madwifi on lenny router

For the past two months my day job has taken over my life. As always, during the height of my insane work schedule my wireless router started acting up. I guess I needed something to break so I had an excuse to take a much needed break from work. I’d pretty much forgotten I even had a wireless access point because it had been so long since it required any attention. I learned a few things that are even worth mentioning here in the process

First off the router I had to fix wasn’t an off-the-shelf 802.11 box. It was actually my first PC Engines router built on the old wrap1e103. It ran Debian Sarge and had an Atheros AR5413 802.11abg which was hot shit when I bought it.

Needless to say there wasn’t any reason to try to fix this system. It’s old, tired and wasn’t experiencing any specific problems except running really slow every once in a while. Best bet was to upgrade.

Almost a year ago I blogged about a VPN gateway that I built on a new PCEngines ALIX platform. I drafted that system to replace this dying Sarge box. Upgrading to Lenny and faster hardware was long over due. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though.

Turns out the madwifi drivers are in flux and the drivers available on Lenny are pretty unstable. Luckily a little Googling turned up someone who already did the research for me and solved this problem! Their fix did the trick and likely saved me a full night of scouring the interwebs. Following these directions the madwifi drivers came up fine in hostap mode and were offering DNS and DHCP through dnsmasq within minutes.

I even had enough time left over to set up the VPN so I can login to my home network while I’m on the road. Since I’ve been traveling every other week all summer this is going to come in handy. The iptables rules for this got pretty interesting so I’ll probably post something about that in the near future.

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