was developed by a consulting company formerly known as Portless Networks and was based in Portland, OR (it is unclear if this consulting company is still in existence).

 

It’s intended purpose was to be an open-source ready made hotspot firmware to be used by community wireless groups and commercial hotspot operators.EWRT was also designed to integrate a stable and secure server for open-mode/splash-screen style authentication in order to grant access to services on the router or the local network. The firmware also makes all remaining space on the flash rewriteable on-the fly. This allows storage of a small amount of HTML content for reconfiguration after a system upgrade, static data storage or software extensions via downloadable packages.

1.2 Where do I get more current info about the project?

The project as a whole has been discontinued although the files are still available and we will attempt to continue making the necessary info available on this website.

1.3 What are the benefits of using EWRT for my application?

EWRT was developed to target the needs of community wireless projects and hot spot operators. It is designed for stability, usability, and ease of monitoring .

1.4 Why EWRT? Why not use another system, e.g. OpenWRT?

EWRT preserved the web-interface and the entire nvram configuration underlying it. It also preserved the native fast initialization process and added new functionality as well.
2.0 Installation
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2.1 What hardware does EWRT run on?

It should run on all versions of  Linksys’ WRT54G/GS/GL routers EXCEPT the WRT54Gv5 or the WRT54GSv5, due to the small amount of flash memory on those routers.

2.2 Will I brick my router?

Probably not, if you use supported hardware and are careful.

2.3 Don’t these linksys devices burn out in a while with 3rd party firmware?

The original coders of EWRT have had units that have run continuously inside and outside for over 2 years. They previously stated that they had not see them burn out unless exposed to severe environmental extremes.  They also stated that they had seen an old trick that would moderately boost the radio’s output power, and another person figured out how to downclock the thing into the European Licensed HAM bands. They also stated that they had no need to try these on any of their routers. It is not recommended that you do and  if you do it. it’s completely at your own risk! (as is anything from this website).

2.4 Will I be able to switch firmware after loading ewrt on my router?

You should be able to do so as EWRT’s firmware update system is almost exactly the same as the original firmware’s. If your firmware is properly packaged to run on the hardware version you own you should be able to update to any other .

2.5 How do I save the current firmware before overwriting it with EWRT?

You will probably need to get an available copy of your original firmware before updating it with ewrt. Usually, you can just download it from the Linksys website at:

ftp://ftp.linksys.com/

Note to embedded experts: If you have a JTAG interface cable, you can copy off the whole flash device. Please see the JTAGInterfaceHOWTO.

2.6 Will I destroy the nvram settings when I upgrade my firmware?

As of the last information we have available to us from the original site info (early 2007) EWRT will perserve it’s complete nvram configuration across reboots and reflashes, until such time as you hold down the reset button on the back of the router. This means that upgrades can be performed fairly easily and generally without any reconfiguration of the device, even if it’s being updated remotely in the field! A notr from the previous owners states as follows “NOTE: After an upgrade, often new nvram variables will be available which may be needed to enable a new feature. You may have to set each one up via the web interface, by hand via the shell or actually do the nvram reset to defaults before the new features will become available.”

We are not experts in this area and are only relaying the information that was available previously through this nwebsite.

2.7 How do I remotely upgrade a router that is accessible over the internet?

You must use the web interface to update the image over the internet. You first need to have enabled the ssh WAN port when you set up the router, as described below under: How do I manage my router remotely?

3.0 Features
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3.1 How is the filesystem laid out?

 

The latest information we could find from archives site info is as follows:

* /etc/, /bin/, /sbin/, /usr/bin/, /usr/sbin/, etc. are in flash, but only writable via firmware update.
* /tmp/ is in RAM, You can write to this area, but the files will not survive reboot. The initial files in there are created at bootup time by the custom init (rc) binary.
* /var/ is also in RAM, linked to the tmpfs.
* /opt/ is a R/W area in flash. Contents will survive reboots.

Please note that we are not the makers of EWRT so this information should be verified by the you.

3.2 How do I write files to ewrt’s rewritable (JFFS2) flash partition?

Ewrt will create a rewriteable Journaling Flash File System version 2 partition with all remaining flash space the first time it boots after a reflash, and then mounts it at each boot on the directory /opt/. Rewriteable space currently ranges from a quite small 128K on the WRT54G to about 2.5M on the 8M Flash devices like the WRT54GS. To write files to it, you’ll need to first enable sshd via the Management screen in the web interface, so you can log in and write files, or scp them to the /opt/ directory.

3.3 Will the /opt/ partition be preserved when I re-flash?>

Probably not. It works sometimes, but it has been found to be difficult to resize the /opt/ partition to accomodate the changing size of subsequent firmware updates, so we have not found a way to reliably preserve this data across upgrades. You’ll definitely want to log in and copy (scp) back everything you need to save before upgrading.

3.4 Does or will EWRT have Perl, PHP, GPG, emacs or a mail reader?

All of those, except maybe the mail reader, are heavyweight systems not suited for an embedded system. The WRT54G is in it’s tiny silicon heart a router. Perl, PHP, GPG and the rest aren’t designed to live in this space. See the AvailableIpkgs page for what is available for installation.

4.0 Configuration
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4.1 What do I need to set up to get started?

You will need to log in to the web interface at http://192.168.1.1/ (unless you already changed therouters LAN IP address) to set up the Internet connection if this router is your gateway to the Internet, and all aspects of your LAN connection and Wireless network. Change your default password in the Management page, and be sure to enable the Boot_Wait setting there too, to enable the failsafe method of recovery in further firmware updates. Follow the instructions in your original Setup Manual if you don’t know how to do any of these things.

4.2 How do I set up sshd to log into the router?

Sshd is also enabled from the Management page. There are options for which ports to run on (both for the LAN and for WAN remote management,) whether to allow password authentication (uses the same password as the web i/f for root@) and an optional space in which you can paste your or others’ public ssh keys to allow them to log in without a password, via an ssh-agent.

4.3 How can I manage my router remotely across the Internet?

To enable remote management, you first need to make sure you can get to the router’s IP from across the Internet. This usually requires an Internet modem which can be set to bridged mode to allow your router to hold the static public IP address allocated from your ISP. This process also usually involves setting the router up to log into your account over PPPoE. Another option would be to forward a couple of ports to the router from the interface on your Internet modem, if this is available. You may need to contact your ISP to get more info on what options are available. More information about this may also be available elsewhere on the Internet, or in your original Setup Manual. Once you can access ports on your router directly from the internet, you need to select a ssh WAN port and/or a remote (Web) management port in the Management page of the web interface in order to access those services through the router’s firewall. Then you can just log in via ssh or https with the remote IP, just as if you were on the LAN of the router.

4.3 How do I set up NoCat splashd?

For more information about configuring NoCat for your needs, see the: NocatSetupHOWTO.

4.4 I don’t like your default splash page. How do I set up one of my own?

For more information about writing your own Splash-page and storing it on the router, see the: LocalSplashPageHOWTO.

4.5 How can I set up remote syslog support?

For more information on setting up your remote syslog server and send local system logs to it, see the RemoteSyslogHOWTO. NOTE: This is the easiest way for you to be able to view the logs for all routers on your system across system reboots.

4.6 How can I install ipkg packaged applications onto my router?

Ewrt includes two scripts to install ipkg packaged applications onto your router. One is called ipkg, which will install it’s packages and config data onto the rewriteable, static /opt/ filesystem. The other is ipkgtmp, which installs packages into the temporary ramfs mounted on the /tmp directory; there may be a little more space there, but the packages will not survive a reboot. Both programs may need some configuration, and you will need to build or find some compatible packages before you can use them. Please see the IpkgConfiguration page for details.

5.0 Customization
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5.1 What kind of software do I need to build Ewrt from a source tarball or CVS?

First, get the source tarball or checkout the latest CVS development code.

You also need a cross compiler and toolchain for the platform we are building. The Broadcom mipsel-uclibc (bcm947xx) cross-development toolchain from a newer G or GS Linksys source package will work for building WRT images. Linksys upgraded their compiler toolchain once between versions 2 and 3 of the firmware. Make sure to update your toolchain distribution to at least v3.01.3 from the Linksys GPL Code Center at:

ftp://ftp.linksys.com/opensourcecode/wrt54g/

or:

ftp://ftp.linksys.com/opensourcecode/wrt54gs/

For the most current build instructions, check out the README, BUILDING and INSTALL files, after untarring the Ewrt source distribution. You can also check out the step by step process at our BuildingEwrtHOWTO page. If something goes wrong, you can ask on the ewrt-dev mailing list (see below.)

5.2 How can I build a (My Language Here) enabled version of the web interface?

The language support should be very simple to enable. Make sure you set your LOCALE, HTTP_CHARSET and LANG_SEL in the file src/include/code_pattern.h to the proper values for your region. The build system will include your language files in a different binary called def_code-$(MODEL).bin

5.3 I think I found a bug. What information would you like when I report it?

We are going to need as much info as you can give us to help track down that bug. Important details are explaining carefully and exactly where and how you think the program failed (i.e. in the update process, in the kernel, in an application like the web interface, etc.) We also really need your router’s serial number or an exact model and hardware revision to track down bugs. If you are really electronics saavy, you could attach a serial console to your unit to get some of the debugging information and/or do remote debugging. What it boils down to is: If we can’t find or reproduce the problem here in our labs, it might take a long time to get fixed.

5.4 How can I get some software I need into ewrt?

Ask on the developer’s mailing list. We can’t guarantee to get to it, but we will consider what it would take and perhaps give you pointers to where to start looking further. Being open-source means the development should be a collaborative project. Also, if you know anything at all about porting software, cross-compiling for mips, cross-linking for uclibc, and making ipkgs you could probably build it yourself in an external project, and just load it right onto an ewrt router.

6.0 Development Activity
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6.1 Is this project in active development?

No

6.2 What are the future plans?

There are no future plans currently for this project.
7.0 Miscellaneous Questions
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7.1 Where can I get the Linksys devices?

We suggest ebay.

7.2 Where do you get those antennas we see in the pictures?

The previous site owner built all of his own antennae out of miscellaneous microwave connectors and cabling parts. He recommended Pacific Wireless products and said they should be available from their website or one of their re-sellers.

7.3 I’d like to deploy my WRT54G outdoors. Is this possible?

Yes. You’ll need at least a waterproof housing, a Linksys POE (Power Over Ethernet) adapter for the WRT, and some UV-resistant CAT-5 cable and electrical tape. See our Outdoor Enclosures page for more info.