LaFonera Software Chilispot

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This howto will enable you to convert the LaFonera into an access point to use with or any other AAA service that makes use of Chillispot, but its key focus shall be on Wifi-CPA, whilst the ddwrt firmware for the LaFonera is still under development and is working great for the most part, the Chillispot portal software crashes due to an unknown (to me anyhow) bug (?memory leaks) at the time of writing (18 June 2007). I would also like to mention that I am in no way affiliated/bribed/blackmailed by FON Wireless LTD, Wifi-CPA, DD-WRT, Chillispot or any political party.


You'll need the following for this tutorial:

  1. A LaFonera! 21xx models as the 22xx use a different memory allocation!
  2. SSH client: Putty .
  3. A FON kernel and root.fs hacked to write on the MTD partition with RedBoot, the 2 files that are needed are here and here (only download if you plan to setup a http/ftp server locally, which is outside the scope of this howto).
  4. A recent kernel and root.fs build of ddwrt for atheros WiSOC based hardware, I used root.fs and vmlinux.bin.l7 ((06/10/07) std (SVN revision 7213).
  5. Klever PumpKIN TFTP server/client from here .
  6. A functioning Chillispot mips package from here .
  7. An account with and you will also need the unique code that is generated once you've created a hotspot which will have the format XXX-XXXX.
  8. This is not really necessary but worth having,
    • patience,
    • no one bugging you during any part of this guide,
    • a hammer in case of point (b),
    • a swiss bank account,
    • some refreshments.


1. Start with a stock LaFonera, with the original firmware (7.x). If you're unsure of your version, with the power on, hold down the reset button on the bottom of the unit for up to 30 seconds. This should reset it to the original firmware.

2. Enable the built-in SSH server on the LaFonera :-)


Log into the web administration page for your LaFonera, go to the advanced tab, then internet connection, change the mode from DHCP to static IP from the dropdown option, set an IP and netmask within your modem/routers range, set the gateway to your modem/router IP and change the name server (DNS) of your La Fonera to


Hit submit and reboot your LaFonera (unplug power and back in again). Now you should be able to connect via SSH. This should work with other firmwares, too. Please change the name server according to your ISP or network setup after the reboot.

3. Connect via SSH to the LaFonera, and execute the following commands:

cd /tmp
mtd -e vmlinux.bin.l7 write openwrt-ar531x-2.4-vmlinux-CAMICIA.lzma vmlinux.bin.l7

After the "reboot" command, the LaFonera will reboot and you'll lose the connection.

Don't be misled by the name of the file. This is actually a FON kernel hacked to write on the MTD partition with RedBoot. After this step the LaFonera should be able to restart without any problems. In case you are not able to connect to the Internet from the LaFonera, you can download the files locally, install an FTP or HTTP server on your PC and wget the files from the PC by entering the local server IP.

4. Again connect via SSH to the LaFonera, and execute the following commands. (Note: Your LaFonera will not boot past RedBoot anymore after this step.)

cd /tmp
mtd -e "RedBoot config" write out.hex "RedBoot config"

5. Your LaFonera should not be able to completely boot, because the FIS directory will be erased. However, you should be able to connect to the RedBoot prompt. To connect to RedBoot you need to:

a) Configure your PC so you have an address like, netmask, gateway and DNS can be left blank.
b) Connect your PC and the LaFonera through a crossover ethernet cable or a switch and 2 normal cables (note: you can connect to LaFonera with either a normal cat5 ethernet cable, or with a crossover cable, as La Fonera's NIC is auto-sensing).

Load up putty and set the address and port to the following: 9000


c) Disconnect and reconnect the power to your LaFonera. Then click open on putty. You have the first 8 secs to access to RedBoot via a plain Telnet connection. (I would avoid using the built in windows telnet client as it seems to give me no joy, just an ascii character.)

If everything goes well you should have a "RedBoot>" prompt in telnet.


Thats enough "point